Congratulations on your decision to sell your home! Embarking on this momentous journey is exciting, but we also understand it can be bittersweet to leave the place you call home. Whether you are a seasoned seller or selling your home for the first time, we’ve put together a timeline for selling your home so that you can remain in the know and on track according to your needs.
Before you’ve done anything, now is the time to work backward from your current obligations and ask yourself: is there a time you absolutely need to sell by? Do you need the money from the sale to move forward on your next purchase? Do you need to be out of the house by a set date? There are good and bad times to sell in real estate (from both a seasonal perspective and a market one), and taking into account the current landscape is always the best plan of action. Spring is the best time to sell your home because people prefer to move in the summer when there is less going on and there’s a break at school. Fall is second best, followed by Winter and then Summer. That being said, you might not be able to wait for the perfect moment to sell your home. Life happens! A new job, growing family, and relocation needs can all impact your decision to sell. Ultimately, picking the right time to move comes down to what’s best for you and your household.
10 Weeks Before Listing
Research the market by looking up comparable listings in your neighborhood and reading the latest market reports. This is the time to understand what similar properties (e.g. bedrooms, square feet) in nearby neighborhoods are selling for. An experienced real estate agent will be able to provide a detailed comparative analysis that takes into account factors such as renovations, outdoor space, and HVAC conditions, but you can (and should) get a baseline understanding for yourself by reviewing recently sold homes.
9 Weeks Before Listing
Decide whether you are going to use a real estate agent to help you sell. The majority of sellers do decide to use an agent since having a seasoned professional by your side will help you negotiate the best deal, corral the necessary paperwork and marketing materials, and oversee the entire process. Someone well versed in the local market can help ensure you get the highest price for your home, and their connections and pricing know-how will often make the difference between selling your home quickly or having it linger on the market. Having a solid understanding of what an agent can do for you is the best way to make this decision.
If you have decided to list your home with the help of a real estate agent, now is the time to start interviewing. There are many things to consider when hiring an agent ranging from personal factors such as likeability and communication to professional reasons like market knowledge, years of experience, and comparable sales. Here are five things to consider when hiring a seller’s agent. Find a broker who:
- Knows the market and neighborhood
- Is experienced in maximizing resale value
- Utilizes creative marketing strategies
- Is a highly skilled negotiator
- Diligently follows up
8 Weeks Before Listing
Hire your agent! After your research and interviews are complete, it’s time to make an official decision on who you will enlist to help sell your home. With your real estate agent as your partner, it’s time to officially start prepping the home for sale.
7 Weeks Before Listing
Determine what home updates you need to make. These include painting the walls to a neutral, clean color, repairing broken appliances and leaky faucets, replacing light bulbs or old light fixtures, removing old carpet or refinishing wood floors, and highlighting other larger issues that future tenants should know about. While it can be frustrating to put more money into a home that you’re selling, making these updates now can help your home shine during showings to help you get the highest return possible.
6 Weeks Before Listing
Ask your agent whether staging is right for your home. Depending on the shape of your furniture, staging can help your home look its best and will work in favor when the offers start rolling in. If the answer is yes, now is the time to interview and select the right professional stager for you.
5 Weeks Before Listing
Start getting the necessary paperwork in order. Selling a home requires several original (non-photocopy) documents that need ample preparation and consideration, including, but not limited to, your original sale contract, the deed to the house, mortgage statement, home repair records, property tax bills, and insurance information.
One Month Before Listing
Start removing clutter from your home. This will be an ongoing process from now until the sale but this often takes longer than expected so it’s best to get started as soon as possible. Personal items like family photographs, extraneous decor such as sentimental and decorative trinkets, and messy-looking collections of pens, shoes, and books are a good place to start. Your real estate agent will share tips and advice to help your home show to the best of its ability.
Three weeks before listing
Align on the sale price. You and your agent should collaboratively determine the selling price of the home based on a well-researched comparative market analysis. It’s easy to be biased during this step because a home holds so many personal memories. The reality is that your home is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. Pricing is equal parts art and science and your agent can help you price your home objectively and accurately.
Last week we focused on tidying up the inside of the home, now it’s time to work on the property’s curb appeal. Curb appeal is important because it’s the first thing new buyers will see when they approach the home and first impressions matter! Mow your lawn, do some gardening to tidy up the leaves, weeds, and gutters, and clear the entryway and driveway of any clutter. Consider planting flowers to create a welcoming feel. Depending on the shape and size of your lawn it might be wise to hire a professional landscaping service.
Continue to de-clutter the inside of the home.
Two weeks before listing
By now, the home should be looking “sale ready.” Take a minimalist approach by ensuring the home is tidy, neat, and clean and that all personal items have been removed.
Discuss the marketing plan with your agent and determine the best time for the photo and video shoots to happen. Your agent should schedule all shoots with enough time baked in for edits.
One week before listing
Hire a cleaning service to do a deep clean of the house – inside and out. Surfaces should be sparkling, floors and carpets should be steamed and stain-free, and outdoor space should be manicured. First impressions matter so pay special attention to the curb appeal of your home and ensure the entryway and lawn are cared for and attended to.
Schedule the video and photo shoots soon after the deep clean. The photographer and agent will guide you through best practices for photos. Some initial tips are that apartment lights should be turned on, toilet seats should be down, surfaces should be clean with minimal decoration, and all beds properly made.
Congrats! You made it to listing day where your home will be marketed online, complete with an engaging listing description and those beautiful photos and videos we took last week. Starting today you can promote your listing to friends and family and across social platforms.
Continue to live as neatly as possible as there will (hopefully) be consistent showings over the next few weeks. Have a game plan for places you and your household can go during showings where you can spend a couple of hours.
- The first 30 days are crucial. A property attracts the most interest when it first hits the market. The number of showings is greatest during this time, particularly if it is priced appropriately.
- Homes in a seller’s market are likely to get immediate attention – especially if the price is right. In 2021, the average time a home spent on the market was a record low of 15 days, however, this can vary drastically depending on how hot the market is, how competitive your listing price is, the neighborhood you’re selling in, and a confluence of other factors. During this time your agent should provide you with updates regarding buyers’ feedback on the home’s value and selling price. Take this feedback seriously and don’t be afraid to course-correct.
- Deal negotiation depends on both parties’ willingness to reach a fair deal and eagerness to make the deal happen. If you are working with an agent, you can trust their expertise in this matter to get you the best offer by uncovering the buyer’s motivations and sharing advice on negotiation tactics.
- Once a price is agreed upon, you’re nearly there! Now, all that’s left is to finalize the purchase agreement and pass over legal ownership to the buyer. Data shows that the average time for closing a home is between 30-45 days. During this time the buyer will schedule time for a home inspection to assess any unseen issues with the home. Your agent or you will also be in constant communication with the buyer and their home buying team to provide them with any legal documents they may need to prepare the necessary paperwork for closing day.
- Connect with your agent before attending the meeting on closing day to ensure you bring all the necessary documents.
- Congratulations, you have sold your home!
Selling a home takes hard work and perseverance, and perhaps a little luck, but with the right people, knowledge, and preparation, you will make it to the finish line and do well for yourself. If you are selling your home and want to work with a top-rated agent to help you get the job done at the highest possible price point, we can help. Get in touch today at email@example.com.