Feb 13 2020

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How Do I Sell My House: Getting Started

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What to Do When: A Timeline for Selling Your Home

Starting now, here’s what to do when – from picking a listing date to selecting the best offer.

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How Do I Sell My House: Getting Started

When you decide it’s time to sell your home, you might wonder what to do first. While many sellers ask their friends and neighbors for advice, here’s a step-by-step checklist of what you need to do to sell your house, whether you’re going to be listing with a real estate agent or going down the for-sale-by-owner path. Let’s get you ready to sell!

Steps to selling a house

You’ll want your home to give potential buyers a good first impression. Not only can a dirty home distract buyers from appreciating your home’s best features, but it can also give the impression that you haven’t taken care of bigger maintenance and upkeep tasks.

Many sellers choose to pay for their own pre-inspection. A home inspector will take a thorough look at your home’s structural components, major systems, and appliances, and report back on any issues that may be red flags to potential buyers. A pre-inspection can help you prioritize any repairs that need to be done and direct you toward a reasonable sales price.

3. Repair and touch up

Even if you don’t have any major repairs that need to be taken care of, it’s important to go through your home and complete any minor repairs you’ve been putting off. Patching holes, repairing trim, and repainting can make a big difference.

4. Appraise

You may also choose to get an appraisal of your home. A big part of the process of selling a house is deciding on a list price, and having an objective, professional opinion on the value of your home can be helpful.

There are two ways to stage your home. First, you can simply declutter, remove personal effects like family photos, and arrange furniture in a way that highlights your home’s best attributes. Or, you can hire a professional stager. Either way, the goal is to help potential buyers picture themselves living in the home.

6. Price

The process when selling with an agent: When you’re working with an agent, you can rely on their expertise to guide you to an accurate list price. They’ll start by providing you a comparative market analysis (CMA, commonly known as comps). Since they’re not emotionally connected to your home, they’ll be able to really hone in on the fair market value.

The for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) process: When you’re managing your own listing, you can still request a comparative market analysis from a local agent. You can also do your own research, finding comparable properties online and following best practices for pricing.

What is a comparative market analysis?

Often abbreviated as a CMA, a comparative market analysis is a report your real estate agent provides you that includes a compilation of recent sales from your area. It focuses on homes that are similar to yours and includes home details, days on the market, and the final sale price. A good CMA can help you select the right price for your own home.

7. Market

The process when selling with an agent: Most agents will recommend professional photography (and they’ll likely have a photographer they always work with, often for a discounted rate). Once you have the photos done, your agent should go full steam ahead, advertising your listing online, on social media, via word of mouth, and around the neighborhood.

The FSBO process: The marketing is all up to you, but you’ll still probably want to get professional photos taken. There are many websites where you can list your FSBO, and you’ll want to share the listing on social media, too. Once the requests for showings start rolling in, try to keep an open schedule (and a clean home) to accommodate as many potential buyers as possible.

You can approach the process of selling a house in several ways to find the right option for you. Photo from Shutterstock.

The Zillow Offers alternative

If you’re in a hurry to sell your home, or the tasks on this checklist look daunting, consider selling your home with Zillow Offers . This alternative allows you to skip all the home prep and showings. Your home will be reviewed by Zillow, and you’ll receive an offer based on your home’s details, a few questions you answer about your home, and your local real estate market.

How long does it take to sell a home?

Allow at least two months to prepare

If you’re thinking of selling your home and your moving timeline allows for it, allow at least two months before listing to complete all your preparations.

How long does the whole process take?

Depending on the state of your local market, you should expect to start receiving offers within the first two weeks of selling. According to Zillow Research, the average U.S. home was on the market for 81 days in 2017, measured from the day a home is listed to the day the sale is finalized.

For Zillow Offers

After providing us with some details about your home, you’ll receive an offer within a few days. If you accept the offer, you can choose a closing date that’s convenient for you.

Checklist: What you need to do to sell your house

Do a good cleaning of the entire home
Get a pre-inspection
Do any repairs and touch-ups
Order an appraisal
Declutter and stage
Decide on your list price
Take photos and plan your marketing


Written by admin