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The Ultimate Home Seller's Guide - Download Free eBook


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"The Ultimate Home Seller's Guide" is a FREE eBook packed with information and tips to help homeowners stay on track as they progress through the sale of their home.

UpNest is a free online service that matches home buyers and sellers with top, local real estate agents who compete for their business through a combination of competitive commission rates, rebates (where applicable), and value-added services. To learn more, please visit

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The Ultimate Home Seller's Guide - Download Free eBook

  1. 1. THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE HIRE A REAL ESTATE AGENT Suggest home improvements that will yield a high ROI Share insider knowledge on industry and local market trends Strategically price and market your home for maximum exposure Negotiate the best deal and terms on your behalf Simplify the entire process for you, including negotiations, inspections, title issues, etc. Show your home and keep you informed and updated at all times Assist in finding service providers (appraisers, inspectors, contractors, etc.) Promptly present and evaluate each offer with you Manage contracts, paperwork, and transactional details Offer advice, education, and guidance to serve your best interests Complete the transaction and sell your home per your agreement Page 1 of 16 Working with a top, experienced real estate agent is crucial to the successful sale of your home. A good agent will protect your interests and resolve any problems that arise, ensuring a stress‐free process. You can rely on a good real estate agent to:
  2. 2. Page 2 of 16 THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE MOVING Consider packing up and moving out of your home before you prepare it for sale. Many people elect to rent or lease a temporary residence while they prepare their home for sale. This gives you the freedom to paint, repair, and/or renovate your home without much inconvenience to you and your family. With all your furniture removed, you can also stage your home. Professionally staged homes show much better, increasing your chances of selling faster and for a higher sale price. Moving is stressful, so here are a few tips to ease the process and get you started: Reserve a mover and confirm moving date and costs Before you begin packing, create an inventory list of all items Order packing materials: boxes, tape, bubble wrap, markers, etc. Number and label boxes on the sides for visibility when stacked Divide and sort all your items into 4 piles: KEEP, DONATE, SELL, TOSS Pack a few essentials you’ll need for the near-term and put them aside Arrange special transportation for plants, pets, and cars For long-distance moves, you can enlist the help of a Relocation Specialist or relocation company If your home will be vacant while it's on the market, keep paying for utilities so you have electricity, water, etc. during showings
  3. 3. Page 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 3 of 16 THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE Consider hiring a cleaning service to do the prep-work for you Host a garage sale and/or sell items you don’t need on sites like Flooring: shampoo, vacuum, and clean carpets and rugs (or replace them); wax and refinish hardwood floors Bathroom: wash or replace shower curtains; treat any mildew or mold; clear vanity tops of all personal toiletries Kitchen: clean countertops and store away small appliances; remove artwork and magnets from the refrigerator; don't pack too much food in the refrigerator; empty trash to eliminate odors Dust off furniture, light fixtures, blinds, and other surfaces Wash windows; wash (or replace) worn window curtains Organize closets and storage space - buyers like to peek inside during Open Houses! Keep beds made and consider buying new bedding Store away magazines, books, children's toys, games, etc. Remove family photos and any potentially offensive items Place valuable items like jewelry and money in a secure place CLEAN, DECLUTTER & DE-PERSONALIZE
  4. 4. Page 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 4 of 11 CURB APPEAL - LANDSCAPING Weed, mow, rake, and water the lawn; trim bushes and trees Store away garden tools and neatly wrap the hose Power wash your driveway to remove any oil stains Add flowering plants to the front yard Remove debris from the gutters and the roof Clean ponds, fountains, and pool Clean barbeque grill and any outdoor furniture Buy a new welcome mat for the front door Replace exterior lighting fixtures and hardware Replace house numbers -be sure they're visible from the street Page 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 4 of 16 THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE Get a home inspection done early so you have the opportunity to identify and address/fix any problems that may cause delays in the sale of your home if discovered later by the buyer's inspector. HOME INSPECTION
  5. 5. Page 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 5 of 11 HOME IMPROVEMENT Page 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 5 of 16 Consult with your agent to determine which home improvement projects will yield the highest ROI Repaint interior with neutral colors - they appeal to most buyers Remove old, dated wallpaper Fix light fixtures and switches and replace old light bulbs Patch up holes in walls from artwork and repair cracks Make sure windows and doors open, close, and lock securely Make sure the AC and the heat work Repair leaky faucets and toilets Inspect smoke detectors, security alarms, and sprinkler system Repair or replace the roof if necessary THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE
  6. 6. TIPS FOR PRICING A HOME Analyze comparable listings and sales of similar homes in your neighborhood over the past 6 months Search the internet for similar homes in your local market and look at Days on Market and compare list-to-sale-price ratios; adjust for variances Tour active listings nearby and adjust your price accordingly Set price based on market conditions and trends FACTORS AFFECTING HOME VALUE Industry trends and local market conditions - Buyer’s market? Seller’s market? Square footage and lot size Number of bedrooms/bathrooms Age and condition of home – Is it a fixer-upper? Has it been renovated? Is it a historical home? New construction? The condition of your home can be a deal-maker or deal-breaker. Location – city, state, and neighborhood; proximity to public transportation, freeways, schools, libraries, shopping, downtown, etc. Amenities – pool, spa tub, walk-in closets, gourmet kitchen, hardwood floors, etc. THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE PRICING YOUR HOME Page 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 5 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 6 of 16 Overpricing or underpricing your home can negatively impact its sale. A well-priced home will generate competitive offers and ensure a quick sale, so enlist the services of your real estate agent to strategically price your home. Your real estate agent should have strong local neighborhood knowledge and will help you strategically price your home. S/he should give you a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) that serves as a guide to set an accurate value for your home. You can also do your own research: $
  7. 7. Page 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 5 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 7 of 16 Street and home signage High-end, full-color marketing brochures and flyers Professional photography Virtual home tour Professional home staging Social Media: facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. Property listing on web portals (zillow, trulia,, etc.) Print advertising in local newspapers and magazines Direct mail: postcards and flyers Dedicated property website Email newsletter to network and/or blog post Your agent should employ proven marketing techniques to sell your home for the highest sale price in the shortest time. Some ways your agent can market your home to maximize exposure to potential buyers are: THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE MARKETING YOUR HOME For Sale
  8. 8. Page 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 5 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 8 of 16 Introduce accent colors via accessories (pillows, throws, etc.) Place fresh, new towels and hand soap in bathrooms Add mirrors in rooms to give the illusion of more space Place a table runner and formal dining setting on your table Display fresh flower arrangements throughout the home DECORATE THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE SHOWING YOUR HOME HOME STAGING Consider hiring a professional Home Staging company to showcase your home's best features and impress buyers. Studies show that buyers pay more for staged homes, so it's likely you'll recoup your costs and command a higher sale price.
  9. 9. Page 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 5 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 9 of 16 Keep your home accessible and ready for frequent showings Allow a lockbox on your door so the buyer's agent can enter your home using a unique code instead of a key Stay away during open houses so buyers feel comfortable touring your home and giving feedback to your agent Open drapes and blinds and let the light in Set a comfortable temperature for the home Play soft background music to drown out any nearby traffic noise THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE SHOWING YOUR HOME OPEN HOUSE Eliminate any odors (pets, food, cigarette); Use an air‐freshener or scented candles Offer refreshments like sodas, water, cookies, etc. If you're moving out before putting your house on the market, be sure the lights, AC, and heat are working
  10. 10. THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE EVALUATING OFFERS Page 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 5 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 10 of 16 If your home is priced and marketed correctly, offers should start to roll in. Your agent will help you evaluate each offer and approach each one as an opportunity to negotiate. ACCEPT, REJECT, COUNTER-OFFER You have 3 choices when you get an offer for your home: Accept, Reject or Counter-Offer Multiple offers: Don't be tempted to take the highest offer - it's not always the best one! Don't reveal your personal circumstances - it may compromise your position and end up costing you thousands! Proposed offer price Pre-approval or pre-qualification letter Contingencies (financing, appraisal, inspections, repairs, etc.) Earnest money deposit Proposed closing date Expiration date of offer For each offer, carefully review and evaluate:
  11. 11. THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE Page 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 5 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 11 of 16 A lot can happen in a real estate transaction and a deal can often fall through at the last minute. A good agent should be able to manage any complexity that may arise to avoid delays and ensure a smooth process. Disclose all known home defects to buyers. Most states have property disclosure forms. The following contingencies may be attached to an offer: Buyer securing financing A title search to ensure there aren't any claims against the title Contractual promises, such as repairs and buyer incentives Title Insurance to protect against any mistakes and errors Buyer's home inspection and final walk‐through Home appraisal requested by lender to ensure the home's sale price justifies the loan amount Buyer selling their home first - you can counter with a “Removal of Sale Contingency” DISCLOSURES & CONTINGENCIES EVALUATING OFFERS
  12. 12. THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE CLOSING EXPENSES REAL ESTATE AGENT COMMISSIONS Congratulations! You are about to close on the sale of your home! As the seller, you will likely be paying the entire commission, to be split between the buyer's agent and yours. This is covered in your signed Listing Agreement. TRANSFER TAX: Your county or city may require you to pay transfer taxes as a percentage of sale price. Transfer tax varies depending on state, county, and city. CLOSING COSTS OR CREDITS TO THE BUYER You might have agreed to pay various standard costs associated with closing the deal, such as escrow fees, home appraisal cost, recording and transfer of the property, Homeowners and Title Insurance, and more. Page 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 5 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 12 of 16
  13. 13. Page 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 5 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 13 of 16 THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE CLOSING EXPENSES CAPITAL GAINS TAX Consult your tax advisor on this topic to get specifics If you're selling your primary home and you earn less than $250,000 on your home sale (or $500,000 if you're married and filing jointly), you will not owe capital gains tax. If you earn more, research to see what you owe. If your property is an investment property, then you're obligated to pay the capital gains tax unless you are doing a 1031 exchange Many sellers buy a home warranty on the buyer's behalf. This is a service contract (cost: ~$500) that covers repairs to appliances and certain systems within the house for the first year of ownership. HOME WARRANTY FOR THE BUYER MOVING COSTS While it may be tempting to save some money by asking friends and family to help you move, it's best to hire a moving company to take care of all your moving needs. Research and reserve a reputable mover and confirm your moving date, costs, and other details. If you're moving long-distance, consider enlisting a Relocation Specialist or relocation company to assist you
  14. 14. Page 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 5 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 14 of 16 THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE CLOSING/ESCROW HOME INSPECTION, INSURANCE & APPRAISAL Prepare home for buyer's final walk‐through and home inspection Once the deed is recorded or title has transfered, call your home insurance company to request a pro‐rated refund on your policy The buyer's lender will request an appraisal to ensure the home's sale price justifies the loan amount. If the appraisal comes in lower than the sale price, the buyer has to secure additional funds to cover the gap between the loan and the sale price or may ask you to renegotiate the contract. UTILITIES, NEWSPAPERS, AND MAGAZINES Make a list of phone numbers for your utility companies and cancel them in a timely manner Cancel newspaper/magazine subscriptions a week or more in advance to stop them from piling up HOUSE/MAILBOX KEYS & REMOTES The buyers will probably change the locks but you should leave behind all keys (house, gate, mailbox) and remotes.
  15. 15. Page 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 5 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 3 of 11 www.upnest.comPage 15 of 16 Set aside manuals for major appliances for the new buyer Leave receipts from contractors or warranties in a drawer Leave any codes for the security alarm or other home systems THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE APPLIANCE MANUALS, RECEIPTS AND WARRANTIES CLOSING/ESCROW FINAL CHECKS Pat yourself on the're almost done! Double check your closets, drawers, storage, and garage to make sure you don't leave anything behind Close windows and drapes/blinds Lock all the doors If you still have electricity, turn everything off, including the lights Save closing documents for reporting the sale on federal and state tax forms
  16. 16. Page 3 of 11Page 5 of 11Page 3 of 11Page 16 of 16 THE ULTIMATE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE ABOUT UPNEST UpNest is an online real estate marketplace that matches home buyers and sellers with top, local agents who compete for their business. Buyers and sellers receive personalized agent quotes offering competitive rates and services. Our no-obli- gation service is fast, free, and guarantees the best value. To learn more, please visit Facebook: Twitter: us ©2015 UpNest, Inc. Reproduction of this eBook without permission is prohibited.