Selling a House: Step-by-Step

 A guide to selling a house and meeting your timely and monetary needs.  For just the highlights, check out Selling a House: Quick and Dirty.

  1. Hire Help
    • While FSBO (for sale by owner) is an option in most states, we highly suggest hiring a real estate agent.
    • A good agent will have knowledge about the local housing market, and will help you determine the best asking price.  Your agent should also have good local contacts and a reliable platform for advertising your house.  In addition, a good agent will help you prepare the house, display it at its best, and of course, assist with all the paperwork.
  2. Asking Price
    • The first step is to know what similar properties are going for in your area. The time of year, whether the market and interest rates are up or down, and how fast you want to sell are all variables that should affect your asking price.
  3. Prepare the Property
    • You want to advertise your property at its best! Since buyers will have the home inspected before they purchase, you can save yourself time and money by cleaning, painting, landscaping, and fixing things before you’re forced to disclose defects or lower your asking price for contingencies.  This will also make the property easier to advertise, and more likely to catch the eye of potential buyers.
  4. Advertise
    • The majority of buyers view properties digitally, so once your house is looking good, get it on MLS (multiple listing service) and consider advertising on other websites and in classified ads.  In addition, consider holding open houses, because even though a variety of the “eye-catching” is done online, serious buyers generally want to visit the place in person.
  5. Evaluate Offers
    • Here you balance the purchase price with your timeline.  Also, consider the contingencies of the offer, and think about the monetary repercussions of the incumbent home inspection.  If you are unsure about an offer, wait for a second offer for comparison, and don’t be afraid to counter-offer something that better meets your needs.
  6. Close
    • You are “under contract” once you have accepted an offer in writing, or had your counter-offer accepted, and you are legally bound as long as the terms of the contract are met.  Fill out the remaining paperwork and vacate the premises (or make other arrangements) before the closing date!


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