If you’ve not sold a home before, you’ve not experienced the many layers and levels of events and activities involved before the transaction closes and you receive that payoff check. If you’ve had that experience, you know that to minimize the stress, it’s important to educate yourself to that process. You need to know what to expect and what you can do to increase the chances of selling in the time frame you need and for a good cash result. The guidance below and in the many linked sources is the core of the education you need.

The Agent Matters

When you first start tinkering with the idea of selling your house is actually the best time to contact a Realtor® to start to fully develop your insights into the process and most likely results. Otherwise, you are likely to waste a lot of time, and maybe come to some false conclusions. Plus, early on you can fully test the chemistry you have with each individual until you find  a good  and well-qualified fit. Ultimately, that Realtor® will put more money in your pocket, expedite the process, protect your interests, and assist and guide you to the best possible results.

Beyond compatible chemistry, the essential Realtor® characteristics are substantial, applicable experience and knowledge, plus attitude – the Realtor® needs to be very focused on your needs and preferences, tactfully honest with the likely range of results, and responsive through the communication channels you prefer. Try to judge these characteristics early in your contacts. If the fit isn’t there, quietly move on. When he/she calls next, simply say that … “The fit didn’t seem quite right” … and end it there.  Do not commit to a listing agreement until you are entirely comfortable with the Realtor®. He/she will be managing disposal of your most valuable asset.

Price the House to Sell

You’ve got to get the pricing right from the get go. Lose money if you price too low, damage your chances of selling if you price too high. You’ve got to price your house within its legitimate value range if you’re going to attract the qualified right buyers. Your Realtor® can guide you to optimum, competitive pricing for your home.

Stage the Property

Give your property, not just the house, the best chance it has of making a powerful first impression. From curb appeal to the paint on the back fence, from cleanliness to thoughtfulness, the way your house looks, feels and smells directly impacts the way buyers feel about your property.

Remove excess, clear the clutter, and minimize your belongings. Depersonalize and neutralize by using generic colors and imagery in the decor. Clean from top to bottom and inside out. Paint and shampoo carpets if needed. Wash walls. Bleach sinks and toilets. Open the blinds to let in light. Mow the lawn and pull the weeds, trim the hedges and plant some flowers. Give your house the ability to flirt with buyers.

Showings and Open Houses

Your agent will schedule open houses and showings so you should never have to meet a buyer face to face at this point. In fact, it’s going to be more comfortable for you and your guests if you’re not home during showings.

It’s also beneficial to make out-of-home arrangements for your pets. Not everyone is animal-friendly, some people have severe animal allergies, and your pets may not feel comfortable experiencing a train of unknown feet, scents, and voices parading through their territory.

On days when the house is shown, do the dishes, make the beds, tidy the bathroom, and make sure the house is in show condition.

Offers and Negotiations

When you’ve hired the right agent, priced competitively, staged accordingly, and hosted successful showings, you’re bound to get offers. Best case scenario, you get competing offers from hungry buyers, spawning a bidding war. But you may only get a single offer. Your agent will help you review and understand the offers, negotiate terms when needed, and help you determine which offer best suits you.

Appraisals, Inspections, Surveys, Legalities

You’re not done, just yet, opening your home to strangers. The next part of the transaction is to satisfy the buyer’s lender with an appraisal to determine fair market value, and an inspection to deem the property free of major faults or problems like pests. Your home’s title is also being checked for tax holds or liens that could prevent it from being legally sold. For a property not in a subdivision, the property will also be surveyed to confirm boundaries.


You can alleviate stress and expedite the process of selling your house by knowing ahead of time what to expect. Of course, knowing what needs to be done is only half the battle. You’ve also got to be willing to do what it takes to help your efforts succeed in selling your house. Price your home competitively, stage your house, so it appears in its best condition, consider offers and negotiate terms, and be patient while your transaction moves through the phases of real estate sales.

When you’re satisfied with your experience, when you’re pleased with the work your agent did to sell your house, take the time to rate and review that agent online, and be ready to recommend that agent to friends and family when they ask who you know in real estate.

Your Realtor® is the best source of information about the local community and real estate topics. Give The Neal Team a call today at 602-931-1010 to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.

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