Preparing to sell your home is a stressful and complicated process. From making the decision to sell to actually listing that property for sale can take weeks, months or even years, and then there’s the sales process itself to get through before you’ll see that SOLD sticker across the sales board.
We’ve tried to take some of the pain away with this checklist of what you need to think about when preparing to sell your property.
1. Make the decision to sell
Anything can prompt a sale – from needing a change of scenery to upsizing, downsizing, financial worries, or changing your investment strategy. While some months are more popular for sales than others, there is no one size fits all “right” time to sell a property.
Consider what is happening in the broader market and what is best for your particular situation. For example, if you’re an owner occupier you need to decide if you are better off buying a new home before or after you sell your current home.
2. Prepare your property
Have a big tidy up and complete any outstanding maintenance and repairs. Make sure your property is looking its best inside and out. Maybe you just need to clean and declutter. Make sure to consult a property expert before making any major changes to ensure they will pay off in any sale and that you’re not overcapitalising.
3. Choose an agent
Your agent will be in charge of marketing, advertising and showing the property and completing the legal requirements of selling your property, so choose carefully.
Prospective agents will usually appraise your property and provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA). Interview several agents who have experience in your local area before making a decision, and don’t be swayed by personal relationships – selling your house is strictly business.
Agent with buyer
Once all the details have been finalised you’ll sign a legally binding contract with your agent that will outline any commissions, the estimated sale price, duration of the agreement, advertising costs, the process in case the property is passed in at auction and much more. You may wish to seek independent legal advice to ensure you understand the terms and conditions of the agreement.
4. How to sell
You need to decide what sales process – auction or private treaty – is going to be best for your property. Your agent can advise you on the current market and area trends.
You and your agent will need to work out a plan for listing and selling your property. For instance, do you want to have week and weekend open homes or by appointment only? Will you go to auction, issue a price range guide, or ask for offers?
5. Determine your selling price
You may have your property valued by an expert, who will assess its location, size, age and any extra features it has, and your agent can guide you on similar sales in the area and market conditions.
6. Prepare the contract of sale
Your lawyer or conveyancer will need to prepare a contract of sale for the property. This will include all of the details prospective purchasers will need including details of the owners, title, settlement dates, all conditions of the sale and what is included in it (for example, carpet, furnishings), as well as zoning certificate and sewer diagrams.
7. Marketing your property
Marketing your property includes online and offline promotion and advertising. This involves photographing your property, drawing up floor plans and agreeing your marketing schedule. You can choose from a range of online ads to help drive more enquiries and spread the word. Offline you might want print ads, a sales board outside the property, flyers, and an ad in the real estate window.
8. Going on the market
Prospective buyers will contact your agent and arrange times to view your property, or attend the open homes at the times you have agreed with your agent. An auction campaign is typically four weeks, while sales campaigns can be longer.
9. Negotiation or auction
Your agent will mediate between you and any buyer to reach a mutually acceptable price. Once you have accepted an offer or sold at auction, your conveyancer will begin preparing the final contract documents and the buyer will pay a deposit.
10. Under contract
Before settlement, both seller’s and buyer’s lawyers and banks will work out the details of the sale to ensure both parties meet all legal and financial requirements.
11. Settlement day
All going to plan, on settlement day you’ll relinquish the keys and legal rights to your property in exchange for the balance of payment from the buyer or their bank. You will have then sold your home.
Author - Emma Sorensen