Home Seller's Checklist - Thinking about putting your home on the market? Read this first!
Home Seller’s Checklist
This worksheet gives an overview of the entire home selling process. Use it to keep organized and on track as you prepare to sell your house. The links provided will take you to articles with more detailed information.
Just as you are reading this page now, continue preparing yourself by reading up on what to expect when selling your house.
This website has lots of great articles and resources to explore. We also recommend consulting with friends and family who’ve sold homes and seeing what advice they can pass on. And naturally, your real estate agent will be a veritable fountain of real estate facts and know-how.
A little bit of preparedness will help avoid unpleasant surprises down the road, make the most of your relationship with your agent, and contribute to a smoother, worry-free sale.
Now that you’re armed with some knowledge, it’s time to do a bit of planning.
Start a new file folder or binder where you can collect and store all the important research, paperwork, contacts, dates and yes, even checklists like this! This way, all the information you need (and the info required by other parties you’ll be working with), is always available at an arm’s reach.
This is a good time to gather documents you will need later: everything from the property deed to household warranties and copies of utility and property tax receipts. You should also be prepared to clear your calendar as much as possible in anticipation of the various meetings and preparative work that will soon put the squeeze on your available hours.
Budget for selling expenses
It’s best to prepare yourself early on for the costs involved in selling real estate. You’ll want to set aside funds for repairing household problems that hurt value, freshening and depersonalizing décor, staging your home, and fees for the various professionals you’ll require to get you through the process.
Some fees may be paid at the time of closing, and can be taken from the proceeds of the sale. Check with your real estate agent for budget recommendations and an estimate of exactly how much you can expect to pay and when you’ll need to pay it.
Find yourself a qualified real estate agent
This may actually be your first priority, depending on how much initial legwork you are prepared to undertake. Your real estate agent will be your number-one ally and helpful resource during the course of selling your home.
An agent will do the following during your home selling process:
· Recommend a competitive price for your home
· Develop a marketing strategy to bring in as many potential buyers as possible
· Take care of all the details (so you don't have to)
· Advise you about your rights, options and obligations
· Negotiate to get you the best price and the best terms possible
Ready to get the ball rolling? Call Katherine Barclay now (217) 779-6916
Sign the listing agreement
At this point, you will sign a contract between you and your real estate agent’s brokerage company.
This document establishes the fine details of your relationship with your sales representative, including compensation, the listing price of your home, and other details of the sale. The contract generally makes sure both parties are on the same page when it comes to expectations and obligations.
Consider hiring a real estate lawyer
A real estate lawyer will ensure your interests are protected in all legal agreements that require your signature (such as the buyer’s offer to purchase).
Prepare your home for viewing
When it comes time for prospective buyers to tour your home, you’ll want to be sure it’s looking (and smelling) its best. Well in advance of the open house you should consider renovating problem areas that could detract from the home’s overall value. Some renovations have even been proven to return the cost of the project and more in the selling price. The day of an open house, you’ll want to be sure that the place is tidy and smells clean. Odd food or pet odors aren’t likely to impress anyone.
Prepare for the buyer's inspection
Many prospective buyers will insist upon a home inspection conducted by a professional home inspector prior to making any firm commitment to purchase your home. The home inspection goes well beyond window-dressing, as your home’s important structural, functional and safety features will be under the magnifying glass.
If you are aware of issues in your house that need repair, you’d be well advised to fix them in advance of the buyer’s inspection. Anything you don’t fix will have to be disclosed to the buyer by law.
It may even be wise to commission your own house inspection in advance, so that you will be prepared for any unpleasant surprises. This will also give you a chance to remedy issues that could jeopardize a sale or force you to lower the price.
Prepare to review purchase offers, negotiate and counter-offer
When a buyer is interested, he’ll make it official by presenting you with an Offer to Purchase. This legal document contains all the pertinent details that describe the property, as well as how much he is prepared to pay for the house and what conditions, inclusions and exclusions he wants as part of the deal. It helps to have a clear idea ahead of time as to how much compromising on price and conditions you are prepared to do. Your real estate agent can help with negotiations and preparing your counter offer when applicable.
Prepare for closing day and afterward
Once the lawyers have determined that all obligations on the part of both buyer and seller have been fulfilled, the deal can close. You’ll be presented with a check for the proceeds of the sale, and the buyer will get the keys.
Find your new house and prepare for the move
We’ve put this step at the end because most people don’t actually move until about the time of closing. But by no means should you wait until the close to start these preparations. In fact, there is as much to think about when buying a house as there is when selling one.