Real Estate

How to Sell Your House

Modern house during sunset

Selling your home can be challenging. There are several factors that determine how quickly your home will sell. Some, like geography and the number of homes currently on the market, are out of your control. However, many aspects of selling your home are well within your control.

This guide will cover some of the most crucial steps—both traditional and modern—that you can take to maximize your home’s appeal, find a qualified buyer, and enjoy a seamless sale process.

Agent or FSBO?

For sellers who prefer a traditional route, a top performing real estate agent is usually the way to go. Finding an agent is as easy as doing a simple internet search, where you can learn about an agent’s professional experience and sales history. Look for an agent who has a proven track record of selling homes in your area and price range. You’ll also want to pay attention to a few other things:

  • How long their listings have remained on the market
  • Techniques and channels they use to sell
  • The quality of their photos
  • What they do to stage homes
  • How quickly and clearly they communicate

The process of selling a home can be lengthy, so make sure you find an agent you really click with.

For Sale by Owner (FSBO)

Tempted to skip the realtor and pocket the commission they would otherwise take? Listing your home as “for sale by owner” is the modern choice for many sellers, and can save you thousands of dollars in agent fees. (Source)

Without the help of an experienced agent, you will be tasked with doing the work that would otherwise be left to them. Some things you’ll need to do in place of an agent include:

  • Marketing your home
  • Improving your home’s curb appeal
  • Placing sale signs in your yard
  • Listing your house on social media platforms
  • Arranging a home inspection
  • Getting all quotes for repairs and upgrades
  • Preparing your home for sale
  • Staging and photographing your house
  • Scheduling and advertising an open house
  • Reviewing buyer offers
  • All negotiations and closing details

Request a Cash Offer

If you want to cut out a realtor but are overwhelmed at the thought of repairs and upgrades, consider selling your home for cash at to skip the hassle.

You can decide your own closing date and sell your home as-is, no repairs or upgrades necessary!

Set a Timeline

Depending on the condition of your house, the entire sale process can take from a few weeks to four months or more. Local market fluctuations will affect the timing of your sale, as will any repairs and upgrades that need to be made.

If your home is market-ready, you might just need to deep clean it, store personal belongings, and stage it for photos. A house that needs interior painting and some minor repairs can take a few weeks to be ready for listing. Your home’s condition will determine a reasonable timeline for selling.

Find Your Motivation

Once you’ve decided that it’s the right time to sell your house, start working immediately to get it ready for showing. Here are some major stepping stones to closing on your sale:

  1. Deep clean, de-clutter, donate, and store. Repairs and upgrades will be easier to make in a clutter-free house.
  2. Get an optional home inspection. You’ll need to identify any issues that will turn away possible buyers or otherwise hamper the sale.
  3. Schedule repairs if needed.
  4. Plan and schedule upgrades.
  5. Stage your house.
  6. Take professional quality photos.
  7. Be prepared for showings.

Schedule a home inspection and begin cleaning and making repairs right away. Depending on the repairs and upgrades you decide to address, you’ll need two to three months just to get those completed.

The inspector will go over any major concerns, such as ceiling leaks, foundation or other structural problems, and pest problems that will need to be addressed before the home is sold. Once the repairs and upgrades are addressed, start working on cleaning and staging your home for photos and showings.

Tip: Don’t List Before Your Home is Ready!

Few things turn away buyers like a home that is not move-in ready. A cluttered, outdated, or dirty home holds zero appeal to buyers and is going to sit unsold.

Here is a short list, from lowest cost to most effective, of things that you must do before listing and showing your home:

  • Remove personal items so that buyers can envision the home as their own.
  • Address issues like mold or mildew, damaged walls or carpet, and odd smells.
  • Paint interior walls and clean all tile.
  • Deep clean and remove all unnecessary furnishings. Keep your home immaculately clean for all photos and showings.
  • Hire a professional home stager for maximum impact. The cost depends on the stager’s experience, but will generally run between $500-$2000.

Your real estate agent will advise you on what you need to do to prepare your home for sale. If you want to skip the repairs and speed up the sale process, you can request a cash offer from for a timely offer.

Make Smart Upgrades

Pricey updates like granite counter tops are trendy, but they can be a lot of money and work just to break even. Different upgrades will matter to different buyers, and you can’t cater to everyone. The trick is to strike a balance between budget and appeal.

Upgrades That Pop

Since buyer tastes tend to vary, don’t rely on the major bath or kitchen upgrades to sell your home. Instead, focus on smaller upgrades throughout the home to make a big impact on a wider audience. (Source)

Depending on your budget, consider making the following upgrades before listing your house for sale.

  • A fresh coat of neutral paint throughout the house.
  • New carpet or laminate flooring.
  • Freshen up landscaping. A few shrubs and flowers can go a long way toward improving curb appeal.
  • Replace old kitchen cabinetry. Simply replacing the cabinet doors and hardware is often enough to make a big difference.
  • Replace the garage door. This is particularly effective if your garage is street-facing.
  • Add a deck to your backyard and let buyers envision future gatherings.
  • Upgrade to energy-efficient windows.
  • Add a bathroom. Especially in homes with a single bathroom, adding a second half-bath is a big draw for most buyers.

Give yourself enough lead time when timing your sale to decide what upgrades are worth your effort. Not interested in upgrading? Contact for a cash offer on your as-is house.

Setting a Price

The asking price of a house is based on comparable sales in your area and the size and condition of your home. If you hire an agent, he or she will do pricing research for you, but they will take a considerable cut of the final sale price.

The asking price is considered negotiable, so you’ll want to leave a little wiggle room to ensure you’ll be happy accepting a lower offer. Cash offers are often desirable even if they are lower than your initial asking price, in large part because they offer a guaranteed closing with no agent fees.

Staging and Showing

Whether or not you hire a professional stager, you must visually prepare your home ready for viewing. Presenting your home in an inviting way is a bit of art, but it can pay off in the form of a faster sale.

The point of staging your house for sale is to give buyers a warm and fuzzy feeling upon entering. At a minimum, it means de-cluttering your home and giving it a good, deep cleaning. At best, it involves artfully placed furnishings and a complete lack of your own personal touches.

A home stager will help you with everything that needs to be done to prepare your house for showing. However, if hiring a pro isn’t an option for you, there is plenty you can do to create a great impression on buyers.

  • Pack up all personal items not essential for daily life and store off-site.
  • Send pets to friends and family when your home is available for showing.
  • Arrange furniture to make rooms look larger or cozier. Consider buying a few new items like throw pillows, artwork, and rugs to freshen the decor.
  • Make sure you’re using good lighting and that all fixtures and bulbs are clean and in good working order.
  • Trim hedges and shrubs, rake leaves, and sweep walkways.

Prepare for Showing

If you’re using a real estate agent, they will often utilize a showing service. These services will usually contact you via text, phone, or email when a buyer has requested a showing.

Ideally, you will be given some time to prepare your house by tidying up and leaving before the buyer arrives. However, that’s not always the case, and you can expect to sometimes have a buyer show up at your door unannounced.

Keeping your home show-ready is one of the most frustrating aspects of selling a house, especially if you have children. You can make the process easier by following the steps mentioned above to de-clutter, donate, and pack away most items.

In addition, you can use attractive storage boxes to quickly stash toys and random items. Keep shoes and a packed bag near the door at all times so you can head out quickly when a buyer is on the way.

Offers and Negotiations

An offer on your home shows that a buyer is serious. You may receive an offer on the first day your house is on the market. If your house is highly desirable, you might receive multiple offers right away. More often, it will take weeks or even months to find the right buyer.

Consider all aspects of every offer, including the financial backing and the buyer’s conditions. For example, if a buyer wants you to move out right away but you need more time, you might want to wait for another offer.

Both buyer and seller need to be happy with the negotiations in order to close. Sale conditions, closing costs, repair requests, and other aspects can slow down the process.

A cash offer is often the best option, even if the cash price is lower than other offers. Since cash offers require no financing, you won’t have to wait for lender approval, and the deal is less likely to fall through due to financial issues. A cash offer can also allow you to close quickly, often within a few days.

Under Contract

Once you and the buyer have agreed on a price and selling conditions, you are officially under contract. During this time, the house will be inspected and appraised.

Continue maintaining the property until the sale is closed. The buyer may want to bring in contractors, landscapers, or decorators during this time since they are planning to make the home their own. Be as accommodating as possible so that everything runs smoothly and you can close on the sale.


Just before closing, expect the buyer to do a final walk-through of the house to ensure that everything was left as expected when you vacated.

You will likely not have to be present at the closing, but it can help to make yourself available in case there are any questions or last-minute issues.

No matter how you choose to sell your home, preparation is the key. A talented real estate agent can help you through the often lengthy and tedious process, but much of the planning and work will fall on you, the seller.

While an agent can sometimes get a higher price for your house, you will lose a large chunk of the sale price to their fees. is an attractive option for sellers who wish to skip the repairs and upgrades and sell their homes for cash.


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