With the help of SFGate Business, Nolo, and our knowledgeable new homes sales consultants, at Brunswick Crossing is helping you during the often-complicated process of selling a home by giving you step-by-step instructions:
- Get informed. Research the pros and cons of using a listing agent, and evaluate each option carefully to find the best choice for your home. Allowing a professional to list and sell your home is almost always more efficient and productive. However, if you prefer to self-sell, educate yourself about a comparative market analysis, how to reasonably price your home, and how to market your home.
Tip: Should you choose to sell using a listing agent, remember that you're in charge of the terms and fees of the listing agreement. Ask for a full explanation of any terms and conditions, including any use of the word "exclusive." Keep the listing duration short (as listings can easily be renewed), and don't be shy about asking for any available listing fee discounts.
- Hire a home inspector. A professional is more likely to catch the little things in your home that need fixing. He or she will tell you if the cracks in your bathroom tile and the unstained kitchen cabinets will decrease the value of your home. (Hint: They probably will so heed our advice in the next step)
- Fix it up. While putting time and money into repairs, replacements, and hiring contractors seems counterproductive, it helps boost your home's value. Every surface should sparkle, from shining floors and gleaming windows to clean counters and scrubbed grout.
- Be as neutral as possible. It's important to pack away personal touches to your home before holding open houses. Host a yard sale to donate, sell, or trash anything you don't need, and put excess furniture in an off-site storage unit.
- Stage. This is essential because potential buyers should be able to picture themselves living in your home. This means cleaning up, organizing, and so on. You should try to strike the perfect balance between lived-in and clean.
Utilize elements, like a bowl of farmer's market produce or fresh-cut flowers, to make your home extra appealing. Style the dining room table, draw curtains, open closet doors, hang a bathrobe and towels, and arrange bookshelves.
- Take pictures and market. Whether you self-sell or hire a listing agent, you must take photos of your home. These images will go on multiple listing service (MLS) websites like Zillow and Trulia, social media, print advertising, and more.
However, before you grab the camera, remove any "extras," like bicycles, curbside recycling bins, and cars in the driveway for better curb appeal. Also, shoot on overcast days to avoid overexposure and a glowy effect.
- Host open houses. Knowing when to show and list your home lets you reach the most potential buyers. For example, the best time to host an open house is Thursday because your home will be up for weekend showings.
Another trick is that potential buyers may receive tax refunds in April, quarterly or semi-annual performance bonuses, or family gift funds at the end of the year so that you can ask for (and most likely receive) the total listing price at virtually any time of year.
Tip: Open houses allow strangers to peruse your home. Before you let anyone through the door, secure your valuables, including important financial documents, records, and family heirlooms, in a safe space. This location could be a lockbox or a small safe.
- Get ready to close. If you hire a listing agent, the agent will do the talking and negotiating. However, if you're self-selling, it's wise to learn how to read contracts, negotiate closing costs, and discuss home warranties. A great place to start is by collecting the following financial documents:
Financial disclosure statement
Professional inspection paperwork
Proof of paid or current liens and bills
Property tax receipts
Receipts for renovations
Title and ownership documents
Utility account statement
- Start the move. Once you're confident that your home will close, begin the moving process. Set a calendar of deadlines, and decide if you want the help of a moving company or family and friends. Box up what you want in your new home, visit the off-site storage unit for your other belongings, and finish the transaction.