Ultimate Guide to Selling Your House

Ultimate Guide to Selling Your House

Are you selling a house? Much more is involved in selling a home than many people realize. It takes not only time but also top-tier marketing and negotiation skills. With the proper planning, your home sale can be an easy and ultimately rewarding endeavor.

It’s also true that no two home sales are identical. That’s why even seasoned sellers choose to work with local experts. Deb Paton Showley Group will design and implement the optimal strategy to get your property on and off the market. What follows is the team’s outline of the essential steps required to sell your home. Read on!

Determine your selling method

As you prepare to sell your house, the most fundamental decision is whom to work with. To that end, you have two main routes: sell the property by yourself or work with a trusted local real estate agent.

For sale by owner (FSBO)

In a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) scenario, the seller does all the work. They are responsible for researching the price, marketing and showing the home, negotiating offers, paying closing costs, and finalizing the deal. Per the National Association of Realtors, FSBO homes often sell for less than homes sold by agents.

Sellers usually go this route for one of two reasons: they want to avoid paying an agent’s commission, or the buyer is someone they know (like a family member). However, the seller will still have to pay the buyer’s agent at closing, which is a commission of about 3% of the sales price.

Contact a real estate agent or Realtor

A real estate agent is educated and licensed to help clients buy and sell their homes. Real estate agents who join the National Association of Realtors (NAR) are called Realtors. NAR members must comply with the organization’s code of ethics. Per NAR, about 86% of buyers work with a licensed Realtor.

While real estate agents are your most traditional option, they’re also at the cutting edge of their industry. They have access to the latest market data, multiple listing services (MLS), and thousands of associations, boards, and clients. A resourceful agent can easily make the difference between a frustrating deal and a winning sale.

Determine the asking price

When you choose an asking price for your house, you’re setting the tone for your sale. Real estate agents set asking prices based on several factors. The local market, the national market, economic factors, and the timing of your sale all affect your asking price.

If you’re not yet working with an agent, there are several ways to estimate your home’s value. You can use an online calculator, hire an appraiser, and research listings similar to yours. A qualified agent can formalize your asking price by performing a comparative market analysis (CMA).

What to do before listing

Ideally, prospective buyers will experience your home as move-in-ready. Here’s how to ready your property from the inside out.

Prepare the home’s interior

Before taking pictures or hosting an open house, cleaning and staging your home’s interior is imperative. You can clean and stage your home yourself or hire an expert for the task. Professional designers will declutter, depersonalize, and update spaces as needed. Unless your property is brand new, look for issues like leaky faucets, peeling wallpaper, and more to ensure it is in top condition. Effective staging will create a blank canvas for buyers to envision the purpose of each room and imagine their own happy lives in your home.

Maximize your curb appeal

Your home’s exterior makes or breaks the buyer's first impression of the property. Spruce up the outside so a potential buyer’s first impression will be positive. You should power wash or paint the exterior, make necessary repairs, and ensure the landscaping looks pristine. Stunning outdoor lighting can also make your house stand out in online photos.


Once your home is physically prepared, it’s time to market and show the property. Professional photos go a long way toward a successful sale. Along with your home’s listed price, its listing images will catch buyers’ attention.

The open house

Depending on your intended audience, you might have a conventional open house or host private showings. In either case, your real estate agent will be present to answer any questions and guide buyers through the property. They should also have printed brochures about the house and its neighborhood. A successful open house will generate interest and offers for your home.


Negotiations span the gap between your list price and received offers. Ideally, you’ll field offers above your list price. The value of any given offer is more than just its price, however; it might also include contingencies, a new proposed closing date, and other factors.

As you receive offers, review them thoroughly with your agent. Ask each buyer for a preapproval letter (or proof of funds if they want to pay cash). An earnest money (or “good faith”) deposit is another way to vet buyers. As for contingencies, the fewer a buyer requests, the better. Ask your agent’s input on contingencies and the proposed timing of your sale. They will help you determine which offer most closely fits your goals and represent you in communication with the other party.

Closing costs

Though they are meager compared with your home’s value, closing costs are essential to a sale. They typically include real estate commissions, title and escrow fees, appraisal fees, and transfer taxes. Your sales contract should enumerate closing costs, and your agent will clarify which ones you must pay (the best agents can estimate your closing costs in advance, so you’re not surprised by extra fees).

Close the deal

Once you’ve identified the best offer, it’s time to close the deal. You might find the closing period to be a mixture of excitement and tedium. On the one hand, you’ve arrived at the end of one journey and the beginning of another. It’s a thrill to see all your work pay off. Still, closing time involves plenty of paperwork, a home inspection, and calculations. The end of your sale is another stage where you can lean on your agent to streamline the final inspection, transfer of funds, and various legal requirements.

Let Deb Paton Showley be your guide

Deb and her team at Deb Paton Showley Group promise exceptional market insight and dedication. They are eager to assist you with all your real estate needs, from Lake Wawasee to Winona Lake real estate. Contact Deb today to get started.

Recommended Reading: 5 Benefits of Buying a New Construction Home

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