The 7 Steps to Selling Your Home when Downsizing

Are the kids out of the house and your home is suddenly way too big for your needs?

Is it time for you to downsize or to move into another home more suitable for your retirement years?

Are you one of the thousands of homeowners who are discovering that after years of children running in and out of your doors, toys on the floor, music floating throughout, suddenly you can hear a pin drop over the quiet hum of the refrigerator. This has been me lately, so I can definitely relate.

I know that your home is filled with pictures and many memories of that life, but there are now also empty rooms just gathering dust now that your children have grown up and starting families of their own.

The years ahead of you are also exciting ones to look forward to, and it may be time for you to move on with your life as well.

If you have found yourself in this situation, you are in good company. And what this means is that there are many wonderful opportunities for you to create this new chapter in your life...

...if you know what it takes to get the most out of the equity you’ve built up in your current home.

To help you understand the process involved in making such a move and how to avoid the most common and costly mistakes most people like yourself make, I’ve come with some points that you might want to consider to help you identify and plan for the move ahead of you.

Selling your home is one of the most important steps in your life. My 7 step system will give you the tools you need to maximize your profits, maintain control, and reduce the stress that comes with the home selling process:

# 1 don’t reveal your motivation to anyone else or they may use it against you at the negotiating table

When asked, simply say that your housing needs have changed.

The reasons behind your decision to sell affects everything from setting a price to deciding how much time and money to invest in getting your home ready for sale.

What’s more important to you? The money you walk away with, the length of time your property is on the market or both? See my article about your options when you are on the market to sell.

Different goals will dictate different strategies.

# 2 Do your homework before setting a price

Price is the King and one of the 4 things to sell your home fast and for top dollar, so settling on the price of your home shouldn’t be done lightly.  

Once you’ve set your price, you’ve told buyers the absolute maximum they have to pay for your home. However, pricing your home too high is just as dangerous as pricing too low.

Remember that the average buyer is looking at 15-20 homes at the same time that they are considering yours. This means that they have a basis for comparison, and if your home doesn’t compare favorably with the others in your price range, you won’t be taken seriously by prospects or agents.  

As a result, your home may sit on the market for a long time and, knowing this, new buyers will think that there must be something wrong with your home.

Find what other homes are selling for. To find the value of your home CLICK HERE.

Honestly, your agent should do this for you. Find out what comparable homes in your own and similar neighborhoods have sold for in the past 6-12 months and research what current homes are listed for.  That’s how prospective buyers and the appraiser will assess the value of your home.

Remember: You actually are selling your home twice. Once when you need to find a buyer to give you the price you want and the second time when the buyer’s appraiser agrees that your price is fair.

# 3 Find a Great real estate agent to represent your needs

Almost 75% of homeowners claim that they would not use the same agent again because they were not satisfied with their service, typically due to a lack of communications.

See my article about your options when you are on the market to sell.

When you find a great agent to work with, you can skip the steps below because they’ll know what to do and what to expect.

But if you are in a place where you to want to sell it yourself or with a limited service, you might want to read the steps outlined below.

#4 Maximize your home’s sales potential 

Each year, corporate America spends billions of dollars on product re-packaging design. Appearance is crucial when selling your home.

You can’t change your home’s location or floor plan, but you can do a lot to make it show like a model home. The look and feel of your home generates a greater emotional response than any other factor.

My rule of thumb is de-clutter and de-personalize. Also fresh neutral colors throughout your home and an outside curb appeal are great.

Get my 94 Tips to make your home sell fast and for top dollar below.

# 5  Use Effective Marketing Strategies

You may be surprised to know that some marketing tools that most agents use to sell homes (eg. traditional open houses) are actually not very effective.

In fact only 1% of homes are sold at an open house. That's a crazy low number, don't you agree?

In my opinion, if you have 4 things present, you'll sell your home fast and for top dollar:

  1. The right price
  2. Great photos
  3. A listing on MLS
  4. Use an easy showing scheduling tool (such as ShowingTime)

And remember, if you price your home at (or even a little below) the market value, you’ll get more buyers competing for your home, because it sets up an auction-like atmosphere that puts you in the driver’s seat.

# 6 Know your buyer and Make sure that the contract is complete 

What is your buyer’s motivation? Do they need to move quickly? Do they have enough money to pay your asking price?

Knowing this information gives you an advantage in the negotiation because you know how far you can push to get what you want.

For your part as a seller, make sure you disclose everything. Smart sellers proactively go above and beyond to disclose all known defects to their buyers in writing. If the buyer knows about a problem upfront and it has been disclosed, they can’t come back with a lawsuit later on.

Make sure to spell out all of the terms, contingencies, costs and responsibilities in the contract of sale.

Remember: Everything needs to be in writing in order for it to be valid.

Additionally, if the buyer requests a move-in prior to closing, I recommend you say no. Now is not the time to take any chances if the deal ends up falling through.

#7 Don’t move out before you sell or Stage Your Home To Sell.  

Statistics have shown that vacant homes are more difficult to sell.

If you absolutely need to move, you can leave some furniture to stage it and few items in your closet to feel like someone still lives there. You can also hire a staging company to stage your home.

If you move, you’re also telling prospective buyers that you have a new home and are probably highly motivated to sell fast. This, of course, will give them some advantage at the negotiating table.

Are you wondering what you need to your home to prepare it for sale, so you get get the most value out of it. Fill out your information below to have my " 94 Things to Do When You Sell Your Home" Report emailed straight to Your Inbox.

The 7 Steps to Selling Your Home as an Empty Nester
May 29, 2019

Violeta is a Licensed Real Estate Broker in the States of Georgia and Florida, and the Founder of The House Squad Real Estate SHOP. She has been actively selling real estate for over 15+ years and speaks 3 languages beside English. Her goal is to educate the public of their options, and how they can add more to their bottom line when buying, selling or investing in real estate.