Selling your home can be a long, complicated process. But it doesn’t need to be. There are a few simple steps you can take to make sure you’re completing the process the right way with as few headaches as possible. Keep reading to get our checklist for selling a house and learn more about making the process as smooth and easy as possible.
Your home is a pretty big asset, so you’re probably expecting a big payday at the end of the process. But before you dive in, it’s important to know that there are a few expenses you’ll have to cover before, during and even after selling your home.
Here are some of the big ones to know about:
- Repairs: It’s important to keep your house in tip-top shape when showing it to a prospective buyer. You’ll need to take a good look throughout your home and identify anything that needs immediate repair. It’s also a good idea to give your house a cosmetic facelift, doing things like painting the walls and cleaning the carpets.
- Closing costs: It’s mostly the buyer who foots the bill for closing costs, but these are always up for negotiation, and sellers are usually expected to cover at least some of them at the end of the sale. If it’s a buyers’ market, you might find yourself paying more of the closing costs than you would otherwise.
- Real estate commission: At the end of the sale, sellers will have to pay their real estate agent a commission, usually between 5 and 6% of the final sale price. This is typically the biggest cost for sellers, and one of the reasons many sellers choose to sell their homes themselves is to avoid paying it.
- Taxes: Everyone’s favorite constant in life. You’re going to have to pay taxes on the sale of your home. That includes a capital gains tax if you sold your home for more than you initially paid for it. Sellers also might have to pay a property tax, depending on the terms of their agreement with the buyer.
Real estate agents have major roles to play in the home-selling process, so it’s important you do your homework and choose the one that’s right for you. The realtor is responsible for giving you advice on the market, helping you make decisions about prices and upkeep. It’s crucial you pick an agent that has a good level of local market expertise so you’re setting an asking price that’s reasonably in line with everyone’s expectations.
Good real estate agents are the ones that lead showings, interact with prospective buyers and answer any questions they have about the property itself. That means you need to hire someone who not only can learn quickly and get a good grasp of the particulars of your home, but who you also feel comfortable working with.
The right real estate professional isn’t just going to fall in your lap. You need to do your research. Here’s how to start:
- Come up with a list of suitable agents
- Search online for their recent sales
- Get the data on each of their final sales prices compared to the asking price
- Figure out how long each of their properties were on the market
Don’t be afraid to reach out to ask for this data. It’s the real estate agent’s job to instill trust in their potential clients.
All this might sound like one big headache. No sweat. With Bungalo, you can use our mobile app to completely cut out the go-between (in this case, the real estate agent) and handle much of the buying process yourself. Doing this helps you save on those pricey agent fees that can really stack up at the end of the sale.
There are a few different factors that go into determining the value of your home, but it mostly comes down to the sales prices of similar properties in your area. Here are a few of the qualities real estate agents consider when determining a home’s value:
- Location and surrounding area
- Number of rooms
- Type of house
- Local market factors
Your asking price will depend in large part on what month of the year you’re trying to sell. In the spring and early summer months of March, April, May and June, prospective buyers are hitting the markets hard after a long winter of being cooped up inside. With so many buyers on the market, you can afford to bump your asking price up a little.
As the year drags on, however, buyers are either locking in deals or losing interest in the market. By the time the fall and early winter months roll around (September, October, November and December), any remaining buyers on the market are just going to wait until next year. At that point, you’ll need to bring your asking price down if you still intend to sell.
Sellers aren’t required to get a professional appraisal on their home because they won’t need to take out a loan from the bank (to sell, at least. They’ll likely need a loan if they’re purchasing another property). Still, it’s a good idea to consider an appraisal because it’ll give you more information to work with and might help you corroborate the value proposed by your real estate agent.
Some people are looking for a fixer-upper — a house in desperate need of repair that they can spend their time and money devoted to turning into their home. But most people on the market are looking for a property that’s already in good shape. If a potential buyer takes a tour of your home and it’s anything but, they might end up walking out the door for good.
Before you put your home on the market and start scheduling showings, it’s important to inspect every corner of the property and make any necessary repairs. Some common fixes include:
- Faded paint on the walls
- Cracks in the ceiling or in glass windows
- Broken door hinges/locks
- Faulty appliances
Some jobs — like a quick paint touch-up — you might be able to handle on a Saturday afternoon. For others — like fixing the air conditioner — it might be better to hire a professional. It’s up to you whether you want to keep your appliances when you move, but if you intend to leave them, they should be fixed up and ready to use before the next person moves in.
The amount you spend on pre-move home improvements depends on a lot of different things, including how much work the property needs, how many repairs you can do on your own and what your prospective buyers’ expectations are. But any work you do could help you secure a higher sales price, and you could recoup much of those expenses later.
Don’t have the time to take care of all this yourself? When you sell to Bungalo, we inspect every part of your house and take care of any and all home repairs. Every home we list is certified to the highest standards.
The biggest thing to remember when getting ready for a house showing is that your home’s curb appeal matters. A lot. You want your home to look as nice as possible to prospective buyers who are going to take your home’s visual appeal into account before making a decision.
Make sure you give your home a good deep clean from top to bottom before showing it to buyers. That means steaming and vacuuming the carpets, cleaning the windows and, of course, washing the bathrooms.
It’s also important to move all personal items out of view to whatever extent possible. Prospective buyers are taking a look at your home in part because they want to know if it feels like a fit for them and their families. If you have your kids’ toys, family pictures and other personal items scattered around the house, it’s a lot harder for them to picture it as theirs.
When it’s time to meet prospective buyers, you have a few different showing options. These include:
- Open house: Sellers schedule blocks of time to give open-door access to members of the public interested in their home. Prospective buyers usually don’t need to make an appointment beforehand.
- Private showing: Buyers will schedule an allotted time to meet with sellers and their real estate agent to get a private view of the home. These tend to be more intimate and give the buyer better access to the seller.
- Lockbox showing: Prospective buyers get a key from the seller and tour the house on their own time with their own agent. This allows them to see the house for themselves without the influence of the seller hanging overhead.
- Bungalo keyless app showing: Prospective buyers can schedule and tour any Bungalo home right on our mobile app, giving them a more convenient and efficient way of perusing the housing market.
You’ve accepted an offer on terms you and the buyer both agree to. Congrats! But there’s still a lot of administrative tasks to take care of. Most importantly, you need to hand over all the necessary documents to the buyer in exchange for the agreed payment. Your real estate agent should know exactly what documents you’ll need, so leave that part to them. It can vary in different states.
But closing is more than just the final exchange. This is also when you need to pay any remaining liens on the home to your own mortgage lender, and pay back fees for any services provided during the home sale process. That includes all real estate agent commissions, which, as we mentioned, will probably end up being one of your biggest expenses.
If you agreed to make any repairs or improvements as part of the closing settlement, you’ll need to have those finished before you shake hands. Some people choose to make separate deals and agree to let the now-former owner make the necessary repairs at a later time. In those cases, you won’t have to worry about fixing anything up before completing the sale. All in all, the process from listing to closing takes an average of around 24 days, according to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
With Bungalo, you don’t have to worry about anything slipping through the cracks after you’ve closed. We stand by our certification for a full 90 days after closing, and we’ll cover a variety of different issues that arise in that time.
Selling a home can be a challenge but knowing the right steps to take before getting started can help ease much of the anxiety that comes with it. That’s where we come in. Bungalo is transforming the entire home-buying and selling process by making it easier for buyers and sellers to navigate the housing market and helping people land their dream home.
Buyers using Bungalo can conduct convenient self-guided tours at their own convenience. Our certification process also gives them the confidence that they’re only touring homes that meet our high standards of quality. Best of all, transparent pricing models let buyers rest easy knowing they’re getting exactly what they’re paying for.
Contact us today to learn more.
*This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Bungalo always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.