The following is a brief list of what you can expect when selling your home. Scroll down for details on how your agent should be helping you along the way!
- Consult a local real estate agent(s) for pricing recommendations and a walkthrough.
- Decide if anything needs to be repaired before listing.
- Negotiate the listing contract (selling price and commission) with your real estate professional.
- Prepare the house for photos and listing.
- List your home on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
- Maintain the home in show condition.
- Negotiate offers and go under contract.
- Negotiate any identified repairs.
- Closing and Moving!
Now that you have a general idea of the process, let’s break it down step-by-step.
The first thing you should do is talk to a real estate professional about listing your home. Pricing your home correctly can mean the difference between sitting on your home for months only to reduce the price later, and getting under contract in a timely manner for a fair price. Your agent should pull comparable homes that have sold in the last six months to compare them to your home, adjusting the price accordingly based on home size, condition, upgrades, etc.
Decide if anything needs repair. Before listing your home, you may want to make some necessary repairs to show your buyers that your home has been well maintained. I like to recommend health, safety, and structural items top the list, as these are the ones mot likely to be requested by the buyers. You may also decide to spruce up the curb appeal to attract more buyers, or update old household items or things in disrepair. Then again, you may want to just sell it as-is!
Negotiate the Listing Contract. This is the contract you enter into with your listing agent. This contract protects the seller in that all the terms of the sale are written out so there are no surprises later. This is your chance to set the initial listing price of your home, negotiate your agent’s commission, and discuss things like hours the home will be available for showings, etc.
Prepping your home for photos is crucial! While some agents are perfectly happy to just stroll through your house taking pictures on their cell phone, I prefer to always hire a professional real estate photographer at my expense. The difference in the look of the MLS listing and the number of interested buyers is like night and day (more offers = higher selling price!). Additionally, I also provide my clients with the option of getting a 3-D walkthrough scan of their home utilizing the Matterport scan tool. This is particularly helpful if you have a home on the outskirts of town, but I am always happy to do the scan for any home I list!
Now that your home is spic and span and your photos are back from the photographer (usually a 1-day turnaround time) it’s time to list your home on the Pikes Peak Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This site houses every property that is available for sale in the Pikes Peak region. It is from this site that websites like Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and practically any real estate website you can think of will pull from. This is also where local real estate professionals find homes to show potential buyers. The MLS is where 95% of buyers will see your home for the first time, so a great listing is crucial.
Now that the listing is public, it’s time to show your home. Keeping your house neat and smelling clean and fresh will let your buyers know that this home has been cared for. It also helps them to see themselves in the space. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown a really great house that the buyer’s just couldn’t see because they couldn’t get past the smell of cat pee or cigarettes. It’s a real turn-off. Keep it clean, and keep it smelling fresh for showings!
Now it’s time to negotiate offers and go under contract. If you have one (or more!) offers on your home, now is the time to decide which offer looks the best, and to either accept an offer as-is or negotiate for better terms or a better price. There are a LOT of moving parts to a real estate contract, and your agent should help you by breaking down each part and laying out the components of each offer you receive. The Colorado Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate is 19 pages long! You should absolutely rely on your REALTOR’S® expertise, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Once you are officially under contract on your home there is a laundry list of contract deadline dates to adhere to. One of the dates that sellers must pay close attention to is the Inspection Resolution deadline. The buyer has the right to ask the seller to repair or correct items that popped up during the inspection process. You have to right to reply by stating you will make all, some, or none of the repairs. You may also renegotiate price in lieu of making the repairs. If you and the buyer can’t come to an amicable agreement on what will and will not be repaired by the Inspection Resolution Deadline, the contract is considered terminated and you can put your home back on the market for a new buyer.
Closing and Moving! The part we’ve all been dreaming of! Once you have jumped all the inspection hurdles and have met all the terms of the contract and deadlines, it’s time to move your household items and close the deal. It’s best to plan on having all your items out of the house, and the home cleaned up by the evening before closing. Before closing, the buyer and their agent will do a walk-though of the home. The walkthrough is performed ensuring that all appliances and fixtures agreed to in the contract are present, that agreed repairs have been made, and that the home is in the same condition or better than on the original showing. The walkthrough is usually done the morning of closing, or (if there is an early morning closing) the night before.
Once at the closing table you can expect to see your title rep, your real estate agent, and if you scheduled simultaneous closings, the buyers. The buyers’ lender may also be present. Have your signing hand ready, because your title rep will have a literal stack of papers to sign! Funding generally occurs within 1-4 hours after signing your documents (this can vary depending on time of day). Congratulations! You’ve sold your home!
Legal Disclaimer: this is a subjective list of checklist items, born of experience in the process of buying and selling homes in the State of Colorado. Always consult a professional in your area to ensure your rights are protected!