The Selling Process

Making the decision to sell your home and begin the process can be very daunting. It's hard to know exactly where to start or what to expect when selling your home for the first time. You may have friends or family that can give you the benefit of their experience, unfortunately that also means you may have to listen to one or two "nightmare" stories. The process, with a little bit of effort and attention, really should go smoothly if you're educated, prepared and have a professional agent guiding you through it. Here are some basic steps outlining the sale process. I'd be happy to discuss it with you - even if you're not ready to sell right now.
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Step 1

When do want to sell? When do you want to move (not always the same as when you want to sell)? Are you willing/able to do any repairs? Desired terms of selling besides price, etc…

Step 2

Choose your listing agent. See Listing With An Agent for more information on how to choose an agent, what agreements you'll fill out with them and what services you can expect from real estate agents. For more information on my services, see My Listing Services.

Step 3

Find out what your home is worth with a current Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). See CMA for more information.  With this information, you will feel confident when working with your agent to choose a reasonable asking price for your home.

Step 4

The next step is to make your house ready to sell. Try walking through your house as if you're the buyer. View everything, from the front door to your bedroom closet through a buyers eyes. Check out a few open houses in your neighborhood if you really want to get a sense for the condition and appearance of other homes for sale. Get unbiased opinions from your friends or your agent. You don't have to do everything they suggest, it's just nice to have fresh eyes see your home. Get detailed information on getting your house ready in the Preparing Your House for Sale guide.
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Step 5

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Not only do you need to prepare your home to sell, but you should also prepare yourself, pets and family for having buyers coming in and out of your home. For example, if you have a rowdy dog, you may consider having a friend watch it for a couple weeks. You can generally set times you'd like people to view your house, but the truth is that the more viewing hours permitted the more exposure your house will get. While it isn't necessary that you leave for every showing, buyers feel more comfortable looking around if you aren't sitting on the couch watching them. Your agent will also generally set up some times to have open houses that you usually would not be at.

Step 6

Negotiate and accept the contract. I will assist you in understanding the pros and cons of particular offers. I will also handle all the negotiating and paperwork. The buyer's offer will most likely be subject to an inspection, so you will need to be flexible to let their inspector come into your home for a few hours. See Purpose of a Home Inspection for more information. Their offer might also be subject to them obtaining financing and, in that case, their appraiser may need to come out to view your home as well. In either case, I will handle getting them into your home during the day. Part of negotiations can include doing repairs. In that case, you would need to have someone do the work (or do it yourself) and then allow the buyer to come back in to inspect the completed work.
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Step 7

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As soon as the purchase and sale agreement is signed by all buyer(s) and seller(s), Title is set up and working in the background to get your transaction ready to close. See The Closing Process for more information on this process. On closing day, you will need to go to Title and sign all the necessary documents to transfer title to the Buyer. You will receive a seller statement detailing all your costs. Once the sale has been recorded and funded, your check or direct deposit will be delivered to you. You are finished!

Step 8

Time to move into your next home!

Listing Agent Services

What is a "Listing"?

A Listing is when you create a written agreement with a real estate agent to represent you in the sale of your home. The Listing Agent then has the task of marketing your home, putting it on the MLS, being your advisor and advocate, negotiating on your behalf, completing Purchase & Sale contracts with you and walking the sales transaction through to closing. In exchange for their services, you agree in a Listing Agreement to pay the Listing Agent a specific commission if they bring you an offer from a "ready, willing and able" buyer. Commissions are paid at closing from the proceeds of the sale.

A very powerful tool that is available to real estate agents is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). It is essentially an online database of thousands of properties for sale all across the country. Agents working with buyers scan it daily for new listings that meet the needs of their clients. When your Listing Agent lists your home on the MLS they essentially multiply your sales force. Now you don't just have your Listing Agent working to get your home sold, you have hundreds of agents in the area doing it. If one of those agents represents the buyer in purchasing your home your Listing Agent will generally split their commission with the buyer's agent.

CMA

So, you're thinking of selling your home? Determining its value is one of the early steps in the selling process. And it is VERY important to get right. There is a narrow margin between getting the most for your property without asking too much and getting what's appropriate for your property without asking too little. Agents assist sellers in determining where to price their home with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) 

A CMA is an estimate of market value performed by a real estate agent based on similar homes' sale prices. Other factors such as how long it took similar homes to sell, originally-listed-price to actual-sale-price ratios, condition and asking price history will all be taken into consideration when preparing a CMA and determining an asking price for your home. A good agent will spend several hours working on your CMA. If you are interested in obtaining a free CMA I would be happy to provide you one.