The Home Selling Process: A Step By Step Plan

Selling your home can be as daunting as buying your first. We've put together a guide to help you understand the step by step process.

By Homicity

Dec 6, 2017

The Home Selling Process: A Step By Step Plan

Selling your home can be as daunting as buying your first. In an ideal world, you'll have all the time in the world to get it done smoothly with very few hiccups. In the real world, this is easier said than done but that’s where ample research and planning comes in. Here, we provide you with a list of the most important stages involved in selling your home. If you’ve never embarked on this journey before, have a look through these steps to set yourself on the path to a successful sale!

1. Decide on a target sale date

First things first. You have to decide the month you’ll list your home for sale and this has to be in line with whatever plans you have for your next home and work situation. Starting a new job somewhere else? Have a new house waiting and need to plan the logistics of your move? Consider these factors right away and be sure you nail down your timing needs. There are countless myths to be found online regarding “the best times of the year to sell”. Most of these should be taken with a pinch of salt as the best way to decide really comes down to your own preferences and logistical needs. The best time to sell is more often than not the period of time when you are most ready to deal with the following steps.

2. Study your local market at least 2 months before putting up your listing

You need to spend a great deal of time building a solid understanding of your local market. You’ll need to know what your property should be worth and the best way to get a good idea of this figure is to compare it to homes for sale in the same neighbourhood. You can check out local estate agents or local papers, visit open houses and weigh up what's on offer around you. It’s key to get a good understanding of the key features that are in demand as well as ideas for staging. If you’ve never sold a property before, staging is a key issue that cannot be overlooked. Your home needs to look and feel as impersonal as possible and “show” as if it’s perfectly ready to welcome new owners!  

3. Find an agent 6 - 8 weeks before listing

You’ll want to get the estate agent ball rolling as soon as possible. Start looking for candidates and arranging interviews of the ones that look to be a good fit. Your agent will be the person you work with most throughout this journey so avoid picking the first guy you come across just to get it over with. Look at referrals, reviews, local case studies and do your homework. Once you’ve decided on the agent for you, they’ll guide you through signing the listing agreement and together you can begin making a solid plan for marketing your home. Your agent should also be helpful in pointing out any work or repairs you can consider that will help improve the value or saleability of your property.

4. Prepare your house for viewings

As soon as you have an agent and listing agreement, your house could potentially be attracting views in the very near future, so it's time to get busy with making it look as fetching as possible. Paint the walls, clean all rooms, remove all clutter, repair any obvious damage and start to pack away personal effects. Viewers will respond best to homes that they can easily imagine themselves living in. If you have photos of your family left everywhere and your favourite bright colours splashed all over the interior walls, you're making it harder for others to envisage themselves living there. Make it as welcoming to prospective homeowners as possible and your offers are bound to increase.     

5. Start moving your things out early if possible

There are a host of reasons to start conducting your move in pieces bit by bit and as early as possible. By clearing your stuff your rooms will be less packed and show much better. It gives you a chance to let the neighbours know you're selling, which can mean they put on their best behaviour for prospective buyers that come to view. Doing your move in chunks spreads the burden and can help make it all seem far more manageable rather than having to do it all in one huge overwhelming go on a single specific day.

6. Check your financial situation about 3 weeks before listing

You’re going to need to know what your proceeds from the sale will be. Get the details of your mortgage payout and build a good understanding of what you still owe. Some home sellers will sell their home for less than they owe, if this is the case, you’ll want a firm grip on how the lien on your current house will impact you going forward.

7. Don't stop preparing your home for sale in the days leading up to the listing

Speak to your agent about staging, keep looking at new listings in your local area for further ideas and keep working at fixing the bugs and flaws that might turn potential buyers away. Furniture plays a key role in each room. You want each room to have a clear functionality. Get rid of pieces that don't make any sense as an empty room is far better than a cluttered one that’s hard to recognize.

8. Time for photos!

As soon as you have your home in optimum shape you can start to take photos. Your agent may want to take charge of this task or hire a professional to do it for you. If you’re doing it yourself, remember to avoid all clutter, natural light is essential and always aim to create shots that flatter the space on offer. The other essential part of your listing is the description. Your agent will help you craft one that sells the most important elements of your home. Creating one yourself? Take a look at loads of examples online to build a collection of great ideas! Keep it very simple, accurate and upbeat!

9. Listing day

Your agent will get your home listed on all the widest used platforms and of course in their office windows. If you’re managing the listing yourself, be sure to get your home up on all major sites within the sale by owner category, spread flyers and let as many people know that you're selling as possible.  

10. Keep the place spotless

While your home is listed you have to be prepared to receive viewings at any time. Don't allow any clutter to build or mess to ruin how it shows. It might seem like mission impossible to live in a constant state of perfection, but it will be more than worth it if it means attracting the perfect buyers!

11. Monitor feedback and adjust accordingly

Your agent should give you bits of feedback after showings. If you were expecting a lot more showings than you’re getting, you might need to make a slight change to your asking price. Reacting to market in the early stages is key as you want to secure a sale at an optimum price early. The longer your home is on sale, the more likely buyers will perceive it as undesirable, which often results in lower offers over time. Speed is the key, so the better prepared you are to put your best foot forward in the initial weeks the better your chances of receiving the price you want!

We hope this list of the most important stages of the home selling process helps you get your sale plans underway. The earlier you get the ball rolling on the tasks at the top of the list, the easier the ride will be! Happy selling!



Homicity helps you find your dream home in the perfect community. Whether you are buying, renting, or selling, you can navigate the Canadian real estate market with confidence with our expert advice, market news, and recommendations powered by AI.

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