Moving Made Easy

Buy or Sell a Home With Confidence

On this page, you will find:

  • Two free step-by-step guides for buyers and sellers of real estate.
  • Free tools for those looking to learn more about real estate.
  • Recommended articles for all buyers and sellers.

The Complete Guides to Buying or Selling a Home

Home

In these two guides, we list many of the important steps in the home sale process. Each guide is broken down into sections; which each have a brief introduction, followed by articles and FAQs on the important steps within.

Please note, each state has slightly different practices, although they all follow the basics of contract law. As always, when in doubt consult with a real estate attorney.

Whether you are a buyer or seller, before you get started I recommend you read the below articles. They will answer many of the common real estate questions a prospective buyer or seller may have, as well as provide you with a fundamental understanding of how a transaction takes place.

Throughout this guide, we have included a number of emojis, some of which are edited from their original form. Thank you so much to those at OpenMoji for creating such an awesome project! All emojis designed by OpenMoji – the open-source emoji and icon project. License: CC BY-SA 4.0

Intro – How to Sell Real Estate

Buying a Home

Selling your home is a big decision. Sometimes you may be forced to sell due to life circumstances. Other times, you are moving far away, downsizing, upsizing and so forth.

Regardless of why you are moving, I always recommend people amply prepare for the process. Remember, a home is often someone’s largest possession. If your home is worth $1M, and you make $100K a year, that means your house is worth 10x your salary. It’s a year’s salary difference if it sells for $950K vs. $1.050M! So, why not spend a few weeks learning how to get the highest and best offer on it.

The below guide should serve you well, whether you want to hire an agent, are ambitious enough to DIY, or simply want learn more about the process. Good luck!

Pre-Listing Steps

Pre-Listing Home

In the months leading up to putting your home on the market, it is important to choose how you intend to market your property. The biggest question is whether you will use a real estate agent. An agent will help prepare your home for the market, with one example being the addition, or subtraction of furniture, otherwise known as home staging.

Most markets have “peak” seasons, when the majority of real estate transaction occur. It may be beneficial to list your home during a busy time of year. Regardless, once you set a date for putting your home on the market, you can start to prepare, as well as organize your next move.

Listing Steps

Home For Sale

Right before you list your home, your agent may make final adjustments to your marketing strategy. You may be advised to accommodate an extra open house, or to lower the asking price by a small amount, to attract more buyers.

Once your home in on the market, it is imperative that you follow your agent’s advice. Most agents recommend that their sellers be as flexible to showings as possible. In other words, if someone wants to see your home at 8PM on Friday, you better leave the house to make it happen. After all, you never know where a buyer will come from.

  • What is a Multiple Listing Service (MLS)? – Local MLS’ are the heart of the residential real estate industry. Learn why they are so important and why your home should be posted on it.
  • What Is an Open House? – Open houses are set times when a buyer can view a home. It is important you make sure your home is in presentable condition before holding one. After all, first impressions are key. That means, open all shades and blinds, making clear paths between rooms, removing unused furniture, tidy up all areas of the home, and so forth.

Offers and Negotiation

Home Offer/Negotiation

If a home is expected to be popular, some sellers ask that all offers be submitted at the same time, while other prefer to receive them on a rolling basis.

Remember, not all of your focus should be on the final purchase price. Sometimes a buyer is willing to drop contingencies, and therefore their offer will be more appealing than a higher one with many provisos.

Negotiation is one of the most delicate and high-stress moments of a real estate transaction. It is imperative that you keep your cool and focus on the end-result. In the event that you have any questions, an attorney that specializes in real estate should be able to assist.

Contingencies and Pre-Closing

Moving Truck

If a buyer chooses to conduct a home inspection, or any inspection for that matter, it is usually best to leave the home when they do so. Once they are done, they will choose whether to move forward with the purchase, attempt to renegotiate (you can always say no), or walk away.

Once each contingency period (ex. building inspection, radon inspection, etc.) passes, the odds of a buyer moving forward increase. The final contingency may be the mortgage contingency. As long an appraiser values your home at or above the accepted offer price, there should not be a problem. Thereafter, closing will likely be imminent.

By this point, you should be ready to move! Your attorney and agent should advise you on the details of the closing.

  • What is a Home Inspection – Read this article if you are interested in finding out what a home inspector will do when looking over your home.

Closing and beyond

Money

Closing date is often bittersweet; you are walking away from your home, but also setting forward on a new path. Of course, if you never lived in the property or are an investor, closing will likely be far less emotional.

Of course, the process of selling a home, whether you have been there for 20 years or have never stepped foot inside, is never easy. You will likely feel a strong sense of relief once it is all over. Remember to keep records of all important documents.

Intro – How to Buy Real Estate

Homebuying

Buying a home can appear complicated! It’s really not. However, a number of companies do try to convince you otherwise. The most important thing you can do is accurately define what you are looking for before going out and viewing properties.

However, before you even do that, you need to determine how much you can afford to spend. This usually means a conversation with a financial advisor, and a careful review of your life goals. The above two steps may feel tedious, but it is important to get the foundation right, or else you may end up someplace you do not want to be.

Once you complete both of those tasks, you are ready to start looking!

Locating A Property

Home Search

Do not cast too big of a net. Start in a few cities or towns. You can input your parameters (square footage, # of bedrooms, etc.) on a website like Zillow, and then search through potential matches. Be careful with any home that has been on the market for a long time. After you locate a few homes that may work, you need to schedule some showings or attend a few open houses.

At any point, you may wish to hire a real estate agent. Remember, there is usually no charge until you a buy a home with them or sign a buyer’s contract.

Offers and Negotiation

Home Offer/Negotiation

Submitting an offer on a home is a big decision. The below video pretty much explains the basics of how to write a good one, as well as how to strategically submit it. Remember, it’s not all about the money. Sometimes a seller may accept a lower offer if the terms are favorable.

In terms of figuring out how much to offer on a house, you need to do your best to determine its value. The best way to do so is to use a formula like a CMA, or calculate the cap rate, among other ways. A buyer’s agent can advise you on what to offer, and give you the property history.

Contingency Period

Home Inspection

The contingency period is a very important time for a home buyer. During this window, you may have a home inspection, pest inspection, radon inspection, among other inspections; and wait on a mortgage commitment if made your offer contingent upon getting one.

Depending on how your contract was drafted, a contingency period is your time to make sure everything is how you expect it. Consequently, the time between the initial offer acceptance and closing is sometimes known as the engagement term. If at any point you feel hesitant about moving forward, you may consider consulting with more professionals about any issues, attempting to renegotiate, or backing out.

  • What is a Home Inspection – A very important step for any real estate buyer. You want to make sure that the home does not have any expensive to fix non-disclosed problems.

Closing and beyond

Family Home

Once your contingency period is over, closing will rapidly approach. Before the closing date, you may inspect the home one more time to make sure nothing has changed between the inspection and closing. The is commonly known as the final walkthrough.

The closing usually takes place at the local Registry of Deeds, city or town hall, or in a real estate or attorney’s office. Some closing are virtual too. Once the deed is recorded, the home is yours! Then you can plan a housewarming party.

Additional Free Tools

  1. Real Estate FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) – Answers to many questions that buyers and sellers have.
  2. Resources on Buying and Selling Real Estate – Find other’s content to supplement your research.
  3. VagharRealEstate.com’s YouTube Channel – Videos geared towards buyers and sellers, as well as real estate agents.

4 Must-Read Articles Before You Buy or Sell a Home

The two essential articles I recommend to all buyers and sellers, plus one on FSBOs and We Buy Houses. ~25 minutes total read time.