Once you have made the decision that listing your home for sale is what you really want to do, getting started is actually a lot easier than you may think. The biggest hurdle is deciding that it's time to list your home. Many home sellers go back and forth about listing a home for sale. Should we? Shouldn't we? So, you're almost halfway there.
Call Your Real Estate Agent
The very first thing that you should do is call your real estate agent. The reason you want to call your real estate agent is to avoid making home selling mistakes before you get started. Your real estate agent can help put you on the right path and point you in the right direction.
If you do not have a real estate agent, you will need to find a real estate agent. One way to start looking for a real estate agent is to try to recall the name of the agent who sold you the home. Many real estate agents stay in touch with their clients after their clients buy a home. They do that in hopes that when it is time for you to sell, you will call them–in addition to sending referrals. Many real estate agents want you to be their client for life. Of course, there could be a problem that you might:
- Not recall who your real estate agent was when you bought the home
- Be unable to find your real estate agent now after all those years
- Dislike your previous real estate agent
If you end up choosing a new real estate agent to work with, make sure the professional you choose is a person you like and have a discussion about your preferences upfront. Let your agent know how you prefer to communicate and how often. There is nothing wrong with letting your agent know what you expect from the relationship. Make it easy for your agent to meet your expectations by establishing those preferences clearly and early on.
Walk Through the Home With Your Agent
Now that you have selected your real estate agent, it is a good idea to invite your agent to walk through the home with you. You want to decide together the types of repairs you may need to make and how to stage your home. This process is called preparing your home for sale. Generally speaking, less is more. Do not be afraid to rent a storage unit or use the garage for storage. Your real estate agent should be able to advise you. You do not want to make these types of decisions by yourself without discussing how to prepare your home for sale with your agent because, without your agent's advice, you may end up spending more money than may be necessary.
There may also be some things you do not want to do, but your agent might disagree. Some of these things might be:
- Painting that red wall a neutral color
- Replacing or cleaning the carpeting
- Filling the pool with sparkling water
Please realize that buyers do not want to do these things. But a buyer might not buy your home if you refuse to do these things, or a buyer might pay a lot less for your home.
Choose a Sale Price for Your Home
Choosing a sales price for your home is the last step before listing your home. You might wonder why this is not the first thing that you do. That's because a) you want to involve your agent in that decision, and b) the price will take into consideration the condition of the house that you ascertained in step two.
You might discover at this point that the sales price for your home is not high enough for you to continue with listing your home. If that is the case, you can lower your expectations or decide to revisit listing your home at another time. Bear in mind, "testing the market" may not be good idea. There is only selling or not selling. If you price it right, it will sell.
The most important thing you can realize about pricing your home for sale is to price it in line with a potential appraisal. Appraisals should ideally be based on comparable sales that have sold within the last three months.
Unfortunately, you cannot pluck a number from thin air and say this is what you want or this is what you need in order to sell because that is not how pricing your home works. It is up to you and your agent to examine the comparable sales, taking into consideration the homes that are on the market now and those that are pending, which will later become your comparable sales.
At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, was a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.