Selling your home opens up so many great opportunities for change and growth. However, it also can be overwhelming. If you’re preparing to put your home on the market, you may feel like it’s impossible to keep track of all of the paperwork, phone calls, and other tasks involved.
Every step in the process requires effort from multiple parties, so organization and planning are key. From the very beginning, you should know what will be needed throughout the sale so that you can prepare in advance.
This checklist can help you stay on track as you list, show, and close the deal on your home.
Professionals to Contact
You’ll most likely work with several professionals during the process. You should expect to be in touch with the following people:
Real estate agent: Selling your home on your own is incredibly challenging, so working with a trustworthy realtor is the best thing you can do to improve the experience.
Your real estate agent will help you with listing, marketing, and attracting potential buyers to your home. They understand the details of every step of the process, and they’re here to assist you.
Accountant or financial planner: A financial professional may not be necessary for all home sales, but there are certain situations where it’s necessary to work with an accountant.
For example, financial experts are recommended if the home was an investment property or if you’ll have a significant sum of cash left over after the sale.
Home inspector: The buyer will bring in a home inspector before the sale is finalized, but many sellers choose to hire a home inspector as well.
By having your home inspected before listing it, you won’t be caught off-guard by any problems the inspector finds at the last minute. You’ll have plenty of time to fix issues and avoid bumps in the road.
Contractors: If your home needs repairs or refurbishment before selling, you should be in touch with reputable contractors. Investing in repairs will make your home more appealing to potential buyers and can increase its value.
Preparing Your Home
Before you take photos and invite interested buyers into your home, you should make sure it’s in perfect condition. This involves deep-cleaning and organizing every room of the house. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare your home as these tasks often take longer than homeowners expect.
Here are some of the most important tasks to complete before listing your house:
- Repaint colorful walls to neutral colors
- Take down personal photos
- Remove window screens for a clearer view
- Install bright light bulbs
- Deep clean windows, vents, and fan blades
- Wash the exterior of the home
- Remove debris or personal items from the yard
- Trim bushes and hedges
Documents Needed to List Your Home
Selling your home involves an enormous amount of paperwork. Keeping your documents organized is critical as losing paperwork can delay the process. Here are the main documents you’ll need as you list your home on the market:
Comparative market analysis: This is a report created by your realtor that includes information about homes in your neighborhood that are for sale, pending sale, or have recently sold. This data helps you determine your home’s current value.
Original sales contract: This is the contract from when you purchased the home. It gives the new buyer information about who previously owned the house and how it was transferred to you, and it explains any disclosures that were made during the previous sale.
Preliminary title report: This verifies who owns the home, and it includes information about taxes and any liens recorded. By looking over your title report, you can see if there are any red flags you need to take care of before selling your home.
Homeowners insurance information: You should be transparent with the new buyer about insurance claims you’ve made. Your homeowners insurance records should have detailed information about the repairs you’ve needed over the years. It also helps to collect documentation like invoices or receipts as a record of repairs to your home’s systems or appliances.
Documents Needed for Closing
Closing is the last step in selling your home. During the closing meeting, the buyer officially becomes the owner of the house. Here are the main documents you and your realtor will need as you prepare for the meeting:
Offer forms: The purchase offer is the first agreement between the buyer and seller. After drafting the purchase offer, you or the buyer may negotiate in the form of counteroffers.
When you’ve come to an agreement, both realtors will write the Final Purchase and Sale Agreement. This is the final contract outlining the price of the home, the terms of purchase, the closing date, and the contingencies.
Tax statement: You’ll need property tax receipts showing any outstanding taxes on the home. This allows the buyers to estimate their taxes on the property, and it ensures neither party will run into issues with unpaid taxes.
Closing statement: This agreement states how much money you’ll receive from the sale once taxes, closing costs, transaction fees, and other expenses are taken out. The document is usually drafted by the closing agent or the title company.
Deed: The deed is the document that will transfer ownership of the house. It describes the property and identifies both the seller and the buyer.
1099-S form: Some sellers qualify for the capital gains tax exclusion. If you don’t, you’ll need to complete a 1099-S, which reports the sale of your home to the IRS and calculates the capital gains taxes.
Keeping a checklist of tasks and documents will help you stay organized and level-headed as you sell your home. Remember to regularly look ahead to the next step to be sure you’re ready. By preparing in advance, you can work efficiently to list and sell your home with minimal stress.
Michael Carr is the Co-Founder & COO of BrandFace, LLC. He is also a real estate branding expert and international bestselling author. As America’s Top Selling Real Estate Auctioneer, he has sold billions of dollars in commercial and residential properties.