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Eight Steps to Selling Your Home

  1. 1. Define your needs.
    Understanding your reasons for selling and your expectations of what you'll gain from it are crucial. Do you want or need to sell your home within a specific time frame? Do you want or need to make a particular profit margin? Work with your real estate agent to develop a game plan that can help you achieve your goals within a realistic time frame.

  2. 2. Name your price.
    Use your real estate agent's expertise to determine your home's fair market value. It's difficult to remain unbiased, so remember to look at the numbers. What are comparable homes in your neighborhood selling for? How long did they sit on the market? Properly pricing your home will result in increased buyer activity and fewer days on the market.

  3. 3. Prepare your home.
    First impressions are everything. Buyers don't want to see a home with too much "personality." They want to see clean, open rooms waiting for them to move in. It's important for them to see themselves in this home. Buyers can be put off by ostentatious d├ęcor, strong smells, and clutter. Your agent can help you stage your home so that it's more appealing but you should focus on keeping your house "showroom ready" while it's on the market.

  4. 4. Get the word out.
    Your real estate agent should present you with a marketing strategy specifically designed for your home. Choosing an agent who not only specializes in your local market, but who also is well-prepared and familiar with various advertising tools will guarantee a faster and more profitable sale. An experienced agent will structure a plan so that the first three to six weeks are the busiest.

  5. 5. Receive an offer.
    You've received an offer! Although this can mark the end of keeping your house "showroom ready" 24/7, this next stage will require a lot of paperwork and due diligence. Your agent will first determine if the buyers are pre-qualified to purchase a home at your asking price. If so, he/she will review the offer in great detail, explaining what is required of both parties in order to execute the transaction.

  6. 6. Negotiate to sell.
    This piece can take hours or even days to get through. Your real estate agent should be an expert negotiator and understand the contract inside and out. Before closing, the property may need to be appraised, surveyed, inspected, or repaired. All the more reason to hire a skilled real estate agent, someone who will advocate for you in order to ensure you are ultimately satisfied with the deal.

  7. 7. Prepare to close.
    Once an offer is accepted, there are a million things left to do. Make a list of the people that need to be called and the things that must be done, so you can make sure nothing slips through the cracks. Your real estate agent can assist you in determining when utilities need to be shut down, vendors that can help with repairs, and clarifying terms of the contract that must be fulfilled prior to closing. The terms in the contract will ultimately dictate your next step. Make sure you fulfill all obligations you agreed upon in the final contract prior to closing.

  8. 8. Close the deal.
    The closing table is the final stop in what may seem to be a long and arduous journey to sell your home. This final paperwork formally transfers ownership of the home to the buyers. Your agent will be present while you sign to answer any remaining questions and to walk you through the paperwork. Once the buyer's funding has gone through, ownership is officially transferred.