I want to sell my house. Where do I start? Many U.S. homeowners are now seriously considering selling their homes and releasing the equity that the property has gained in recent years. However, selling a house safely and legally is not simple if you use a real estate agency or attempt to sell the property yourself.
At Better Off Home Buyers, we have created a complete expert guide to selling your home, which includes valuable and precise information on determining your goals from a house sale, choosing the best way to sell your home considering your circumstances, hiring a real estate agent (if you choose to do so), preparing the house for sale, and much more.
Additionally, we’ll provide you with expert advice on all the necessary and up-to-date legal aspects of a property sale, including important information on the sales contract, the transfer of title, and the actual legal closing.
If “I want to sell my house. Where do I Start?” is the question; here are the practical and legal steps you need to take to sell your home successfully today; learn more in our detailed and complete Guide:
Complete Guide for Selling Your Home (2023)
|1. Choosing your home’s sale Method||9. Scheduling an appraiser|
|2. Choosing a Real Estate / Listing Agent||10. Scheduling a home inspection|
|3. How Much is Your Home Worth?||11. Delivering Seller Disclosures|
|4. Preparing Your Home Ready for Sale||12. Negotiating Requests for Repair|
|5. Marketing Your Home||13. Asking the Buyer for Contingencies|
|6. Showing Your Home||14. Signing the Title & Escrow Documents|
|7. Receiving Purchase Offers||15. Closing Escrow|
|8. Opening Escrow & Ordering Title|
Better Off Home Buyers’ Complete Guide for Selling Your Home (2023)
Our complete expert guide will help you to navigate the complete process – including all the legalities – for selling your home in the U.S. If you have any questions about this guide, or you are looking for more information on our services, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. We’ll be happy to help you. After reading this post, we are confident you have the answer to your question, “I want to sell my house. Where do I start?”
We Buy As-Is Properties
We’ve had many people contact us that were tired of being a landlord. People who have had a rental property for a long time are ready to sell. They don’t want to go through the hassle of relocating tenants, renovating the house, hiring a real estate agent, marketing the property, showing it, and finally selling it.
No matter what the physical condition of the property, we buy it. There’s no need for you to put any money into fixing up your house. Does the carpet or flooring need to be replaced? Water damage? Mold? Does the kitchen or bathroom need to be updated? Moss on the roof? Are the old gutters clogged? Do the aluminum windows need to be updated? Or just general wear and tear? Don’t worry. We’ll make you a fair offer regardless of the condition.
Inheritance & Probate
Have you inherited an unwanted property and need cash now? Are you the personal representative of the estate for the probate process? We will make you a fair offer and take care of cleaning out the property. There’s no need for you to lift a finger to get the property ready for sale. We’ll do all the heavy lifting, even if the property has tenants. We’ll take care of it all for you. It’s our job.
Eviction & Tenant Situations
Do you have tenants that are not paying? Are tenants taking advantage of Portland’s tenant-friendly laws? Have you evicted tenants and your property is damaged? Or just flat-out bad tenants? We can handle any tenant situation. We’ll make you a fair offer and take care of the tenant situation.
Hoarding, drug houses, crime scenes, homicide, suicide, unattended death on the property. We’ve dealt with it all. There is no need for you to hire a biohazard cleanup company in Portland, Oregon. We have our cleanup crew. Our goal is to make your selling process quick and easy.
We Make Selling Easy
Depending on the situation…
We will close on the date of your choosing. Whether it is 6 days or 6 months, you choose the date.
We will pay for your move to your next place.
We will pay for your probate attorney.
We will pay for your eviction attorney.
We will transfer utilities for you.
We will find your next place to live so you can sell with confidence.
We will take over tenant communication.
You can live at the property for weeks after closing.
Provide a free storage unit.
You will receive complimentary trash removal.
We will take care of donating anything you don’t want that’s still intact.
1. Choosing Your Home’s Sale Method
There are many ways that a homeowner in the U.S. can sell their house:
- Real Estate Agent: A homeowner can work with a real estate agent to list their house on the market. The agent will handle the marketing and sale of the house and typically charge a commission based on the house’s sale price.
- “For Sale By Owner”: A homeowner can sell their house independently without using a real estate agent. This is known as “for sale by owner” (FSBO). The homeowner will be responsible for marketing and selling the house themselves.
- Cash Buyer: A homeowner can choose to sell their house to a cash buyer, who will purchase the house outright with cash or a cashier’s check. This option can be faster than selling through a real estate agent, but the homeowner will likely receive a lower price for the house.
- Real Estate Investment Company: A homeowner can sell their house to a real estate investment company, which will typically buy the house as-is – and pay cash. This option is often quicker than selling through a real estate agent, but the homeowner will likely receive a lower price for the house.
- Property Auction: A homeowner can choose to sell their house through an auction, either online or in person. The house will be sold to the highest bidder.
Regardless of your choice, it is important to understand the local real estate market and set a competitive price for your property.
2. Choosing a Real Estate / Listing Agent
When choosing a real estate agent (also known as a listing agent) to sell your house, it is important to consider the following factors:
- Experience: Look for an agent with a track record of successfully selling houses in your area.
- Marketing Expertise: Choose an agent who has a solid plan for marketing your property, including online and offline strategies.
- Communication: It is important to work with an agent who is responsive and keeps you informed throughout the process.
- Negotiation Skills: Look for an agent skilled at negotiating on your behalf to get you the best price for your house.
- Professionalism: Choose an agent who is professional and operates with integrity.
You may also consider getting referrals from friends, family, or colleagues who have recently sold a home. You can also interview multiple agents to find the one who is the best fit for your needs.
3. How Much is Your Home Worth?
Several factors can affect the price of a house for sale:
- Location: The location of the house can greatly impact its price. Houses in desirable neighborhoods or areas with good schools tend to command higher prices.
- Size & Condition of the House: The size and overall condition of the house will also affect its price. Larger houses or houses in good condition tend to be more expensive.
- Comparable Sales: To determine a fair price for your house, you should look at the prices of similar houses recently sold in your area. This is known as “comparable sales” or “comps.”
- Market Conditions: The overall demand for houses in your area will also affect the price. If there are more buyers than sellers, the market is considered a “seller’s market,” and you may be able to command a higher price. Conversely, if there are more sellers than buyers, it is a “buyer’s market,” and you may need to price your house more competitively.
Several online tools and resources can help you determine the value of your house, such as the Chase Home Value Estimator.
Furthermore, getting a professional appraisal (see below) is a good idea to get a more accurate estimate of your home’s value.
4. Preparing Your Home Ready for Sale
There are many steps a seller needs to take to prepare their house for sale; the most common of these include the following:
- Organize Your Paperwork: When selling your home, the legal documentation about your property will have to be checked and ordered, such as tax information, home repairs, and even homeowner association fees.
- Create a House To-Do List: It is worth simply moving from room to room, pen, and paper in hand, and creating a list of all the small jobs to be done, such as cleaning the kitchen oven, tidying the garage, and cleaning the windows.
- Home Maintenance: Clean and maintain the important systems in the house, such as the HVAC system and alarm system, the plumbing, the roof, and both the exterior and interior of the house.
- Decluttering & Depersonalization: Begin by removing personal photos and items such as family heirlooms, awards, and diplomas. Once this is done, it will help potential buyers to envision the house as their own. Additionally, remove any excess clutter from surfaces and storage areas, making the house feel more spacious and organized.
- Enhancing Your Lighting: There are a few ways you can enhance the lighting in your home, such as adding additional light sources, replacing old light fixtures, increasing the amount of natural light, adding mirrors, and using task lighting.
5. Marketing Your Home
Here are the most successful ways to competitively marketing your home:
- Online Listings: Many buyers start searching for a new home online, so it is important to have a strong online presence. Your real estate agent should list your house on major real estates websites, such as Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia.
- Professional Photographs: High-quality photographs of your house will make it stand out online and attract more potential buyers.
- Virtual Tours: Virtual tours allow buyers to explore your house remotely, which can be especially helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Open Houses: Hosting open houses can allow buyers to see your house in person and get a feel for the layout and features.
- Social Media: Share your listings on your social media accounts and ask your friends and family to share. This can help to increase the visibility of your house.
- For Sale Signs: A simple for sale sign in front of your house can attract the attention of potential buyers who are driving by.
- Traditional Marketing Methods: Your real estate agent may also use traditional marketing methods, such as advertising in local newspapers or mailing out flyers.
It is important to work with your real estate agent to develop a comprehensive marketing plan that will help get your house in front of as many potential buyers as possible.
6. Showing Your Home
If you are opting for appointments, try to be flexible. Some buyers want to see the home on weeknights (after work) and all weekend. Be as accommodating as you possibly can be.
You’ll get more showings if you let agents use a lockbox or keypad to show your home rather than force them to make appointments.
Prepare for an “open house,” but use this approach sparingly. If you do one, ask for buyer feedback to adjust your price, condition, or marketing campaign accordingly.
7. Receiving Purchase Offers
If your house is valued correctly, you will likely receive multiple offers and should not ignore any of them, even if it seems too low. Remember, you can negotiate the price by making a counteroffer.
You can also ask for a kick-out clause or right of first refusal if the buyer’s offer is contingent on selling their own home. This contingency ensures that you won’t wait too long if the buyer cannot offload their property within a reasonable time frame.
8. Opening Escrow & Ordering Title
“Opening escrow” refers to creating a legally binding agreement to sell a house.
When a buyer is interested in purchasing a house, they will typically make an offer to the seller, which includes the price they are willing to pay and any contingencies (such as financing or the sale of the buyer’s current home).
If the seller accepts the offer, the parties will enter into a purchase agreement and open escrow.
Opening escrow involves the following steps:
- The buyer deposits earnest money with a neutral third party (often a title company or escrow company). This money is a good faith deposit and shows the buyer’s commitment to the purchase.
- The seller provides the buyer with necessary disclosures, such as a property condition report or natural hazard report.
- The buyer arranges for a home inspection to ensure no major issues with the property.
- The buyer secures financing (if necessary).
- The escrow company coordinates the transfer of funds and documents between the buyer and seller and ensures that all necessary conditions are met before closing the sale.
Once all of the terms of the purchase agreement have been satisfied, and the sale has closed, the escrow process is complete, and ownership of the house is transferred from the seller to the buyer.
“Ordering title” refers to obtaining a title report for a property. A title report is a document that provides information about the ownership and legal status of a property.
It includes information about any liens or encumbrances on the property, as well as any easements or covenants that may affect the use of the property.
When selling a house, it is common for the buyer to order a title report as part of the due diligence process. The title report can help the buyer understand any potential property issues that may need to be addressed before closing the sale.
It can also help the buyer determine whether the seller has a clear title to the property, which is necessary for the transfer of ownership.
The process of ordering title typically involves the following steps:
- The buyer or agent contacts a title company or attorney to request a title report.
- The title company or attorney searches public records to gather information about the property’s ownership and legal status.
- The title company or attorney prepares a title report, which is provided to the buyer.
- The buyer reviews the title report and discusses any issues or concerns with the seller or agent.
- If necessary, the parties work together to resolve any issues or disputes identified in the title report before closing the sale.
It is important to ensure that the title to a property is clear before closing the sale, as this will help to ensure a smooth transfer of ownership.
9. Scheduling an Appraiser
“I want to sell my house. “Where do I start?” Scheduling an appraiser is an important step in selling a house. An appraiser is a professional who evaluates a property’s value based on various factors, such as the location, size, condition, and features of the house.
The appraisal will help determine the property’s fair market value, which can be used as a guide for selling the house.
To schedule an appraiser, you can follow these steps:
- Choose a Qualified Appraiser: It is important to choose a licensed and certified appraiser with experience evaluating houses in your area. You can ask for recommendations from your real estate agent or search online directories of appraisers.
- Contact the Appraiser: Once you have identified a few potential appraisers, you can contact them to schedule an appointment. Be sure to provide the appraiser with the property’s address, basic details, and contact information.
- Prepare for the Appraisal: To make the appraisal process go smoothly, you should ensure that the house is clean and tidy and that all necessary documents and information are readily available.
You may also want to consider making any necessary repairs or improvements to the house to increase its value.
It is important to note that the appraiser will act on behalf of the lender, not the seller, so you don’t need to be present during the appraisal. However, you may want to discuss the appraisal results with your real estate agent to determine the best pricing strategy for your house.
10. Scheduling a Home Inspection
A home inspection is a thorough examination of a house to determine its condition and identify potential issues. It is typically conducted by a professional home inspector who has been trained to look for problems with the property.
During a home inspection, the inspector will typically check the following systems and components of the house:
- Structural Elements: The foundation, walls, floors, and roof will be inspected to ensure they are in good condition.
- Electrical System: The inspector will check the wiring, outlets, and panels to ensure they are safe and up to code.
- Plumbing System: The inspector will check the pipes, water heater, and other plumbing components to ensure they are in good working order.
- HVAC System: The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems will be inspected to ensure they function properly.
- Appliances: The inspector will check major appliances, such as the oven, dishwasher, and refrigerator, to ensure they are in good working order.
The inspector will also look for any visible signs of problems, such as water damage, mold, or pest infestations. At the end of the inspection, the inspector will provide a report detailing the house’s condition and any identified issues.
A home inspection is typically conducted after a buyer has made an offer on the house and is used to identify any potential problems that may need to be addressed before closing the sale. The buyer and seller can negotiate repairs or credits based on the inspection results.
11. Delivering Seller Disclosures
Seller disclosures are documents that provide information about a house to potential buyers. They are typically required by law and are intended to inform buyers of any issues or defects with the property that may not be readily apparent.
In most states, sellers are required to disclose certain information about the property, including:
- Material Defects: Material defects are problems with the house that could significantly affect its value or habitability. This could include issues with the foundation, roof, electrical or plumbing systems, or other major house components.
- Environmental Hazards: Sellers may be required to disclose any known environmental hazards, such as lead paint, asbestos, or radon gas.
- Natural Disasters: If the house is in an area prone to natural disasters, such as earthquakes or floods, the seller may be required to disclose this information.
- Neighborhood Nuisances: Sellers may also be required to disclose any known nuisances in the neighborhood, such as excessive noise or air pollution.
Seller disclosures vary by state, so it is important to check the laws in your area to determine what information is required. It is also a good idea to consult with a real estate attorney or agent to ensure you comply with all relevant laws and regulations.
12. Negotiating Requests for Repair
It is common for the buyer to request repairs as a condition of the sale. The best way to negotiate these repair requests will depend on the specific circumstances of the sale, but here are a few general tips that may be helpful:
- Prioritize Safety & Necessary Repairs: If the buyer has requested repairs necessary for the home’s safety or its occupants, it may be best to agree to these repairs.
- Get Estimates for Repair Costs: If the repair requests are not necessary for safety, it may be helpful to get estimates for the cost of the repairs to help you determine if it is worth it to make the repairs or to negotiate with the buyer.
- Consider the Value of the Repairs: If the repair requests significantly increase the home’s value, it may be worth agreeing to the repairs to close the sale.
- Be Open to Compromise: If the repair requests are unreasonable or would be too costly, it may be helpful to compromise with the buyer. For example, you could offer to make some of the requested repairs and negotiate for a lower sale price to compensate for the remaining repairs.
- Consult with Your Real Estate Agent: Your real estate agent should be able to advise you on the best course of action based on their knowledge of the local market and the specifics of your sale.
13. Asking the Buyer for Contingencies
Contingencies must be met for a real estate transaction to move forward. They may be included in the purchase offer and specify certain conditions to be met before the sale can be completed.
Some common contingencies that may be included in a purchase offer for a house include:
- Financing Contingency: This contingency allows the buyer to back out of the sale if they cannot secure financing for purchasing the home.
- Appraisal Contingency: This contingency allows the buyer to back out of the sale or renegotiate the purchase price if the home does not appraise for the agreed-upon purchase price.
- Inspection Contingency: This contingency allows the buyer to back out of the sale or request repairs if the home inspection reveals significant issues with the property.
- Sale of Buyer’s Current Home Contingency: This contingency allows the buyer to back out of the sale if they cannot sell their current home.
It is important to note that the inclusion of contingencies in a purchase offer may make it less attractive to the seller, as it gives the buyer a legal “out” if the contingencies are unmet.
14. Signing the Title & Escrow Documents
The title and escrow documents are typically signed at the real estate transaction’s closing.
The closing is a meeting between the buyer, seller, and any other necessary parties (such as the real estate agents and attorneys) to finalize the sale of the property.
15. Closing Escrow
Closing escrow is the final step in the real estate transaction process, during which the sale of the property is finalized, all necessary documents are signed, and the property is legally transferred to the buyer.
The closing typically occurs at a title company or escrow company, which coordinates the transfer of funds and the transfer of ownership of the property.
During the closing process, the buyer will typically sign several documents, including the mortgage documents (if applicable), the deed transferring ownership of the property to the buyer, and any other necessary documents related to the sale.
The seller will also sign several documents, including the deed transferring ownership of the property to the buyer and any documents related to the mortgage or other liens on the property.
After all the necessary documents have been signed and the funds have been transferred, the closing escrow is considered complete, and the sale of the property is finalized. The buyer becomes the property’s new owner, and the seller is no longer responsible for it.
Better Off Home Buyers Can Help You Move Quickly
At Better Off Home Buyers, we can help you move quickly, just like the hundreds and hundreds of homeowners we have helped to move quickly.
Whatever the reason you want to sell your house – opting for a life change that involves moving to another state and more room for a growing family – we can offer you a handsome cash price for your current home.
Simply fill out our short form below or dial our phone number directly. You will receive a “no-obligation, no-pressure” cash offer for your property.
Our home-buying process is transparent and easy to understand. We close in about seven days, but you can close on the date of your choice.
Contact us at Better Off Home Buyers today.