We have written a lot of guides for how to sell your home and achieve specific goals. This includes topics on how to get the most money when selling, how to sell your home as fast as possible, and even how to downsize your home when getting ready to sell it.
But for a lot of people, these guides are a little too specific for their needs. Many home owners are more interested in the foundational steps to selling a home — and this guide is designed to help walk them through what they need to know!
1. Find the Best Real Estate Agent
We aren’t going to mince words: having the best real estate team on your side is going to be the most important factor in your home sale. If you don’t make a concerted effort to have a top-notch agent help you sell your home, then you are only hurting yourself!
The current real estate market is hyper-competitive, especially in hot areas like Washington DC, Arlington VA, or other neighborhoods in the DMV. If you want to be able to sell your home in anything approaching your ideal time frame, you need to have a market expert on your side.
2. Discover Your Home’s Value
When selling a house, information is your most powerful advantage. After all, having accurate and powerful facts is key to winning a negotiation to get the best price and key to attracting the right buyer to your home (more on these points later!)
Of all the information that you will want to gather, your house’s value is by far the most vital to have. If you know what your home is worth, you will have a much smoother and more pleasant home sale. But the question remains: how are you supposed to find out what your house is worth on the open market? There are 2 common options:
- Use an online Home Value tool: There are plenty of sites out there where you can get an automatic estimation of what your home is worth based on market conditions and comparable homes that have sold recently. WARNING: Do not just tacitly trust any Home Value tool you find online. Make sure that you are using one that pulls up-to-date, high-quality market data to give you the best approximation of your home’s worth — like the Keri Shull Team’s Home Value Calculator!
- Have your agent value the home: Assuming that you followed the first step, this option is far easier and far more accurate than using an online tool. When you have an agent who specializes in your local market, they will be able to give you a hyper-specific value for what your home could be worth on the open market. Don’t be surprised if the number is a little higher or lower than what you were expecting — the real estate market is changing rapidly right now, and your value could be changing with it.
3. Decide Where You Are Moving Next
If you want to have a stress-free home sale, you need to spend some time upfront to think about where you will be moving after you close. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have a specific address in mind — but you should at least know what kind of home you are moving to next. Here are some of the potential moves that people make after selling their home:
- Moving up to a more valuable home
- Downsizing to an apartment, retirement community, or smaller house
- Moving to a home with a better commute for work
- Moving to a completely customized new construction home
While this might seem like a question that can wait until later in the process, this simply isn’t the case. It’s vital to know what the next steps for your living situation are, so that you can work with your agent and make the right decisions during the home sale to minimize your stress and maximize your take-away.
4. Decide How to Sell Your Home
This is another decision that might not make sense at first, especially if you haven’t worked with a great real estate agent before. A lot of home owners think that there’s only 1 effective way to sell your home: list it on the Multiple Listing Service, attract buyers through signs and social media, and then start negotiating.
While this traditional form of selling a home is still very effective, it isn’t the only option. In an attempt to reduce the stresses that come with selling a home, more and more people are choosing to sell their home off-market. Off-market home sales are a great way to test the market response to your home or increase your peace of mind without harming your home’s value.
Because selling a home off the market doesn’t necessarily require as much renovation, marketing, or staging (because the agent brings the buyer directly to you!) some of the later steps in this guide are more geared towards the traditional selling method.
5. Find Your Pricing Strategy
Does this step seem redundant? After all, you already discovered what your home is worth back in Step #2, right? Well, your home’s value is not a 1-to-1 transfer to your pricing strategy — because you need to price your home to sell!
There are a few rules to pricing your home that you can study to get a better understanding of the art, but one facet in particular is important here: competition is key to getting a good price for your home.
The price where you start your home is far from the guaranteed amount that you will take home. Negotiation often leads to an escalation in your home’s value at the closing table — as long as you are attracting enough buyers and getting competing offers on your house! So make sure that you are speaking with your real estate agent about how you can price your home to sell!
6. Renovate Your Home (If Necessary)
If you choose to go the traditional method of selling, you’ll likely want to spend some time and money fixing up the house so it shows as well as possible. This step can also be useful for those who are selling a home off-market, though you can skip it if you are using an Instant Offer tool to sell your home directly to a company.
Before you grab a hammer and start tearing down the walls, though, take a minute to strategize with your agent. There are a lot of renovations that do not pay off when it comes time to sell, and you could be wasting valuable time and money for very low reward.
7. Stage Your Home (If Necessary)
Staging your home is a step that a lot of people skip, because their agents think that home staging is an unnecessary expense. The truth is, however, having a properly staged home can greatly increase the potential value of your home during showings!
As with the previous step, home staging is most important for people who are selling their home traditionally. In fact, one of the benefits of selling your house as an off-market property is that you don’t have to worry as much about staging your home, generally!
8. List Your Home (If Necessary)
Once you have fixed up your home and made it as appealing as possible for potential buyers, it’s time to get it listed on the MLS! Luckily, this is incredibly easy — just get your agent to put it online for you, and you are good to go!
9. Market Your Home (If Necessary)
If you are selling your home traditionally — that is, not as an off-market home for sale — then you need to have a plan for attracting buyers to see your home. It’s vital that you have a high-quality marketing strategy; after all, more buyers can lead to a bidding war and a higher price for your home.
If you followed the first step and found a great agent to work with, this will be another simple process. At the Keri Shull Team, for instance, we employ a full, in-house marketing team to ensure that all of our clients’ homes get seen by as many of the right buyers as possible. In addition to signs and other traditional marketing, we use the power of email marketing, social media, and high-quality photos and YouTube videos to share our listings with the world!
10. Close on Your Home!
However, you attract buyers to your home — whether it be through a high-quality marketing plan or by letting your agent bring a buyer to your off-market home sale — all that’s left is to negotiate on the contract and close on your home!
Each closing is different; some go smoothly, and some go…not so smoothly. That’s why it is absolutely crucial that you work with the best possible agent, so you can have their help if any unexpected complications arise! At the Keri Shull Team, we specialize in helping our home owners have a smooth and stress-free home sale — and we want to help you, too!
If you are interested in learning more about how our unique pricing strategy, unparalleled team structure, expert marketing team, and powerful negotiation techniques can help you sell your home faster, for a better price, and with absolutely ZERO stress, then contact the Keri Shull Team today! Our Home Value Analysts are standing by to give you a free consultation on your home — just click here and schedule a time to meet with them!