Nearly all first time home buyers become first time home sellers, eventually. When they do, they undergo a very different process with its own unique requirements and steps. Understanding what each of these steps entails can help you manage your schedule, sell your home quickly, and get a good price for the home. With that in mind, here is a general home selling process timeline so you can know what to expect when you decide to sell your home.
Choosing a Real Estate Agent
While some homeowners choose to sell their homes without the help of a real estate agent, this can add a significant amount of work to your already busy schedule. A real estate agent will help you every step of the way, by filing paperwork, negotiating prices, and more. When looking for a real estate agent, choose someone who has strong experience and a track record of success in your neighborhood.
One of the first things your real estate agent will help you do is price your home. By using sales of comparable homes in your area and their understanding of market trends, your real estate agent will choose a price for your home that reflects maximum value for both you and a buyer.
Preparing for the Sale
Before officially listing your home for sale, you will want to take some time to make a few improvements. Clean and declutter the space, repaint portions if necessary, make repairs, and ensure that your house is in the best condition possible before you start showing it off. While some sellers choose to stage their home with rental furniture, this is not a necessary step. A clean, well-maintained, and inviting home is all you need!
Market Your Home
Your real estate agent will write a description of your home that highlights its major advantages and take photos to accompany the description in online listings and databases. They may also feature your home in advertisements, flyers, and other forms of marketing for maximum attention. When someone contacts your agent about your home, the agent will be able to answer any questions they have and set up showings.
Open Houses and Showings
Interested buyers will want the opportunity to tour your home before making an offer. Your real estate agent can schedule open houses, which typically run for a few hours on a weekend afternoon to allow potential buyers to drop in for a visit. They may also offer private tours based around the potential buyer’s schedule. Your agent may ask those who choose not to put in an offer for feedback about the home’s price, condition, and other factors to help fine tune the marketing strategy.
Receiving and Negotiating Offers
If your home is priced well, you will likely receive multiple offers. With the help of your real estate agent, you can then choose which offers stand out to you and negotiate with them if necessary. Your agent can also include a variety of contingencies in your offer, such as making it dependent on whether you purchase a new home yourself, among other clauses. The buyer can then evaluate your counter offer and accept, renegotiate, or decline it.
After agreeing on an offer, your agent will open escrow, or closing processes. This includes ordering title insurance, which will help you ensure that you have free and clear ownership of the home and your ability to sell it. The buyer will pay for deposits and various other fees, and you will then be able to schedule a closing date based on when their mortgage loan will fund.
Appraisals and Inspections
Several inspections may be made of your home before escrow closes. First, an appraiser will take a tour of your home to determine whether it is priced fairly. The buyer can review the appraiser’s findings and adjust their offer if they feel it is necessary. You will also undergo a home inspection, which will determine whether there are any structural concerns with the home. The buyer will conduct their own final walk through and may request a roof certification, pest inspection, or other inspection as well.
Next, you will need to take care of final negotiations and other details. Make any disclosures necessary, such as informing the buyer of the presence of lead paint, and negotiate any requests for repairs following the inspections. If the buyer has any contingencies they need to release, make sure they do so before closing day.
Closing the Sale and Transferring Title
To complete the sale, you and your agent with meet with the buyer and their agent, along with any other necessary parties, to sign documents and transfer the title. Important documents signed or transferred at this stage include the deed, title, and contract, among others. Once these documents are signed, the sale is complete, and your agent will file all paperwork with the appropriate public records agencies. If you have not moved out already, you may need to do so on or before the closing day, depending on your contract.
Learn More About Finding a Real Estate Agent
For more information about the home selling process timeline, contact The Katie Zarpas Group. Katie Zarpas has years of experience in selling homes within the Virginia Beach area, and has been recognized for her expertise and outstanding service throughout the course of her career.