Seller's Guide

A Step-by-Step First-Time Seller's Guide

Putting your home on the market can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t know where to start. I have created this easy-to-follow guide for any first-time home seller to let you know what to expect in the process. Following these steps will help you prepare so you can get organized and sell your home for the best price possible.


Step 1: Pre-Listing Interview

I know your time is valuable.  The best way for us to streamline this process and set ourselves up for a successful transaction is to have clear lines of communication from the beginning.  We will set up some time for a quick phone call to discuss your motivations for selling, expectations for the process and how I can best serve you.  Some of the items we will discuss are:

  • What do you want to accomplish with the sale of your home?
  • Do you want to make a certain amount of money that you can put toward a larger or nicer home?
  • Do you need to sell it as soon as possible to relocate to a new city or area?
  • What motivates you most - time? selling price? or convenience?

Once we clarify and understand your needs, we will be ready to schedule a time to meet at your home.


Step 2: Review Pre-Listing Packet

I am looking forward to meeting you and touring your beautiful home, but first you’ve got a little homework to do…don’t worry this is another time saver! I’m going to be sending you a pre-listing appointment packet to review before our meeting. This packet will contain a Greenwich real estate market update, some visual pricing tools, a comparable properties analysis, the foundation of my marketing plan, samples of my marketing materials, and a listing contract for you to review.


Step 3: Listing Appointment

At our meeting, you will give me a tour of your property and review it’s features, as well as updates you have made to the home. We will discuss recent comparable sales in the area, potential pricing strategies, your timeline, and review your goals for the transaction. I will not be giving you a full marketing strategy or my final recommendation for a sale price at this meeting, because it’s my first time seeing your home and I want to give it the attention it deserves and come back with a detailed plan for selling it. We will also discuss any prior experiences you have had with selling a home and my recommendations for preparing your property to shine when it goes on the market.


Step 4: Determine List Price

Your list price is your most effective marketing tool and the most impactful one for a successful transaction. When you set a fair price in the beginning, you’ll get the most interest from other real estate agents and prospective buyers. Overpricing your home could lead to reduced interest, price reductions and longer days on market, which could mean your home sells for less than it would have with correct pricing from the beginning.  We will discuss how buyers may view your home, market conditions in your area, sales of comparable properties, impact pricing, and if there are any minor improvements you could make to increase your sale price.  Statistics show that your home will get the highest click rate when its first launched online and we want those clicks to progress to showings and an offer!  You only get one first impression!


Step 5: Develop Marketing Strategy

I will develop a marketing strategy that is perfect for advertising your home by leveraging everything the Sotheby’s brand has to offer and adding my own special touch. This involves a combination of print and digital marketing which drive the right people to your home using social media campaigns, agent-to-agent referrals, traditional media, or search engine optimization advertising. The Sotheby’s marketing team will incorporate my strategy into a marketing campaign designed to capitalize on the momentum generated by the excitement of your property being a new listing.  All the marketing will be tailored to your property and the lifestyle it offers. I will be able to track the impact from the marketing and modify it as we go.


Step 6: Revisit

At this time, we will have another brief meeting in which we will finalize the list price and I will present my marketing plan for your property. We are now ready to sign a listing contract.


Step 7: Start Preparations

If you’ve kept your home in showroom condition since you’ve lived in it, you’re in the minority of homeowners!  Once you price your home, it’s time to start getting it ready to be shown to potential buyers. This includes getting rid of clutter, depersonalizing the space so that buyers can envision themselves in the space, making any small repairs, and doing a deep clean to make sure your home is in pristine condition. I have some great resources to help with this process. This is also a good time to notify your real estate attorney that you will be selling your home so they can prepare a draft of the sales contract.


Step 8: Evaluate Offers

Receiving an offer is an exciting part of the process, but it doesn’t mean the journey is over. We will evaluate each offer and work with the one that has the best terms and offer price. You may decide to counter the offer.  This is a good time to notify your real estate attorney that you are working with an offer.


Step 9: Accept an Offer


Step 10: Inspections

Typically, a buyer will schedule a building inspection of the home.  In a hot sellers’ market, the inspection may be used for information purposes only. However, in a slower market an inspection could open more negotiations for repair allowances, credits and the sale price if there are any significant findings.


Step 11: Contracts Are Signed

Once you have accepted an offer, your attorney will send a sales contract that you have approved to the buyer’s real estate attorney. The buyer will review the sales contract with their attorney to make sure it’s all in order and it includes the necessary components such as agreed upon price, deposit amount, down payment, financing, inspections and repair allowances, contingencies, and a closing date. If they have no changes to make, the buyer will sign it and wire an agreed upon deposit amount called “earnest money” to their attorney. Their attorney will hold it in an escrow account until the deal has closed. 


Step 12: Appraisal

The buyer will schedule an appraisal if they are getting financing. This appointment is typically handled by the listing agent (me) and the appraiser.  You are not required to attend the appointment.


Step 13: Get Ready to Close

Congratulations! You have accepted an offer, signed contracts and are now very close to the end of your selling journey.  It’s time to handle any repairs that were negotiated and schedule your moving date. I will help you stay on schedule with any repair items you agreed to take care of before the closing and can refer you to some great trades people if needed. I will also give you an itemized checklist to help you stay organized for your moving date. Items on this checklist will include final details such as canceling utilities, cable, and lawn or trash services, changing the name on accounts that the new owner is retaining and ensuring the new owner has instructions for all appliances that will remain in the home.


Step 14: Final Walk-Through

A final walk-through gives the buyer an opportunity to confirm that the property’s condition hasn’t changed since their last visit and that the terms of contract have been met. This final walk-through appointment will typically take place earlier in the day on the same day as the closing.


Step 15: Closing

You’ve reached the last step in the seller’s process! After the final walk-through, the buyer will notify their attorney that the walk-through is complete, and the buyer’s real estate attorney will prepare to wire the funds for the balance of the purchase price to your attorney. At closing, you are legally transferring ownership of the property to the new buyer.  Typically, the buyer and seller don’t need to meet to handle the closing process. You can meet with your attorney at your convenience and sign the final sales contract before closing day and have your attorney meet with the buyers to finalize the deal. Once the final sales contract has been signed by you and the buyer, the buyer’s attorney will wire over the balance of the sale price and the keys to the property will be delivered to the buyer by your attorney or myself.


Once you have sold your home, you’re free to take the next step on your journey. Whether this is relocating to a new city, moving into a larger home, or downsizing and enjoying your life as empty-nesters, knowing all your selling responsibilities have been taken care of will help you achieve peace of mind for your new path.

Work With Courtney

Get assistance in determining the current property value, crafting a competitive offer, writing and negotiating a contract, and much more. Let me guide you through your home buying journey, contact me today!

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