1. Define your Goal

Write down all the reasons for selling your home. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to sell and what do I expect to accomplish with the sale?” For example, a growing family may prompt your need for a larger home, or a job opportunity in another city may necessitate a move. Write down whether you’d like to sell your house within a certain time frame or make a particular profit margin. Work with me to map out the best path to achieve your objectives.

2. Name your Price

Setting a fair asking price from the outset will generate the most activity from other real estate agents and buyers. Take into account the condition of your home, how similar homes in your neighborhood are selling, and the overall market conditions in your area. It’s often difficult to remain unbiased when putting a price on your home, so a real estate agent’s expertise is invaluable at this step.

I’ll provide local data, like comparable properties, the average time homes are sitting on the market, and sales price-to-ask price ratios. Remember: You’re always better off setting a fair market value price than setting your price too high. Studies show that homes priced higher than 3 percent of their market value take longer to sell. If your home sits on the market for too long, potential buyers may think there is something wrong with the property. Often, when this happens, the seller has to drop the price below market value to compete with newer, reasonably priced listings.

3. Prepare your Home

Most of us don’t keep our homes in “showroom” condition. We tend to overlook piles of boxes in the garage, broken porch lights, and doors or windows that stick. It’s time to break out of that owner’s mindset and get your house in tip-top shape. The condition of your home will affect how quickly it sells and the price the buyer is willing to offer. Make minor repairs and replacements as needed.

First impressions are the most important, and the right efforts can help ensure you make the best one possible. For example, a home with too much “personality” is harder to sell. Removing family photos, mementos and personalized decor will help buyers visualize the home as theirs. Clear out the clutter too. If you remove all knick-knacks from your shelves and clear off your bathroom and kitchen counters, you’ll make every area seem as spacious as possible.

To enhance your home’s appeal, I’ll provide you with a staging consultation and professional photographs.

4. Get the Word Out

Now that you’re ready to sell, I’ll launch a marketing strategy specifically for your home. There are many ways to get the word out, including internet sites, yard signs, open houses, flyers, agent-to-agent emails, and of course, listing your home in the MLS. I’ll use a combination of these tactics to bring the most qualified buyers to your home.

5. Receive an Offer

When you receive a written offer from a potential buyer, I’ll verify whether the buyer is truly qualified to buy your home, and I’ll help you understand the details of the proposed contract. The contract, though not limited to this list, should include the following: offer price, deposit amounts, down payment, financing arrangements, inspection rights, appliances and furnishings to stay with the home, closing timeline and location, possible repair allowances, and other contingencies, like perhaps the sale of the buyer’s home.

At this point, you have three options: accept the contract as is, accept it with changes (a counteroffer), or reject it. Remember: Once both parties have signed a written offer, the document becomes legally binding. If you have any questions or concerns, be certain to raise them right away.

6. Negotiate to Sell

Most offers to purchase your home will require some negotiating to come to a win-win agreement. My job is to inform you of your options and to protect your best interest throughout the bargaining. Once both parties have agreed on the terms of the sale, I’ll help draft a formal Purchase & Sale Contract for your review.

7. Finish Your To-Do List

Once you accept an offer to sell your house, you will need to make a list of all the things you must do before closing. In most cases, the property needs to be formally appraised, repaired as required, and emptied of personal possessions. The smoke detectors must be certified by the local fire marshal; your utility and internet accounts need to be cancelled; and you’ll have to prepare a new deed. I’ll help you spearhead the effort and serve as your advocate when dealing with the buyer’s agent and service providers. Depending on the Purchase & Sale terms, you may pay for all, some or none of these items. If each procedure returns acceptable results as defined by the contract, then the sale may continue. If there are problems, the terms set forth in the contract will dictate your next step. You or the buyer may decide to walk away, open a new round of negotiations, or proceed to closing.

8. Close the Deal

“Closing” refers to the meeting where ownership of the property is legally transferred to the buyer. Along with the closing attorney, I’ll be present to guide you through the process and make sure everything goes as planned. If any last-minute issues arise, I’ll help mediate them. After the papers are signed and recorded at the Registry, you’ll hand over the keys and start your next chapter. Congratulations on your new beginning!