If you’re reading this, you are likely considering selling your home! Which means that you have, at least, BOUGHT a home in the past, so you aren’t completely new to the entire house buying process, but perhaps it’s been a while. So, let’s review the basic steps!
Step 1: Find out what your home is worth. Use a professional, active Realtor and find out your home’s actual value. Not an estimate or best guess based on what your neighbor’s home sold for or what a website tells you based simply on raw data. So much goes into pricing your home correctly-doing this right is a crucial step to keep you from either losing money from pricing too low or spending way too much time on the market by pricing too high.
Step 2: What to Repair (or not!). Sit down with your Realtor, who can tell you what needs updating in your home. Technically, you could update your kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, walls, roof, electrical, heating…. but chances are, you don’t need to do all of that! You want to repair and update enough to get the best price on your home, but not so much that you spend more on updating than you’ll get back in the sales price.
Step 3: Get pre-qualified if you’ll be buying another home. Lending rules have changed so much in the last 5-10 years, make sure you won’t be homeless once you’ve sold your house, simply because you didn’t know what you would actually qualify for when looking for a new home.
Step 4: Create a Timeline: You’ll likely have a lot to do, anything from painting, tearing up tile, replacing flooring, or even just deep cleaning your carpets. Sit down and figure out how long each step will take and when you want your home to go on the market. This can be different neighborhood to neighborhood and home to home. The best time to list your home is VERY specific to YOUR home, and your Realtor can discuss the best time for you and the market. There aren’t general rules for this one.
Step 5: The Three D’s: Deep clean, de-personalize, and de-clutter. Clean up your home and remove ‘you’ from your home. You want potential buyers to see themselves in the home, not see the way you have lived there. Often we move because we need to expand homes and have too much stuff for our current home- get that stuff boxed up and out of your house!
Step 6: Get professional photos. 92% of buyers look online first- get the best possible photos. Staging helps to show your home in its best light as well.
Step 7: List the home! If you’re in Utah County, list on Wednesday. If you’re in Salt Lake County, list on Thursday. Why? Because that is when your motivated buyers are looking. Not the weekend looky-loos who may buy someday, but the people who check the data base every single day because they want a home- NOW!
Step 8: Accept as many showings as possible. Don’t be in the house when there is a showing. It can be uncomfortable for potential buyers. If you’ve staged it correctly, they can picture themselves in your house. If you’re selling a smaller or beginner home, consider going away for a few days to leave the house open for unlimited showings.
Step 9: Make your house comfortable. In the summer, set AC extra low. In the winter, make your furnace extra hot. Appease their senses. Make your home smell nice. Don’t have smells that are too strong- smells that make it look like you’re trying to cover something up. You’ll especially want to stay away from chemical smells. Go for neutral, pleasant scents that aren’t too floral. Please, if at all possible, have no pets at home distracting from the showing.
Step 10: Negotiation. You should be getting offers! If your home is one that attracts first time home buyers, you should see offers within two weeks. If it’s in a higher price point, that may be up to 90 days. Once you get offers, you’ll be negotiating. Closing dates, purchase price, inspections, appraisals, type of loan, how qualified they are- any of these things can be negotiated to make the contract more or less appealing. In Utah, contracts are seller friendly, so be careful about everything in the contract (ie, make sure your Realtor goes over it with a fine tooth comb!) because the seller can back out of the sale much more easily than you can. (To save my sellers stress, I always call the lender and make sure that the potential buyer is actually fully qualified so you don’t lose your contract to someone who CAN’T actually purchase the home!)
Step 11: You give seller disclosures. You’ll be telling them all about your property, giving them a title report, and any due diligence like HOA fees, etc. If you don’t give them all of these disclosures accurately, they can cancel later because you’ve left something out. Yikes!
Step 12: Inspect Away! The buyers have a period to check up on ANYTHING they want, out of their own pocket. Radon, lead based paint tests, etc. They can check anything and everything: electrical, plumbing, or roofing. After these inspections, they might ask for fixes or price changes.
Step 13: Appraisal. Your home will be appraised. In today’s market, appraisals have been inconsistent, with some coming in too high and, even worse, some coming in short, meaning they appraise for less than the sales price. If that happens, a re-negotiation of the price of the home may be necessary, but there are lots of options to make things work.
Step 14: Sign me up! The buyer and seller both sign all the sales documents and the process is complete!
If you have any questions or have specifics you’d like to know about in the steps, comment below!