A Home Seller's Guide: Step by Step

Step 1 - Finding an Agent, and the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

Selling your home by yourself is a road virtually littered with a plethora of pitfalls and landmines waiting under every step. Luckily, finding the right real estate to guide you through the minefield can help you avoid them all. To correctly ascertain that a potential agent has the right motive, it's important to ask plenty of questions. You need to be comfortable with the way that they do business.

Also, it's important to have them take a look at your place. An agent will be able to examine your home, then assess how it compares to others in the area. The value assessed for your home is the result of the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), and is essential in accurately pricing your home.

Step 2 - Preparing Documents & Other Materials

There are some important documents that you need to have at the ready when preparing to sell your home. This includes:

  • a Real Property Report
  • any relevant repair receipts
  • home warranty documents
  • a spare set of keys
  • any relevant rental or lease agreements

The Real Property Report is a survey of your property and you will need an up-to-date version. Finally, make sure that if you live in a condo that you have any documents from the board or management company.

Step 3 - Preparing Your Home

It's essential to take care of all the niggling little repairs that you have been putting off. The alternative is offering the buyer a kind of credit for the value of the repair. Beware trying to hide any damage or needed repairs as this can end up blowing up in your face. If discovered, it will likely drastically reduce your home's value in the mind of the buyer, leaving them to wonder what other issues you are hiding. Rooms should be as uncluttered as possible, removing unneeded furniture and personal items. And of course, the house should be clean.

Step 4 - Preparing Listing Documents

The listing documents consist of a legally binding contract. As with any legal document, you need to make sure you understand it fully. A qualified agent will make a point of going through the document in detail to ensure a full understanding. The majority of standard contracts will be designed to primarily protect you, as well as the brokerage itself.

Step 5 - Marketing

Nobody knows your home better than you will. When thinking about which points will attract potential buyers, it can be helpful to think back to what it was that attracted you to purchase that property in the first place. Be sure to go over all marketing material and make suggestions where you see room for improvement. All homes will have some value to a buyer out there, it's important to highlight the features that will attract those buyers.

Step 6 - Showing the Home

This is one aspect where a decidedly hands-off approach is especially effective, and appropriate. For potential homebuyers, the homeowner's presence can be an unwelcome addition that can make things uncomfortable. It's a much better strategy to allow your real estate agent to handle this aspect of the process; they have experience showing homes and know which aspects to highlight. We are all humans though - if there is a certain time that won't work for showings, or if you need a break, just let your real estate agent know. You still have a life to live after all.

Step 7 - Reassessing Your Strategy

It's essential to be continually reassessing your marketing campaign. Once a few weeks have past, it can be an ideal time gather feedback on your marketing efforts and even make some adjustments. Are your methods being effective? Is it time to try a new medium, or dial it up a notch?(i.e. online, or more newspaper advertisements) Are the highlighted features gaining any interest? The last thing you want is for your listings to go stale; you need to be proactive in keeping marketing efforts fresh and attractive.

Step 8 - Evaluating Offers

You will be contacted by your agent to schedule a time for an offer to be presented to you, each time one comes in. Whether you prefer to meet in person or otherwise, the choice is yours in the end. Once an agreement has been reached, signatures and initials will be required to finalize any transaction. The ideal result is always going to be a win-win situation for both the buyer and the seller. As long as you can justify your price with features that buyers will truly see a value in, they won't have an issue paying your price.

Step 9 - Conditions

More often than not any agreed upon offer will come with certain conditions attached. For example, the purchase may be on the condition that the home passes a home inspection, or the buyer's financing goes through. Between 7 and 11 days is a typical amount of time for such conditions to be met, the shorter the better while giving ample time for the buyer to get everything in order. During this time period the property will be considered "conditionally sold."

10 - Preparing to Take Possession

Once all conditions are met, or removed, you can get ready to take possession as the deal is considered "firm". One of the final steps will include meeting with your lawyer (typically one week before final possession) to fulfill any final items mandated in the contract. This can include painting, cleaning, or completing some repairs. To go back on any of these items would consist of a breach of contract.

11 - Closing & Taking Possession

Final possession typically occurs at noon (12:00pm), unless stipulated differently in writing. In a show of good faith, any furniture and other items is often moved out the day before the possession. Though not required, it is often the case and allows an advanced walkthrough for buyers before they legally take possession, although keys would not be released until noon of the day of possession. Furthermore, keys would only be handed over once the transfer of money has been successfully verified. Normally, any cheques from the sale of a home will be ready within a few days, and can be transferred again by a lawyer if you are in turn buying a new home.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like further advice on selling your home in Calgary.