Selling your home is a big deal. Making sure you have a good understanding of the listing process and what to expect is a great first step to enforce your ability to stay in control of the transaction. The more you know, the more options you have, and the faster your home will sell at its best price.
Finding a Listing Agent
When interviewing agents, make sure you feel confident and comfortable at their level of experience and expertise. Your agent is your representative in the transaction. This needs to be someone you can trust and communicate effectively with. Your agent should be able to explain the listing process to you in a way that gives you control, peace of mind and allows you the space to understand what every document, inspection, and signature means. This is your home, your investment. Whether you have memories tied up in it, or need to get rid of it ASAP or even both, your agent needs to be able to confidently advocate for your needs while simultaneously overseeing the transaction, and taking the time and consideration to educate you and keep you informed along the way.
Preparing the Home for Listing
During the listing process, your home will need to be photographed and will also need to be prepared for showings. This means decluttering and cleaning. Look around on other listings and compare photos. Generally, photos that are poorly lit and of lower quality or do not capture the entirety of the property don’t appeal to prospective buyers. Consider professional photography. Photographers are talented at making homes look their best. Remember that the photos on your listing are usually the first time buyers will see your home and decide whether or not they want to view it in-person.
Especially in times like these when entering homes physically poses a new risk to those involved, some buyers will hold more value to the photos and videos they see online. While showing activity is still high, it’s good to take into consideration that some buyers don’t feel comfortable seeing homes they aren’t in love with at first sight, so you want to make sure your first impressions are good!
Choosing a Listing Price
This is one of the most important decisions you make when listing your property. Take the emotion out of the equation. Remember that prospective buyers are seeing your home for its physical properties and condition. They do not have years of experience in the home that make it feel valuable to you. Focus on material facts about your property. Your agent will run a comparative market analysis (CMA) to show you what properties similar to yours in your area are selling for. This data will be helpful when pricing your home.
Getting the price right on the first try is more important than you might think. Remember that the price you list at determines what buyers will be viewing the property. Let’s say that after reviewing the CMA, your agent suggests listing your home at $250,000. You and your spouse spent years in the house and have done renovations, paint jobs, repairs and you feel that the home is worth $300,000. If you list at $300,000., only buyers that can afford a $300,000 home will schedule showings to come to see your home. Keep in mind that if they are viewing your home, it means they’re also viewing other homes that are $300,000 which are most likely accurately priced, meaning they have material values, square footage, finishes and appliances, amenities, etc. that make them worth $300,000. So, in comparison to your home that has been valued at $250,000., it is not likely yours will make the cut.
Now your home has sat on the market for a few weeks with no offers. Now, you inevitably bump the price down to $250,000., as your agent suggested. Finally, buyers who can afford your home are seeing your home show up in their searches, but it’s been on the market for a few weeks and has a price reduction of $50,000. Prospective buyers may now have reservations about why other buyers haven’t been interested in purchasing the property.
By pricing your home accurately, you ensure it gets in front of the right buyers as soon as possible. A home looks the best when it’s in the correct price range where it will be viewed competitively among similar homes. Trust your agent and their price analysis. If you genuinely feel the home may be worth more, get a second opinion.
Truth in Housing (TISH)
If you’ve been through a real estate transaction before, you may remember hearing about TISH Inspections/Disclosures. TISH evaluations help ensure the quality of housing available. They are also mandatory in certain areas every time a house sells.
Your role as the homeowner is to hire a licensed TISH evaluator, who will give you a list of required repairs, if any, on a report. These repairs must be completed and then re-inspected. After the inspection, you will be given a Certificate of Approval. This must be acquired before the home can be listed. Your Realtor will let you know if your area requires disclosures or inspections to be completed before selling.
This disclosure is for you to share any and all the material facts you are aware of your property. For example, if you know the basement floods every spring, that would be something to disclose. If you are aware of any material defects or conditions, you should include those pieces of information. This disclosure must be on display at the property for showings. This document protects you and provides the buyers with important information. Your agent may use this information to populate your MLS Listing Form, another important document that will be used to describe your home on the MLS, which is seen by other agents and auto-populates sites like Trulia and Zillow.
Ready, Set, Show!
After you have signed and approved all paperwork with your agent, a sign will be installed on the property and you will start to have showings scheduled. It is best practice to create showing instructions. If there are times you do not want to have showings scheduled, such as late evenings on school-nights, or early mornings, you can set those boundaries. You can also ask for specific requests, such as having people remove their shoes, keep them on, wear masks, wear gloves, leave lights on, etc. Realtors working with buyers will see your requests and ensure that their clients are being respectful to your instructions when they come to see the property.
As interested buyers view your property, your Realtor will receive offers and present them to you for you to look over.
If you want to learn more about selling your home, feel free to Contact Us with any questions you may have. One of our agents will talk with you about your local market and provide you with data that can help you make a well-informed decision. Follow our social media accounts as well to see more helpful information!