10 Steps to Sell Your Home in Charleston Selling your home can be easy. Let our experienced staff help you make it happen.
Considering selling yourself (for sale by owner or FSBO)? A PDF we recommend viewing first.
There’s no sugar-coating it. Selling is the more nerve-wracking side of real estate. All eyes are literally on your home, your investment, your Pinterest-worthy weekend project upgrades, and your not-so-Pinterest-worthy projects. So where do we begin? With your home of course! Actually… no… We begin with you.
As a heads-up you should know, you owe us nothing if we don’t get your home under contract. Photography, videography, content editing, 3D Tour hosting, and more we take on at our expense.
1) WHAT’S YOUR GOAL
To sell your home of course, but that can come with many different considerations or factors which do affect how we proceed. Let’s chat either in-person at your home or over the phone. Is there an urgent matter requiring a quick sale? Is there a certain amount you need to pay-off? Are you looking to put your future home under contract before selling your current one?
2) NO MORE PROJECTS
Generally speaking, now is not the time to do upgrades. Very seldom do last-minute home projects/upgrades return as much money as they cost. Necessary repairs should be the primary focus at this point. If you have any projects half-way done, now is a good time to button those up as well. Once we see your home, we can help determine what tasks should be done (a) before pictures are taken and (b) before getting the home under contract and having the buyer’s inspector see the home.
3) MARKET ANALYSIS & NET SHEET
This step is our specialty. Our team lead, Terry Peterson who started his career in Commercial Appraisal, will research and put together a Market Analysis & NET Sheet video specific to your home. We’ve had more than one client respond, “I feel smarter about real estate now,” after watching one of these videos. You’ll learn what the market trends are in your neighborhood, pricing strategies, how to think like your future buyer, and even a little contract negotiation planning. And that is just to touch on some of what is covered in a 15 to 30 minute personalized video.
Why a video? We’ve taken years to develop this approach. After you watch the video, then we’ll sit down to discuss listing pricing, and we’ll both have the same understanding of the current market. We emphasize that it’s your home, your investment, your decision. We don’t “tell you” what price to list your home. We have a conversation about your goals, how that stacks up against the market data, and together we determine four crucial numbers:
- Your listing price
- Your selling price goal
- Your expected timeframe of being on the market
- Expected NET take-away from the sale
4) PAPERWORK & PLANNING
Yes, there’s a fair amount of paperwork. We’ll take all the time necessary to walk you through every document. Before you sign we want you to fully understand what you’re signing, how commission is paid, what expenses to expect to be taken from your side of the deal, etc. We’ll also discuss what items will convey (stay) with the home when you sell. A few hints about how we generally handle conveyance items…
Wall-Mounted TV: You keep the TV but the wall-mount stays.
Ring Doorbell: If it’s there when buyers come, they expect it to stay with the house.
Plants: In the ground, they stay. In pots, you keep.
Security Cameras: If they’re screwed into the wall (interior or exterior), they stay, unless you plan to patch and paint the holes left behind.
Refrigerator, Washer, Dryer: Your choice, but you must decide before listing the house.
Curtains/Curtain Rods: We suggest leaving, unless you can patch and paint the holes.
5) Photography, Videography & 3D Tour (Download PDF Guide to Prep for Pictures)
Prepping for picture day is INCREDIBLY important. Download and follow the PDF guide above so when we arrive with the photographer arrive, we can get to work. The most critical items are:
Curb Appeal – All vehicles parked a couple homes away. Bushes and tree limbs trimmed back aggressively, preferably several days in advance. Grass cut and hard surfaces swept.
Declutter – More important than clean. Dust doesn’t show in photos and video, “stuff” does. We don’t generally photograph/video closets, garage, or laundry room, so they are great places to move as much loose counter-top stuff, decorations, and trinkets as possible.
People – Take the kids for a bike ride, walk around the block with the dog, go enjoy a meal out. We generally get the best pictures when we have uninterrupted reign of the home.
6) GO-LIVE, LISTING & MARKETING
Aside from the Market Analysis, this is where we shine. Selling your home means so much more than merely listing it on MLS. After taking the pictures and video, we invest heavily in working that content into marketing materials for your home. HDR Professional Photography, Cinematic Videography, Panning Aerial Drone Shots, Interactive 3D Tours. These materials will be fed into the MLS, Zillow, Realtor.com, and all our social media feeds. This site you’re currently on brings in hundreds of buyer leads every month. We’ll reach out to other agents we know who have clients looking in your area. We’ll reach out to our database of buyers to be sure they see that your home was just listed.
Take a peek at CharlestonAgent.com/video/ to see what we mean when we say, “this is where we shine.”
Other agents will be able to schedule showings of your home using an app called ShowingTime. This app will txt or call you (your choice) when a showing has been requested, which you will either approve or deny. Clients that make it a priority to approve all showings, no matter how inconvenient, regularly sell their homes quicker than clients who routinely deny showing request. Buyers looking at homes with their agent usually never make a second request if their first request is denied. Don’t think that your home has to be “showroom ready” for every showing. Buyers understand you’re still living in the home, so a couple dishes in the sink or papers on a desk aren’t a big deal.
Have to have nerves of steel at this stage. You may receive an offer immediately and need to be prepared to move, or you could sit for a bit on the market. We do our best to prepare you, but the market changes daily. A hot market can come to an immediate halt, and values can shoot-up the week after you accept a contract. During the Market Analysis & NET Sheet step we’ll have estimated you NET number which is your takeaway cash from the closing. In most cases you do not have to pay taxes on this money, but we’ll be sure to discuss that with you. One of the reasons we do this is to ease the tension of negotiating. With an offer in hand to compare to what we estimated for you, the decision simply becomes, “are we getting as much as we expected?” Then we can accept the offer. Or, “are we getting less than we expected?” Then we’ll discuss countering the offer. We urge you not to get wrapped up on, “I’m not paying their closing costs,” or ,”why should I pay for their CL100 inspection?” Every buyer has unique needs based on their financing and liquidity. If you walk away with what you expected, isn’t that what’s important?
Two things you should keep in mind…
Binding – When you accept (sign) a contract, it is legally binding. Don’t think that you can just change your mind after agreeing to sell to someone.
Move Out – You must be out of the house before the close date on the contract – not end of that day, not the next day. Before! If the attorney schedules your closing for 9am on Monday, by Sunday evening you’ll need to have all your belongings packed, out of the house, out of the driveway, and have the house cleaned before the buyer does their final walk-through.
Once under contract, there will still be a number of times that you will need to be out of your home for hours at a time. The buyer’s home inspection can range from 2hrs to 4hrs. The buyer is permitted to request multiple inspections, especially if one inspector found issues and suggest they bring in other professionals. The inspector has a ton of bases to cover in a limited window of time so don’t be surprised if, upon your return home, the thermostat is at a different setting, perhaps a window was left cracked open, things moved around under the sink, or a door accidentally left unlocked. Inspections potentially and usually will lead to repair negotiations. We do our best to keep your out of pocket repairs to a minimum, but truly every home and every deal is different. After repairs are complete, the buyer has the right to request re-inspection to confirm the repairs.
10) CLOSING DAY
You made it! In today’s market, often times the buyer and seller use different closing attorneys, so there’s a good chance you’ll never meet the future owner of your home. It’s also very common for sellers to pre-sign their closing documents hours or days ahead of the actual closing. This is usually the case for sellers who have already moved prior to closing. If you’re moving out-of-state, we can also discuss having your closing attorney set-up a power-of-attorney so you can close remotely and not have to come back in town for closing. Be sure you have all you extra keys, garage door openers, HOA access keys, etc. in a place where your agent can get them.
ON TO YOUR NEW HOME!
Final step, go give your agent a great review and enjoy your new home!
Got Questions? Contact Us!
This is a high-level summary, not an exhaustive ‘how to’ on the process, paperwork, forms, approvals, worrisome waiting and exciting highs associated with selling a home. Your real estate agent is there to make sure you don’t miss anything. At least our CharlestonAgents will!
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