Seller's Guide

Hiring the right real estate agent and knowing the sales process go hand-in-hand — the best Realtors are very open about their methods. Residential sales is a complex and specialized market with a premium on local insight and expertise. If you are considering selling your house and want the best results, read the advice I’ve gathered from years of successful experience. I’ll work with you to ensure we meet your needs and achieve your goals.

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Preliminary steps

The best way to jumpstart your home sale is to hire a Realtor who is intricately familiar with real estate in your area. They assume responsibility for everything: finding contractors, completing paperwork, marketing, showings, negotiations, and much more.

Hire a REALTOR® and sign a listing agreement

Responsible party: Seller

The best Realtors orchestrate successful sales with minimum effort on your part. They are equal parts business partner and customer service representative. As your Realtor, I provide the comprehensive, high-quality service you should expect from a local expert. With your input, I will catalyze every detail in the rest of this article.

Fill Out Appropriate Disclosures

Responsible party: Seller

Early in our process, I will prepare you to make the necessary disclosures about the house you’re selling. These documents typically involve a property disclosure, lead-based paint, and HOA (if applicable). When informed buyers and their agents ask for these documents, you will make a good impression by having them ready.

Hit the Market

Preparation, pricing, and marketing are equally critical in your home sale. When your house shines, it’s easier to market, and you can reasonably expect better value. 

Home Preparation

Responsible party: Seller/Agent

Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes: don’t you want to see a house that feels new? Even if you’re selling a historic property, the following steps bear repeating.

  • Clean and declutter each room
  • Depersonalize the space (no family photos!)
  • Address minor repairs
  • Estimate your return on investment for upgrades
  • Remove your belongings out of sight
  • Organize appliances

Professional cleaning services are excellent and affordable ways to refresh your home’s interior — you can expect to pay $150 to $350. Landscapers can optimize your house's curb appeal by mowing grass, trimming foliage, weeding, and spreading fresh mulch. I will accompany you throughout the property to ensure everything is on point, from the brand of bathroom soap to the last loose doorknob.

Strategically Price Your Home

Responsible party: Agent

More than any other task, pricing your home demands objectivity. Buyers’ emotions come into play later, but for now, our goal is to use market data to set the correct price. To do so, I leverage information like the prices of comparable homes, recent local sales, and intangibles (chiefly location). It’s also vital to time your sale correctly. The right price often leads to bidding wars and buyer escalations. And when you get the pricing right, your house is unlikely to linger on the market.

Effectively Market Your Home

Responsible party: Agent

Like pricing, the point of marketing your home is to attract the greatest quality and quantity of buyers, leading to the highest sales price. As an experienced agent, I know firsthand there are many ways to achieve the best result. Your buyer could be searching for houses online at this moment. We reach them via:

  • Dedicated property website
  • MLS listing featuring professional photographs and videos
  • Cross-promotion on social media and property-specific websites
  • Email marketing

Despite the prevalence of online marketing, some of my greatest successes followed closely on the heels of traditional marketing. Depending on the scope of your sale, we could implement the following:

  • Local TV spots
  • Print ads in Austin Monthly Magazine
  • Direct mailers to people in your neighborhood
  • Brochures on display at open house showings

When prospects see our materials, they become leads who are personally compelled to follow up on the status of your sale.

Elicit the Best Offers

Most deals are made or broken at home showings or buyer negotiations. Here’s how I maximize your home sale at this critical juncture.

Show Your Home

Responsible party: Seller/Agent

In my experience, in-person showings go more smoothly when the buyer is absent. That way, prospective buyers are more comfortable speaking their minds. Interior design is another essential facet of home showings — ideally, the house lives up to the promise of its beautiful professional photos online. I will see that your house is in the best possible condition heading into showings.

Negotiate the Best Possible Deal

Responsible party: Seller/Agent

Contrary to popular belief, the best offer on your home is not always the one with the highest monetary value. The sales price is the most crucial aspect of any bid, and sellers rarely offer their best offer upfront. However, other criteria exist:

  • Purchase method (typically either all-cash or financed)
  • Whether the buyer is preapproved
  • Down payment
  • Seller concessions
  • Timelines (stipulates the closing date and inspection period)

Together, we will evaluate each offer and decide whether they merit acceptance, rejection, or counteroffer.

Red Tape

Behind the scenes of your home sale, I will be working on seller-side presale documentation. Buyers will need to see paperwork like the certificate of occupancy, HOA documents, and maintenance records. By presenting these deliverables upfront, we are much less likely to encounter delays.

Regarding final paperwork, there are also a few buyer-side responsibilities. Usually, the two main ones are home inspection and home appraisal. These precautions sometimes affect negotiations in the days before close.

Inspection Period

Responsible Party: Buyer/Buyer’s agent

If buyers sometimes get cold feet, the home inspection assures them that all is well. A home inspection aims to prove there are no last-minute repairs or issues with the property. Inspectors examine the home’s structure, functions, systems, and cosmetics. Once all contingencies are met, I will ask the buyer to attest in writing.

Appraisal Period

Responsible party: Buyer/Buyer’s agent

Before finalizing the home sale, your buyer must have the house appraised to certify its condition and value. Their appointed appraiser will inspect the home, noting measurements and eventually assigning the home a dollar amount. Buyers can back out of the home sale if the appraised value is significantly lower than the sales price. We move forward if the appraised value exceeds the sales price.

The Final Stretch

After so much effort preparing and marketing your home, the closing process can seem like an afterthought. But it’s a vital component of any home sale, a process with several moving parts.

Prepare to Close

Responsible Party: Seller and Buyer

In the days before finalizing the contract, the buyer should make a final walkthrough of the premises. They’ll want to ensure the home is in the same condition as when they signed the sale agreement. If possible, move all your possessions out of the house before the final walkthrough. 

Besides physically transporting your belongings, you’ll want to tidy up the minor logistical details of your move. Turn off utilities, update your shipping addresses, and arrange for mail to be forwarded. The house’s new occupant will want all keys and garage door openers. 

Closing Day

Responsible Party: Seller and Buyer

Bring your ID and any remaining keys to the title company on the agreed-upon date. I will supervise the signing of documents and all other relevant paperwork (which may include an option fee, earnest money deposit, homeowners insurance, closing costs, etc.). Your profits will be secured before you know it!

List with The Best

Do you feel more prepared to take on the home selling process? As my clients testify, I bring an outgoing personality and professional approach to every sale. Buyers can tell when a Realtor is enthusiastic about the home they’re buying and the lifestyle they’re buying into. As the bids roll in, you will be amazed at the results we get via home staging, professional photography, and all my cumulative methods. Get in touch today, and let’s see how I can help make your home sale successful.