Selling Your Home in St. Louis
Thinking about selling your home? Whether it’s an idle thought or an urgent need, entering the real estate market can feel overwhelming at first. There are probably a whole lot of questions running through your mind:
“Is now the right time to sell?”
“How much can I get for my house?”
“What kind of work will I have to do before I can sell?”
And most importantly…
“Where can I go for answers?
If these questions sound familiar to you, great! First things first: Take a deep breath. Selling your house is a big deal, but with the right tools and information, it doesn’t have to be scary. We’ve put together a simple outline of the process so you can get started on the path to selling a home in St. Louis:
The Home Selling Process
Ready to sell your home? Here’s a simple overview of what the process of selling a home in St. Louis usually looks like:
Know your needs
Before you can do anything else when it comes to selling your home, you have to figure out what you need from the process. What is your timeframe for selling? Do you still have a mortgage on the house, and if so how much do you need to sell for to pay off the loan? Are you planning to use the proceeds from the sale as a down payment on a new home (and if so, what does your timeline for buying look like?)
And finally, what kind of budget and timeline are you working with when it comes to making repairs, either before the house goes on the market or during the inspection period? The more realistic you can be about your own wants and needs for the process, the better off you’ll be.
Find the right partner
Navigating the St. Louis real estate market can be tricky, with home prices and marketing strategies changing significantly based on neighborhood, school district, time of year, and more. And while some people choose to go it alone, finding a listing agent you can trust is one of the best ways to ensure that you’ll get the best price – and the best experience – when you sell your home.
When it comes to finding a realtor, don’t be afraid to meet a few people before making your decision. Ask your network for recommendations, look at testimonials, and have a conversation with the agents you’re considering working with. You want to find someone you’re comfortable with, someone who has a lot of local knowledge to draw on and who you can trust to be honest with you every step of the way.
Prep your pad
Selling a house in St. Louis is all about the first impression. Before you’re ready to go live on the market, get your house in tip-top shape: de-clutter and get rid of unnecessary furniture, re-paint any rooms that are looking dingy, and consider making minor repairs and renovations that might increase your property’s value.
An experienced listing agent is the perfect person to offer advice about which upgrades will offer the most bang for your buck. They can also give some insight into staging your home, as well as pointing out issues that buyers and inspectors are most likely to care about in the local market.
Get it on the market
Once you’ve got your house as ready as it can be, it’s time to make your listing live. There are a couple of important decisions to make at this point in the process: Where will you set the asking price? Should you advertise the house as coming soon, or put it directly on the market? When will you plan on reviewing offers, and how much turnaround time will you ask for?
The ultimate decisions about how to price your home and when to get it onto the market are yours, but a good listing agent is a great source of guidance about the most successful strategies for getting your home in front of the right buyer.
Spread the word
Once your home is actively up for sale, it’s time to get the word out. Depending on your home’s price point and the preferences in your part of the St. Louis real estate market, your listing agent may recommend any of several different strategies: online and social media marketing, video tours, open houses, postcards, flyers, and more.
Schedule your showings
While “sight unseen” offers aren’t completely unheard of when the market is hot, as a general rule, the more interested buyers you can get into your house, the more likely you are to get a good offer. In some markets, an open house is a good way to get lots of people in the door. In other markets, focusing on private showings and keeping your showing availability as open as possible is the better bet.
Ultimately, as annoying as it can be having to repeatedly vacate your home in order to accommodate potential buyers, it’s in your best interest to be as flexible as possible. And if your home is priced right and marketed correctly, it should be a short-lived annoyance.
Accept an offer
Getting to the offer stage is one of the most nerve-racking parts of selling your home. Depending on the market, you may find yourself with several offers in hand within days of having your home listed, or you may find yourself waiting weeks for your first offer.
Either way, this is when you absolutely want a trusted listing agent in your corner. There’s more to consider than just the offer price: financing, closing date, inspection period, appraisal gaps, and closing costs are all factors that can significantly affect whether the offer is right for you. An experienced Realtor can help you understand what’s standard in the St. Louis real estate market and determine whether an offer is right for you.
Negotiate the terms
There are two main times where you can negotiate the specifics of the offer: during the initial acceptance phase, where you can accept, reject, or make a counteroffer; and during the inspection period, where buyers can ask for you to make repairs or reduce the price in lieu of repairs.
Here again, a trusted listing agent who knows the ins and outs of selling a house in St. Louis can be an invaluable support, with recommendations for reliable contractors and advice on which repairs are worth accepting and what negotiation strategies are most likely to be successful.
Make your final move
As you move through the contract period, your agent should keep you informed of timelines, to-do lists, and updates about how the process is going. You’ll need to continue to maintain the home in the state it was in when you listed it, with utilities still on and landscaping and basic home maintenance continued.
Your agent will let you know when and where to show up for the final closing, as well as what to bring. This is also the period when you want to begin moving your belongings out of the house. In most cases, buyers will want to take possession of the home as soon as closing documents have been signed, and ideally the property will be fully vacated when the buyers do their final walkthrough 24-48 hours before closing.
Close the deal
The final stage is selling your home is relatively straightforward. Generally, you’ll meet your agent at the title company, sign a lot of paperwork, hand over your keys, and get a check for the proceeds. Congratulations! You’ve sold your home!
Share the love
If you’ve had a great experience working with your listing agent, don’t be afraid to let the world know! Because honesty and trust are such an important part of selling a home, you’ll find that the best real estate agents do most of their business through referrals from satisfied clients.