Prior to Placing Your Home on the Market
Prior to placing your home on the market, you will want to find a good real estate agent. A good real estate agent has their thumb on the market and can give you invaluable advice that is designed to save you a lot of time and energy (see “why use a realtor” for more). Once you have an agent they can help to evaluate the value of your home to ensure you get the best price. One of the items you want to look at are some of the pre marketing improvements (see “Preparing Your Home for Showing” and “Home Inspections”).
Most people end up needing to sell their home to purchase a new one. It is important to have your financing options arranged well beforehand and is something a real estate agent can help facilitate. They can also help with previewing homes to get a baseline of your future options.
After you have placed your home on the market, your home is in the “marketing period.” Critical to having the marketing period work successfully for you is to keep the home in good showing condition. This can be a challenge if you are living and working at the same time. Your real estate agent can give you some good tips and will be coordinating the actual showings. The agent will make sure your home is listed in the Multiple Listing Service properly. The length of time that your home stays in the marketing period can vary. Sometimes it is only days before you get to negotiations and then accept a final offer. Realistically you should be prepared for any length of time.
Under Contract Period
Once you have accepted an offer your house will be officially under contract. It is during this period that you will want to prepare for the home inspection. It is key to facilitate the inspection process by making all necessary inspection points accessible to inspector such attic access, knee wall storage, and access to heating appliances and breaker box.
Once the inspection is done, you still want to be on your toes as the Appraiser comes through next (usually 1-3 weeks after contract acceptance). Your real estate agent will contact your attorney at this point so they can open a file. Keep in mind though that the attorney waits until loan approval to prepare a new deed in the buyers name. If you have gone with a prequalified buyer then you won’t have long to wait. Otherwise it can vary if you have to wait for buyers loan approval. This can be an interesting time period if you are waiting on the loan money to come through to purchase your own property elsewhere. Once all is good, your agent notifies the attorney to prepare the deed. Which brings you to the final part of the process appropriately called, “the closing” (see “Seller’s closing week Checklist”). Just remember that you will want to cancel homeowners insurance after closing occurs.