How To Sell Your House: A Complete Guide To Selling A House

While most of us dream of selling our home quickly and effortlessly, it usually doesn’t work out that way. Here’s a guide on how to sell your house that covers how to best go about the selling process, from finding an agent to handing off the keys to the new owner.

Things to Consider When Deciding How to Sell Your House

If you’ve realized that it’s time to sell your home, there are a few options for each step of the process, including how to price the home, when to use a realtor, and how to negotiate with potential buyers.

Step 1: Decide how you’re going to sell your home

There are two options for how you can sell your home: by selling it yourself or by working with a realtor. Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks.

For Sale by Owner (FSBO)

You’ve probably seen signs on empty lots or in front of houses that say “FSBO” and have a phone number to call. To sell a house yourself without an agent’s help can seem like a way to cut realtor costs, but it comes with its own complications.

Without an agent, sellers run the risk of messing up paperwork and delaying the process of selling their home.. Houses sold by owners also usually sell for lower than the median price of homes in the area because of various factors including not having to pay commission to a listing agent , which is a good thing to keep in mind.

Sell With a Realtor

While using a realtor might add costs to your home sale, it smoothes out the process and increases your chance of selling your property at a higher value. It can be tempting to go with the first agent available to get the process going, but finding an agent who works with your property type and knows the market value in the area will help you sell your home for what it’s worth. Looking at a realtor’s website to find where they have helped sell houses and asking for client referrals can help you find an agent you can trust.

Step 2: Price Your Home to Sell

Establishing a sale price for your home can be a difficult process. Not only do you want the best value for your home, but it can be hard to price a property that you’ve cared for, lived in, and worked on. Your home is only worth what others are willing to pay for it, and a good agent will help you stay objective in determining a reasonable price that represents the home value accurately.

Start With Using a Free Online Home Value Estimate

Before you settle on an agent, you can still get a good idea of what your house might be worth by using a home value estimate tool online.

Solidify Your Price with a CMA

While a free estimate helps get the ball rolling, you’ll want to ask your agent to conduct a CMA (comparative market analysis) test to finalize a good selling price. This test uses the multiple listing service (MLS) database to compare values and selling prices of houses of comparable location, size, and property condition. Your realtor will be well-versed in using the CMA to help price your house well for interested buyers in the area.

Step 3: Set a Timeline for Your Sell

There are many steps in the process of selling your home. Set a timeline and schedule for tasks that need to be finished in the months before listing. This may include getting a home inspection, making any necessary repairs, and staging the home so that it looks attractive to potential buyers. These can all take time and money out of your own pocket, so mapping them out will help avoid any surprises for you and for your wallet.

Step 4: Consider Getting A Home Inspection

There are several different inspections that can be a part of the home buying process. The most common is the buyer’s inspection, but sometimes it’s worth it for the seller to conduct their own inspection before listing the home as well. An inspection can help find the underlying issues that either turn buyers away or incentivizes them to make a lower offer. If you conduct your own inspection, you can either fix the issues beforehand or price the home accordingly to avoid lower offers or requests for seller credit. Be aware, the seller is also obligated to disclose known defects to the buyer, even if it might affect the value of the home.

Step 5: Show The House To Potential Buyers

Arguably one of the most important parts of selling your home is ensuring a good first impression. Cleaning up every part of the property takes time, but it helps potential buyers feel confident that the property has been maintained and well cared for. In addition to cleaning, you can also consider staging the home.

Consider Staging The House

Staging a home costs money, but it helps buyers see the potential of a space. A warm, well-furnished living room looks more appealing than a bare space with blank walls and will show interested buyers what the home could look like. A good agent can give advice on whether staging will help sell your home based on its location and other factors.

Step 6: Negotiate And Close The Contract

When you have an offer, you’ll enter into the negotiation stage. Pay close attention to the details in the purchase agreement, and make sure to ask your agent to clarify any questions or confusion. Each offer will come with its own allowances for home improvements and could potentially have contingency deadlines for buyer financing and bank appraisal. Be prepared to have all necessary paperwork, payments, and other items like house keys collected for the closing date.

How Long Does It Take to Sell Your Home?

The time it takes to sell your home depends largely on home buying trends in your area and on how you and your agent price your home. In a seller’s market when home-buying trends are on the rise, a seller will often see fast turnarounds and might even receive competing offers. A home in poor condition that isn’t priced accordingly, on the other hand, might sit on the market for months. Overall, the average time that it takes to sell a home is 60 days, but each property sale varies on a case-by-case basis.

How Much Does It Cost to Sell Your House?

Even though you’re the one selling a property, there are still costs you will have to pay out of pocket. As the seller, you are responsible for paying the buyer and seller agent commission fees, which typically come to around 6% of the final purchase cost. Depending on the contract you negotiate with the buyer, you may have to pay other parts of the closing costs as well. These costs are in addition to repairs that you made to your home after an inspection or payments to stage your home.

Benefits of Selling With a Realtor

While working with a realtor to sell your home will incur a higher fee at closing, the experience that comes with an agent will save you time and money in the long run. They’ll help price your home accurately, will give advice on staging and getting a home inspection, and will represent you throughout the negotiation process with a seller.

Our team understands the complicated process of buying and selling and is here to answer any questions about home financing and the buying and selling process. Get in touch with us or learn more about buying and selling your home through our Learning Center.


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This page last updated: May 12, 2022