Knowing what to expect when your house goes on the market can be half the battle of going through the process. Here's a sneak peak at what you can expect when you decide to put your house up for sale:
First things first.
You want your home to show the absolute best that it can - and have it evaluated for the very best price. So clean up! Take a weekend to do a thorough audit of your home, deciding what needs to be repaired, replaced, and cleaned up. Then box up any extra things you won't be needing for the next several months - off season clothing and outdoor toys, for example. Removing extra things from your house will open up the space and help it show the very best it can.
Get an evaluation.
Now that the space is looking good, it’s time to get a Real Estate Sales Professional in to do a market evaluation. They’ll be able to position your home in today’s market and give you good tips and strategies to best market your home. If you have a Sales Professional of choice give them a call or, better yet, call a few so you get different opinions.
Now it's time to sign the contract with your Sales Professional and get your home on the market. They will put your home on the MLS® System, give it visual appeal (with photos and perhaps a virtual tour), and get your listing noticed! Be prepared to have a large number of agents come through your home for special presentations during its first week on the market, and also to host public open houses on the weekends.
Once your home is on the market, you need to give buyers every opportunity to view your home. If you request 24 hours notice to show, or have a big dog on the property that makes it hard to arrange showings, then try to figure out how you’re going to get around that before it becomes an issue. If a buyer is deciding between your house and another but they can’t get in to see yours for some reason, they make take it off their list altogether.
The first offer.
At some point after listing, depending on the market you’re in and the condition of your house, you’ll get an offer! Yay! Your real estate Sales Professional will work with you to negotiate the best deal they can, with terms that are acceptable to both you and the buyer, and then you’ve got a “deal!”
Now I can relax, right?
Almost. An accepted deal isn’t the same as a firm sale. Your buyer will have conditions on the sale: likely mortgage financing, possibly the sale of their current home, and in many cases a home inspection. A normal deal will have approximately one week for the buyer to satisfy the conditions of the offer and make the sale firm. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a buyer to have trouble removing conditions by the deadline, so prepare yourself for the possibility of going back to the drawing board. Rest assured that your Sales Professional will use their knowledge and experience to make the deal work. They will let you know of any complications or issues that arise and how to possibly save the deal.
Hurrah! The buyer removed conditions! You now have a firm sale and can start packing. At this point, any changes you want to make to the deal can only happen with approval from both you and the buyer. Now is the time to find a great real estate lawyer who can make sure that the deal goes through without a hitch. Your Real Estate Sales Professional can hook you up with a great lawyer if you don’t already have one.