If you've ever sold a home before, you know that it can get overly complex with lots of contractual paperwork that needs to be watched and executed on time.  Additionally, it can be emotionally loaded and emotions can get in the way of making what can be the most financially impactful decisions in your life.  Sometimes a Home Owner doesn't know a changing market and thinks their home is wrongly worth either what it appraised for during 2005 or what they paid for it PLUS their cost of improvements over the years.  Having a Realtor to make sure an agreement between a Buyer and Seller makes it to a successful close is like having an emotional buffer, a shrink, a left tackle and your calendar minder, all in one, who knows how to get to closing.  The following are the basics to Selling a home SUCCESSFULLY!


  • WHAT IS YOUR HOME WORTH?:  This is probably THE most important fact to determine when selling your home.  If you list higher than what your homes should sell for, you could waste precious time stagnating on the market or scare away otherwise appropriate Buyer who don't want to insult the Seller with a SIGNFICANTLY lower than list offer.  A good Realtor will carefully look at your home, it's updates, condition, location and then research what homes have not only sold in the last 3-6 months close-by but what is also on the market (the Competition!) and under contract then will give you a suggested range to help you determine how quickly you want to sell. 

  • HAVE A PRE-LISTING INSPECTION AND FIX WHAT YOU CAN:  Homeowners know MOST of the issues that their homes may have today but it's the UNKNOWN issues that come up during an inspection that CAN make an under contract Buyer walk away with their money.  Have an inspection to find out what you can so that you can avoid this or some messy negotiations to make the Buyer happy again.  The $300+ fee for a pre-inspection will seem like a drop in the bucket compared to your Buyer walking when all you wanted to do was move on with your life!

  • DECLUTTER/CLEAN/STAGE:  The fact is one of these days SOON you're going to need to pack up all your belongings and leave this home so you might as well start throwing out and packaging items you will not be needing for the duration of the sale process.  Help Buyers imagine their new life in this home, put away personal collections and try your best to make your home look like a catalog.  We Realtors have all sorts of advice to give and tricks of the trade to help you put your homes best food forward!

  • MAKE YOUR HOME EASILY ACCESSIBLE FOR SHOWINGS: Everyone has a life, a job, family, dogs, etc. but when you're selling your home, showings MUST be a priority.  If you get the call that tomorrow at 3pm do what you need to, to make sure the house is ready and DO NOT BE THERE!  I've seen mom's so motivated, they would bundle up sick kids, home from school, put them in the car with the dog and drive around during the showing.  A little much?  She made sure buyers got in and that helped sell the home!

  • ADJUST FOR RECENT SALES OF COMPARABLE LISTINGS: When your home was listed, the list price was based on recent sales.  Every time a home sells that is in the neighborhood or a new home comes on the market, the numbers change.  Go see that new house that is competing with yours.  Consider the home that just sold will affect the appraised value of YOUR home, good or bad.  If you see homes selling for less you may need to drop the price.  On the other hand, if a comparable house just closed for what you're aiming for and it doesn't have YOUR new roof or bathrooms, consider a price increase OR just stay firm on your asking price!

  • YOU'RE UNDER CONTRACT!:  It's very exciting when you finally have a contract and an end in sight (or at least a date) so that you can finally make your plans...However, don't count your chickens!  It's best to wait until after the inspection and financing contingencies are clear to start giving away the furniture.  You don't want to get stuck with a half furnished home to sell if they if the Buyers find something during the inspection that makes them walk.  The Buyers and their agents will request access to your home for inspections during the Inspection Period.  I suggest that the Sellers are not present, but accessible by phone so that their agent (who should be there!) can call if questions come up.  You will be receiving paperwork from the Closing/Title Agent requesting information about yourselves, if you owe anything on the home and how much, etc.  Both the Buyer and Sellers agents, the lender and the closing attorney (title agent) are in contact make sure everything is being done in a timely fashion.

  • WAITING TO CLOSE: The Buyers have told the Sellers that they are moving forward, the bank as committed to lending them their money and now you can pack the place up!  If you have agreed to make repairs, make sure the receipts get to the Buyers' Realtor to show that work has been done (and don't worry, they'll be confirming it was done at the Walk Through!)

  • WALK THROUGH:  The day before the closing both parties or their representatives literally walk through the home, confirming repairs were made if agreed upon and receipts for work done are given to the Buyers.  Sometimes the Buyer will pay for their inspector to come back to review any repairs that were required to be done by the Seller.  The walk through is sometimes quite a shock for the Buyer, to see the home 'naked' without any of the furnishings and all the walls bare. Try to make the home look as 'move in ready' as possible.  Our contracts require the house to be left by the Seller in "Swept Out" condition but most owners end up professionally cleaning the homes.

  • CLOSING: This is the day that the Buyer and Seller have been waiting for.  At this point, there should be no surprises and it's just a matter of the Closing Agent or their Paralegal to sit with the parties and coordinate the signing of a LOT of paperwork.  Once both parties have signed, each party will get their appropriate packet of papers; The Buyer will receive copies of what they signed as well as the keys, clickers and originals of the boundary survey.  They will get copies of the Title Policy from the Title Company in the mail some weeks later. The Seller will get a copy of what they signed and confirmation that their monies have been wired to their bank account.