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Home Selling Checklist: Important Steps at Every Stage of the Process

The process of selling a home has many moving parts. Especially if you’re looking to sell quickly and maximize your profits. Your Realtor® is there to ensure you do everything you need to achieve your home sale goals, but nonetheless, it’s nice to have a home selling checklist so you know what to expect at each stage of your home sale. 

What boxes do you need to tick before you list your home, while it’s on the market, and after accepting an offer? You’re about to find out!

Part 1: Your pre-listing checklist

Once the decision has been made to sell, most homeowners want to get their homes on the market quickly, but sometimes it makes sense to wait. Regardless of your timeline, there are several things you should take care of before listing your home to ensure a smooth and successful sale.

Do your research

Real estate agents have a wealth of knowledge about market trends and factors that impact home value, so you should certainly lean on their expertise. But with so much information out there, many homeowners can’t help but do their own research on what they need to do to prepare for the market and sell their homes. Understanding the home sale process and what goes into a home’s value can also make the selling process a lot less stressful and confusing. 

To get an idea of what your home might sell for, you can do a little comparative analysis. Look at what homes similar to yours—AKA comps—have sold for recently. You can use listing sites like Redfin to get an idea of  the market value of homes in your neighborhood. Make sure to consider the size, location, and condition of your home to get a good idea of its market value. 

In other words, don’t compare your home to one that’s much larger, located in a completely different zip code, or with much newer flooring, roofing, and appliances. Some of this, of course, you won’t know—and your real estate agent can help fill in any gaps. 

Get your finances in order

Selling your home doesn’t come without expenses. For example, you may have to pay for essential repairs, home improvements recommended by your Realtor®, staging, and moving. 

You may also need to pay: 

  • Your mortgage off, along with any related fees 
  • For the buyer’s title insurance, which protects them against financial loss if there’s a defect in the title or with the property
  • Capital gains taxes, which are taxes on the difference of the amount you purchased your home for and what you sell for
  • Transfer taxes, which is required in some states to transfer ownership of a home from one individual to another

You’ll want to get a clear understanding of what costs are associated with selling a home so you can factor them into your home sale plan before you list.

Hire a reputable real estate agent

One of the costs associated with selling a home is the commission you pay your real estate agent, as well as your buyer’s agent.

While it is possible to sell your home on your own, it’s not recommended. Since 2016, about 90% of home sellers have used an agent to sell their home, even with big players disrupting the real estate space.  This is because even with more options and information available, the real estate space is incredibly complex. Realtors® are there to guide you through the process, help you make the right decisions for your unique set of needs, and field and negotiate offers (among several other things). 

With 1.5 million Realtors® across the US, finding an agent isn’t difficult. Our best advice for finding the right agent for you is to make sure they understand and can cater to your specific needs. Do you want to sell as quickly as possible? Make sure they have the right option for you. Do you want to make as much of a profit as possible? Make sure they have the resources to help you tackle repairs and home improvements that will help you fetch top dollar (Curbio is, of course, one of those options). 

Take care of deferred maintenance

71% of home buyers are afraid of purchasing a home that needs work. Think about it—no one wants to spend all their cash on a home, then turn around and have a plumbing or electrical emergency to take care of.

If you’re like most homeowners, there are probably some repairs that you’ve put off because they weren’t quite necessary or because you didn’t have the cash to tackle them. Taking care of repairs pays off in both time and money. In fact, pre-listing projects consisting simply of repairs and touch ups not only result in an average ROI of 167% and net profit of $5,578 for home sellers, they also help homes get to closing faster. By tackling repairs before listing, you’ll attract more buyers, receive a good offer quicker, and fly through your home inspection.

Below are a few specifics to pay special attention to.

  • Issues with your electrical, and plumbing systems
  • The age of your roof
  • Building code violations that will be flagged during an inspection
  • Other safety issues such as front or backyard pathways with uneven concrete that could be a tripping hazard

Tackle pre-listing home improvements

Regardless of your home sale goals, repairs and touch ups almost always make sense. If you want to maximize your profit from your home sale, however, you’ll likely want to also consider home improvements that will add value and help your home sell faster.

80% of home buyers would prefer to purchase a home that’s move-in ready. Luckily, Curbio makes pre-listing home improvements and repairs easy. Together, your Realtor® and Curbio can advise you on the best home improvements to maximize your net profit. 

Curbio also streamlines home improvements, completing them 65% faster than  the typical contractor. And the best part—we wait until closing to be paid for our work. Before you ask, don’t worry. We don’t charge any interest, fees, or premiums! We even have a price-match guarantee to put our money where our mouth is. No matter what home improvements you need to attract a broad set of buyers and maximize your sale price, we’ve got you covered. Learn more about how it works here

Once you’ve checked research, budgeting, hiring, repairs, and upgrades off of your to-do list, your home is officially market-ready! 

Part 2: Daily to-dos while on the market

Once your home is on the market, what do you need to do to get and keep potential buyers on the hook?

Keep your home clean and clutter-free

It’s not uncommon for buyers to ask to tour your home on short notice. So it needs to look its best at all times. That includes: 

  • Making your bed(s)
  • Picking up things that are lying around (e.g. shoes, toys or other items on the floor or couch)
  • Cleaning your bathroom and kitchen
  • Taking out the trash
  • Sweeping or vacuuming your floors
  • Putting valuables such as electronics, jewelry, and documents containing your personal information in a safe place

You’ll also want to consider having a place for you (and your pets) to stay while your home is being shown. 

Ask for feedback

Don’t be afraid to ask what feedback your agent has received from buyers’ agents, or what thoughts they might have on the best strategy to get you to closing! If you didn’t take on repairs and/or home improvements, and it’s been a couple of weeks, you may even want to consider taking your property off the market to make some updates. 

Part 3: Steps to ensure a seamless sale

Now, let’s fast forward a bit and imagine you’ve received a great offer on your house.

Tackle punch-list repairs after the home inspection

Whether you tackled known, deferred maintenance before listing or not, there’s a chance that some repairs come up during the inspection. No need to fret! Inspection repairs are generally not dealbreakers. Oftentimes, you can tackle the repairs before closing or offer buyer credits so that the buyers feel comfortable tackling the repairs post-close. If you choose to work on the punch-list repairs, Curbio can take care of them quickly (with same-day estimates and immediate availability) to prevent any delays to closing.

Get ready for the final walkthrough

Before the buyer does their last walkthrough of your home:

  • Double-check that you’ve completed any and all repairs agreed to (if there was a repair contingency clause in your contract)
  • Make sure that any items that are supposed to be left in the home—such as appliances—are present and in working order

You don’t want to give the buyer any reason to back out of the deal or prolong the closing process.

Move out and lock up 

You’ve accepted an offer, and closing day is looming. Besides moving your furniture and other belongings out, make sure that you:

  • Checked that all windows and doors are secured
  • Turn off all lights
  • Shut off the water
  • Lock the front door to prevent unauthorized access while the house is empty
  • Leave the keys

Officially close 

The last and most exciting step on our 3-part checklist for selling your home? Showing up to closing! When you do, bring the following with you:

  • Your government-issued ID or driver’s license
  • The purchase contract
  • The deed to the house
  • The house keys, garage door opener, access codes for gates, smart locks, etc.
  • Any last utility bills that need to be paid
  • Your checkbook and cashier’s checks for closing costs and any agreed-upon repair credits

Once all the documents are signed, your house will officially be considered sold! Learn more about how you can improve your home value before you sell.