What to expect when selling a home [the basics]

Selling your home is rarely easy, even if you’re not on a tight budget. Updates, inspections, negotiations, repairs, and several other hoops will materialize for sellers to jump through. In many cases, you leave your sold home in a better state than you bought it in.

“Was this is a good investment? Is it a good time to sell? Did we let aggressive buyers push us around?”

These are all questions that an experienced, educated and intuitive realtor can answer while navigating you through the tedious waters of selling a house. It’s nice to know you don’t have to go it alone.

Even so, get ready for several things you’ll have to do to prep your home for the market while simultaneously planning for your move to a new location. Here’s a general guide to give you a blueprint of the selling process:

Your home will need to be spotless and clutter-free—while also appearing homey and “real”.

This is why some sellers even pay interior designers to “stage” their homes. You want to give potential buyers the opportunity to be able to see their own lives taking place in your home. This means setting up an optimized layout for space, movement, and accommodation. Make sure there are plenty of areas to sit and relax. Make sure each activity of daily life (cooking, eating, watching TV, doing homework, relaxing, sleeping, getting ready for the day, etc.) can be imagined in its corresponding area of the house.

However, if you have too much stuff out things can appear cluttered. This can actually elicit a stress response in the brain—not what you want in potential buyers! Additionally, clutter makes a house feel much smaller than it is.

Some buyers that have a lot of possessions opt for temporarily renting a small storage unit and partially pack up their home, leaving only the necessities behind. Things like keepsakes, heirlooms, elaborate decor, and any books, papers, toys or hobby materials can be boxed up and stored until moving day.

Once a buyer makes an offer, the decision process begins. Typically a counter-offer is made, in efforts to strike an equilibrium between everything the buyer wants and what is realistic for the seller to provide. However, in a competitive or buyer-friendly market, you might consider accepting the first offer as is. (Hint: Your realtor will be a big help in guiding you through this process.)

Once an offer is agreed upon, escrow is opened. The buyer is then required to deposit “earnest money” into escrow while the seller provides:

  • Addresses of lien holders
  • Tax receipts
  • Equipment warranties
  • Home warranty contracts (if any)
  • Any leases or rental agreements

Home inspection. After the seller approves and signs the escrow instructions, grant deed and any other related documents required to complete the transaction, an inspection and appraisal is ordered to determine what items are necessary for the seller to repair—though the buyer can request additional repairs as a contingency of the terms of their purchase.

Signing, initialing, and signing some more. Afterward, the buyer and seller are to fulfill any remaining conditions specified in the contract and/or escrow instructions, and approve the payoff demand or beneficiary’s statements. Then the buyer and seller approve any final changes by signing amendments to the escrow instructions or contract.

Note: The above is general information only. This information is gleaned from RE/MAX Redlands. Your situation may differ. You may contact me below for details about your specific situation.