A luxury home for sale.

Use both your own knowledge and your real estate agent's expertise to establish an accurate listing price for your home. (iStockPhoto)

If you listen to others who’ve had their homes on the market, it can seem as if there’s nothing worse than selling a house. It’s such a pain to get it ready, it’ll just sit on the market forever and there’s no way your house is going to sell for as much money as those others down the street – right?

Wrong. Stop focusing on the few horror stories you’ve heard and start expecting to have a great home selling experience.

Positioning your home to sell quickly and for the highest value possible can be accomplished with a little legwork up front to make your house show at its best, working with your real estate agent to create a strong marketing plan and handling the subsequent negotiations to create the best deal possible. Here are five things to expect throughout the home selling process to help lead to a successful transaction.

[See: 10 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast.]

Expect a facelift. As you prepare your home for the market, focus your energy on making the property as marketable as possible. Before starting any major projects, work with your real estate agent and, in some cases, a stager to create a plan that will not only make your home show its best, but will give you the best return on investment.

Unless you’ve already moved out and the home is vacant, focus on minimizing clutter as much as possible. This will create an open and inviting feel for potential buyers while showcasing the space. The “less is more” rule is in full effect, whether it relates to showing off kitchen countertops, a large living room, or an outdoor entertaining area.

Rather than showing off your used house, create a new home for potential buyers. Your agent will likely suggest painting and other cosmetic improvements that will lend to a “new house” feel, as well as some potentially big-ticket items that could help your resale and net proceeds.

Expect a quick sale. Selling your home quickly should always be high on your priority list. Not only does it mean a shorter duration of showings, but it should also mean a higher-priced sale. The longer your house sits on the market, the more people will wonder what’s wrong with it, automatically assume it’s overpriced and will be less likely to give you a competitive offer.

Keep in mind, “quick” is a matter of perspective. A quick sale for a log cabin on 100 acres in the Montana wilderness may be three months, while a quick sale for a suburban townhouse may be just three days. Follow your local market and what has sold in the past six months to help gauge how fast your house should sell at any particular time of the year.

A quick sale should not be an automatic assumption – it should be the result of hard work from you and your agent. It should be based on the plan you’ve created and executed to create a physically attractive listing representative of its price point, and your agent’s ability to market it to the largest audience possible.

[See: 10 Unorthodox Ways Your Real Estate Agent May Market Your Home.]

Expect inconvenience. You undoubtedly know someone who has sold their home and have heard just how big an inconvenience all the showings can be. Expect the same. In fact, you should want the same. The more showings you have, especially right after putting it on the market, the better your chances of a quick sale.

To create less hassle, many agents utilize showing services that will either call, text or email you when a showing has been requested. Many of these services require an agent to schedule the showing a set number of hours ahead of time to allow you the ability to straighten up and leave before they arrive.

Keeping your house “show worthy” is one of the more annoying inconveniences of the listing process, especially if you have kids. By decluttering as much as possible before putting the house on the market, it will be easier to maintain.

Although it can be hard to part with them, keep pets at a friend or family member’s house to make the house easier to show. Plus, it will create less mess to stay on top of.

Expect negotiations. Throughout the transaction, you will encounter a number of different negotiations and it is important to look at them as a whole. First off, the highest amount you will net from your house sale is determined by the sale price. After that point, you are only looking at a series of deductions from the net, whether it is from the home inspection, subsequent other inspections or the appraisal.

It is important to keep in mind that the initial negotiation will set the tone for the entire transaction. Your ultimate goal is to sell your house for the highest net profit possible. If the buyer feels taken advantage of during the initial negotiations, they may look to make up for it in the home inspection. While you should always seek the best deal possible, it is important to always look at the big picture.

[See: 8 Types of Roads That Can Have a Big Impact on Home Sales.]

Expect top dollar. Let’s end with what is most likely your most important goal – expecting top dollar for your house. So how do you go about figuring out what top dollar is, and how you get it?

At one of your initial listing appointments, you’ll sit down with your real estate agent to review comparable sales in your area, which will help you set an accurate list price.

But let’s be honest – you’ve been following the market through internet sites for the past year and already have a good idea of your home’s worth. Just remember, those sites aren’t 100 percent guaranteed to be accurate or completely up to date.

More importantly, you should trust your agent’s market expertise to keep the pricing objective. As you went through the process of selecting a real estate agent, you undoubtedly did your homework by talking to their previous clients, reviewing marketing materials for past listings and reviewing their results. You should expect nothing less than their best. From printed flyers and online presence to transactional skills, your agent should be able to attract and negotiate the best deal possible.

At the end of the day, expecting to walk away from any home sale with a great feeling should be a given. Focus on setting yourself up for a smooth transaction by showing your house at its best, working with your agent to create the best marketing possible, and negotiate top dollar in a short time frame.

Tags: real estate, existing home sales, pending home sales, housing market, home prices, home improvements, housing


Ray Boss Jr. is a full-time, licensed Realtor for Re/Max Realty Group in Gaithersburg, Maryland, with over 11 years of experience working with clients ranging from first-time homebuyers to investors, sellers and renters. You can learn more about Ray by connecting with him on LinkedIn.