1. Finding the Right Listing Agent: Finding the right listing agent is crucial to the successful sale of your home. One of the best things you can do is ask friends and family who they would recommend. Most of the time they have already worked with someone that they have enjoyed. Once you have decided on a few options, sit down and interview them. Let them tell you about their marketing plans, pricing strategy, and overall vision for the sale of your home. Based on all of the information you receive, you can then decide who you would like to sell your home.
2. Let’s Talk Price: During your interview with your realtor, make sure to talk about their pricing strategy. Ask them what the current market is like. Ask them to do a competitive market analysis (CMA) on your home with other homes in the neighborhood and other homes with similar features. Along with that, feel free to do your own research. Although websites like Zillow and Realtor.com have their pitfalls, they are still a powerful resource that you can use to compare other homes to yours. Figure out a median or average price and discuss it with your realtor.
3. Preparing to Sell: Once you have decided to list your home, it is best to walk through your home with a real estate expert to discuss any improvements you would consider doing before putting it on the market. Our team prefers to hire a professional designer (included in our services, of course) to give you tips and tricks to make your home the most appealing to a potential buyer. As you can imagine, this will help determine the timeline for the sale of the home as well as the initial list price. We will then hire a professional photographer to make sure your home is brought to market with the best marketing photos possible. Pro Tip: While thinking through these things, make arrangements for a place for your pets to go during showings, inspections, and walkthroughs.
4. Getting the Word out there: Word of mouth is always a good place to start. Let people know that your house is for sale. Keep talking to your Realtor about their marketing plan. With The Engelman Team, we make sure to get it out immediately on Facebook, Zillow, Realtor.com, and schedule open houses. Within the first day, we easily reach 1,000 people online with several thousand more soon after that. Marketing is very important because ultimately you want your home to reach as many people as possible.
5. Let the Showings Begin: Most Realtors will put a lockbox on your front door as soon as your home gets listed. Appointments will then start being scheduled for other agents to view your home. You can decide how much time you’d like to know ahead of time for a showing as well. We like to give owners permission to approve their own showings so they can be in full control of their schedule. Don’t forget to move your pets to another location as stated before.
6. Getting an Offer (or two…): Once the showings have begun, depending on the current market trends, your home could be sold within the first day it comes onto the market – so make sure that you are prepared for that. The busiest time in real estate tends to be in the early spring and summer, however, the market is constantly changing. You never know when you will be in the middle of a multiple offer situation. Make sure any offers are being fed from Realtor to Realtor. Your Realtor will have your best interests in mind and can help you think through all of the terms of any offer and help you balance the pros and cons. It also helps to have a third party that is less emotionally involved in the place you’ve called home for so long. Negotiations are a common part of the transaction, that’s why The Engelman listing agents are Certified Negotiation Experts!
7. Offer Accepted: Once you have accepted an offer, your listing agent will walk you through the next steps. They will deliver all listing paperwork as well as the signed Purchase Agreement and SDS to their closing department to start the next phase in the selling process.
8. Inspections: Depending on the terms of the contract with the buyer, they will want to perform a general home inspection. It is the buyer’s responsibility to schedule this. Be prepared to receive a call or email asking you to leave your home for about 2-3 hours so they can perform this inspection. From there, the buyers may ask you to repair anything that has “major deficiencies” that were not already disclosed or known. Another round of negotiations may take place, depending upon what was found in the inspection. In central Iowa, Sellers are also responsible to pay for a pest inspection, but this is a pretty low cost item that rarely poses an issue.
9. Documentation: Once you have made it through all of the inspections and possible addendums, about two weeks before closing your agent will receive the deed packet. This packet will include the Warranty Deed, Declaration of Value, Groundwater Hazard Sheet, and Mortgage Affidavit (if applicable). You will need to sign and have these documents notarized. Practically, these documents are what allows you to transfer the title of the home to the new owners. Then about 2 days prior to closing your agent will receive the ALTA statement (which is from the American Land Title Association and used for title insurance) and the Closing Disclosure. These will review all of the credits and debits throughout the transaction and make sure that you are receiving the correct amount of proceeds from the transaction.
10. Closing!: As the seller you do not have to physically attend closing. The buyer will schedule the closing with their lender or lawyer and once they have finished your proceeds check will be ready. It is good for your agent to be in communication with the other side to know how they will be handling your proceeds. Most often proceeds are hand-delivered or picked up following closing. Occasionally, it will make more sense to have your proceeds mailed or wired to you. Make sure that your agent is aware if this is how you would like to receive your proceeds.