Tips For Selling Your Home

Tips For Selling Your Home

Are you thinking of selling your property and looking for tips on selling your home? You’ve come to the right place.

I’m going to take you through the home selling process step-by-step and provide as many tips for selling your home as I can. By the time we’re done, you’re going to have a checklist that will save you time, money, and stress.

My goal is to provide you with nothing but value so that you’ll give yourself the best chance to make the most money while making your move less stressful.

One of the biggest financial transactions of your life, the home selling process is important and has eight critical steps.

home selling process

Tips For Selling Your Home #1: How to Find a Good Realtor to Sell my House

I know, I know…

You’d rather avoid this until the last minute, right? I don’t blame you. However, choosing the right agent before you start getting the home ready can save you time and money.


An experienced and savvy agent can provide you with valuable tips for selling your home. Many home sellers will start getting their home ready before partnering with a Realtor®. Sometimes this works, but many times it causes more stress, time, and money. We see many homeowners tackling a list of items that they think need to be completed before they put their home up for sale.

If you partner with the right agent, they can provide you with a list of items that can bring you a return on investment and help sell your home for the most money.  I’m going to give you a checklist of six things that can do this, no matter what type of home you have. More on this in a bit.

Here are three tips for finding a Realtor® when selling your home:
tips for finding a good agent to sell home

Once you have interviewed at least two or three agents and made a decision on which one to go forward with, there are three extremely important questions you should ask them:
tips on questions to ask your realtor when selling your house

While you will likely have several other questions in addition to the ones mentioned here, these three are absolutely critical to understand before you begin working with your Realtor® and are just the first of many tips to selling your house that will save you time, money, and stress.

It doesn’t matter if your Realtor®is a family friend, someone you found online, or someone from a local real estate office.

Knowing the answers to these three questions will not only help you get the most from the sale of your home but can also help you save thousands of dollars.

It can also help to establish a level of comfort with a person you will be working closely with over the next few months during the process of selling your home.

So, why are these three questions so important if you’re looking for tips to sell your home?

Let’s review each one in a little more detail.

How to Find a Good Realtor to Sell my House

QUESTION 1: How Much Do You Think You Can Sell My Home For?

This is an extremely important starting point that cannot be emphasized enough.

You might already have a rough idea on what your home might be worth. But do NOT base this off of Zillow’s Zestimate, or any other online home value estimate.

While sometimes they can be a useful place to begin, these online home value estimates don’t include several key factors that have a tremendous impact on your home’s value.
tips for an accurate home value

Online home valuations cannot and do not take these factors into their calculations.

In fact, despite being one of the most popular real estate websites, Zillow even admits that their home value estimates are not always accurate.

When interviewing a real estate agent, you want to make sure they know:

  • Your neighborhood
  • The local schools (whether they are good or bad), and most importantly
  • The comparable homes (also known as comps) that have sold near yours

Why does all of this matter?

This information can and should be used when negotiating with buyers and their agents to sell your house for the most money.

Most Realtors®will have a comparative market analysis (also known as a CMA) when interviewing with you.

What’s a CMA?

A CMA is a summary of homes that have recently sold in the area that are similar to yours.

There is a certain set of criteria that you want to make sure your listing agent is using when establishing a CMA for your property. These can vary depending on where you live. For this example, we’ll use a single-family-residence in the average suburban area. In Silicon Valley, these can include areas like Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Almaden, Willow Glen, Mountain View, Campbell, and other parts of San Jose. Properties that are being used as comps for a typical suburban neighborhood should be:

  • In close geographical proximity (within a half-mile radius is best and the closer the better – you can go farther if needed)
  • Most recently sold (within the past six months at most – more recent the better)
  • Close in the interior square footage
  • Same or close to the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Similar sized lot

These are the same requirements a real estate appraiser uses when appraising a property. The more similar characteristics that a property has to yours, the better.

After the agent has the selected comparable homes, they should make certain adjustments based on a few key factors:
home selling tips

Condition of the Home

The most important of all is usually the condition of the home. If your home is in a much better condition in comparison with one of the ones it’s being compared to, then your home should have a + adjustment and should be valued higher.

Location of the Home on Its Street

Another important adjustment can include the location of the home on its street. For example, if your home is located on your street where the average home is (i.e. not on a corner by a stop sign or intersection), and a home it is being compared with is on a busy street, your home may receive a 7%-10% positive adjustment in its potential selling price as a result.

So, if the home on the busy street that it is being compared to sold for $1,300,000, your home may be worth roughly $90,000 to $130,000 more.

Other Adjustments

Other tips for selling your home include adjustments used when evaluating the comparable homes’ different neighborhoods, different schools, and the property condition.

What’s Not Included in a CMA….But Should Be

There is one thing that is not typically included in a CMA or online home value estimate that can have a big impact on the potential sales price of your home.

This is the layout and floor plan.

It can vary drastically from house to house, and often comes down to personal taste. But if the layout and floor plan of your home are in line with what a certain buyer is looking for (usually an open layout), it can have a big impact on the desirability of your property.

But the same principle works both ways. If your home doesn’t have an ideal floor plan or layout in the eyes of your prospective buyer, they might be turned off, even if everything else is perfect.

Get An Accurate Listing Price When Selling Your Home

When speaking with and interviewing real estate agents and reviewing their proposed CMA, there is one thing you absolutely must be aware of:

There are some agents who will suggest a listing price that is higher than what is realistic. They do this so that you get emotional and excited about an inflated price and will decide to work with them to sell your home.

This would be considered bad tips for selling your home and should ring alarm bells.

When you sign a contract to work with an agent, it is usually an exclusive agreement between you and the real estate brokerage for a certain period of time. That period of time is up for discussion, but other brokerages will typically include six months for the duration of the agreement.

It may be very tempting to work with an agent who suggests or even “guarantees” they can sell your house for a higher amount than what you think your home is worth – but if it seems to good to be true, then it usually is. In this scenario, my suggestion would be to get a second opinion.

Red alert home selling tips advice: Make sure your agent backs up their suggested price with data (i.e. best comps with accurate adjustments).

Why is this important if you want the best tips for selling your house?

Because of the ever-important number of days on the market for a property.

How Can “Days On The Market” Affect Your Home Sale?

The longer your home stays on the market, the more you start to lose leverage as a seller. Depending on what type of real estate market it is, the average days on market can differ. In a seller’s market, the days on market are usually shorter. In a buyer’s market, they’re usually longer.

If your home is on the market longer than what is average, buyers will begin to wonder whether there is something wrong with your property that could explain why it hasn’t sold sooner.

Eventually, your agent will most likely tell you that the longer the house is on the market, the more it can hurt your sale. They may tell you that despite having done a substantial amount of marketing, the best thing that can be done is a price reduction.

But why wasn’t this considered when you first started working together, before you put your home on the market?

Obviously, nobody can predict the exact dollar amount your home will sell for, but a good Realtor® should be able to give you a detailed analysis on how they came up with their suggested price. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

This type of scenario is common, but there are ways you can steer clear of it when you sell your home.

Understanding how the days on market can affect your bottom line would be one of a few towards the top of my list of valuable home selling tips.

So, How Do You Avoid An Unrealistic Listing Price When Selling Your Home?

home selling tips

The Difference With Condos

If your property is a condo, these comparison guidelines may be a bit different.

Comparing your property to others within the same complex is always best, even if you have to look beyond the last six months for the most recent sale.

Next, An Example

Imagine that you are about to sell a single-family residence and your real estate agent has just presented you with some comparable properties nearby.

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process of selling your house

With your hypothetical property and these three comparable properties in mind, here’s a rough idea of how your agent should be making adjustments.

Note: This is a similar approach to how we put a market analysis together for a prospective client. The Nestimator will take into account the best comps and your recent neighborhood market trends, and your SoldNest agent will adjust the analysis if needed. By doing it this way, our clients get the best of an accurate algorithm and a local expert.

Now, let’s break down what your home value would come out to based on the three comps. Again, this is just a rough example and the adjustments on price per sq ft would probably be a little different (this can be broken down into a whole different conversation).
real estate selling process

how to sell your home

If we wanted to, we could make an adjustment for the lot size. But depending on the area, the difference between a 6,000 and an 8,000 square foot lot doesn’t have as big of an impact as the other adjustments.
sell my house fast

Determining Your Home’s Value

Next, we take the sum of all three and divide by three to get the average.
sell my home

Taking the average of all three is a very basic approach and this is just an example of how your potential Realtor®should be looking at the comps and making adjustments. This can vary by market, neighborhood, and the type of home, but this gives you a good idea on the approach your listing agent should be using.

If you’re speaking to a listing agent who doesn’t understand this, doesn’t include adjustments, and is just discussing similar homes that sold close to yours, do not count on them to be able to negotiate top dollar when selling your home.

Once a Realtor®shows you these numbers, they should also have a suggestion on the list price for your property. But it’s important to keep one thing in mind; the list price and the sale price of your home are two very different things.

The list price can be used strategically to attract more potential homebuyers. Listing your home at a certain price does not mean that you need to sell it at that price.

Important Tips For Selling Your Home

A good agent with an understanding of the sales activity in your neighborhood will list your home at a price comparable to other homes that have recently been sold in your area.

They’ll do this with one goal in mind: to meet or exceed your expectations by selling your home for the maximum price in the least amount of time.

Our example provided a comparative market value for your home at $1,343,000. This may mean having a listing price of $1,299,000.

So, why is the listing price lower?

Because you will likely get more attention on your property than you would if you listed it at around $1,350,000.

The majority of buyers these days are doing their own research online. They have easy access to a lot of data, such as price per square foot in the neighborhood they’re looking in, as well as the average sold price. If you’re a bit lower than market value compared to other homes, you should get a bit more attention.

We always suggest listing a home a tad under market value or at market value to attract more eyeballs. This will depend on what type of market you’re in. For example, if you’re in a seller’s market where homes are selling quickly and buyers are offering a big percentage over the listing price, then you might want to think about listing under market value. This will help get multiple buyers interested and your agent should be able to maximize this and drive the price up. If you’re in a buyers market where homes are taking a little longer to sell without multiple offers, then you might want to think about listing on the high end of what your agent thinks it might sell for. In this scenario, your home may stay on the market longer but the chance of getting your asking price or better should be higher.

Key Takeaways From How to Find a Realtor to Sell my Home QUESTION #1:

  • You want a detailed analysis of your home with data to back up their suggested list price
  • If you think it’s an inflated price, get a second opinion
  • The suggested listing price should be a strategy to maximize the sales price

How to Find a Realtor to Sell my Home QUESTION #2: What is your marketing plan?

Through the MLS and automatic syndication to all of the real estate search websites such as Zillow, Trulia,, the majority of the marketing will be the same no matter which real estate agent you decide to sell your home with.

It’s the other “right” type of marketing that can make a difference.

And here’s something to consider. If you’re in a neighborhood where the same Realtor ® consistently sends out postcards saying something like “Just Listed”, then guess what? They are using the “wrong” type of marketing.

This does NOT help sell your home. Instead, this agent is using your home sale to market themselves rather than your property.

Home Selling Tips Red Alert

Make sure your agent is marketing your property, not themselves.

In the real estate industry, this is called “farming.” It’s a method that has been used for decades, but one that needs to change. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why SoldNest was founded.

Homeowners who sell their home are often completely unaware of this tactic. They may think that the Realtor®who has been selling homes in their area for the last twenty years is the neighborhood guru, and therefore is the best Realtor®to sell their house.

Maybe they are. But it’s not because of the postcards they send. You want to make sure they have a detailed marketing plan, in particular, one that will reach the most eyeballs of potential buyers.

Where are buyers looking?

The National Association of Realtors ® and Google recently teamed up to uncover trends and insights around digital media usage among home shoppers.

They found that over 90% of homebuyers search online. And maybe what’s even more astounding is that real estate related searches on Google have grown over 253% over the last four years.

The majority of buyers are searching online, and have social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat.

It’s critical that your agent has a unique game plan on how to advertise your home through digital marketing.

Remember, no matter which agent you decide to list with, you’re going to get a lot of exposure through the MLS, Zillow, as well as many other websites and applications.

But if you can tap into this buyer pool even further, your chances of selling your home for maximum value increase.

More Tips For Selling Your Home

Things That Do Not Have An Impact On Your Home Sales Price

Here are a few things that do not have an impact on how much your house will sell for:

  • Postcards

    These do more to market the Realtor®than your home.

  • A website without proper marketing.

    Many listing agents will say they’ll have a website made for your home. But the question you should ask is “what are you going to do with it?” Most only get it to impress the homeowner. A website or domain name of your home means absolutely nothing unless they plan on advertising your home online. Most will only put the domain name such as on the flyer that is distributed at your open house. But this doesn’t make sense since, by the time the buyer sees the website address, they’re already at your home.

  • The name of their brokerage.

    Some Realtors®will say something like “Our company is the 2nd largest in the nation.” That’s nice, but how does this sell your home for more? It doesn’t. If this was twenty or thirty years ago it would have, but not today. The buyer doesn’t care who the listing brokerage is. They care about things like the location, schools nearby, and the condition of the property.

    Many Realtors®will use this brokerage point to try and gain credibility, but it has no impact on your home’s selling price. The number of agents and offices a brokerage has does not help sell your home. Any agent or buyer who is interested in a property like yours will know about your home being on the market when your agent places your home on the MLS.

  • The “Homebuyers Lined Up Around The Block” Line

Be extremely cautious of real estate agents who tell you that they have a buyer looking in your area.

Unfortunately, this happens all too often and similar to the exaggerated listing price suggestion, this is used to get you excited.

Sometimes an agent really will have a buyer and that agent is trying to be pro-active for their client. However,f they really do have a buyer, then ask them to bring the buyer to see the house before signing a contract. Do NOT sign an agreement with an agent for this reason. Even then, if you want to maximize your homes selling price, then you want full exposure and the most amount of buyers knowing your home is for sale. By doing so, you will let the market dictate what your home is worth. Only showing your home to one buyer will usually minimize your potential sales price.

So, what should your agent include in their marketing plan for your property?
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Home Selling Tips When Marketing Your Home

The Importance of Digital Marketing

With most buyers searching online either on a website or on one of the search apps on their phone, it’s critical your listing agent has a targeted digital marketing plan to maximize exposure when selling your home.

The reason why is simple. The more eyeballs that see your home, the more potential homebuyers that will come to visit. The more buyers that see your house, the more demand it receives, and the better the chance you have of selling for more money.

If we know that over 90% of homebuyers search online, then why would you want your marketing dollars spent on neighborhood postcards or newspaper ads? The answer is that you don’t. The chances of your neighbor buying your home are extremely low, and the chances that a buyer finds your home for sale in the local newspaper is also extremely low. Again, many agents use this approach to use your house to market themselves as the “local expert” to other homeowners, not buyers.

Getting Exposure

You want your home to have the highest exposure possible. This includes the MLS, all syndicated real estate search websites, and digital marketing.

Unless there’s a very specific reason that you do not want your home placed on the MLS, tips for selling your house “red flags” should be going off if an agent tells you this.

There are some listing agents who might suggest this, so that they can have the least amount of advertising as possible to other agents and buyers, giving them an opportunity to try and find their own buyer and double their commission.

This is a major problem in our industry and one that we’re going to fix.

As previously mentioned, you’ll get the majority of the same marketing no matter which Realtor®you decide to list your home with. But the extra marketing that is done the right way can help sell your home for more money.

How to Find a Realtor to Sell my House QUESTION 3: How much do you charge?

When selling your home, your goal is to put the most amount of money in your pocket. Paying the lowest amount in real estate commissions helps you do that. It’s easy to figure out what you could potentially net from your sale by using our home sale calculator.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that a Realtors ® commission is non-negotiable.

But here’s a little secret: real estate commissions are negotiable and rank towards the top of valuable tips for selling your home.

Here’s how it works:

  • When you sell your home, you pay your listing broker and you pay the buyer’s broker.
  • Depending on your area, this can be 2.5 – 3% each, which makes a total of 5-6% in commissions.
  • Many listing agents will avoid talking about their commissions when initially speaking with you because they don’t want to have an uncomfortable conversation. Many of them can’t justify the real estate commission that they charge.
  • Some may tell you that they are suggesting a lower than average commission, but what they don’t mention is that they are also paying less to the buyer’s brokerage.

If you’d like to see a breakdown of your potential total closing costs and what they consist of, you can take a look at How Much Are Sellers Closing Costs in California?

Remember to always ask the agent how much they charge, what the total commission is, and how much is going to their brokerage and how much to the buyer’s brokerage.

When a home is listed for sale and when an agent uploads it into the MLS, there’s a section that shows how much the seller is paying in commission that only other real estate agents can see.

Anything less than the average can sometimes convince buyer agents to not show your property to their clients. Your goal should be to pay the lowest amount in real estate commissions while receiving top-notch service from an experienced real estate agent.

The Scoop on Uploading To The MLS, and Other Property Sites

Before real estate search websites and applications were around, a listing agent’s job of “marketing” a property was much harder than it is today.

Today, it only takes your agent about half an hour at the most to input all of your home’s information into the MLS. When they press submit, it’s automatically syndicated to hundreds of websites, including all of the big ones.

So if an agent’s job of marketing a property has become much easier, why are homeowners still paying the same amount in real estate commissions as they did before these resources were available?

It’s a great question that I couldn’t answer and is one of a few reasons why SoldNest was founded.

Compared to the average 5-6% total commissions charged by other Realtors ® and brokers, we only charge 3.5% if the buyer is represented by another brokerage (1% to SoldNest and 2.5% to the buyer’s brokerage) and only a total of 2% if the buyer is represented by SoldNest (1% to your SoldNest agent and 1% to the SoldNest buyers agent). All of our agents are full-service Realtors®, experts at negotiating, and are with you from start to finish.

SoldNest 1% Listing Fee

Tips For Selling Your House Step 2: Tips For Getting Your House Ready to Sell

Now that you’ve decided which listing agent you’re going to partner with, it’s time to get your home ready to sell.

The First Impression

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” the old saying goes, and it’s especially true when selling your home.

Whether it’s at an open house or a private showing, it’s imperative to make a great first impression to all potential homebuyers. When a buyer visits your home, they generally get a good idea of whether or not they like it within the first twenty seconds or so.

There are numerous things to consider in order to get your home to look its best. Not all of these are mandatory and you may not be in a position to do any of them, but the more appealing your home looks to a homebuyer, the better the chance of selling your house for the highest amount in the shortest amount of time.
get house ready to sell
getting house ready to sell
get ready to sell your house

With that being said, each property is different and not all of these will get you a return on what you spend. Your agent should be able to walk through your home and give you suggestions on tips for selling your home fast that will get you the biggest bang for your buck.

6 Tips For Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

Here’s a list of six things that can usually bring you a return on investment.

1. Declutter

Yes, this can be a pain. However, this plays a huge part in showing buyers how much your space can be maximized. 

Space and storage are biggies. Take down the family photos, clear the countertops, remove all of the small knick-knacks, and straighten up the closets. It’s ok to put everything in the garage when your home is on the market. This is quite common and is what most sellers do. 

2. Paint

Whether it’s the exterior, the interior, or both, a fresh coat of paint is something that can make your home really stand out. 

A home that hasn’t had a paint job in a long time can do the opposite. If you don’t have the time or resources for a paint job, then no biggie. If you have any leftover paint of the same color, then you may want to think about applying some touch-up. 

And stay with neutral and lighter colors. White, off-white, or a light brown color usually work best for the interior. The lighter the color, the bigger it will make the room look. Dark colors will do the opposite. 

3. Flooring 

The flooring that appeals to many buyers right now is hardwood. Laminate and vinyl also make a great impression. 

Do you have carpet in any of your rooms and hardwood underneath? You might want to think about removing the carpet and showing off the hardwood. 

4. Lighting

The more the better. If your home has natural light, then it’s a big plus and you’ll want to show it off.

Do you have any outdated light fixtures? If so, it’s time to kick them to the curb 🙂

Pendant lighting, Edison bulbs, and simple recessed lighting are what’s hot with today’s designers and buyers. Recessed lighting can make a huge difference, but can be a little costly.

Here are two things that aren’t costly that can also help with lighting…

Have the windows cleaned inside and out. Believe it or not, this makes a tremendous difference. And make sure all of your light bulbs are bright and not missing. Walk in every room and check each one. Sometimes just installing new light bulbs is all you need.

5. Update Your Hardware

You’d be surprised at how easily doorknobs, drawer pulls, locks and handles can start to look aged.

Take a good look at your existing hardware, and consider upgrading to newer models. And don’t forget the hinges. 

6. Colorful plants and flowers

Did you know that most buyers know if your home is for them within the first 15 secondsAnd when they pull up to your home the first impression is everything. 

Planting colorful plants and flowers can go a LONG way. Not only in the front yard – but also in the back. 

I’m not talking the exotic expensive stuff. I’m talking about the inexpensive flowers and plants you can purchase from Home Depot.

It gives off a positive vibe as potential buyers are walking up to and around the property.

Tips on How to Stage Your Home

Staging can be an added benefit by helping to get a homebuyer emotionally excited about your house.

A good professional home stager will know which furniture should be placed where, what color scheme will go best, and can also give advice on any work you might have done on the property. They know how to maximize your space.

Although staging can sometimes make a difference in appearance, it’s not always mandatory.

If you’re not using a home stager, you and your Realtor®can boost the overall appearance and feel of your home with strategic furniture placement, by considering things like:

  • Buyers want to visualize how things will fit
  • Will their couch go in that corner?
  • Does it make sense to mount the TV on that wall?

Placing furniture and other items in their ideal locations can help increase buyer enthusiasm about making an offer on your home. Maximizing your space is another item that ranks on the top of the list of tips for selling your home.

Improper staging or leaving your home vacant can leave buyers less interested in purchasing your home and would not be recommended if you’re looking for tips on how to stage your home.

When selling your home, one of the first things you’ll want to do is sit down with your listing agent and get their opinion on what should be done. They should be able to provide you with their opinion and then you can choose what you want to have completed.

Tips For Selling Your Home Step 3: Preparing and Planning

Now that you have your home ready, the next steps include inspections, disclosures, and some of the pre-marketing.

Your listing agent will guide you through this process.

It’s very important that you fill out all of the necessary disclosures and paperwork. When selling your home, and depending on what state, city, or even neighborhood you’re in, there are certain documents that you need to fill out.

A few of the important ones include certain disclosures, in which you’ll need to answer questions and disclose every single thing you know about the house and neighborhood. This not only helps you from preventing a potential lawsuit down the road from the buyer for not disclosing something about the house that you should have, but it can also help the buyer make a better-informed decision when thinking about writing an offer.

The more information the buyer has up front, the less likely the chance they back out of the sale. These disclosures are part of a package that your listing agent should have ready for any interested buyers and/or their agents.

During this same time, there are several things that your agent will be doing.
what to do to get your house ready to sell

Tips For Selling Your Home

Property Inspections

When you sell your home it’s not mandatory that you do property inspections. However, it’s almost always beneficial.

The most common inspections include a home, termite, roof, pool, and chimney. But depending on your state and the area you live in, there are other inspections that can be common.

We almost always advise our clients to get a home and termite inspection completed.

Why Do A Home Inspection?
home inspection tips for selling your home

Tips For Selling Your Home Step 4: Listing Your Home for Sale

After all of the prepping and planning, it’s time to put your house up for sale.

“Going on the market” usually refers to the home being on the MLS. Your Realtor®will input all of your homes information including the photos, video and property description into the MLS. The MLS is a database used by agents and brokers. This usually only takes about half an hour or so.

Shortly after, your home is automatically syndicated to hundreds of real estate search sites including Zillow, Trulia,, and many more. At the same time, all of the other marketing that your real estate agent has planned should also be starting.

Allowing access to your home can definitely fall under home selling tips and is important. Your agent will usually leave a lockbox containing a house key that allows any potential buyers (only with their agent) and their agents to visit the property.

The easier it is for potential buyers to access your home, the greater your chance of reaching your target sales price.

Your agent should coordinate with you on how buyer agents should schedule a showing. You can have them call your agent directly and then they would call you (assuming you’re still living in the property) to confirm the time, or the buyers’ agent can call or text you to confirm the time.

If the latter is the route you choose, your listing agent should leave a comment in the private remarks section of the MLS (only other agents can see this) giving specific showing instructions.

Make sure your agent is specifically clear on how and when to show your property. If certain times of the day are better or if a certain amount of time is needed in advance, then it’s especially important that your agent puts a description under the private remarks so that other agents are aware.

Open House Tips For Selling Your Home

Open houses are great, but usually aren’t the deciding factor in selling your home.

It’s an opportunity for buyers to view the home so that they don’t need to schedule a private showing with their agent. Open houses will usually receive the highest amount of traffic on the first weekend after the listing is posted.
do open houses help sell my home?

Broker Tours

A broker tour is usually held the morning of a weekday. It’s meant to have other agents and brokers come and preview the home.

It doesn’t hurt to have a brokers tour, but just keep in mind that any interested agents and buyers will already know that your home is on the market. The brokers’ tour does give the opportunity to view your home, so having one doesn’t hurt.

Most of the time, the agents who attend are simply there because they like to look at homes in order to stay up to date with market activity.

Keeping Emotions At Bay

Selling a house can be a very stressful time – especially when your home is on the market and other people are coming through to look at it.

If you’ve owned the home for a long time, maybe there’s an emotional attachment.

Removing all or most of your emotions can drastically help during this time. It’s hard to do, but looking at this as a financial transaction can benefit you in helping to transition to your next phase in life.

Tips For Selling Your Home Step 5: Waiting for an Offer

Waiting, waiting, and more waiting. This is what happens after your home is put up for sale, and the anticipation can start to build quickly.

Your Realtor®should be giving you consistent updates on your home’s activity at least once a week, if not more.
the home selling process

Your real estate agent should open up a dialogue with buyers and other agents to not only gauge interest but to also get feedback.

Remember the Days on the Market

The number of days your home is for sale can have an effect on your potential selling price. The longer your home is on the market, the more leverage you start to lose and the more buyers will gain.

Buyers will start to wonder why your home hasn’t sold. Is there something wrong with the house? Is it overpriced? This is where a price reduction might be necessary. Usually, when this happens, the home was overpriced to start with, either suggested by the Realtor®or an adamant homeowner who thought their home was worth more than it is.

This is why it’s imperative that your listing agent understands the comps as well as current market activity and is well versed on the adjustments that were made before suggesting a list price.

What happens when a buyer is interested?

When a buyer is interested in your home, they will usually ask their agent to start gathering info about your property.

This will mainly consist of looking at recent comps that have sold, as well as asking for any disclosures and/or inspections you may have done. Depending on your state and area, the protocol may be a little different, but it’s always better to be over prepared with as much information upfront so that they can make a better-informed decision with their offer.

After looking at the comps and asking your agent for any disclosures and inspections you might have, the next step for the buyer would be to discuss with their agent about writing an offer. The discussion is about price, contingencies, and a few other terms that will be included in the offer.

Your agent should go over what you want to look for as a seller in an offer. Price is obviously number one, but there are a few other key things your agent should be looking out for when a buyer submits an offer. We’ll touch on these shortly and all of these are great home selling tips.

Is price the only thing that matters?

The goal is to get the highest price when selling your home, but the highest price is not always the best offer.

Your real estate agents job is to negotiate the best possible price with the best possible terms. Part of what makes a great listing agent is knowing how to negotiate with buyers and their agents. Some Realtors®are not well versed in this and don’t utilize certain negotiating tactics when trying to maximize your home’s sales price.

To ensure your listing agent will know how to negotiate top dollar for your home, ask them what their strategy is to do this. This should not be a broad answer but should be backed up with facts, such as statistical data on recent neighborhood sales and current market trends and why they think they can get the sales price that they told you.

When an offer comes in, your agent will let you know and will usually want to sit down and discuss to ensure you understand the details.

You have three options when a buyer submits an offer on your home.
home selling tips with the offer contract

Rejecting the offer means simply that – you reject it and don’t want to negotiate with them. This happens sometimes, but usually in cases when there’s a lowball offer, or for some reason there’s a waiting period where the seller might want to wait to look at all offers.

If you accept the offer, you are accepting the buyers offer price, contingency periods, and anything else that they have stated or outlined in their offer. When you do, the contract is ratified and the clock starts ticking.

The third option is to send them a counter offer. This usually isn’t done how you see on the real estate listing TV shows where they only talk and negotiate on the phone. This can happen, but it’s followed up with legal documents that are part of the offer contract.

Home Selling Tips That Include Possible Items In A Counter Offer

  • Price
  • Contingency timelines
  • Close of escrow
  • Rent back (so that you can stay in the house a bit longer after the sale)

In some cases, there will be one counter offer that you send to the buyer. If they agree to it and sign it, then you’re in contract.

In other cases, there can be numerous counter offers, where your listing agent and the buyer’s agent are negotiating until either both parties agree on all terms, or you don’t and the offer is void.

Once you and the buyer agree on terms and the contract is ratified and the sale turns to pending, it’s not time to celebrate just yet.

There are contingency periods that the buyer has to complete to further do their due diligence.

Tips For Selling Your Home Step 6: Reviewing the Homebuyer’s Contingencies

Usually within the first few days (at the most), the buyer will deposit a “good faith deposit”, which is commonly known as an escrow deposit.

Depending on the state and area you live in, this can be different amounts, but when selling a home in California, this is usually 3% of the purchase price.

This deposit will go towards the buyers down payment but is held in escrow in good faith of the buyers’ agreement to purchase your property.

The buyers’ escrow deposit is NOT at risk until they release all of their contingencies. If they release all of their contingencies and for some reason want to back out of the transaction, then their deposit can be at risk.

As soon as the contract is ratified, the clock starts ticking for the buyer’s contingency periods. Their lender will start on the loan process immediately, their appraisal will be ordered, they will start ordering any inspections, etc.

Common Contingencies in a Homebuyer’s Offer

Contingency periods

On an offer contract, the buyer has options if they want to include contingencies and how long these should be for.

The three most common contingencies are the buyer’s loan contingency, an appraisal contingency, and an inspection contingency.

Another contingency that you might see is an offer contingent on the sale of the buyer’s home.

The Three Most Common Contingencies In A Homebuyer’s Offer

Buyer Loan Contingency

This is contingent on the buyer getting their loan conditionally approved. Most homebuyers will get pre-approved before they start really looking at homes for sale.

A pre-approval means the lender did a credit check, checked the buyers’ bank statements for sufficient collateral and reserves, as well as gathered their most recent pay stubs, W-2’s, tax returns and so forth to make sure they qualify for the home loan.

When a contract is ratified, the underwriter at the buyers’ lender will also need to see other documents to give them the full conditional home loan approval. These include the purchase contract, title report, and a few other documents. A buyer will release their loan contingency when they and their loan officer are 100% confident that the financing will not be an issue.

Appraisal Contingency

When a homebuyer is purchasing a house for sale and is receiving financing from a lender, the lender will require an appraisal of the property.

Since the lender is putting in the majority of the money on the purchase, they want to make sure the collateral being used for the home loan (your house) is worth what the offer price is in the contract.

If the appraisal matches the purchase price or comes in higher, then everything is good and the buyer will release their appraisal contingency.

If the appraisal comes in less than the purchase price, then the buyer can back out of the transaction, try to renegotiate with you and your Realtor®, or if they really want the house, they will end up paying bit more out of pocket.

Banks will use the purchase price, or the appraised value for qualifying factors, whichever is less.

Inspection Contingencies

This is a time frame for the buyer to do any and all inspections.

These can include the same inspections you might have done or different inspections. Sometimes a homebuyer will want to have their inspections completed, even though you might have already provided inspections upfront. This is perfectly normal. Purchasing a house is a major financial transaction and it’s always better that everyone involved does as much homework as possible and not try to avoid any shortcuts.

Once the buyer is confident on the inspections, they will release their inspection contingencies.

The Next Steps

When the buyer releases any and/or all of their contingencies, they will do so on a legal document that is part of the contract and signed by all parties. The typical timeline can be anywhere from 0-21 days (give or take) for any of the contingencies.

Some buyers will waive their contingencies in their offer (this is much more common in a seller’s market where there is low inventory) and some might leave them as they are standard in the contract.

They can also be modified in the offer contract. For example, if an inspection contingency is 17 days standard in the contract, a homebuyer might take this down to 10 days to make their offer look a little stronger.

As a seller, this is a good thing, as it shows more commitment from the buyer.

As a seller, once you accept an offer, you’re waiting for the buyer to release their contingencies. When they do, their escrow deposit can be at risk should they want to back out of the transaction.

During this same time and as you get closer to the closing date, you can really start to get everything ready for your next adventure and start making immediate plans if you need to.

Tips For Selling Your Home Step 7: Waiting for the Lender

After the buyer removes their contingencies, it’s really a waiting game for their lender to send their loan documents to the escrow company to be signed.

There are conditions (paperwork) that the buyer needs to fulfill before the underwriter will give the ok to draw the final loan documents, but usually this has nothing to do with the seller.

About a few days to a week before your estimated closing date, you’ll be scheduled to sign the final legal documents of the transaction at the escrow company. Your agent will keep you informed about this.

You’ll be signing the legal documents that will transfer the property to the buyer. You’ll need to bring your drivers license and your bank account info (routing and account info) to give to the notary so that the escrow company can wire your home sale proceeds as soon as the transaction is complete.

Around this same time, the buyer will be doing a final walk-through of your home. This is meant to make sure the home is in the same condition as when they first saw it. The buyers will sign a disclosure that is part of the contract verifying the property condition is the same and good to go.

Once the underwriter at the buyer’s lender gives the green light, they will draw up the loan documents and send them to the escrow company for the buyer to sign.

Tips For Selling Your Home Step 8: Closing

When the buyer signs their loan documents at the escrow company, you’re a couple days away from the transaction being official.

It’s important that when you leave the home, you leave it in good condition with nothing left behind, and if there are any special instructions coordinated in the contract, be sure to follow through on them. Your agent should remind you of what these are, if any, and should also be explaining the closing process.

A few key things are to leave all the sets of keys, garage door openers, as anything else you can think of that should stay behind.

At this same time, it’s safe to take the utilities out of your name.

Here’s how the closing typically works. Again, this will depend on which state you’re in, but in California, this is the usual process:

Home Selling Tips and The Three Steps To Closing A Sale

Step 1

Once the buyer signs their loan documents at the title company, the escrow officer will then send them back to the lender so that the underwriter can make sure all of the T’s are crossed and all of the I’s are dotted. Once the underwriter signs off on the loan documents and there are no more conditions for the buyer to fulfill, the loan is ready to fund.

Step 2

Funding means that the lender sends the buyers’ loan amount to the escrow company via wire. Once the escrow company receives the funds, they will disburse the funds accordingly (i.e, paying off the sellers mortgage, paying commission checks to the buyer and listing agent’s brokerage, net proceeds to the seller, etc).

Step 3

Usually, the day after the funding is when the transaction becomes official. This is known as recording.

The recording is a process where the escrow/title company physically sends someone down to your County recorder’s office with a copy of the grant deed. Then, someone at the counties office will give it the final stamp of approval. Once this happens, the transaction is official and you can officially celebrate!

By now, I hope you have learned numerous tips for selling your home. Each and every step is an important one, and all are interconnected. Selling your home may seem complicated, but with the help of the right real estate agent, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re in Silicon Valley and thinking of selling, we’d love to show you what five-star service is all about and how selling with SoldNest can save you tens of thousands.

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Tips For Selling Your Home
Looking for tips to sell your home? You've come to the right place. We break down the home selling process in detail and give you top tips to sell your house.
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