Buying and selling a home can be confusing and stressful, even for the most experienced of homeowners. From the beginning of the buying and selling experience to the actual passing of keys, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and ask questions throughout the process. What should you be doing to prepare, and what are the right next steps to take? And what should you expect, both as a buyer and a seller?
Whether buying or selling your home, you don’t need to feel like you’re going in completely blind. Take a look at our buying and selling checklists to help you through every step of the way:
- Determine Your Budget. Figure out how much you can afford to pay, both as a down payment and your monthly mortgage payment. Review your monthly income, credit score, and any debts you may have.
- Get Mortgage/Loan Pre-Approval. Once you have your financial information ready, try to get pre-approval for a mortgage/loan. Speak to a few different lenders and research different programs, types of mortgages, and interest rates to know you’re picking the best plan for you.
- Make a Wishlist. Getting a finalized budget will help you determine what you want and need in a house, so start making a wishlist. This may include the type of home (apartment, condo, single-family, etc.), size, location, amenities, etc. Just make sure you know the difference between what you want and what you need.
- Find an Agent. Look for an agent that can help guide you through the process. This is tremendously important, as they will essentially define how the rest of the buying experience goes. Get referrals and interview a few agents before you make a decision.
- Tour and Research Homes. Start looking at homes that fit your budget and needs with your agent. Your agent will have access to the MLS, meaning they’ll have exclusive access to homes that may not be advertised yet. They can help you set up tours to see the home.
- Make an Offer. Make a convincing offer with any contingencies, special requests, move-in dates, etc. Contingencies may include inspections or purchase contingencies. Expect some negotiation back and forth (but a good agent will help you through this!). Finalize the deal with appraisals, home inspections, home insurance, and payment.
- Close! Close the deal! Review your closing document with your agent, then bring the amount you agreed on for the down payment and any extra closing costs.
- Weigh the Pros and Cons. Before putting your home on the market, ask yourself if you really need to sell. Where do you want to be in 5-10 years, and can you afford to buy a new home? You may also want to research the housing market. This can help you decide if selling is the best decision or if renting or renovating is better for you.
- Determine Selling Expenses. Selling a home comes with more expenses than you think, and you may want to figure out what yours specifically are. Repair projects, inspections, and stagings will cost money to help sell the home. Expect to pay about 7-10% of the cost of your home in these costs.
- Set a Strategy and Price. Figure out a good selling strategy and price that will attract buyers. Some times of year are better for selling than others, and researching homes similar to yours will help you determine a fair price and advertising route that will help you sell your home quickly.
- Find an Agent. Hire an agent to help you through the selling process and determine the exact selling strategy. This way, they can do all the hard work for you, and you can relax and let the offers come in!
- Stage and Tour. Hire a staging company to make your home look its absolute best. You may want to clean and sell things you no longer need during this time. Make repairs and increase curb appeal, so potential buyers see a perfect home. Generally speaking, try to remove personal items, so buyers can see themselves living in the home. Then let people tour the home!
- Negotiate Offers. Review each offer and determine which ones you are actually considering. Make counteroffers and negotiate until you’re comfortable with the final offer you get for your home.
- Escrow. Go through escrow with an escrow agent. This includes home repairs, inspections, title searches, closing documents, etc. Once escrow is completed, your house is sold and you’ll need to move out.
Lily Jang is a Top Producing Licensed Real Estate Agent out of the Keller Williams Memorial office in Houston, Texas. No matter what’s on your wishlist or where you’re coming from, we guarantee we can help you find the perfect home. Whether you’re thinking about listing your house, beginning your search for a new home, or having a question about the area, please contact me! Call 832-510-8802 to get started today or send a message on my website.