A Guide to Selling Your Home

Tricks and Tips For Selling Your Home: The Process

When it comes time to sell your home and move to another city, or get a larger home for your growing family, or even to follow a new career path, you may be confused and don’t know where to start.  Perhaps you don’t know if it’s a good time to sell or what steps you’ll need to take.  This handy guide will help to streamline the process and get you selling your Decatur area home in no time.

Ask Yourself: When Is The Right Time? 

The housing market changes, repairs must be made, and different buyers will be attracted to your home at different times.  These factors will help you determine when it’s a good (or bad) time to sell your home:

-Is there a surplus of housing or a shortage?  In some housing markets, there’s a shortage of available housing, which tends to drive prices upward.  If you’re looking to make a profit on your home, this may be a good time to sell.  However, if there are many houses for sale in your area for low prices, it may be a good idea to wait for the market to change before you sell.

-Time of year.  Spring and fall are the peak times for home sales.  Winter tends to keep people inside and away from home shopping while summer is the time for vacations.  However, the time of year is not a deal-breaker.  A few serious buyers are willing to look at homes in the winter and the summer months–buyers who may be more willing to put in an offer.

-Is your home ready for the market?  You’ll find it’s easier to sell your home if you’ve fixed that roof leak and trimmed your shrubs.  A fresh coat of paint can do wonders in making your home look photogenic.  Buyers will be concerned about potential, expensive repairs they may have to make in the future, so having these done ahead of time will attract more willing buyers and prevent you from having to slash the price of your home.

-When Are You Willing to Move?  Knowing how quickly you’ll need to relocate once you sell, or how quickly you’ll be able to collect your money, will factor into your decision.  If you’re about to start a new job in another state, you’ll want to list your home for sale more quickly than if you were to, say, want to wait for your children to finish the school year before moving.

How Much Will Selling Cost Me?  

While the cost of selling your home can vary depending on where you live, there is always a cost.  Necessary repairs, professional photos, agent commissions, taxes, attorney fees, professional cleanings, and furniture rental can all factor into the final price of selling a home.  It’s a good idea to have some savings on hand during the entire process of selling.  A good chunk of the cost will go to your agent in the form of commissions, ranging from four to six percent of your home’s price.  These total costs average about $18,000, according to Zillow.

However, there is a benefit to selling your home: profits are generally tax-free, so long as you’ve lived there for two out of the last five years.

Getting Your Home Prepared For the Spotlight

Now that you’ve determined that it’s the right time to sell, you’ll need to prepare your house for the market.  These next steps may take a bit of time and require some work, so be prepared.

-First, pick your listing agent.  Choosing a good real estate agent is important.  You’ll want to choose an agent with knowledge of the area market, of course, but choosing an agent based on communication skills and availability is also vital.  Asking for references from co-workers, friends, and family can also be a big help.  When interviewing an agent, ask how many homes they’ve sold in your specific area and what they know about the market in your neighborhood.  It’s a good idea to check out more than one agent.

You may need to make repairs or other fixes.  Your agent is in the business to sell your home and should know what buyers are looking for.  He or she will let you know if you should swap out your shag carpet for more modernized flooring or add new shutters to your windows before you sell.  Your agent may point out other minor fixes you can make before putting your home on the market, such as new faucets, cabinets, or the like.  Also very important is how presentable your home looks from the street.  Is the paint on the outside of your home peeling or is it fresh?  Are your steps crumbling or intact?  First impressions matter, unless you’re short on cash and decide to sell your home as-is, meaning the buyer will be on the hook for repairs.  However, you’ll need to slash the asking price if you choose this option, especially if your home needs a costly repair such as a new roof.

-What price are you asking?  Once you’ve addressed any repairs or decided to sell as-is, you’ll want to look at similar homes in your neighborhood and make note of what they’re selling for.  Look at those homes that have sold recently.  What prices did they sell for?  Your agent will help you determine the right asking price.

Now, stage your home.  This means changing your home around to appeal to a wide audience of buyers.  If a potential buyer sees clutter everywhere along with family heirlooms and niche furniture, he or she will be less likely to see the home as “theirs” and will see it as “yours.”  When selling, you want the buyer to imagine themselves owning this home, so stick with showing de-cluttered spaces and simple furniture.

Getting Your Home In Front of Buyers

Now you have reached the pivotal step in the process.  Your agent will list your home for sale, but there are a few things you’ll need to be ready to do as well.

Online marketing.  Sites such as Zillow and realtor.com are filled with houses for sale in various neighborhoods, including your own.  Your agent will work with you to bring in potential buyers.  The important thing is to make your home stand out and attract serious buyers, and if you’ve taken good care of the grounds, repainted the exterior, and replaced the shutters, you’re already partway there.

Ad copy is important as well.  You don’t have many words to attract buyers in the description of your home, so focus on what’s unique about your home.  Do you have a unique, enclosed porch?  Mention that.  A divided basement?  Mention that as well.  Avoid generic descriptions of your home that could fit any other home in your area, and you’ll stand out.  Mentioning unique characteristics of your neighborhood, such as a community pool, will work as well.

-Be ready for tours and open houses.  Keeping your home clean will make all the difference.  Buyers will want to see your home before buying, so keeping laundry off the floor, dishes out of the sink, and counters clear will make a good impression.  Also, some buyers don’t like to tour homes with the owners inside, so be ready to leave your home quickly if your agent wants to hold a tour.

Open houses are useful for bringing in prospective buyers as well, so you may want to hold one for the public.  Another option is to hold an open house for brokers.  These agents will tour your home and direct the information to clients who they believe will be interested.

Dealing With Offers

You could wait months for an offer or you could get several offers for your home right away if you live in a popular neighborhood.  No matter what the case, you’ll want to know how to get the best deal for your home.

-Consider cash offers if you’re in a hurry.  Cash offers make the process of closing much simpler than an offer with financing.  If you need to move quickly, say to a new job, you won’t want to wait for a lender to finance your buyer’s purchase.  Also, there’s a lower chance of an offer falling through if you choose this route.

-Consider all the details of each offer, not just the price.  Does one buyer offer to skip the home inspection?  Is another already preapproved for a mortgage and less likely to have the deal fall through?  Will yet another buyer offer to let you stay in your home until, say, the end of the school year?  Taking a slightly lower offer can sometimes work in your favor if you can sell your home faster or stay in your home for a bit longer than you would otherwise.

-Negotiate.  Don’t forget that buyers have needs, too, and if you’re having trouble selling your home, you can always offer to handle a few more repairs before selling or you can cover the buyer’s closing costs.  Don’t take too long, but do your best to reach a deal satisfactory to both parties.

Avoid buyer’s remorse.  Once you’ve reached a deal, your house will be appraised and inspected, so you’ll want to keep your home in the same condition it was when the deal was made.  You and the buyer are under contract during this stage, and it’s a good idea to be as accommodating to the buyer as you can.  They may want to begin plans for landscaping or renovations.

Before closing, your buyer and agent will do one last walk-through of your home to check for damage.  This is the stage where you’ll sign documents and transfer the ownership of the property.  You also have the option of having a real estate attorney take over during this part of the process.


If you’re looking to sell your home in the Decatur, AL area, don’t hesitate to contact us anytime.  We’re here to make selling your home as smooth and easy as possible.

Looking to Sell Your House?

*Required field