The Home Selling Process

Selling your home is a big deal! Your home likely represents the largest investment you have ever made in your life and the largest debt you have ever had. Whether you are a first-time seller or a seasoned veteran, it’s normal to feel nervous about listing your home for sale.

The chart below will help you see how the process flows from the very beginning to the moment you receive your check at the closing table.

SELECTING A LISTING AGENT

There are numerous intricacies that go into the process of not only putting a home on the market, but also effectively promoting a residence and attracting the right kinds of buyers. Nearly 9 in 10 sellers use an agent or broker to help them sell their homes and they do so to ensure the process goes smoothly.

A listing agent will represent you and has a fiduciary responsibility to look out for your best interests throughout every step of the sales process. They will also have access to the local MLS, where they will market your home to a network of fellow real estate agents who have buyers looking for homes. When selecting a real estate agent, talk to several and choose the one you feel most comfortable working with.

PRICING YOUR HOME

The biggest mistake a seller can make is to overprice their home. The value of your property is not determined by what you paid for it, what you want for it, or what an online instant estimate says it’s worth. Your home’s value is determined by what buyers are willing to pay and what sellers are willing to accept for similar homes in today’s market.

Buyers make their pricing decision based on comparing your property to similar properties that have recently sold in your area. During your listing consultation, we will provide you with a comparative market analysis, or CMA, of your home based on current market data from the local MLS. Your CMA will include information on recent sales of similar homes as well as real-time information on homes that are currently on the market (your competition).

Together, we will use this information to determine the appropriate pricing strategy to help you achieve your goals and get the most money for your home in the shortest amount of time. Assuming you price your property appropriately, it should start to gain awareness and leads within days of hitting the market.

MARKETING YOUR HOME

The more potential buyers that look at your home, the better chance you will have of selling your home at a desirable price. Today, more than 90% of home buyers search for their home online so your marketing plan should include a targeted presence on the most popular home search websites and social media, in addition to traditional advertising methods and open houses.

When you list with us, not only will your home be listed on the local MLS, it will also be listed on the Keller Williams Listing System, or KWLS. This proprietary, exclusive system ensures your property is marketed online 24/7 through more than 350 of the most popular home search websites including Zillow, Trulia, HGTV’s FrontDoor, HomeFinder, Homes.com and many more!

SHOWING YOUR HOME

Unless you have already moved out, home showings can be an inconvenient part of the process. However, they are a necessary part of selling your home and it is best to make it as easy as possible for agents to bring potential buyers in to take a look.

Because your home could be shown at any time, you’ll want to keep kitchen and bath counters clutter-free, beds made, laundry picked up, and floors vacuumed regularly. When viewing your home, buyers try to picture themselves living there, so it’s a good idea to keep it tidy and remove reminders that someone else is currently living in the home. Make sure you leave the property while your house is being shown. It makes buyers uncomfortable when sellers are present and it could jeopardize your sale.

RECEIVING AN OFFER

You’ve received an offer! Now, you have the choice to accept the offer, reject it, or make a counteroffer. In a hot seller’s market with a competitively priced home, you may receive multiple offers and be able to choose the one that works best for you. In other cases, multiple counteroffers may be required to reach an agreement suitable to both parties.

NEGOTIATING TERMS

Even if you receive a lowball offer, it is best to negotiate with the buyer by issuing a counteroffer. If your home is priced competitively, don’t hesitate to issue a counteroffer at or near full price. Your counteroffer may be accepted, rejected or countered by the buyer. We will work together to review each specific area of the offer, making sure that we move forward with your goals in mind and ensuring that we negotiate the best possible price and terms on your behalf. We will continue negotiating with the buyer until a mutual agreement is reached or the negotiations break down.

ACCEPTING THE CONTRACT

Once an agreement has been reached and both parties have signed the purchase offer, you are now under contract. Along with accepting the contract, the buyer will submit an earnest money deposit, which is money that goes into escrow as a sign of good faith to fulfill the contract. Typically, there are contingencies included in the purchase offer that allow the buyer to cancel the contract and receive their earnest money back if, for example, there is an issue with the home inspection or the buyer is unable to obtain financing.

REMOVING CONTINGENCIES

After signing the contract, a period of time will begin to remove all contingencies. These typically include an inspection contingency and a financing contingency but other contingencies may be included as well. All contingencies need to be removed in order to close on the sale of your home.

If, for some reason, a contingency cannot be removed, further negotiations may be required or the contract may be canceled. For example, if an issue arises from the home inspection and you are not willing to fix the issue or make concessions, the buyer may choose to cancel the contract and receive their earnest money back. Likewise, if the buyer is unable to obtain financing by the required date, you may choose to extend the contingency period or cancel the contract and entertain other offers.

CLOSING DAY

Closing day is finally here! You will meet with a representative from the title company to verify and sign all the paperwork required to complete the transaction. Title to the property is transferred from you to the buyer. The buyer receives the house keys and you receive payment for the house! Funds required to pay off your existing mortgage, property taxes, and other transaction costs will be deducted from the amount you receive. Finally, the title company will officially record the deed and other documents with the local county courthouse. Congratulations, you have now sold your house!

Need Help? Ask Shawn.

Shawn Swisher is an Affiliate Broker with Realty Executives Associates in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you need help buying or selling a home in Knoxville or the surrounding area, just ask! Shawn can be reached by email, text or phone.