The Home Selling Process
Step 1: Select a REALTOR®
Several factors determine how quickly your home will sell, including price, location, condition, and marketing. When choosing a REALTOR® to market your home, be sure to ask for the details of their marketing plan. You want to partner with someone who will do more than enter your home into the MLS system and put a sign in your yard. Be sure your property will be advertised extensively on the internet and in your local community. Will the REALTOR® hold open houses? Will they target market for buyers? Will you receive assistance in preparing your home for sale? Are they planning a direct mail advertising campaign? Will they place flyers at the street for potential buyers? What type of marketing materials will they provide?
A key element of success will be having a strong negotiator working on your behalf. Negotiation skills develop with time and experience, and can make a substantial difference in your bottom-line. There are many REALTORS® who only sell a few homes each year, and often work at real estate only part-time. This limits their experience base and knowledge of the local market. On the other hand, REALTORS® who sell very large numbers of homes are often extremely busy. They can only offer limited time for each client, which results in less personal attention than you need and desire. We have the experience and time to get the results you want.
Step 2: Make Repairs / Improvements
The condition of your home will greatly impact how quickly it sells and the price you will receive. Obviously needed repairs send a signal to buyers that the home was not well-maintained, which can raise concerns about the potential of other, unseen issues. Your Shepherd Real Estate advisor will offer educated suggestions to increase your home’s chances of selling quickly, for the highest price.
Step 3: Stage the Home
Home staging involves cleaning, clearing out clutter, de-personalizing, and adding a few special accents to make your home feel move-in ready for the next family. While much attention has been given to staging in recent years, some still question if it is worth the effort. The answer is “YES!” Experience has shown that buyers exhibit significantly more interest in staged homes. They are more likely to overlook the negatives and imagine themselves living in the house. Shepherd Real Estate will guide you through this important process with detailed recommendations and the free use of our Staging Assistance Program.
After the staging is complete, your home will be photographed for your property’s individual website. Most buyers begin their home search on the internet, so it is vital to include many beautiful pictures of your home in the marketing process.
Step 4: Determine the Listing Price
Your Shepherd Real Estate agent will prepare a comparable market analysis (CMA) for your home, comparing it to similar, recently sold homes. Together you will review the CMA and discuss the current market conditions and competing homes for sale. All of that information, combined with your timeframe for moving, will help determine an asking price for your home. The price should be based primarily on the current market and recently sold homes, and should not be influenced by what you paid for your home, how much you spent on repairs or improvements, or how much money you need to purchase your next home.
Step 5: Begin Marketing
When a home first enters the market, there is an initial burst of activity while active home buyers discover and view your new listing. After this stage, activity slows while waiting for new buyers to trickle into the market and show interest in your home. When a home sits on the market for a long time, even new buyers may question why it would still be for sale, and could be less interested in viewing it. Therefore, it is vital to take full advantage of those early weeks. All materials should be prepared and the marketing plan in place prior to beginning any marketing of the home. The marketing plan(link to marketing plan page) should include a yard sign, printed promotional materials, extensive internet advertising, open houses, and inclusion in the multiple listing service (MLS). Shepherd Real Estate offers an exceptional marketing plan. We would love the opportunity to share with you how this plan can help sell your home.
Step 6: Follow-up with Buyers and REALTORS®
Feedback from buyers and REALTORS® who have viewed your home will be an essential step in determining the appropriateness of your asking price as well as helping to determine if there are any major deterring factors. Many sellers are frustrated that they list their home for sale with a REALTOR® and never hear from the agent again. That will not happen with Shepherd Real Estate. We will follow up on each and every showing of your home to ask for feedback. You will be regularly informed of the buyer’s comments, as well as comparable homes that might have sold or entered the market.
Step 7: Negotiate Offers
It is very exciting to receive an offer for your home. Every offer includes many important details for you to consider. Because emotions often run high during the negotiation phase, it is important to have a trusted advisor guiding you through this stage. At Shepherd Real Estate, we make every effort to keep this process as calm and smooth as possible, while also using tough negotiating skills to bring you the most money with the best possible terms. Price will obviously be an important consideration, but other terms such as settlement date, earnest money, inspections, financing, and home sale contingencies must all be considered. We will explain how each of these will impact you and present possible alternatives should you choose to make a counter-offer to a proposed purchase of your house.
Home inspections are often included in the terms of a sale. After the buyer completes a home inspection, more negotiations may be required to decide who will pay for any needed repairs to the home.
Step 8: Remove Contingencies
Many offers contain contingencies, such as financing and home sale contingencies. These protect the buyer, allowing them to be released from the contract if they are unable to obtain financing to buy your house, or if their current home does not sell in time to purchase yours. Contingencies usually contain a deadline for their completion. We will closely monitor the progress of any contingencies to ensure a successful sale of your house.
Step 9: Attend Settlement
The closing process is often referred to as “settlement.”
Closings bring together a variety of parties who are part of the “transaction” process. Besides the buyer, seller, and their representatives, those present may include an attorney, closing agent, and a representative of the lender.
At closing, transfer taxes must be paid and other claims settled (including closing costs, mortgage payoffs, legal fees, and adjustments). The seller receives a check for the net proceeds of the sale after all loans have been satisfied and other closing costs have been paid. The closing agent completes the paperwork needed to record the loan.
What to expect:
Settlement is a brief meeting at which the relevant parties sign all the necessary paperwork needed to complete the transaction. Closings are typically held in an office setting, sometimes with both buyer and seller at the same table, sometimes with each party completing their papers separately.
Before closing, the buyers will likely walk through your home one more time to assure that its condition has not changed since the signing of the sale agreement. At closing itself, all papers have been prepared by closing agents, title companies, lenders, and lawyers, and will be verified by buyer and seller to ensure that they accurately reflect the sale agreement. The buyer then receives the keys and the seller receives payment for the home. Deeds, loan papers, and other documents are prepared, signed, and the closing agent will later file them with local property record offices.