Thinking of selling a home in Erie, PA this year? Good news: it’s a great time to sell! Buyers are looking, interest rates are still low, prices are high, and competition isn’t too fierce. But before you stick a For Sale sign in the yard, it’s important to understand that successful home selling takes some time, effort, and plenty of planning.
Here’s your guide to successful home selling in Erie, PA.
Find a Listing Agent
One of the most important things you can do when selling a home is to choose your agent with care. Before settling on just one agent, do some research. Get referrals from friends or neighbors in the area. Read online reviews. Talk to several agents in the area to find out about their experience in your specific neighborhood and their offerings—like staging, professional photography, marketing, and more.
Get Your Home Ready
An experienced local agent should be able to tell you what your home needs to be most appealing to buyers. This can be minor fixes, such as repairs or replacements, or even upgrades, such as new paint, flooring, or countertops.
It’s especially important to pay attention to your curb appeal; in real estate, first impressions are everything!
Price Your Home
Once your home is looking its best, it’s time to set a price. Work with your agent to compare the sold data of other, similar homes in your neighborhood, and set a price based on those comparables. Remember, buyers will base their offers on the same data, so they’ll know if you try to overprice your home.
Stage Your Home
A little cleaning, decluttering, and rearranging goes a long way in maximizing your home’s appeal. The goal is to make your home look less like your home and more like it could be anyone’s home, thereby helping your buyers picture themselves in their new home.
Take Professional-Grade Photos
Nowadays, everything is done online, and hope shopping is no different. Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, agent websites… home searches start here. If you only give your buyer three dimly-lit out-of-focus pictures of your home, do you think they’ll bother to come see in person? Professional photography, with proper lighting and angles, goes a LONG way to impressing online shoppers.
Market, Market, Market
If you’ve got a good agent, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about this part. Your agent should be the one doing the marketing—getting those beautiful photos on as many online platforms as possible (think: listing platforms like Zillow, social media, featured listings on their own personal websites), talking up your home with their network of other agents and buyers, sending out print mailers, and more. (Be sure to ask about marking when interviewing agents!)
Show Your Home
If you’ve got a good agent, hopefully you’ll have some requests for home tours in no time. Home tours are great, if a little bit inconvenient. Home tours are your chance to really wow your buyers with your home, so make sure your home is in tip-top shape before you open it up. Keep it clean, remove signs of pets and kids, and make yourself scarce so your buyers can feel comfortable browsing through.
Negotiate and Accept an Offer
Congrats; a buyer loved your home and made an offer! Now what? You’ve got three options. You can accept the offer (good price, good conditions), decline the offer (poor price, poor conditions), or pose a counteroffer (price and/or conditions are close but not quite there). Your agent can help you determine which step makes the most sense for your situation and (if necessary) write up a counteroffer with altered terms or price.
Cooperate with Due Diligence Proceedings
Once you and the buyer agree on an offer and sign a Purchase and Sale Agreement, your home is under contract—but nothing’s finalized quite yet. Next, the buyer will likely have your home inspected and appraised to insure there are no major issues and the price is fair.
During this time, the buyer will also likely be going through mortgage approval and finalizations. During this period, your home will no longer be “Active”, but it’s important to keep it on the market, as anything could happen (such as your buyer failing to qualify for a mortgage or your home not passing inspection to the buyer’s satisfaction).
As things are being finalized on the buyer’s side, your job now is to start packing and getting ready to move (and perhaps searching for your next home). Take some time to organize and maybe even downsize. Less stuff makes moving easier, and staying organized makes unpacking much less headache.
Finally, everything’s been approved and it’s time for the final signatures. On the day of the close, the buyer will walk through your home to make sure everything that should be out is out, nothing is missing (like the refrigerator or washing machine), and there aren’t any surprise damages (like movers putting a hole in the wall).
If everything looks good, you’ll sign a series of documents regarding the transfer of ownership of the property. You’ll likely have a real estate attorney handling most of the paperwork and telling you where to sign. In many cases, the seller isn’t even required to be present at the closing.
Finally, you get a check for the money you make on the sale of your home (less what you still own the bank) and the buyer gets your keys!