As you may know already, I sold my house within 2 weeks. While this was pretty fast, there are still a lot of steps to complete before I can officially cash the check ;-).
When you decide to sell you house on your own, there are a lot of steps to be aware of in the process. A realtor can take care of a few of them and guide you through the rest of the steps. And while selling a house may be a lengthy process, it is not rocket science. This is why I have decided to outline the main steps to selling your house to help ensure you don’t forget anything:
#1 Prepare your house
I’ve already written about home staging tips in a previous post. I think that investing about 1 to 2% of the price of your house is a very good idea if you want to sell faster and get a decent price. Clean up, paint with light, neutral colors and make it trendy.
The second step to preparing your house for sale is all the required documents. You will need to make sure you have up-to-date documentation concerning warranties, current land surveys and titles and any required tests in your area. Make sure you can track down all renovation bills and improvements you made to the house. Know your dates and approximate amounts.
They also now have a “seller’s declaration” that is used to give the buyer additional protection on the fact that the seller of the house didn’t have problems with water, heating, bugs, windows, etc. This is obviously to avoid any hidden vice.
#2 Set a price for sale
You must first calculate how much you need for your budget. Then, you have to look at what is on the market. Don’t look at furniture or design. Think square feet, equipment (A/C, pool, flooring, heating, etc.) and location. Make a sheet with facts, not opinions while looking at comparables.
#3 Put your house for sale
At this time, you can go with an agent or by yourself. Bytheowner.com offers a very nice alternative in Canada. They are very professional and it doesn’t cost much ($800 in my case). I have ignored newspapers and traditional media since they are expensive and “useless” as 85% of potential buyers search their next house on the internet.
#4 You get an offer, what to do next?
You can always counter offer and negotiate other points. The main consideration here will be the price and the occupation date. You can negotiate items to be included or excluded (make sure to put everything in writing and make it clear on the contract).
#5 The offer is accepted, you are done… Don‘t quit yet!
You wish it was over at this point but there is a very important step to achieve before selling your house: the inspection! The buyer has the right to have an inspector look over your property to make sure everthing is in order. While this is a normal requirement before buying a house, this step can be stressful.
Inspectors usually point out little minor defects of your property. While each house is far from being perfect, it is never fun to have people “criticize” your property.
#6 Finalizing the sale of your property
Besides the inspection, there is another very important part included in the offer to purchase; the proof of financing from the buyers. They usually have 10 days to provide such documents (a letter from the bank). Don’t forget to ask for it to make sure your buyers are strong enough financially to buy your property.
#7 Closing date at the lawyer/notary and the date for Possession
There are usually 2 dates to take into consideration when selling your property: when you will sign for the amount to be received by check (at the lawyer/notary) and when you will giving away the keys. Those 2 dates are usually pretty close (within the same week). However, it is important to understand when you will actually receive your cash as you will probably be buying another property and you need to know when your cash down on the other property will be available. If there is a discrepancy in the dates, you can always go for a bridge loan (which will be explained in another article).
That’s it! You are done selling your house and you can move in to the other one!
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