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A Complete Home Selling Checklist

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A Complete Home Selling Checklist

Planning to put your home on the market? Make sure you have done everything you need to.



If you're thinking of selling your home, the process can be exciting and quite intense.

Before you put your house on the market and decide on an asking price, there's a home selling checklist you should use to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

This helpful guide includes everything you need to do for a successful sale along with some handy advice every seller should know.

Choose the Right Team

In order to sell your home, you'll need a team of experts to guide you through the process. Selling a home is a big deal, and there will probably several hands involved in the entire sale from beginning to end.

Hiring a qualified, experienced real estate agent is the best place to start. Make sure your agent has your best interests in mind and that they're familiar with your local market.

Don't be afraid to ask for references before you hire any real estate professional. You can also ask your real estate agent about their sales track record and how well they market the homes they sell.

If you're opting to sell the home yourself, it's highly recommended that you hire a good real estate attorney. They can help you draft the proper contracts and ensure that your interests are protected when you sell.

Some states even require sellers to use a real estate lawyer, so check with your jurisdiction to be sure. Remember that selling your home is likely the biggest transaction you'll make in your life, so you should make sure you cover all your bases.

Interview everyone before you hire them, and ask them questions about their experience, their success, and their strategies. You can also talk to family and friends if you need a recommendation for a realtor.

For any professional you hire, get their fees and terms in writing. Having this information upfront can save you major headaches later on.

Home Selling Checklist: Determine the Worth of Your Home

You probably already have an ideal asking price in mind, but is it what your home is actually worth? Before you come up with a price, you need to determine the value of the house.

Try to compare other home prices in your neighborhood to get a good idea of what other homes are selling for. This is called a comparative market analysis, or CMA.

Any realtor can pull comparables for you as well, and then you'll have some concrete numbers you can use to compare. Only compare homes that are similar in size and condition, or else you may over or underestimate the real value of your home.

When you compare prices, look at the total square footage, number of rooms, and any upgrades you've done. Compare that to other homes that are similar to get an accurate comparison.

After you do a CMA, consider getting a professional appraisal. This cost will come out of your pocket, but it will definitely give you a clear, concise picture of what you can expect to ask for the home.

An appraiser isn't an absolute must, but you should use one if your home is unique (such as a converted church or a log cabin) or if you feel a strong emotional attachment to the home. A real estate agent can generally give you an accurate picture of how your home should be priced in most cases.

Aside from comparables and an appraisal, you should also consider the location of your home. Is it close to schools or shopping centers? How far away are you from the nearest hospital?

The condition of your home also matters. If you need a new roof or new windows, for example, you won't be able to ask for as much as you could if everything is brand-new. 

Prepare to Spend Money to Make Money

When home prices are up, sellers stand a good chance of making a decent profit. But even in a hot market, you'll need to pay a wide variety of fees to get your home sold.

When creating a home selling checklist, these items should be included so you don't get hit later with any last-minute surprises. Costs can vary greatly by location and situation, but these are some of the most common costs that sellers incur.

First, if you do any upgrades to get your home up to par, it will cost you. This can mean anything from a remodeled bathroom to a new HVAC system. Keep receipts and all permits for future reference.

You may have to pay a capital gains tax after you sell your home. This is a tax on the difference between what you originally paid for the home and what you sell it for. Check the current laws to see if you're eligible or exempt for this tax.

Most buyers today expect the homes they view to be beautiful, and a stager can create a perfect picture to entice buyers. If you choose to enlist a staging company, you can expect to pay a sizeable fee. Staging can cost anywhere from $500 to over $1,000 and this charge can be accrued monthly if the home doesn't sell.

As a seller, you're not required to pay for an inspection, but it could be a good idea to have one done before you list the home. A home inspection ranges anywhere between $300 and $600, on average.

More Fun with Fees

Every real estate transaction includes a swath of fees, and some of those are the responsibility of the seller. First, you may need to pay a transfer tax depending on your state, so check this out in advance.

You will also be charged a mortgage payoff fee, which could be anywhere from one to two percent of the amount. Title insurance is another common requirement that many sellers are responsible for. 

Every transaction includes commission fees for brokers and agents. Sellers usually offer to pay some or all of these fees in order to close the deal quickly. This fee is usually around three to five percent of the final price.

Since you have a real estate attorney, go ahead and add another $800 to $1,000 or even more for this service. These are just some of the fees you'll see when you go to close on your home sale.

If you have any questions about the fees, consult with your title company or attorney so they can clarify things for you.

Prepping for the Sale

Now that you've hired a team, come up with a fair asking price, and prepared for possible fees, it's time to get your home ready to sell. You may not need to do much to sell your home, or you might have to put in a ton of legwork.

First and foremost, you'll want to enhance your curb appeal since this is the first thing buyers will see. Whether it's a new coat of exterior paint or new landscaping, make sure the outside of your home is visually appealing.

Fix any damage to a deck, driveway, or walkway. Install new porch lighting and consider updating your old, worn-out mailbox.

You are not required to fix every single thing that's wrong with your home. Until you get a purchase contract, you may not have to fix anything until the buyer asks you to in order to get the sale.

However, any serious repairs that could be a safety hazard should be done beforehand. This will ensure that your home passes both the buyer's inspection and receives a decent appraisal.

The most important repairs you can make are to fix any structural defects and to correct any existing code violations. Cosmetic fixes like a missing shingle or dirty carpet are at your discretion.


Improve Aesthetics

While you might not want to sink a ton of money into your home, making it look good will help the home sell faster. Consider adding a fresh coat of paint to the home in a neutral, modern color.

Depending on the condition of your floors, updated flooring is another great way to entice buyers. Once your home is spruced up, you're ready to put it on the market.

Your real estate agent can help you with listing the home, scheduling open houses, and posting it on the Internet. If you're selling it yourself, most of these resources are available to you, too. 

Market your home as soon as you're ready to begin the selling process so you can start getting calls from potential buyers. Depending on your local market, you should expect a smooth sale.

Out with the Old, in with the New

After you've gone over this home selling checklist, you'll be confident and prepared to put your house on the market. With a good team behind you and a grasp of the costs, it's time to seal the deal.

Make as many repairs as you feel necessary before you list the home and don't forget to spruce up the interior and exterior. A stager can help prep your home to create a beautiful place buyers will love.

Whether you're buying or selling, explore our website for some incredible 3D house tours and interactive technology as well as tons of great home selling tips.