Home Selling Checklist: 10 Steps to Selling Your Own Home
Selling your home is a major life decision for most individuals and families. While there are resources and professionals who can help, some homeowners go the do-it-yourself route and list their own property. If that’s you, this home selling checklist can help.
In this post, we’ll cover your basic options for selling a home. You’ll also gain practical tips and strategies to ensure that you don’t miss any necessary steps in the real estate process.
Home Selling Options
There are several traditional methods to sell a home, and while one is not necessarily better than another, they each have pros and cons. Most sellers opt for one of the three options highlighted below.
- Working with a licensed real estate agent. A real estate professional brings industry experience, marketing knowledge, and a network of referrals. Real estate agents do receive commission on every home sale which impacts the owner’s bottom line.
- Selling directly to an investor. Depending on where you live and how quickly you need to sell, cash investors may be interested in buying your property. In this scenario, it’s important to sell for legitimate offers only, as there could be potential scams.
- Listing your property in a ‘For Sale by Owner’ setup. The final option is the ‘For Sale by Owner’ model. In this case, the property owner lists their own real estate and manages each aspect of the sales process, from listing, to showing, to closing.
Benefits to Selling Your Own Home
If you’re interested in selling your own home, you may be looking forward to the benefits and flexibility that this option provides. There are a few reasons why owners choose to sell on their own terms.
- Less money in commission. This point alone sways many sellers. If you don’t want to fork over a portion of the sale in agent commissions, listing as an owner helps you avoid extra fees.
- More control over the buying process. When it comes to showings, negotiations, and other aspects, some sellers want total control.
- Complete knowledge of the property. There’s perhaps no one who understands your current property better than you! By managing the details, you won’t have to communicate through a third party, and you can deliver immediate answers to buyers.
10-Step Home Selling Process Checklist
In the steps below, we’ll outline ten of the most basic steps to complete when listing your own house for sale. These checklist items occur at different stages of the process, including before you list, during your home’s time on the market, and after you accept an offer.
Step 1: Set a Fair Listing Price Based on Market Analysis
Before you list, conduct research on the homes in your neighborhood or zip code. Become familiar with metrics like:
- Average appraisal value
- The typical final sale price of homes similar to yours
- Market trends and buyer demand
Since you don’t have an agency assisting you, it’s critical that you understand what’s considered a reasonable asking price in your location. Prices that appear as outliers can discourage buyers.
Step 2: Get an Official Appraisal
Although some experts are split on whether you need to appraise before a sale, a pre-appraisal ensures that you have a realistic outlook on your property. This is especially true if you don’t use a real estate agent. Pre-appraisals also provide a sales tool when you communicate with potential buyers about your home’s true value.
An appraisal at this stage may cost around $400, so be sure to budget for any out-of-pocket expenses.
Step 3: Prepare Your Home to Sell
Getting your home in prime condition is important, whether you list on your own or with an agent. This step involves making small repairs, following up on appraisal action items, and thoroughly cleaning the interior and exterior of your home.
Keeping all areas of your home as tidy as possible can alleviate stress when it’s time for professional house photography or showings. As you attempt to sell, aim to keep things as neat as possible, while tackling any significant maintenance projects that could hinder a sale.
Step 4: Develop a Marketing Strategy
In order to sell, you must have a plan for advertising and marketing. Keep in mind that without a real estate agent backing your sale, it may take a more thorough effort on your part to personally market the property.
Some marketing ideas include:
- Adding a professional-looking sign in front of your home
- Creating listings on popular sites like Zillow, Redfin, Trulia, and others
- Local print advertisements in papers or magazines
- Sharing your listing on personal social media platforms
- Creating a virtual tour or video to share
Step 5: Adopt a Business Mindset
In order to give potential buyers the same experience that they would expect with a real estate agent, you should approach your home sale professionally. This means maintaining your listings, communicating quickly and efficiently, and dressing the part when you host people during showings or tours.
Written and verbal communication should remain formal, since at any point you could transition to closing a deal. Be mindful of anything you promise or guarantee, as this could come full circle when you’re at the negotiating table.
Step 6: Adhere to Security Best Practices
Simply because you’re the one in charge of the sales process doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious. Remember to vet your potential buyers in the same way that a professional agent would. This means developing a system for checking contact and financial information, as well as protecting yourself from potential scams or harm.
It’s always important to secure your property when it’s on the market and to safeguard your own personal and financial information.
Step 7: Negotiate Incoming Offers
Depending on your sales timeline, you may not need to negotiate if the market is competitive, or if you have a line of buyers ready with new offers. If interest is slow, however, be prepared to adjust your listing price or work directly with potential buyers on the specific amounts they have in mind.
While you shouldn’t dip under the value of your property, settling on fair terms could provide a better buying experience for all parties.
Step 8: Keep an Open Mind
Although it might be hard to accomplish during a stressful time, keeping an open mind is key. Sometimes, sellers get so caught up in making a successful sale that they forget the value of flexibility.
Even if you decide that you need to enlist help from a realtor or other expert, doing what’s best in your specific situation can alleviate stress and hassle.
Step 9: Choose Your Title Company
Even when you sell your own home, you’ll need to enlist professional help to finalize the details. This team might include:
- An escrow agent
- A title agent or title company representative
- A real estate or closing attorney
These individuals ensure that the process is legal and that the paperwork is complete and accurate. Transferring ownership of a residence requires certified parties who can oversee the signing and finalization of legal documents.
Step 10: Close and Complete the Sale
You’ve finally sold your own property–congratulations! If you’d like additional assistance closing the sale, you can hire a broker at the final stage of the process. One of the last things you’ll do is sign the necessary paperwork and officially transfer ownership to your buyer.
Throughout the closing process, it’s important to check on the requirements in your state, city, or county. Location-specific regulations may affect what steps you need to complete during closing.
Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Own Home
When you choose the ‘For Sale by Owner’ route, it’s important to have a realistic outlook on the things you should and shouldn’t do for a successful experience.
There’s no doubt that you’ll learn and adapt as you go, but it’s wise to take advantage of the following tips in order to avoid mistakes that could cost you.
Making Emotional Decisions
Letting go of a property that you’ve considered home for a long time can be an emotional journey, but the selling process should remain professional and structured. Don’t allow emotional experiences to get in the way of your negotiations, conversations, and other crucial interactions.
Creating Unrealistic Price Points
No matter what kind of real estate market is currently in place, buyers want to know that they’re getting a fair and honest price. Choosing an extravagantly high listing price can repel savvy buyers, and it can even make your listing appear less legitimate. No matter how much you hope to profit, be sure to use discretion.
Refusing to Negotiate Down
Typically, a real estate agent would help navigate the negotiation process. When it’s just you completing the sale, you may experience more hesitancy without a third party perspective.
Even so, keep in mind that selling a home usually requires some negotiation and compromise. While you don’t have to give a buyer everything that they ask for, you should be willing to field some of their larger concerns or offer a negotiated price.
Selling at the Wrong Time of Year
In many locations, selling in the winter months can be less profitable than waiting until spring and summer. Especially during the holidays, it may be more difficult to market and sell a newly listed property. Although you may not be able to prepare for every situation that requires a move, being strategic with the calendar could help you capitalize on home-buying trends.
Want to Sell Your Home? We Can Help.
At eClosing, we understand that each buyer and seller has unique wishes and goals. That’s why we aim to reduce the tedious and time-consuming parts of the sales process so that you can focus on what really matters.
Be sure to check out eClosing’s efficient technology and services that can expedite the sale of your home and help you avoid mistakes and errors along the way. We look forward to seeing how our proven system can help you throughout this important process!