A Step-by-Step Selling Guide Did you just find out that you got that "dream job" you've been coveting and now you need to move? Is it time to retire and you're ready to downsize your living arrangement? Do you need to sell your current home before you can move into a new one? Regardless of your situation, you realize that the time to sell your home is now. Continue below for a typical timeline of the selling process: Listing Your Home So you're feeling ready to start the home-selling process. You're first question may be: "Well, how much can I fetch for it?" There are three main considerations that determine how much your house will sell for: The house's current condition The housing market The listing agent Now, you can decide to improve your house's current condition and you can decide which agent you will select to sell your house. But the housing market will be out of your control. However, when you select the best agent for the job, that agent will be able to help you navigate both the housing market and improving the house's current condition. Choosing the Right Agent The right agent can be the single most important decision of your home-selling process. A great agent will work tirelessly for you day and night. A great agent will facilitate getting your house into "game-shape" so it can sell for maximum value on the market. A great agent will know how to price your home so that it sells quickly AND receives the highest possible offer to buy. Here are a few things to consider when selecting the right agent: Home-selling Strategy: What is the agent's plan? Have they clearly expressed the steps they're going to take to market and sell your home? Does the agent have the connections you need to make the proper home improvements to increase the home's selling price? Connections: Is the agent a staple in the community? Are they known, respected, and trusted by many? This will be especially important when the agent is gathering prospective buyers to come "check out" your home during the open house phase. Track Record: Does the agent have a history of success in real estate or otherwise? What kind of testimonials and reviews does the agent have? It's important to verify the credibility of the agent before moving forward with them. Signing the Listing Agreement When the agent you're going to work with has been chosen, the next step is making it official: Signing a listing agreement together. By signing a listing agreement with the agent, you are giving the agent an exclusive opportunity to sell your home within a predetermined amount of time. Typically this amount of time is for three months. However, in very slow market conditions, this amount of time can be from six months to a year. Pricing Your Home There are many factors which determine what a home will realistically sell for. These factors can be as abstract as buyers' general attitudes or as common as the supply and demand conditions of the housing market. Furthermore, activity in the housing market tends to spike and drop depending on the time of year. (January to February) Activity in the housing market tends to increase as people are returning from vacations and start looking ahead. (March to May) Tends to be the optimal time to sell your home as families are looking to establish themselves within specific school districts for the upcoming school year. (June to August) Tends to slow down as people leave for vacation. (September to October) Often there is an increase in buying due to people returning from vacation and wanting to situation themselves in a new home before the close of year. (November to January) As the holidays approach, things tend to slow down dramatically and prices typically reduce to compensate for the lack of demand. A property will always garner the most interest as soon as it's listed and open to the market. While the temptation may be to price high in the beginning, the danger is that prospective buyers may simply pass over the property and not engage. Whereas pricing slightly below or at market value in the beginning "excitement" period will not only generate more showings, but also cause prospective buyers to start a "bidding war" over your property which will drive the price up. Preparing Your Home to Sell When selling a home, it's important to remember that it must be clean and open so that the imaginations of prospective buyers can run wild and free as they consider what it would be like to actually live in the property. A home is a product. Together, we are marketing this product to sell. We'll determine whether the house should be left essentially empty, or whether key staging of furniture and decorations will be more advantageous. At Curtis Knight Real Estate, we transfer to you all of the benefits of our event services, which includes a keen eye for staging and decoration! Marketing Your Home When you agree to use us as your listing agency, we will immediately assign your property to one of our marketing specialists who will immediately begin to implement our Ten-Point Marketing Checklist: High-end photography of property, neighborhood, and town. High-end videography of property, neighborhood, and town. Listing your house in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) so that it can be easily found in Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com etc. Crafting a truly compelling listing description for the property that will be seen on all MLS syndicated sites (Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com etc.) Beautifully printed marketing materials, featuring high-end photography. Establishing times and dates for open-houses and marketing them through our vast network of buyer's agents, social media advertising, yard and street signs. All of this utilizing our high-end photo and video services. Send out a "First to Know" email to our vast network of prospective buyer contacts. Creating a featured listing landing page on our busy website, featuring high-end photo and video. Local ads online/print Reaching out to our referral agencies across the country to see if they have a home-buyer seeking a property in your area. Negotiating the Contract When a prospective buyer is interested enough in your property, they will put forth an offer to purchase with their agent. This offer to purchase will go the the listing agent who will share and discuss it with his or her client (the seller). A contract negotiation can be a very straightforward process or a very complicated one. It all depends on the personalities involved, what may or may not need to be fixed on the property, and the ever-present question of agreed upon price. Escrow Process Escrow is money held by a neutral third-party, which is released back to the buyer if the real estate deal does not fully materialize, or is released to cover related closing-cost expenses when the real estate deal does fully materialize. It shows that the buyer has "skin in the game." All funds in escrow can revert back to the buyer at any time, unless the Purchase and Sale Contract has been signed. Closing Once all other contracts have been agreed upon, the closing may ensue. It is the final step of the home-buying/home-selling process, at which point the title is transferred and the deed recorded at the local Registry of Deeds.