Selling your home can be a complicated process. From listing your home to marketing it to negotiating prices, selling a property can be an arduous task.
Most people have no idea where to even begin. Too often, home owners are focused solely on the actual sale. However, the real work starts much before a buyer makes an offer.
Fortunately, we’re here to provide you the framework for making your first real estate sale. There are many factors to consider before you attempt to sell your home. To learn more about the home selling process, keep reading below!
Hire an Agent
The first and arguably most important step of selling your home is hiring an agent. Real estate agents or brokers help guide you through the entire home selling process. They’ll help you list your home, market it, and get all the paperwork necessary to close the deal.
Brokers also provide crucial insight into the real estate market. They have access to a massive marketplace of buyers and sellers known as the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Through this marketplace, your home will be exposed to the widest audience possible.
Before making the decision to hire an agent, you should do some research on their sales history and professional designations. These indicators will help you get a better gauge of how qualified they are to sell your home.
A quick search online should yield an online profile of whatever agent you’re researching. Find out how long they’ve been in the industry, how many sales they’ve conducted, and any reviews they might have. Any designation that a broker has earned is a huge advantage, as it indicates that they are an expert in that particular niche.
Though it is possible to sell your home by yourself, or “FSBO,” a broker can help get the most value out of your property. The few thousand dollars for their commission may sound like a large investment at first, but once you see how much value they bring, you’ll be glad you hired them.
Set Deadlines For Yourself
Selling a house can take quite some time. For some people, the process may only take a month. For others, it can take up to an entire year.
Typically though, you can expect your house to take two to four months to be sold: from the moment you hire your agent, to the moment you hand over the keys.
Depending on market conditions though, this timeline can vary. When getting started selling your home, it is wise to set some deadlines for yourself to meet.
Having deadlines for specific tasks will help you sell your home as fast as possible. Know when you need your house prepped by. Know when you want to have your home listed by.
Make sure to factor in market conditions, as well as any personal responsibilities that may interfere with selling your home. By building a linear timeline of tasks, you can stay focused and organized through this strenuous process.
Get Your Home Inspected
Before you list your home, you’ll want to get it inspected. A pre-sale home inspection is considered an optional step in the home selling process. However, it can save you some headaches in the future.
If a buyer ends up carrying out their own pre-sale home inspection and find issues within your property, you’ll likely lose the sale. Furthermore, your home may be flagged to other buyers.
Upgrade Your Home If Needed
After you inspect your home, you should consider making some upgrades. Are there any utilities in your home that are run down? Is there any way to make it look more attractive?
In some cases, home upgrades can significantly raise the value of your home. Check with your broker to see if it makes sense to invest in some upgrades. It might just make you some more money in the long run.
Generally, improvements to the kitchen and bathrooms increase the value of properties the most. Be wise with any upgrades you decide to make. You don’t want to break the bank just for a few pennies.
Last but not least, you absolutely have to consider what taxes you’re going to pay. Too often, home owners neglect this step of the home selling process, only to be surprised later when they’re hit with a hefty tax.
Don’t worry, though. Chances are, you won’t have to forfeit too much of your profits. If you’ve owned and lived in your home for at least two out of the previous five years before selling it, then you are not required to pay taxes on any profit up to $250,000. For married couples, this amount increases to $500,000.
However, if you do end up profiting more than $250,000 ($500,000 if you’re married), then you will have to report it to the IRS on your tax return as a capital gain.