Preparing to Sell Your Home
Steps to Making Your Home Sale a Great Experience
So you’re thinking about selling your home. There are many facets to selling a property as you’ll realize when reading the steps below.
The key is to educate and prepare yourself for the selling process so there’s no unpleasant or expensive surprises. Below are my recommended steps to sell your home:
Get up to speed on the real estate market in your area.
Don’t be afraid to talk to a realtor about the market. Some important questions to consider:
- How much are homes similar to yours selling for?
- How long do homes typically take to sell?
- How does your home compare to what’s on the market?
- If you are curious, ask for a “Community Sales Report” to know what homes like yours have sold for recently. It’s a great way to get educated on the current market.
Confirm with your mortgage provider if there are any penalties should you decide to sell your home.
Depending on the type of mortgage you have, there may a notification period or even penalties if you sell your home before the mortgage term expires. If you have a mortgage, it’s a great idea to involve your banker early as they may be able to help you avoid unnecessary costs. While you are talking with your mortgage provider, ask them about financing options on your next home purchase as well.
Ideally, talk to several realtors to find and select a good realtor to work with before getting too deep into the selling process.
Pick one that you like, trust and are comfortable working with. A realtor can answer a lot of the questions and concerns you have as you go through the preparations for a sale. If you are concerned about being charged fees for talking with a realtor don’t be. Know that you don’t pay a realtor anything until a property is actually sold. You are not obligated to anything until you’ve actually signed a listing agreement.
Make sure you have somewhere to go if you sell your home quicker than anticipated.
Figure out whether you are selling before you buy or vice versa.
- Where will you live if you sell first? Where will you store your stuff?
- Talk to your banker to understand your financing options if you want to buy first.
- If you have questions talk with a realtor. We deal with this type of stuff all the time.
Organize and pull together all the key paperwork on your property.
Eventually you will need key documents as part of the preparation in listing your property. For example:
- Current and compliant Real Property Report (not required with conventional condominiums).
- Details of renovations/upgrades along with associated building permits.
- Copies of lease agreements tied with the property or attached equipment.
- Copy of the most current mortgage balance outstanding on the property.
- Collect all manuals and warranties for appliances that stay with the property.
- Collect all the condo documents associated with the property (if applicable).
- Make sure you have extra house keys for the lockbox.
Get yourself up to speed on all the costs tied to selling a home.
Selling a home requires some added expense to make sure everything gets done right and you get the most for your property. The typical cost items for any home seller include:
- Home cleaning (many homeowners do this themselves).
- Home staging (usually completed by the homeowner).
- Off site storage.
- Mortgage penalties and/or bridge loan costs.
- Moving costs.
- Real estate fees.
- Legal fees.
- RPR (Real Property Report) updating.
- Closing adjustments.
Ensure all appliances and home systems are in good working order.
If they are not, the buyer will discount the price accordingly and then some. Keep records of all the maintenance and upgrades that have been done to all the systems within the home (ie: furnace, air conditioner, hot water tank, etc).
List all the items that need fixing on your property.
Items in disrepair and other minor fixes should be addressed before putting your property up for sale. Before embarking on any major repair work, talk to a realtor to get guidance on what will give you a positive return on money spent versus not. It’s easy to get carried away with unnecessary fixes and upgrades.
Home staging is an essential part of preparing your home for sale.
Good home staging will yield you the easiest money you’ll ever make. Make sure to read “Home Staging Tips” for ideas on how to make your home stand out from the competition.
Find out the current market value of your home.
Ask a realtor for a "Free Home Valuation". Any realtor worth their name, should physically view your property inside and out before coming up with a current market valuation. Written detail should be provided to clearly illustrate the actual market value of your property.
If you haven’t already done so, hire a realtor that you’d like to work with.
Ask them to provide you an information package about the services they provide and how they would market your property. At minimum any good realtor should provide:
- Background information on the brokerage and information about themselves.
- List of the services they provide and how your home will be marketed.
- Description of the selling process in easy to understand steps.
- The detailed “all-in” brokerage costs.
- Copy of all authorization forms to review at your convenience (ie: consumer relationship guide, listing agreement, copy of a purchase contract template).
Once a client has reviewed an information package, I schedule a consultation meeting to discuss it in more detail if needed and answer any questions. This can be done in person, via phone or via zoom – whatever works best for you.
Make sure you read and discuss the documents and authorization forms provided by your realtor.
It’s your responsibility to know what you are signing. That said, your realtor should clearly explain anything that you have questions about. The documents and authorization forms given to you by your realtor should trigger the discussion about pricing strategy and the marketing initiatives that will be undertaken by the realtor.
Once your home is clean, staged and authorization forms have been signed, it’s time for your realtor to prepare for and kick off the marketing campaign.
At this stage you should know what your pricing strategy is, how the home will be marketed and what services your realtor will be providing. Hopefully your realtor will be using professional photographs and going the extra mile to attract the most serious and motivated buyers to your property.
Make sure your home is clean and tidy for every viewing request.
The trick here is to continue adhering to the items discussed in “Home Staging Tips”. Selling a home for the most money possible is hard work, but it’s well worth it.
You receive an offer on your home.
Your realtor should be in regular communication with you throughout the selling process so you know exactly what’s happening. When an offer comes in you are notified immediately and that kicks off the negotiation process.
A conditional purchase agreement is typically signed when both parties agree to the terms of a deal.
The most common buyer conditions include; financing, home inspection, condo documentation review (where applicable). The buyer has a window of time to work through their conditions. If the buyer waives all conditions by Condition Date, then the purchase agreement is firm and binding. You’ve sold your home!
Prepare for Closing Day.
Also known as “Completion Date” or “Possession Date”. This is the day that the buyer officially becomes the new owner of your property. Leading up to closing day there are some essential things that need to be completed:
- You will need to be moved out of the premises before closing day.
- Make sure to leave any keys, equipment manuals, warranties in a kitchen drawer.
- The property should be clean and have no junk laying around. Be aware that buyers will usually ask for a walk through the property the day before closing.
- Make sure that anything included with the property (stipulated in the deal) stays with the property. If you have any questions ask your realtor.
- Have your mail forwarded to your new address.
- Inform utility and service providers that you are moving (as early as possible), so they can make the necessary changes and update their records.
- Leave the property in a condition that you would want if you were the buyer.
- Always make sure you keep your home insurance until the keys are in the buyer’s hands. The property is your responsibility until closing is completed.
If you follow this proven sequence of steps to sell your home, it should be a relatively stress free and rewarding experience for you!