I Want to Sell My Home: How do I get Started?

by on July 16, 2012Shannon O'Brien

preparing to sell your homeThe process of selling a home can be broken down into concrete steps. If taken in order, these steps lead to a successful conclusion. Skimping on any of the steps – trying to take shortcuts – may lead to problems when problems are the last thing you want to encounter – during the escrow period.

Your friends at RealEstate.com believe in the power of the checklist and have created one especially for the home seller.

First, though, let’s dig into each step and discuss its importance.

Clean and Declutter

Before you even think of having real estate agents tour the home, get the heavy lifting out of the way. If you’re confused about what to remove from your home and what should stay, keep in mind that your aim is to make rooms look larger and brighter. Oversized furniture typically make a room look smaller, so store the big stuff and rearrange the smaller furniture to make the room look open and airy.

Go through each room and remove anything that doesn’t fit the room’s purpose. For instance, exercise equipment doesn’t advertise that your office is a place to get work done, so move the treadmill into storage. Do the same with baby paraphernalia in the living room: Either move baby items to the nursery or store them while the house is on the market.

When you clean the house, clean everything, from the drapes to the rugs and carpet.

Curb Appeal

One of the more familiar real estate buzzwords, curb appeal simply describes how appealing your home is from the curb. This is the buyer’s initial vantage point and typically determines whether she wants to see the inside of the home.

At the very least, give the landscaping a good cleaning and pruning, green up the lawn and keep it mowed. A fresh coat of paint on the front door creates a focal point for the buyer when she lands at the curb in front of your home.

Consider Staging the Home

Studies have shown that staging a home allows it to sell quicker and for more money. While you don’t need to go all out and hire the most expensive interior decorator in town, following some basic staging advice will go a long way toward a quick sale and big bucks.

Make Necessary Repairs

To avoid bumps in the home selling road, have your home professionally inspected before putting it on the market. Yes, the buyer will most likely have it inspected as well, but a pre-sale home inspection gives you knowledge of items in need of repair that may slow down or even halt the deal.

At the very least, fix those items that you are aware of, such as dripping faucets, running toilets and holes in window screens.

Hire an Agent

Sure, folks sell their houses on their own all the time. Unless you have a lot of spare time to devote to the process, however, the marketing of your biggest lifetime investment should be left to a professional real estate agent.

Finding the right real estate agent for your situation is the biggest challenge, but we have a checklist for finding an agent to help you out.

Create a Brag Book

The brag book is something you can leave on the kitchen counter for buyers to look through as they tour your home. In it you can place your home’s flyer, a page that includes the neighborhood’s comparable sales, and a listing of the area’s schools, parks and other amenities. Add a sheet that highlights any of the home’s custom features and, finally, a list of all repairs or replacements made with copies of invoices.

Use the checklist below to remain organized during the initial phase of getting your home ready for the market.

Checklist for Preparing to Sell Your Home

Declutter

  • Clear off kitchen and bathroom counters, leaving only decorative items.
  • Clean out and rearrange medicine cabinet, closets, cupboards, pantry and drawers to make them look roomier.
  • Remove large furniture and other items that make rooms appear small and cramped.
  • Rearrange rooms to advertise their purpose (remove exercise equipment from the office).
  • Remove personal items such as family photos, refrigerator clutter, certificates and awards, books and DVD collections.

Clean the Home Thoroughly

  • Remove odors.
  • Wash or paint the walls.
  • Wash the windows.
  • Launder or dry clean rugs and drapery.
  • Clean out the fireplace.
  • Make the bathroom and kitchen sparkle.
  • Clean carpets.
  • Clean baseboards.

Increase Curb Appeal

  • Make the front porch look as inviting as possible.
  • Fertilize, edge and mow the lawn.
  • Rake debris from the beds and add fresh mulch.
  • Consider new landscape plants that add a pop of color to the yard.

Next Steps

  • Hire a home stager or do it yourself.
  • Order a home inspection.
  • Make the necessary repairs.
  • Interview real estate agents.
  • Create a brag book.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Tajuana jefferson October 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm

I’m retiring I need to sell my townhome and buy a rambler

Reply

Alberto Medrano August 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Great article, beautifully written and precise. First step, get a Comparative market Analysis on your home. This will give you an idea of how much your home will be worth when compared to the market in a 1 mile radius. Once you decided that it will be beneficial for you to sell your home, next step is to hire a local agent that knows his or hers marketplace. They should take care of everything from start to finish leaving you with little to no stress. And make sure they communicate, sometimes I offer a communication agreement added to my listing contract.

Reply

AJMAL.AMEER August 22, 2013 at 1:06 am

I WANT TO SELL MY HOUSE
12CENTS

Reply

Julio Maldonado August 8, 2013 at 9:48 am

I need to sell my home as soon as possible
Because I have to relocate to Staten Island New York.
And i can not afford to pay two mortgages.

Reply

archie November 13, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Have you found a buyer?

Reply

Laura Larabee July 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Hello I don’t know how start we are thinking of retiring this year, but we need to decide how much we will get for this house because we are going to moving out of state. So I wondering if you could help.

Reply

Travis Webb November 21, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Looking to sell newly and fully remodeled home. Two and half bath, full finished basement with bar and bath. 8 x 19 walk in closet or storage room(finished)three levels .garage attached off basement .three level home with 12×16 deck off kitchen newly paved driveway and turn about .custom cabinets in kitchen and hardwood throughout .too many positives to list

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