From photography to proper pricing, this comprehensive guide is going to teach you the 7 essential steps to selling your home to get more money in less time.
Step 1: Find A Listing Agent
A Listing Agent Has Daily Experience Selling Homes
Hiring a Listing Agent is a critical step to getting your home sold for more money and in less time. He or she will help you navigate through the complex maze of contracts, negotiations, disclosures, and liability pitfalls.
A Listing Agent Should Protect Your Interests
The Residential Purchase Agreement (RPA) is a legally binding contract and the listing agent’s primary responsibility is to make sure that your interests are protected during the transaction. I take this responsibility very seriously. In fact, one of the services that I purchase for my clients on every single transaction is legal representation. It’s an expense that I absorb personally, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Everyone who works with me knows that I require it, and thankfully, my clients are always grateful that I do. Be very careful when you select someone to represent you during the home selling process — And whoever you choose, make sure that they include legal representation.
A Listing Agent Will Also Help You Stage, Price, And Market The Home
When done correctly, staging, pricing, and marketing will attract a slew of potential buyers — allowing you to sell your home for more money and in less time. This is the optimal position to be in.
Thinking Of Selling It Yourself (aka FSBO)?
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 89% of the population opts to hire a Listing Agent to help them sell their home. That means, 11% opt for the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route, usually because they are attempting to pocket the commission themselves instead of hiring a Listing Agent. But studies show that selling your own home is often a mistake.
- FSBO’s received 12.5% less for their homes than those who used a Listing Agent, which means that it actually cost them more money to sell it themselves
- Only 8% of the homes that sold last year were FSBO, which means the other 3% expired, withdrew, or cancelled
- FSBO’s also complained that it was hard for them to understand the paperwork, price the home right, prepare it for sale, market the home, sell it quickly, and devote enough time to the entire process
Most FSBO’s Hire A Listing Agent 1-6 Weeks After Putting A Sign In The Yard
After giving it a go, they’re usually frustrated, upset, and very happy to take on the advice of an expert — Which is totally understandable after expending so much effort. And most FSBO’s say that they wouldn’t do it again.
You Only Get One Chance To Debut Your Home
So it must be done right. If you, or someone that you know, needs a Listing Agent, feel free to reach out to me any time.
Step 2: Price Your Home To Sell
A Listing Agent Will Help You Price The Home
And it should be within accordance of current market conditions. Ideally, your home should be listed at market value, and with the help of a little staging, photography, and digital marketing, it should come off the market immediately thereafter with multiple offers. But this is an art form that eludes most real estate agents.
But Many Sellers Will Dictate Their Price To Their Agent
And in order to get hired for the job, the listing agent will oblige, knowing that it’s over-priced. To make matters worse, the Listing Agent will have no price reduction plan in place as a backup option. So the home sits idly with no offers or showings for months on end. The Sellers blame the Listing Agent for not selling the home and the Listing Agent blames the Sellers for ignoring his advice.
Never Choose A Real Estate Agent That Allows You To Overprice
When choosing a real estate agent, most sellers don’t realize how important it is for a home to be priced correctly the second it hits the market. This is because a home that hits the market is like a gallon of milk — It does not become more valuable as it ages, it always becomes less.
The Longer It Sits On The Market…
The more people think that something is wrong with the home — Perhaps there are skeletons hiding in the closet or bones buried in the backyard. And if it sits for too long, investors begin coming out of the woodworks with low ball offers, adding insult to the Sellers’ injury.
Listen To Your Listing Agent
If the listing agent is great, a Seller should always adhere to the advice that a Listing Agent gives them. And to be fair, a Listing Agent should never (ever) be coerced into taking an overpriced listing. If you hire an agent that agrees to your pricing, knowing that your pricing is too high, expect disaster to ensue. If your agent isn’t assertive with you, how can you expect them to be assertive when marketing your home, protecting your interests, or finding you a new home?
Step 3: Preparing Your Home For Sale
What Time Of Year Should You Sell Your Home?
Most people think that Summer is the ideal time to sell a home, and Winter is the worst. But a recent Redfin revealed that 39% of homes that were listed in the Spring sold within 30 days — and 15% of these homes sold for more than the list price. Winter came close, at second place, followed by Summer, then Fall. I wouldn’t plan my listing according to these numbers, but I would definitely use it as a guide to disband any prejudices that you had prior. This is especially true here, in Southern California, where the only difference between Winter and Summer is whether or not the kids are on short break or a long one.
Should You Stage Your Home For Sale?
Home staging is key to selling your home for more money and in less time. I can’t stress this enough. We live in a time where people will sift through 40 photos of your house, before they ever decide to walk through its doors. And there’s no reason not to stage, because there are so many simple things that you can do prepare your home for market. In fact, I have dozens of articles written on this.
Step 4: Market Your House For Maximum Exposure
Today, You Are Trying To Garner Attention Across Several Different Mediums:
The internet, social media, Zillow, Trulia, the MLS, TV, Radio, print media, yard signs, flyers, text messaging, QR Codes, and online advertising. If your neighbor decides to sell his home across the street from yours and his Listing Agent had top notch photography, videography, and aerial shots, buyers are going to flock to his home in droves and fight to the death to secure that home for their families.
Meanwhile, Your (iPhone) Photos…
With the toilet seat up, a crumpled up paper towel in the background, and your Listing Agent in the reflection’s foreground — all uploaded sideways, continue to cause your house to sit. Please make sure to hire someone who specializes in marketing, and be sure to confirm that it’s marketing that still works in this century.
Many Listing Agents Subscribe To The 6P Marketing Program:
- Put a sign in the yard
- Put it in the MLS
- Put an ad online
- Put it in the Realtor Home Tour
- Pray it will sell
However, Top Producing Listing Agents
Subscribe to an entirely different paradigm. They know the amount of work that it will take to get a home sold. Selling a home is a labor intensive process, which requires the employment of many. For any one transaction, I have access to a team of people who help me.
My Team Includes:
- Home Stagers
- Web Designers
- Drone Flyers
- House Cleaners
Step 5: Negotiate A Real Estate Offer
Will It Close?
Surprisingly, there is only thing to consider when looking at any offer you receive. You could be in a position to receive multiple offers (lucky you), but if the most competitive offer gets stuck in lender’s purgatory, no dice. You’re better off taking a second look at the offer that is less competitive, but has all of its ducks in a row, because you can always counter to ask for more.
For instance, if the second offer has a Desk Underwriter’s Letter attached, and thus, no loan contingency — that’s the one that you want, because you know that it will close with a smooth and easy escrow. Just make a counter-offer that will make the second offer on par with the first. Done.
The first offer may look great on paper, but once you open escrow, you may immediately regret that decision.
Step 6: Learn To Settle For Less
Negotiation Should Be A Win-Win
That means everyone has to give up a little bit in order to walk away a winner. You may not have wanted to fix the air conditioner or give up your brand new refrigerator. But that’s life. And there is an opportunity cost for not doing so.
If You Refuse To Settle For Less…
You will be paying a whole lot more in mortgage payments, taxes, HOA fees, and utility bills down the road. And if you’ve already moved into your new house, please double all of those expenses. Then ask yourself, was it worth it? The answer is no, just fix the air conditioner, get a new refrigerator, cut your loses, and close escrow. You’ll be much happier and have more money to get a new refrigerator down the road.
Step 7: Plan Your Move
This step is pretty self explanatory, but somehow, you never really remember how hard it is to move until you’re right, smack, in the middle of it. And moving is probably the worst thing ever. To make your move a little easier, create a checklist. You can save a spreadsheet or find one online. Moving isn’t going to be easy, but a plan will definitely make it easier.