How to Sell Your House in 7 Easy Steps

So, you’ve decided.

Your current home and hearth have been a soft place to land, but now it’s time to move on.

Maybe your career is taking you to distant shores, your growing family needs more space, or you’re looking for the perfect retirement destination – whatever the reason, selling your home is a serious undertaking.

Here are seven easy steps to selling your house:

1. Finding the Perfect Realtor

These professionals will play a vital role in the successful sale of your home.

It’s a meaningful relationship, so you’ll want to feel good about working with this person.

In addition to being someone you like and trust, your realtor also needs to be well-versed in the housing market.

This realtor should assist with meeting prospective buyers, arranging open houses, advising on home-staging, marketing properties, negotiating with buyers and much more.

Look for someone with experience selling in both your area and your price point – selling a million-dollar home is very different than a $350,000 one.

When interviewing potential realtors, make sure they have a specific plan for selling your home.

Tips to find a good agent:

  • Speak with people in your network
  • Drive around your community to find ‘for sale’ listings.
  • Ask for recommendations from your lender, if appropriate
  • Online searches for professionals in your area

2. Setting the Right Price

Your realtor should guide you on how much to ask for your home.

If you want to understand home-pricing, you’ll want to start with a site like HouseSigma.com.

Search for comparable listings in your community, both active and sold, going back three to six months.

When searching, check into home layout, age, updates and square footage.

Pay attention to neighbourhood characteristics and physical features like busy streets, main roads and railroads.

The goal is to compare apples to apples.

When you find comparable properties, look at the pricing.

After about 21 days, a listing loses much lustre, so check the date.

Keep an eye out for quick turnaround ‘sold!’ notices to get a sense of what pricing works in your market.

Gather what information you can and speak with your realtor.

Determining the best price comes from a combination of individual circumstances and market factors.

3. Making Home Improvements

The first thought many homeowners have it to complete improvements in preparing for listing their homes on the market.

However, renovations can get very expensive, very quickly.

Luckily, there are plenty of affordable DIY projects that can win the hearts and minds of your sellers.

The best place to start is making all the minor repairs you’ve been putting off.

Oil squeaky hinges, weed the front yard, and replace broken appliances – these details add up quickly in a buyer’s mind and may be the things that make or break the offer.

Canadian real estate brokers point to low-cost improvements like paint and landscaping as having a high return on investment (ROI).

Paint is an easy, affordable way to update your place and can brighten any room that needs a little extra attention.

Neutral shades that flatter the space and open up possibilities are best.

Larger upgrades, such as kitchens, resonate with almost all home buyers, but the costs are not for the faint of heart.

For a minor job, you can expect to pay between $13,000 to $19,000.

A new roof and windows are also a big seller with buyers as they tend to be budget-savers.

Couple holding sold sign in front of their recently sold home

4. Staging Your Home

When staging your home, the goal is to take yourself out of it.

While plenty of people probably appreciate your velvet Elvis painting collection, sellers might be less enthusiastic about it having pride of place in the home.

Looking through Instagram #homestaging images show stylish, minimalist spaces.

The best place to start is with your belongings.

Taking the time to clean, organize and declutter can be a big job that adds incremental dollars to a buyer’s initial offer.

If you find that boxes are starting to overrun your basement, consider using your garage or renting a storage unit.

Take down family photos and any artwork that is likely to be more personal in preference.

When deciding on the artwork, think of prints from Ikea, Jysk, or Amazon.

Look online for inspiration for affordable ways to stage your home on YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Just remember, you don’t have to break the bank to stage your home.

Build on what you have with accents like throw pillows, decorative candle holders, and other details that add style.

Home décor stores, thrift shops, and Kijiji can be great places to shop for modern pieces that make a statement.

5. Listing Your Home

The weary seller’s work is not yet done, and there is still more to come despite your whirlwind of cleaning, organizing, and home-beautifying.

For some, listing and showing the home is the most challenging part because you are just waiting.

You are waiting for the open houses, the viewings, and the offers to come in.

The minute your listing is published, your realtor will be working hard to showcase your property to the most promising buyers out there.

Your part of the deal is keeping your house as close to showroom-ready as possible.

Many potential buyers will request viewings at their convenience, and it serves you well to accommodate if you can.

Sometimes that means wrapping dinner in tinfoil and going for a drive.

Your realtor should follow up after the visit to provide feedback from the buyers.

6. Accepting an Offer

At this stage, you should be receiving offers.

There are three ways to deal with a buyer’s proposal – accept, counter, or decline.

When negotiating with a buyer, your realtor will be an invaluable asset in navigating this process.

In a buyer’s market, you may be asked to lower your asking price, cover the buyer’s closing costs, or negotiate on a possession date.

If you have the freedom and flexibility, don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad offer.

Selling your house can be emotionally-draining, and sometimes there’s the temptation to force an ending.

Don’t let a bad day break the bank – always step back and take a breath before deciding.

7. Closing Costs

So, the perfect offer has finally come in, and you’ve accepted – now you have to pay for it.

Majority of closing costs are footed by the buyer, however there are a few things you may need to take care of as a seller.

Did You Know?

In 2018, Texas-based Ben Cabellero was celebrated as the Guinness World Record’s first real estate agent recognized for home sales. This very prolific professional sold a staggering 3,556 verified homes in one year.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you start the process to sell your house?
  • What paperwork is required to sell a house?

Lindsey is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance and business trends. She has a B.A. in psychology and is currently working towards completing her Canadian Securities Course.

When she’s not exploring the relationship between mind and money, Lindsey likes to play vintage video games, read all books, and go skiing.