Thinking of selling your home in Indianapolis? It's important to understand that if you expect to make money on your home, you've got to give yourself plenty of time to prepare, and that can mean starting to plan months ahead of the date you'd actually like to move out of your home. Here's what to expect when you list your home in Indianapolis.


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Step 1: Find an Experienced Indianapolis Agent

This is a crucial first step! Enlisting the help of an experienced agent who understands your needs to guide you through the process will save you time and a lot of headache - and will of course get your home sold more quickly and for more money than trying to list your home on your own. Sometimes, it can be easier to identify who is NOT the best agent. So, Mitch gives you The Top 10 Reasons Sellers Hire The Wrong Listing Agent

Find out more about Mitch's qualifications, expertise and experience!

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Step 2: Consider Repairs and Improvements

Your real estate agent will do a thorough walkthrough of your home and will likely make recommendations on both minor and major repairs or improvements you should consider. Additionally, be proactive about any known maintenance issues to your home, as these will surface during an inspection.

Value-boosting home improvements can include projects such as painting your home (inside or outside), refinishing hardwood floors, fixing or replacing your roof or siding, installing a new garage door or front door, doing some gardening or landscaping, updating or repairing your HVAC system, or even performing kitchen and bathroom repairs, such as updating flooring, resurfacing cabinets, installing new hardware and fixtures, and replacing countertops.

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Step 3: Set the Price Right

Another crucial step to ensuring the highest return on your valuable investment in the shortest amount of time is finding a competitive price. You will want to consider the price of nearby homes that have recently sold, the prices of nearby homes currently on the market, and the condition and location of your specific home. You can learn about how to determine the most effective list price of your property or you can start by Requesting a neighborhood sold report, or work with Mitch to find the best listing price.

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Step 4: Prep Your Home

Hopefully, you have already started decluttering some of the bigger collections of unused furniture and other items stored in your attic, basement, or closets. Continue to work through your home, removing clutter, junk, and even personal items like photos, awards etc. Start deep cleaning your home, really targeting the forgotten nooks and crannies.

Then, work with your agent to stage your home so that it is neat, welcoming, and depersonalized (allowing your buyers to picture their own personal touches in their potential new home).

Lastly, take professional photographs that will highlight your home's best features and give buyers a great impression of your home - right from their computer, tablet, or phone.

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Step 5: Listing Your House, Condo Or Townhouse

As part of the reviewing the listing contract, there are several major items your agent will propose that you will need to confirm. These include:

Listing Term - Most listing contracts run 3-4 months. If You or your agent anticipate difficulty in get the property under contract then they suggest a 5-6 month long listing contract. Excluding new construction if the seller is a builder, if the Agent is suggesting a longer term then 3-5 months then this should be a red flag for you as a seller. Start by asking the agent what the average and median days on market were for the comparable sales that the agent used to determine the listing and potential sales price for your place. If they can't tell you, or if the proposed listing term is more than 2-3 times the average days for the comparable sales, then either agent believes the listing price is unrealistic or frankly the agent does not have any confidence in their skills. If they don't believe in their ability then you should question if you believe in them!

Limitations On Your Ability To Sell -  The agent will ask if your are delinquent on any mortgage payments or any real estate taxes. They will also ask if there are any liens or claims by others on the property. This could include foreclosure or pre-foreclosure from a mortgage lender or other party where the property was security for a loan, or litigation against any of the owners of the property, are there any contracts already in place in place to sell the property to others (where you don't have a mutual release.) This could also include if any of the owners in the middle of bankruptcy or divorce proceedings. The last typical claim could be if you have had work done on the property where the contractors were not fully paid for their services.

Beyond confirming your ability ability to sell the agent is trying to determine if your equity in the property exceeds the amount you owe on the property combined with all of the costs of selling the place. If what you owe plus the costs to sell, exceed the value of the property, then the agent will need to also confirm that you have available funds to bring to closing because your will owe more than what you will receive from the sale.

The Listing Commission (including the Buyer's Agent's Commission) - Listing brokerages typically charge 6% - 7% of the sales price of the property as compensation for all of the agent's time and services. The amount can vary based on the sales prices of the property. For places priced under $300,000 the typical commission if Mitch is the listing agent is 7% which is split equally with the Buyer's Agent's brokerage (3.5% & 3.5%.) This compensation can decrease to 6% on places that sell for over $300,000. Again the commission is split equally between the listing brokerage and the Buyer's Agent's Brokerage (in this example 3% and 3%.) This amount typically would include all agent time throughout the listing, selling and closing process as well as all marketing excluding broker's open-houses and staging. There are some brokerages that will provide limited or à la carte listing services for lower charges. Some brokerages also lower their fees by paying a lower than typical Buyer's Agent Commission ("BAC"). This approach can hurt you as a seller since many buyer's agents obligate their buyers to pay a ususal and customary fee, even when the seller does not. Plus, Buyer's often look to their agents for advice and direction. So if the buyers are considering a couple of homes that are very similar, yet one pays a higher BAC, which property do you think most agents will say is a better buy/value etc? 

As a seller your focus should not be on the amount of commission but rather the types and quality of services being provided within the commission and the results and track record of your listing agent. For example as one of the top 3-4 listing agents of downtown condos and townhouses, Mitch tracks his average dollars/sqft, his average days on market & his average list to sales price ratios. Mitch's seller's since 2009 have generated more than 12% above the average sales per square foot by the the other 3-4 top agents. This means depending on the list price, and therefore the commission's being charged, that Mitch's sellers, by working with Mitch received 5-7% more then what other sellers paid to their listing agents.

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Step 6: Market Your Home

There are many different ways to effectively market a property. Marketing should be directed towards potential buyers, to buyer's agents, to neighbors of the property and to even to potential nearby employers. Effective and proper marketing is just one way a skilled and experienced REALTOR can really pay off. Skilled listing agents are skilled marketers. They know where to find the best buyers for your home, and they have access to a wealth of resources, including talented photographers and stagers, online listing services, print advertising distribution, large social media followings, even local agent networks.

The single best component to extremely effective and successful marketing though is determining the appropriate List Price! The correct price will sell your home for the most dollars, in the shortest amount of time and with a high sales to list price ratio! Mitch calls this combination the "Trifecta of Real Estate!"  You can learn more about effective marketing here.

Learn about 10 Simple Steps In Marketing Your Home For Sale.

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Step 7: Show Your Home

How we live day-to-day versus how we show a property that's for sale are very different. Realizing that in addition to scheduled open houses, your home can be shown at any time, means always being prepared to allow for a showing Ideally in under 30 minutes and without having to make a trip to the house before the showing. So, you will want to keep the house neat, clean, organized, and staged. Don't leave dirty dishes or laundry lying around, be sure to dust and vacuum regularly, and promptly address any potential clutter buildups. It's best to not have any signs of pets including pet toys, beds, food dishes or pet crates. The longer potential buyers are in your house the greater the possibility they will evision making the property their home. To encourage buyers spending more time at your place and to allow for open and direct communication with the buyer's agent, you should be ready to be out of the house during showings to avoid making buyers feel rushed or uncomfortable.

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Step 8: Negotiate and Accept an Offer

If a buyer wants to buy your home, they will make you a written offer, which usually states how much they'll pay, their mortgage amount, closing and occupancy dates, and any contingencies. You can either accept the offer or negotiate for different terms.

Negotiations can include your own contingencies, such as a first right of refusal if your buyer's offer is contingent on selling their home, making the offer contingent on you buying another home, or adding contingencies for closing and occupancy dates or buyer financing.

In very hot Seller's markets you should typically avoid informing buyers of multiple offers or requesting highest and best offers that most buyers will see as being greedy. A much better approach in strong Seller's markets is to publish, at the time the property is taken live, the day and time the Seller will decline considering additional offers along with when the Seller will respond to all offers. If you are not 100% sure this is the best approach, then Mitch would love to explain why any other approach can and likely will hurt you as the seller.

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Step 9: Sign a Purchase and Sale Agreement

Once you and the buyer have agreed upon an offer, you will both sign a legal contract called a Purchase and Sale Agreement. This outlines the specific terms, conditions, and contingencies of the home sale.

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Step 10: Cooperate with Inspections

Next, the buyer will hire an inspector to ensure that no DEFECTS with the house. The inspector will go through every inch of the house, paying particular attention to the roof, basement, heating and cooling systems, structure, plumbing, and electrical. If the inspector finds any defects, the buyer can ask you as the Seller to correct these items before closing. If you are unable or unwilling to address the defects before closing the Buyer may be able to exit the Purchase Agreement with the return of their Earnest Money. 

In indiana a defect is define is defined as a condition that would have a significant adverse effect on the value of the property, that would significantly impair the health or safety of future occupants of the property, or that if not repaired, removed, or replaced would significantly shorten or adversely affect the expected normal life of the premises.

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Step 11: Enter Escrow

Next, you will enter escrow, which is a sort of limbo period between selling your home and receiving the money. You may remember this step from buying your home, though rather than putting money down, your role is now to hold up your end of the agreement. During this time, you and your agent will work with an escrow company to complete paperwork and ensure that all parts of the contract are complete.

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Step 12: Sign, Pay, and Close!

On a predetermined closing date, you and your buyer will sit down with your agents to sign all the paperwork and pay all your fees. You will relinquish your keys and your property title, and you will receive a check for the remaining balance after the remainder of your mortgage is paid to your bank. Congrats - you have sold your home!


Ready to Start Selling Your Home in Indianapolis?

The first step is to contact us! From home staging and professional photographs to negotiations and closing paperwork, we're here to be your home selling guide, every step of the way! Call us today to learn more about how we can help you successfully list and sell your home in Indianapolis!

Not quite ready to start selling? That's okay; we've got plenty of resources to help you learn more about selling a home!

Indianapolis Home Selling Resources

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