This past year has been the year of the Home Seller. As I do with first-time Home Buyers, I like to sit down with sellers, whether it's their first or fifth time selling a home. The process seems to change frequently with the flow of the market, the location of the home and advances in technology. Below is a basic checklist of how we work together to get the home listed and sold.
1) Why Do You Want to Sell?
Has the time come to downsize? Is your family growing? Are you moving to a new city? Each of these reasons has a different launch pad into the process of home selling. If you're looking to sell your home and buy a new one at the same time, you need to list your home before searching for the new home. (That will take a whole other post!) If you're selling and not buying again, the process is a little less complicated. It's also important to figure out what kind of bottom line you want from the sale of your home. We will work through these reasons and many others during our first chat together.
2) Contact a Realtor
It's important for the agent to talk you through the home selling process. Going through these steps below are just the beginning. Agents have the capability to get your house listed, marketed, and shared beyond your regular sphere of influence. At Dunes, we pride ourselves on creative marketing, effective communication, local expertise, and a record of success. The Dunes difference is fully outlined here, but reading testimonials from former clients tells the story on another level.
3) Focus on Necessary Updates
Yes, not all updates are necessary. Kitchen needs new countertops or one room needs new carpet? Well, what if the new buyers want to pick their own countertops or carpet? There are ways to offer a concession to the buyer for the improvement of those items without limiting yourself to picking for them. However, some maintenance issues like a leak in the roof, warped wood siding, or a loose toilet would be better off being repaired before listing.
4) Price Your Home
The agent you picked to list your home has incredible access to information about your neighborhood and the current market. What homes have sold most recently? How similar are they to your own? What is the bottom line of your price to sell? A combination of calculating expenses (closing attorney, agent's commission) and a comparable market analysis will bring you to a final number that you ultimately should feel comfortable with listing your home at.
5) Prepare Home for Sale
Dream clients are the ones that have their home under a regular maintenance schedule. We're talking heating/cooling units, fireplaces, termite bonds, home insurance, roofs, yard maintenance, electrical items, windows,and plumbing. We also know that time gets away from the best of us. It might be a bit past time to get one of those services inspected and we're happy to connect you to local service providers. Getting your home ready for sale also means taking care of the big ticket items before listing- and a home inspection from the buyer. It will make the transaction down the road much easier! So gather all those manuals to the stove and dishwasher you hid years ago, and have them ready for the new owner.
Another big action item is staging. Clean, de-clutter, and then de-clutter again. We can't say enough about de-personalizing your space. Your bridal portrait truly is beautiful, but the buyer wants to picture themselves living the Lowcountry life, not you. Closets need to be decluttered, too. Hide the winter items, you don't really need them here anyway (other than the occasional cold spell). Hide those appliances that aren't permanent. Each room should have a purpose. Bring some color to the front stoop with a colorful doormat, wreath, and hanging plant. You will likely only have to keep it alive two months max. We believe in you!
6) List Home for Sale
Paperwork is signed, photos are taken (at Dunes, we will provide you with professional photos), 800 word or less description of your home is crafted better than the most recent non-fiction bestseller. It's time to click the LIST button (if only it were that easy, but we won't bore you). This is where a Open House comes into play. Preferably, within the first few days of being listed, so you can get the majority of the showings done when you (and your pets) won't be home, anyway.
After your home is listed on our Multiple Listing Service, agents and clients searching the market will be able to see your home in person after sending in a request. There are many types of ways to schedule showings that your agent will discuss with you at the time of listing. Lockbox on the door? Dogs need to be put up before someone comes in the house? Baby naps 2-4pm? We can adjust the schedule to work best for you and the potential buyers. All we really need you to do is keep the house maintained on the same level that it was the day of its beautiful listing photos- and to turn the lights on before you leave the house every morning.
8) Review Offers
There's a buyer- and they want to buy your home! Sometimes this happens the day of an Open House and sometimes, it's a wait. Either way, we'll review the offer together and its contingencies to make sure it's a good fit for your bottom line. A response to the offer can come in the form of a counter offer or acceptance. Negotiations are on the table until the expiration time period runs out. There is always the possibility of a multiple offer situation in this market- meaning more than one buyer wants to buy your home. You have the upper hand in negotiations as the seller and can work on crafting the best final contract for your home.
9) Under Contract
Once the home is under contract with a buyer, we work quickly with the Buyer's Agent to get their home inspection (should that be a part of their contract) scheduled during the allotted time frame and closing scheduled with an attorney. From the home inspection, there may be a few punch list items that would be submitted as repair requests, which are also negotiable. They may also need to visit the home with contractors to get quotes for any work they may want to be done after closing. We will constantly be checking in with the Buyer's Agent to assure us that the financing (if there is any) is on track to close. Typically, within 30-45 days, you will be ready to close, but first you'll need to work on the transferring of utilities to the buyers and sending information to your lender/ closing attorney for loan pay off on your current home. Most buyers also choose to do a final walk through a few days before closing to make sure repairs have been done as necessary and the home is still in the similar state as they viewed it last.
You've packed up the house and are ready to go... to the closing table. Bring your ID and get ready to sign your name a hundred times (buyers have to sign a thousand times). You'll also want to bring any keys, the garage door openers, mailbox keys, manuals, and any other documents pertaining to the home. You can't go overboard with this- the new buyer will truly appreciate your diligence.
Note- this is simply an overview. The process can seem overwhelming at first glance, but that's why I'm here to help! Call or email me today to discuss your home's potential for sale.
***Photos are of my newest listing in the Clearview neighborhood on James Island, 615 Beauregard Street. Contact me or your Buyer's agent for a showing today!***
Beginning in 2018, Angela will be stepping away from her blogging duties to focus on her full-time job, motherhood, with the occasional assist to Emily in child-rearing and home showings/ inspections. It's been a wonderful couple of years working on this project together and we look forward to seeing what the future brings! For now, Emily would love your feedback on what you'd like to see on Lowcountry Love Letters in the years to come.