8 Steps to Selling a home

    1. Define your needs. Why are you selling? Write down all the reasons. For your goals, write down when you would like to sell within a certain time frame and how much you expect to net from your sale. Your real estate agent will council you to set up the best marketing plan to achieve your objectives and set a realistic time frame for your sale based on the current market.
    2. Together, with your real estate agent, you will determine your asking price, which will position you in the current market. Setting a competitive asking price from the outset will generate the most activity from real estate agents and buyers. You will need to take into account the location, (is your house on a main road, near or backing commercial), condition, (are the kitchen and baths updated), recent home sales, (appraisers generally go back 90 days), homes under contract, (where the market is headed), the current competition, (available homes competing for showings) and the overall market, (is it a sellers, buyers or balanced market). It is often difficult to remain unbiased. If you set the price too high, your house won’t be chosen for showings, even though it may be much nicer than other homes on the market. Buyers have an expectation for homes in each price range and you need to be competitive in order to have a successful sale. 
    3. Prepare your home. Most homeowners do not always keep their home in showroom condition, but when you put your home on the market, it is “showtime”. The location and condition of your home, along with the price you set for it, will determine how quickly it will sell and for what price a buyer will feel like making an offer, if any based on the current competition. You don’t have a second chance to make a first impression. Make it count. A home with too much “personality” is harder to sell. The way you “Live in Your Home” and the way you “Sell Your House” are completely different.
    4. Get the word out. Your real estate agent will structure an effective marketing plan to maximize the exposure during the critical first few weeks. If you do not have at least 10 immediate showings and one offer, you may need to reposition yourself in the market (price reduction).
    5. Receive an offer. When you receive an offer, your agent will make sure that the potential buyer has been pre-approved from a reputable lender. If so, your agent will go over the price and terms and help you to determine if you proceed and accept the price and terms. Sometimes a lower offer with great terms is better than a higher offer and not-so-great terms.
    6. Negotiate to sell. The saying “your first offer may be your best offer” is true much of the time. Buyers who make an offer on your home, may have been searching for the past few months and determine, based on their needs and comparable homes they’ve seen, that your home provides the most value to them. Most offers will require some negotiating to come to a “win-win” for both the buyer and seller. Choosing an agent who has a proven track record and skilled in negotiating is key to getting from the initial offer to the closing table. Your agent will discuss the plus and minuses of each offer. Sometimes the highest offer isn’t necessarily the best offer.
    7. Prepare to close. Once you accept an offer, your agent will go over all the steps that will take place from Pending to Closing. This will include the home inspection, going over any repairs needed that may come up or termite treatments that may be needed, going to contract, having the appraisal, following up on the commitment and any conditions that have to be met by the buyer and arranging the closing date. Your agent should have a list of resources that he/she can provide to you as needed.
    8. Close the deal. “Closing” the deal is legally transferring ownership to the buyer. The buyer will have a walk-thru usually the day before or the day of the closing. Your agent will be present for the walk through and the closing. The closing is bittersweet to many sellers. You may have spent many years in your home, raised your family and have many special memories. The memories will always be with you and you will create many more lasting memories in your new home. A“to-do” checklist prior to closing: Contact the utility companies and advise them of the change of ownership, get a final reading if you have oil, gather together any manuals or information that may be beneficial to the new owners. 


    Margaret Biegelman has been helping sellers achieve their real estate goals since 2001. Contact Margaret for a Complimentary Market Evaluation.


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    Office: 516.623.3008