Selling Your Home, Part 1

So you’ve decided now is the time to sell your home. What should you do? How do you get from “For Sale” to “SOLD”?

Recruit Your REALTOR®

One of the questions I frequently get is whether sellers need to use a REALTOR®, even in a hot seller market. The answer is a resounding YES. The REALTOR® is not just getting you under contract, but getting you to the closing table and netting you the most money in the least amount of time.

You can research online or ask around to find a REALTOR®. Interview your proposed REALTOR® and ask the following:

Will they actively market your home (not just put a sign in the yard and let it sell itself)?
Do they have a pricing strategy for your home based on current market statistics and competition?
Will they monitor the market and communicate regularly with you?
Do they work with buyers in this price range?
Will they tell you the truth, even if it’s not what you want to hear?
If the first person you interview is not quite right, keep looking. Your REALTOR® must be dedicated to YOUR interests, and you must feel comfortable being completely open.

Prepare Your Home for Sale

You’ve probably heard you need to declutter, declutter, declutter to sell your home. This is true, but it’s not the whole story. Also look at your home with a critical eye. Look specifically for small blemishes (wall dings, cobwebs, etc.) that will catch a buyer’s eye. Your REALTOR® should provide a room-by-room staging consultation, or can recommend a stager.

Expect this process to take anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on how much work you need to do.

List Your Home

Listing your home is actually the process of working with your REALTOR® to sign paperwork, set up the lockbox, and put a sign in the yard. This is where your work settles down, and your REALTOR®’s work begins. When you get to this step, you will want to have some things available:

An extra key for the lockbox
Your abstract (only required for abstract states like Iowa)
Your latest mortgage statement (to show the remaining amount of your mortgage), or a record of your payoff
A list of features you love about your home
A list of improvements / repairs you’ve made to the home since you’ve owned it
These items will help your REALTOR® hit the ground running in marketing your home.

Next Steps: Showing Your Home and Receiving Offer