What To Expect: A Timeline for Selling a House

Selling your home can be a daunting process, especially because there are a lot of steps in the process of selling your home. From doing basic repairs to figuring out how much to ask for during the sale, selling takes a lot of time and energy.

Fortunately, a little organization goes a long way in making this major process more manageable. To help you stay organized and make your sale a success, we recommend breaking down the things you have to do into the following stages:

STAGE 1 – Do an Initial Interview and Property Tour with Your Real Estate Agent

The first things you should do are an initial interview and property tour with a real estate agent. An initial interview will help you determine if you like an agent’s credentials, as well as make your goals and preferences clear early in your selling process. After this initial discussion, schedule a property tour with the agent you want to work with. This tour will help the agent begin to map out what they need to do for you next!

STAGE 2 – Consult with Your Real Estate Agent

After the initial property tour is complete, plan on consulting with your real estate agent to discuss the finer details of your sale plan. This time is needed to do the following:

  • Thoroughly evaluate the property’s condition with your real estate agent. You need this information to know what your home is worth – both as it is, and after any potential repairs and upgrades.
  • Determine the initial terms of sale with your agent, which will finalize the contract you and the agent work under together during the sale process.
  • Establish an asking price for the house.

STAGE 3 – Sign Listing Paperwork & Make a Plan of Action to Sell Your House

Following a consultation with your real estate agent, you’ll start taking action to prepare your home for its “big reveal” as a listed property. Action steps during this stage include:

  • Making final decisions on which repairs and upgrades you’ll make – and which aren’t worth your energy or money at this point in time.
  • Preparing and staging your home for its first showings.
  • Signing official listing paperwork with your agent.

STAGE 4 – Spread the Word that You’re Selling a House

Marketing and advertising are important once you’re officially selling a house. Your agent can get the word out about your new listing by doing the following:

  • Install a lock box and yard sign on your property.
  • Enter your property data into the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) to reach as many people looking to buy a house as possible.
  • Advertise the property online through portals such as HowardHanna.com, Realtor.com, and other real estate listing options.
  • Create property flyers that you and your real estate agent can share and post in the area.
  • Mail “Just Listed” postcards to prospective buyers.
  • Schedule an Open House or Virtual Tour within the first two weeks of your house being listed.

STAGE 5 – Begin Negotiations with a Prospective Home Buyer

When a prospective buyer makes an offer, negotiations will take place to finalize the details and terms of agreement between you and the buyer. During this process, work with your real estate agent to:

  • Review the details of the initial offer, as well as receive a Seller’s Net Sheet to show what the offer means to your financial bottom line.
  • Strategize on whether to counter the offer, or accept it and its initial terms.

Once negotiations are complete, the contract is considered ratified!

STAGE 6 – Prepare for the Final Sale of your Home During the Pending Period

After an offer is accepted and/or negotiated, there will be a pending period on your house. During this period:

  • Any inspections required by the contract terms are ordered.
  • Repair items are noted and/or negotiated. You are then responsible for completing any repairs agreed upon.
  • Just before closing, the buyer will conduct a final walk-through to check on repairs and to confirm the property is in the same condition, or better, as when the offer was initially made.

STAGE 7 – Settle and Finish Selling Your House

The final stage of the sale should be conducted by a closing agent, which may be an attorney or a settlement agent from a title company. During this stage:

  • All required documents are signed.
  • The property transfer is recorded.
  • Funds are disbursed immediately or within two business days depending on the location of your property.

Congratulations – you’ve sold your house!

This general timeline will give you a rough idea of what to expect as you sell your house. Every experience is unique, of course, so there may be additional steps to take as you work through the process. But with the right assistance, it’s all completely manageable!

Need additional assistance selling your home? We can help you! Howard Hanna offers an extensive range of tools, programs, and resources to help you kick-start the home selling process. Learn more about how Howard Hanna can help by visiting our website.

We’ve also written a Seller’s Guide to help you learn how to sell your house in 2020, complete with tips for working with a real estate agent, low-cost ideas for staging your home, and more! Download the free guide today to take advantage of over 20 pages packed with advice and worksheets all geared toward one thing: helping you sell your home faster, easier, and for more money.

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