A Guide to Selling your Home
Selling your home is a big deal. No matter what prompts you to put your home on the market, the process can be exhilarating, daunting and emotional. It’s important to us that you feel educated and empowered as you say “goodbye” to one phase of your life and “hello” to the next.
The click-through timeline below guides you through each stage of the home-selling process so you’ll know what to expect.
Is it Time to Sell?
What’s the next adventure on Life’s big to-do list? Are you moving across the country for a job relocation? Is there a new baby on the way? Are you simply looking for a bigger yard or a shorter commute?
No matter what’s motivating you to sell your home, here are some questions to consider:
- Why are you selling?
- What’s your timeline?
- Do you want to upsize, downsize, or maintain the same amount of living space?
- Would you stay if you could remodel or add more square footage?
- If your home sells immediately, where will you go? If you plan to move into a rental property while in transition, check out a few to see what it feels like to be in that space and what you’ll do with your belongs in the meantime.
- Can you sell your home as is, or do you need to make some changes?
- What are your dreams and aspirations for the future and how does your living space contribute toward meeting those goals?
Selling your house is about more than putting a “For Sale” sign in the yard; it’s about reevaluating your definition of “home.”
You have a lot to consider as you prepare to sell your home. We’re happy to visit with you about your plans, share our knowledge about the current real estate market, and help you clarify your goals and timelines. We do this free of charge, without any obligation to list your home with us.
A Pre-listing Consultation Includes:
- A pre-listing checklist of items you’ll need to collect before listing your home.
- An outline of our marketing strategy and a printout of our tactics.
- A blank property condition report so you’ll know what to expect when it’s time to complete the report.
- Answers to your questions about listing, pricing and marketing your home.
How We Can Help
Selling a home on your own can quickly feel like a part-time job. Working with an experienced real estate team means having a partner who will:
- Competitively position your home on the market
- Advertise your house to potential buyers
- Coordinate showings
- Negotiate counteroffers
- Manage the timelines, contingencies and paperwork
- Advocate on your behalf
- Guide you from listing to closing with as little stress and disruption as possible!
Matt’s extensive construction and engineering background and Brynn’s attention to detail and thoughtfulness offer a powerful combination of know-how and heart. We understand that selling a home is a demanding process and we want to alleviate the worry and headaches.
Evaluating & Pricing Your Home
Deciding how to price your home for sale is one of the biggest challenges a home owner faces. Price it too high and you could miss out on those critical early showings; price it too low and you won’t receive what your home is worth.
Signing with us means we’ll provide:
- A walk through of your home to see how it compares to other active and recently sold houses in the area.
- Market reports that help you make an informed decision about where to price your house.
- Home improvement recommendations to increase the likelihood of selling your home for top dollar.
- A pre-listing inspection of your home to give you an idea of what you’re likely to see during your home inspection so you can take action on those items now.
- Help with the paperwork including the listing contract and supporting addendums.
Preparing Your House for Sale
You want your home to shine from the first moment it’s on the market. Some upfront work can make a big difference in generating buyer interest and competitive offers.
- Paint – A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color is one of the best returns on investment you can make.
- Repair – A well-maintained home tells buyers you care about your property, so patch up the hole in the screen and fix the door that sticks.
- De-clutter – Hold a moving sale, sell that extra bookcase on Craig’s list, or donate items you’ve outgrown.
- Clean – Whether you roll up your sleeves and do it yourself or hire a cleaning service, it’s vital to give your home a thorough scrubbing from top to bottom.
- Maintain – Keep the lawn cut, the snow shoveled, and the curb appeal high.
- Stage – Help potential buyers picture themselves living in and enjoying the home by setting the dining room table for a celebration dinner, adding decorative pillows to the beds, and tucking away the family photographs.
Whew! When you’ve finished the prep work, we’ll take high-quality, high-definition photographs of your home and property that show off all your hard work. We personally review each proof to make sure only the best images are used to market your home.
On the Market—Finding the Right Buyer
When you’re ready, we’ll formally list your home for sale. This means actively marketing your property to potential buyers through the internet, print media, a yard sign, and word of mouth. Here are just a few of the avenues we use to advertise your home:
- Custom property website
- Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
- Third party syndication (Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow)
- The Kirchoff Group brokerage website
- ListHub – syndication to over 70 sites
- Google AdWords
- Unlike agents who use a third party sign service, we custom make and personally install each of our yard signs. We pick the most visible locations and install arrow signs, when possible, to alert drive-by traffic.
- Listing brochures with the yard sign
- Lake Country publications
- Local, targeted postcard notifications
- Promotion to our buyer clients – We often have buyer clients searching for a home in your area and this allows us to match them with your home as quickly as possible.
- Community networking – Our team is active in the Lake Country community through the chambers of commerce, VFW, and American Legion.
- Realtor-direct marketing – We keep a close network of other real estate agents in the area who may have buyers for your property.
It’s Show Time!
We’ll discuss your preferred showing timeframes and special instructions for prospective buyers and their agents. As agents request a showing, we’ll call or text you to get your approval. Once you’ve approved a showing, we’ll provide the buyer’s agent with the access code to the lockbox or keypad. Most showings last an hour, but depending on buyer interest they could be longer or shorter.
It pays to make your house look show-ready every morning. That way, if you get a request for a showing while you’re at work or away from the house, you know the beds are made, the sink is clear of dishes, and the kid’s toys are put away.
Home showings can be difficult for many sellers. You’re starting to say “goodbye” to your home already and it can be a strange and uncomfortable feeling. Rest assured that we always verify the showing agent’s MLS code and home office to guard against security issues. It’s also good to know that realtors are licensed and required to follow a code of ethics, so your possessions should be safe, but it’s a good idea to secure important personal belongings, documents, and medications.
This is what you’ve been waiting for!
As your agent, our number one goal is to ensure you get the best price, timeline and offer package as possible. We’ll present you with each offer to purchase your home and explain the components, advantages and disadvantages of each.
Just as there’s a unique seller behind every home, there’s a unique buyer behind every offer. Are they pre-qualified for a mortgage loan or are they cash buyers? What contingencies do they have? Are they flexible on closing date or tied to a certain timeframe?
The offer and counteroffer process can be a nerve-wracking and emotional one. Depending on the gap between offer terms and listing terms, it’s not uncommon to go through three or four rounds of counteroffers. When emotions are running high, we provide a calm, experienced voice to handle negotiations on your behalf.
Today’s technology makes it possible to provide you with a completely paperless offer process. The platform, called Digital Ink, lets you electronically sign documents from anywhere with an internet connection, so you can continue to live your life as we work to sell your home.
Congratulations! What’s Next?
It’s common to have contingencies for buyer financing, property appraisal (required by the buyer’s lender), and home inspection. If your property is on well and septic, you may be requested to provide safe water, well and septic tests within 30 days of closing. Buyers may also request tests for radon and mold at their expense.
Vetting Service Providers
It’s our job as your representative to make sure the parties involved in your home sale are competent, qualified, and educated. This means verifying the home inspector is qualified to evaluate your property and the appraiser is geographically competent to assess home values in your area.
It’s not uncommon for another round of negotiations to occur after your home inspection and sometimes this catches home owners by surprise. We have an intimate working knowledge of the contingency process and how potential outcomes can play out for better or worse and we’re here to help you negotiate any changes in the terms of the offer that may arise.
Preparing for Your Move
Selling your home, packing your belongings, and moving to a new location is no small task. There are a lot of details to keep straight as your closing date approaches.
We’ve highlighted a few things you should have on your to-do list at this point in the process to keep things moving along:
- Confirm the move date with your moving company
- Maintain your property (keep the lawn cut and the snow shoveled)
- Cancel services effective on your closing date
- Set up utility and service accounts at your new location
- Change your address and forward mail
- Organize a moving sale
- Rent storage space
- Start packing!
Saying “Goodbye” to Your Home
Most buyers request a final walk-through before closing. The buyer’s agent will accompany them, and it typically happens within 24 hours of closing.
Walk-throughs occur so the buyer can make sure nothing on the property has been damaged or changed. Remember to leave all the items included in the offer to purchase such as appliances and window coverings. This also includes fixtures like ceiling fans and the raspberry bushes you planted in the back yard. If it’s permanently attached to a wall or planted in the ground, it stays with the house unless you’ve excluded it during the offer/counteroffer process.
Your closing date is determined by the initial terms of your offer and usually takes place at the title company or at your buyer’s lending institution. As the seller, you can pre-sign your documents several days before closing, which gives you some flexibility as you manage the logistics of your move.
Welcome to the next phase of your life! We hope, as you move on to new adventures, you’ll have many happy memories of your “old house.”