Selling Your Home Guide

For many home owners, the thought of selling their home is met with a host of emotions, questions and misunderstandings. Selling your home can be a stressful process, but at Stockton Mortgage, we want to help! We love working with home owners and giving them the knowledge and confidence they need to conquer selling their home. These steps will give you the information you need to sell your home quickly and efficiently.


Choosing the right realtor and mortgage banker will save you from a lot of unnecessary stress. Your realtor and mortgage banker will take care of the majority of your home sale for you, and ensure that you know what’s going on throughout the entire process. Not to brag, but SMC mortgage bankers have a 99% customers satisfaction rating, so we’re pretty awesome… just saying.

Price to sell

One of the first, and o en biggest, mistakes that you can make when selling your home is listing it for the wrong price. While it may be tempting to list your home solely with regard to the return you wish to get from it, this method will only prolong the amount of time that your home stays on the market – and you run the risk of eliminating serious buyers. Pricing your home at an unrealistic price conveys to agents and potential buyers that you aren’t serious about selling your home or that you are unwilling to negotiate.

To find an ideal list price for your home, it is important to utilize cur¬rent market values within your neighborhood. Your realtor will be able to determine these values easily. However, if you decide to try to list your home by yourself, you will need to do the research and find an accurate price point for your home.

Beware of Rushing

Stop! Breathe in. Exhale – before you really begin to dig into the process that is selling your home, take a moment to consider how much of a hurry you are in to sell. Selling your home is a big deal – don’t rush it! No doubt, you are eager to get your home on the market, and depending on your situation, you could be desperate to get it out of your hands – but rushing in the beginning will usually only cause you setbacks and lengthen the process.

Here are some of the most common setbacks that homeowners can experience when listing their home too soon:

  • Not staging (enough) – The world is full of people with an utter lack of imagination. For those people, staging becomes an essential part of selling your home. Without taking the proper steps to stage your home appropriately, and prepare it for potential buyers, you run the risk of alienating buyers with your home’s lack of preparation.
  • Not repairing – Some repairs are almost more trouble than they are worth when it comes to selling your home, and sometimes, it would cost more to fix than you would get in return investment – but those are rare circumstances. The majority of the time, repairs are necessary and will yield a high rate of return. Most buyers expect that noticeable flaws are repaired before a home is listed. Small improvements like fixing the paint, spackling small holes and dents and replacing worn and damaged flooring are considered to be the basics that should be completed before listing your home.
  • Not ready – Selling your home is an emotional process and before you list your home, you should be sure that you are prepared for the process – no matter how quick and painless, or length and difficult it may be.

Decide if you’re really ready to list, do some yoga, breathe into a brown paper bag (just kidding, it’s not that bad), and the remainder of this guide lead the way!

First impression is important

Does your home have curb appeal? What impression does it give
a potential buyer who is pulling in the driveway? Like flip flops in February, things like a dingy mailbox, faded front door or brown grass all give small cues to the potential buyer. While you may overlook these things because you have lived there for so long, they will stand out to a person who is seeing your home for the first time.

Landscaping is crucial

This goes along with curb appeal and is equally as important. No one expects you to be featured in Home & Garden Magazine for your landscaping skills, but it is important that you make an effort to create appeal for potential buyers. If you have flowerbeds around your home (and it is seasonally appropriate) plant some new flowers to perk up your bed and add color to your yard. If your grass is inescapably brown and dead, invest in some sod. These little adjustments will make a big difference in your home’s appearance.

Exterior updates

After potential buyers take in the whole experience of your home from the curb, they will begin to take a closer look at the exterior of your home.

What to look for:

Siding – This doesn’t have to be a big process and you don’t have to hire a power washing company. In fact, you really don’t need a power washer at all. Simply hosing o your siding with water will do the trick. If it’s been a while since you’ve washed your siding, and water alone isn’t doing it, just add a tiny bit of bleach in with your water (4 parts water: 1 part bleach).

Gutters – Are your gutters looking a bit shabby? Spruce them up with a diluted bleach solution, or replace them. While they aren’t necessarily an immediate eye grab, they can be an eye sore if neglected.

Trim – Update your home’s trim by repainting it.

Decorate – If you are trying to detract from something on the outside of your home – perhaps something that is not currently within your budget to update – try adding some things that will act as inexpensive

Focal Points:

  • Shutters
  • Lighting fixtures
  • A stone walkway or path
  • Paint your door a bright color

Fresh and new

When a potential buyer steps into your home, they should get the impression that everything was recently renovated. For you, this may be an old home, but for the buyer, this is a new home. Things like touching up the paint on the walls, spackling holes and dents, and updating flooring and fixtures, will help give your home a new feel without breaking the bank.

Doorway dos and don’ts

The first step inside of your home is one of the most important for potential buyers. Similar to the first impression they gain from your home’s curb appeal, the feeling they get when they first walk in the door is also important. Think about the first impression your foyer gives off.

Here are some things to consider:

  • What do you smell?
  • What do you see when you first walk in?
  • Does it feel homey?
  • Is there visible clutter?
  • Do you find yourself stifling the urge to run away?

Clean, clean and clean

While you may not have control over the sale of your home, one thing you have total control over is how clean your home is. Dirty, poor maintained homes are an instant turn-o for buyers. The extra e ort to spi y up your home will help communicate your seriousness to the buyer.

Show Off Space

Along with cleaning, decluttering is essential. You want potential buyers to be able to see the space and potential your home has to o er, which is why you’ll want to toss out old food items and unnecessary kitchen tools to reveal pantry and cabinet space, and clean out overflowing closets and shelving to show o storage. Chances are your buyer does not fancy your refrigerator full of receipts, sticky notes and your child’s drawings. Tuck any clutter away when you have a buyer coming to look at your home.

Too much stuff…

If your real life share similarities to an episode of “Hoarders”, or it just seems like you have more personal belongings than house, consider renting a storage unit while your house is showing. Depending on the size you need, many storage units are less than $100 to rent each month and the potential to sell your house quickly could be hanging in the balance.

Children & Pets

You should put away all toys and personal items that belong to your children or pets. Additionally, you should consider securing or removing your pets from your home during any open houses. Some potential buyers may be allergic to your pets, or prefer not to be around them. Along with not seeing your pets, buyers should not be able to detect any pet related odors either.


Staging your home is an essential part of the selling process; a home that is not staged or “as is” has a much lower chance of attracting buyers and of selling. So how do you stage your home?

  • Candles or scents – Be careful with this one, as it is easy to go over the top or run the risk of giving your potential buyer an asthma attack. Candles, if scented, should be a light smell that will set a good tone for the open house. Some realtors even suggest baking cookies slightly before your open house so that the home smells of them; however, if you aren’t the best baker, you can easily get the same effect with a tart warmer.
  • Purpose your rooms – Do you have a spare room that you utilize for random miscellaneous items? Give it a purpose. If you have a spare desk in your home, move it in there and create an o ice space. Extra exercise equipment lying around? Create a make shift home gym. Utilize the items you have in your home to re-purpose.
  • De-clutter – Chances are your buyer does not fancy your refrigerator full of receipts, sticky notes and your child’s drawings. Tuck any clutter away when you have a buyer coming to look at your home.
  • Lighting – You want to find the balance between dim and cozy. It is best to try and arrange open houses during the day, so that natural light can fill your home.

Get flexible

We’re not talking about gymnastics. Be flexible with buyers – your willingness to work around their schedules will allow you to sell your home quicker.


If you are working with a realtor, they will list your home in all of the primary real estate locations, however, that doesn’t mean that you should sit idly and just watch. You have one of the most powerful tools for sharing information and marketing at your fingertips – social media. Your personal social media pages have the potential to reach hundreds or even thousands of people, so share your process, share your listing and encourage your friends to do the same. Promote yourself and your home!

Beware of Withholding

Don’t withhold information about your home from your realtor or your buyer. Though you may not think that the leak under the bathroom sink is worth mentioning, the inspector will find it during the inspection and it will only allow the buyer more power in their negotiation. Take proactive action and fix any issues that you can. If there are additional issues with your home, make your realtor and buyer aware of them. It is important to know that if home issues are not promptly disclosed, or discovered during the inspection, the buyer may choose to take legal action against you post-settlement.

Get involved

Bad news for hands-off types; good news for micromanagers everywhere! Even if you have a realtor, you can still (and should still) be involved in your home selling process. Ask your realtor if you can personalize your listing: add lots of good, high quality photos and add a description of your home and of the neighborhood. Paint a picture for potential buyers about what it would be like for them to live in your home. Remove rugs to reveal more floor space and make sure the home is well-lit while it is being photographed for advertising. Dark, poorly-lit photographs can be enough to deter potential buyers from scheduling a viewing of your home.


The laws involving real estate are vast and often complex, however, it is important to know your legal rights and avoid any unforeseen obligations in the home selling process. While a purchase agreement is a binding document, if incorrectly written, your contract could be voided – causing the sale of your home to fall through.

While selling your home “as is” may sound enticing, there are laws, restrictions and zoning regulations that can affect and even deter you from being able to list your home in “as is” status. It is important to know, before you sign any contract, exactly what repairs, fees and closing costs you are responsible for. It is important to work with a realtor and mortgage banker who you can trust, to ensure the correct completion of your home sale.


You now have all the tools you need to sell your home quickly. To view all of our educational guides, check out our other guides. We would love to hear how this guide helped you and we hope that you will call us and share any questions or comments you may have. Call us toll free 1 (888) 914-2276.

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