1) Determine what you are trying to accomplish by selling.  As one of the largest financial decisions in many people's lives the decision to sell a property usually comes down to timing.   For example, you may be downsizing now that the kids have left the nest or your occupation or recreation interests have changed over time.  It is best to determine the goal for your sale, wether there is a time frame consideration or a certain profit margin that you wish to make.  Real estate professionals like myself have the experience to combine any of your needs and wants to create a strategy to achieve your goals.  I think it is best to think of the relationship with your real estate agent as more of a partnership in where you both have equal responsibility to achieve a successful sale.

2) Create a pricing and marketing strategy.   To accomplish a successful sale in the shortest amount of time, it is important to make a careful decision in pricing your property and have a price reduction planned at a specific times in conjunction with a strategic marketing plan to exploit the maximum amount of exposure.  You may already have an idea of what your home may be worth through a website such as Zillow or Realtor.com, however I have found that accurate pricing is more of an art form than a science.  For the most accurate estimate of value please contact me for your free Market Value Analysis. I would be happy to help give you the most realistic value for your home in today's market.

3) Prepare for success.  As the saying goes you only get one chance to make a first impression and the first week of a new property on the market is usually the most active for actual and online showings.  It is usually best to look at functional defects first, such as, leaking faucets, cracks in drywall, broken windows, etc.  Once the house is operating correctly it is time to de-personalize and de-clutter. By removing excess decorative items, personal knick-knacks and family photos you can make the home seem that it is ready for that new owner, this also shows that you are motivated to sell.  Your realtor will be able to give their best perspective on how to make the home more presentable, however this is sometimes a hard conversation to have.  Just remember that the goal is to obtain an offer and recommendations are nothing personal.

4) Spread the word.  A good Realtor will establish a full marketing strategy prior to listing the property, in which they will explain all marketing avenues to help gain the maximum amount of exposure.  Professional photography & copywriting used for high quality brochures, flyers, postcards, and strategic print advertising have been the tried and true methods to generate interest and activity.  However, Internet and web exposure through social networking and blogging have become extremely popular in the new age of Real Estate. "Buyers who used the Internet during their home search, 87 percent of buyers found photos and 84 percent found detailed information about properties for sale very useful." - (National Association of Realtors 2015.)  It is important to create a detailed recipe of which marketing activities are important to you as a seller.

5) Obtaining an offer.  Through the listing period a good Realtor will be requesting feedback from showing agents for opinions on price and any other useful information that may improve the chances of receiving an offer.  The old days of posting a listing to the MLS and waiting for an offer are long gone due to the technological improvements of the industry.  Listing agents should be very proactive through the listing period by attending showings to explain things that do not meet the eye and be available to answer any questions a prospective buyer may have.  By taking a reactive approach to listing a property with a designed marketing plan is the best way to receive a realistic offer.

6) Strategic negotiation.  After receiving an offer the home seller has the ability to make a counter offer to reach a favorable, win-win, situation for both parties.  Being a real estate professional it is my job to be knowledgeable in every aspect of the purchase agreement.  The purchase price is often the most important factor in an offer (besides timeframes) however, there are many other items to negotiate that may change the net closing figures at the end of a transaction.

7) Opening escrow.  According to the terms of the final purchase contract the buyer will usually be the party to open escrow with an escrow and/or title company of their choice.  Your real estate agent should also provide you with a timeline or calendar of all important dates outlined in the contract.   The seller has a responsibility to provide certain disclosures to the buyer as part of the buyer's investigation of the property.  The escrow/title company will also be requesting information to make sure that the title can be transferred and is free and clear of any liens. 

8) Closing.  The successful communication between agent and client, agent and agent, and escrow/ title officer will almost always lead to a successful sale.  Breakdowns in communication are the biggest cause of stress during an escrow.  A experienced agent will take the time to look for potential problems through the entire listing and escrow process.  When things go according to plan the sale is complete when the property records the deed with the new owner.