The Ultimate Guide To Selling A House

Selling a house is an incredibly exciting time – but it’s certainly not without its stressful moments. Whether you’re on the fence about renovating your home before selling or narrowing down the right pricing for your home, there are plenty of decisions to be made and steps to take when selling a house.

And there’s no doubt that learning how to sell a house can feel overwhelming – especially if you’re selling a house for the first time! As realtors, we know how confusing the process can be for first-time sellers. In the sections below, we’ll help you learn how to sell your house and go through the house selling process steps, including:

  • What to know when selling a house
  • How to sell your house in 6 simple steps
  • Closing costs when selling a house
  • How to get your house ready to sell
  • Checklist for selling a house

While there are plenty of different ways to sell a house, keep in mind that the best process for you depends entirely on your unique circumstance. From first steps to selling a house to closing steps, our goal is to help sellers feel as confident and as prepared as possible.

What to Know When Selling A House?

The real estate market is cyclical, and general trends play a role in determining how long it will take to sell your home, how to price your home, and even the best time to list. 

Most experts recommend listing a home in the spring, where demand is usually higher and buyers are looking to move in before the summer months. Generally speaking, fall and winter are slower months in the real estate market. If you’re planning on selling your house in the near future, using the slower fall and winter months for renovations and updates can be a great way to get your house ready to sell.

How to Sell Your House In 6 Simple Steps

If you’re researching “How to sell my house,” chances are that you’ll find an overwhelming number of recommendations. While there are many different ways to sell a house, here are some simple, tried-and-true first steps to get you started.

Step 1: Get organized

Your first step to selling a house is all about getting a baseline understanding of your home’s value, your equity, and your potential profits. This also includes taking a look at what comparable homes in your area are selling for.

Step 2: Partner with a real estate agent

Having an experienced, knowledgeable real estate agent can make all the difference when it comes to selling your home. Take the time to review their relevant experience, qualifications,  and selling approach to ensure that both parties are well-matched.

Step 3: Make any needed updates

A key piece of how to get your house ready to sell lies in the minor details that are easily overlooked in day-to-day life. Whether making minor cosmetic updates (like landscaping, repainting, and replacing fixtures) or larger renovations (like a bathroom or kitchen remodel), put a list together and ensure that all updates are completed before putting your home on the market.

Step 4: Set a price and create a listing

Your real estate agent will be an incredibly helpful resource in this step. Using their expert knowledge of the local real estate market, they can advise on the best listing price, coordinate professional photographs, prepare any initial paperwork, and put together your home’s listing.

Step 5: Market and show your home

Advertise your home through the online MLS, putting a sign out in front of the house, and talking with friends and family. Stay as flexible as possible for showings, and use a cleaning checklist to make sure you’re prepared for last-minute appointments (we’ve started one for you below!).

Step 6: Final steps

Once you’ve accepted a buyer’s offer, you’ll want to go through the final closing steps. This includes things like a home inspection (and any resulting negotiations or repairs), a home appraisal, title search, final walkthrough, and signing closing papers.

Closing Costs When Selling A House

One of the final steps to take when selling a house involves covering closing costs. As a seller, you can expect to put anywhere between 1–4 percent of the total sale cost toward closing costs, depending on the real estate commission charged. Examples of typical closing costs include:

Legal fees

Legal fees will go toward the cost of having a real estate lawyer prepare what’s called a home sale disbursement package. This outlines financial details such as strata fees, prorated property taxes, title, and any collaboration needed with your bank to transfer the mortgage. Costs for retrieving and filing paperwork in British Columbia will vary.

Mortgage discharge fee

A mortgage discharge fee occurs when a mortgage is paid in full (either through selling a home or paying off beforehand) and removes the lender’s rights from your property. Fees here will vary depending on the lender, ranging from no charge up to $20,000+. Higher fees may be charged when you terminate your mortgage before the term is up.  Check with your lender to avoid surprises!

Realtor commission fees

Your realtor guides you through every step of the process of how to sell a house, including marketing, listings, showings, negotiations, and more. In exchange, realtors get paid through commission based on the final selling price of the house. As the seller, that includes paying commissions not only for your realtor, but for the buyer’s realtor as well.

Staging costs

If you’ve utilized staging services while selling a home, you may want to roll these fees into the closing costs. Staging fees can vary, so make sure you discuss your anticipated budget up front with your realtor or service provider up front.

How To Get Your House Ready To Sell?

Getting your house ready to sell is often one of the most time-consuming pieces of selling a house – but it’s also one that brings the best reward. One of the first steps to selling a house should be making sure your home is in top condition. Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing to put your home on the market: 

  • Get a home inspection: This is optional for sellers, but it can be a great way to get ahead of any potential issues that may be flagged by a potential buyer. 
  • Landscaping: Simple things like weeding, planting new flowers, cutting the grass, and spreading new mulch can work wonders in upping your home’s curb appeal.
  • Cosmetic updates: Putting a new coat of paint on the walls or installing new flooring can be relatively inexpensive ways to update your house and make it more appealing to buyers. Focus on neutral colors as much as possible to attract a wider range of buyers.
  • Clear away clutter: Make sure that your home is clean, organized, and free of clutter. This may mean renting a storage facility while your house is on the market (and as an added benefit, you’ll be making your move-out process much easier).

Take professional photos: Professional photos make a huge difference in how potential buyers view your home. They should be crisp, clear, and show a variety of different angles.

Checklist for Selling A House

Selling your home means getting your home into its best possible shape. That means lots of house selling process steps like cleaning, organizing, and wrapping up those little projects that so often get lost along the way. Lingering issues like nail holes in the wall, old caulk along a shower insert, or a leaky faucet should all be resolved before you list your home. 

Use the checklists below to help you get organized and keep your home in tip-top shape both before listing and during showings.

ULTIMATE CHECKLIST FOR SELLING A HOUSE Cleaning to-do’s before listing
Clean and dust baseboards, outlet covers, fan blades, household surfaces
Fill in any nail holes
Apply a fresh coat of paint (neutral colors are best)
Dust corners along ceilings and floors
Wash and clean windows and windowsills
Check each outlet to ensure all lightswitches work properly
Sweep and mop all floors
Organize closets 
Declutter and put away any personal belongings
Rake, mow, and weed any outdoor areas
Deep clean bathrooms
Dust off all lighting fixtures and make sure any old lightbulbs are replaced
Install air fresheners (especially if you have pets)
Re-caulk baseboards, trim and shower tiles as needed
Clean all major appliances (fridge, dishwasher, etc.)
Replace HVAC air filters
Vacuum and wash area rugs, throw rugs, and carpets
Check each faucet and shower fixture to ensure there are no leaks
ULTIMATE CHECKLIST FOR SELLING A HOUSE Quick cleaning to-do’s before a showing
Sweep and vacuum all floors, rugs, and carpets
Empty dishwasher and clear off kitchen countertops
Wipe down bathroom countertops, toilets, and shower fixtures
Make sure air fresheners are refilled (especially if you have pets)
Make beds and arrange couch pillows
Remove all garbage from kitchen and bathrooms
Open windows for fresh air (if weather permits)
Make sure all closet doors are shut
Remove any excess clutter from bedrooms and living areas
Clean all mirrors
Put a shoe tray near the front door so that potential buyers can remove their shoes (you can also provide plastic booties)
Make sure any brochures or marketing materials are on display

Ready To Get Started?

Your home is where you’ve made years’ worth of memories, and selling a house is a significant milestone. At Garbutt Dumas, we know how important it is to have a real estate agent that can help guide you through this process in a timely, considerate, and efficient way. Let us put our deep expertise in BC real estate to work for you today!