The Home Selling Process: What to Expect Start to Finish

Tim Lucas
Military VA Loan editor

edku0017e5x300 squareby Ed Kunkel, Realtor© and military Veteran

First, what’s next for you? Why do you want to sell your wonderful home?  This home has sentimental value for you, are you sure you are ready for the next move and where are you moving to?  The biggest challenge many home owners face is the reality of what the market will bear.  Sometimes this is great news, and often times it’s painful for agents like me to present.  If you are fortunate to have proceeds, what will you do with it?  Will you be reinvesting money in a follow on purchase of a new home, or should you seek the advice of a financial planner?

Choose your agent

Go local!  Find an agent that you can relate to, and can relate to you.  Lots of emotions, fears and concerns pop up with the prospect of selling a home that has sentimental value.  The agent should ‘get you’, so to speak.  They should internalize your concerns and make them their own.  The agent should be resourceful, and be able to illustrate a sales plan.  Anyone can put a home on MLS and plop a sign in your front yard, look for an agent that will do more than that and go the extra mile for you.

How old is your home?

If your home is more than 10 years old, have it inspected by a licensed home inspector that commonly does inspections for home buyers.  This will give you more insight as to what is going to be concerning for a potential buyer when they do it.  You should repair the big ticket items that pop up as applicable, and leave some small issues alone for the buyer’s inspector to find.

Your home needs to scream, “Pick Me!”

Curb appeal begins with landscaping.  Kill the moss and dandelions, and lay down fresh bark.  Trim all plant foliage away from the home by at least 1 foot.  Ask your neighbors and friends, does your home look appealing from the roadway?  Clean, depersonalize and stage your home.  Hire a professional stager to help you do this.

Put the home on the market

Tell your agent you want the home to be active on a Friday, and price it to sell!  Do not be home during showings, even if you have the best of intentions and feel it necessary to do so.  Let the buyers discern on their own, even if you believe they and their agent might miss something.   Encourage office tours, open houses, brokers opens, etc.  The more, the merrier.

Receive an offer

Never scoff at or give up on an offer, no matter what it looks like.  Offer your buyer a counteroffer if you don’t like their offer.  If anyone has to quit, let it be the buyer.  Do your best to find common ground and mutual acceptance.  If you dare say “We can always put it on the market next year and try again.”  Take the time to add up what that would cost you to put it in perspective.

The waiting begins

Your home is going to be inspected, and your buyer will likely visit the home several times between now and closing.  Since you have had the home inspected yourself, you hopefully won’t have any surprises.  It’s highly possible that your buyer is a new buyer, which means that it’s more likely to encounter mistakes that could cause a delay in getting their loan processed.  The best approach you can have right now is to be patient and flexible.  Let your employer, friends and family know about your upcoming sale and that it might not go completely as planned –ask ahead of time for flexibility.  Keep in mind that in spite of what you may already have negotiated for repairs, the buyer’s appraiser might require more repairs to be done as a funding condition for the buyer’s loan.  Your agent will advise you on your options on how to handle this.  Also, have your list of utilities ready, and contact them to make the switch when you no longer have possession of the home.

Time to sign some documents

Make yourself easy to reach for your escrow.  Take time to review your HUD/Settlement Statement carefully and bring a copy of your purchase agreement with all addendums with you to signing, as sometimes escrow is the last to know about a last minute change in your agreement.  Be kind what you leave behind, let the buyer walk into a clean house and leave no trash behind.

Enjoy your next adventure!

This crash course is obviously only scratching the surface, seek the counsel of a professional before you make any big decisions.  Thanks for reading!

Ed Kunkel, Jr. is a Managing Broker/Realtor® at Keller Williams Realty in Olympia, Washington. Visit Ed here. Ed’s Military History: Veteran – U.S. Army and Air Force Reserve; Highest rank, E5; 11 years combined military service.