August 30

How to Sell Your House in Tampa

Learning the steps on how to sell your house in Tampa does not have to be daunting or stressful. 

By taking the time to educate yourself and learn about the process of selling your Tampa home, you can be prepared to sell your home and get top dollar.

People have different reasons for wanting to sell their Tampa home. Some may have to relocate because of their job, prompting them to sell quickly.

Others, on the other hand, may stew over the decision for many months.  

Regardless, be prepared for some hard work.

With a proper strategy, you can walk away satisfied that your real estate goals were achieved.

Take time to get acquainted with these steps on how to sell your house. It'll make the process more clear and manageable.  

1. Ask yourself why you want to sell your home

Why You Want to Sell Your House

Selling your home can be a difficult, time consuming, and costly venture.

It's very important to make sure that this is what you really want to do.  

Get very clear about why you want to sell your home.

There are a number of reasons why you may want, or even need, to sell your home. This includes:

  • Job relocation
  • Downsizing
  • Need a bigger place
  • Cash in your equity
  • Timing, i.e. seller's market

Consider these factors when deciding to sell your home:

  • Home's equity: Knowing where you stand financially is a crucial first step. Reach out to your mortgage company and find out the remaining mortgage balance of your Tampa home.

Why?

This can help you understand how much equity you have in the home and budget for improvements that may be needed before selling your property.  

  • Plan next steps: With this information in mind, figure out your budget for renovations, make a timeline for moving, and also think about the minimum sale price that you would be willing to accept.  

2. Figure out the best time to sell your home

There are benefits to selling anytime of the year, so don't sweat it if you don't have any wiggle room.  

If you do have the ability to choose exactly when your home hits the market, do some research.  

Timing is a critical part of the home selling process.

Take the time to figure out if you're in a buyers market or a sellers market.  

A sellers market is when there are more buyers looking for homes than there are homes available.  

This is the best time to sell and the most likely time to field multiple offers for your home.  And because home inventory levels are scarce, home prices usually spike.

Generally speaking, the best time to sell a home in the United States is during early May.  

Home Sales Chart Tampa

Source: Florida Realtors SunStat

Homes that go up for sale at this time usually sell faster and for more money.  

However, each market is different, so take the time to figure out the state of things where you are.  

3. Will you hire a real estate agent or sell your house on your own?

There are pros and cons of both using a real estate agent to sell your Tampa house or trying it on your own.  

It's possible to complete a "for sale by owner" (FSBO) transaction and about 10% of sellers go this route.  

Others, on the other hand, try it, but eventually get the help of an agent.  

If you do decide to work with an agent, be sure to interview several professionals and choose the one that you feel most comfortable with.

Benefits of FSBO

  • Home sellers will not have to pay commission to a listing agent, usually 2-3% of the transaction.  Keep in mind that you will normally still need to pay the 2-3% to the buyer's agent.
  • You get to set the listing price.
  • Open houses and showing times are dictated by you.
  • You can easily advertise the home online inexpensively.
  • The sales talk is left to you. You become the salesperson, talking to buyer agents and potential buyers.

Benefits of working with a real estate agent

  • An agent knows what is going on in the market and has experience pricing homes competitively.
  • Your home will get more market exposure, as real estate agents have access to a variety of listing portals.
  • Some agents are hesitant to show FSBO properties to clients, as there is no assured commission to be paid.
  • Negotiations can happen through a professional agent who has experience in this field.
  • Paperwork will be handled by the agent, who can explain everything, walk you through the process, and has access to the appropriate forms.  
  • An agent can set up secure entry into the home and take care of open houses if they are a part of your marketing strategy.  
  • Agents have a vast network of contractors, mortgage lenders, stagers, and other professionals they can recommend.

4. Take care of repairs and improvements

Make Repairs Before Selling Your House

It's important to present your Tampa house in the best light possible, and that means doing some work.  

These improvements may be able to be done on your own, or you may need to hire professionals.  

Some of the improvements to look for include:

  • Fixing leaks; 
  • Replacing broken items; 
  • Applying a fresh coat of paint;
  • Sprucing up your curb appeal;
  • Touching up exterior paint, if needed;
  • Trimming trees & bushes, and plant flowers. 

Talk to your real estate agent about upgrades that may add value to the home.

You may also want to consider getting a pre-inspection.  Opting for a pre-inspection will save you from surprises later in the selling process.  

Consider adding some upgrades to the home like new appliances, solar panels, heated floors, or recessed lighting.  

Setting your home apart from others can give a great return on investment.  

However, if you simply want to get the home sold as soon as possible and want to spend little money in the process, consider selling your home "as-is." 

5. Price your home to sell, not sit

The next item in the how to sell your house process is deciding on the listing price.  This can be a tough thing to do, but homes that are priced accurately should sell faster.  

Here are a few tools used in accurate home pricing:

  • Find comparable properties that have recently sold.  Use the recent sale prices of homes similar to yours that are in close proximity to help create a price.  Also note the condition and extra amenities.  
  • Have a professional appraisal done of your home to see what it is worth.
  • Talk with your agent.  Real estate agents should have a firm grasp on what properties are going for in your area.  

6. Stage your Tampa home

Stage Your House

Allowing potential buyers to 'see' themselves living in your home is very important!

This means getting rid of clutter and personal items in the home.

Deep cleaning is also very important, as no one wants to imagine life in a dirty home.  

Also be sure to minimize pet or children's items.  

After these steps are done, decide if you want to stage the house yourself or utilize the services of a professional stager.  

Use your own belongings or completely move out and let the stager have a blank canvas.  

No matter which route you go, you will want to get great pictures to entice people in to see the home.

7. Focus on marketing

Once your house shines and is ready for buyers to come see it, list it as many places as possible. 

In my opinion, I think that marketing your home is the most important piece when taking steps to sell your house.

There are 3 parts to ensure that your home is exposed to the maximum number of potential buyers.

  • Buyer positioning: whom are you targeting?
  • Price positioning: will you price it to where it will sell? 
  • Descriptive positioning: what features will most appeal to potential home buyers? are you able to describe what the camera cannot see?

When creating the listings, be sure to keep it short and focus on the best features of your home, such as a deck, mature trees, proximity to shopping or public transportation, or a pool.  

Most buyers search online, but others will notice a flyer on a bulletin board or a for sale sign in the yard.  

Also share your home on social media with friends and family. 

Once the home is listed, showings and open houses can begin.

The more showings the better. Just make sure the house is clean before anyone comes in.

Vacate the home if a potential buyer is coming with their agent and consider a third party representative, such as your agent, be present for other showings or open houses.  

Your agent can also utilize technology that asks buyer's agents to leave feedback on the house, giving you an idea of how others perceive the house.

8. Educate yourself about the closing process

If no offers come in, then it's time to sit back and have a serious look at what the cause could be.

Could it be your price? Staging? Unappealing?

Definitely ask for feedback from those who viewed your property.

Don't get defensive from the feedback.

Instead, take the feedback and make changes.

Now, as offers start to come in, be prepared for challenges during the closing process. 

There are still several things that could go wrong.

  • Poor inspection report: A home inspection may uncover problems with the home that you were unaware of.  If this is the case, a buyer may wish to back out of the deal or begin negotiating for repairs to be made.
  • Home appraisal comes back low:  To qualify for financing, a home will need to appraise for the amount being financed. If the home comes in below this value, a buyer may have to exit the deal or come up with the difference in cash.
  • Financing falls through: During this long process, it's possible that the potential buyer's financing could fall through.  If a bank feels that there is too much risk, such as a lost job, new credit card debt, or missed payments, they may decline the loan.  

9. Make moving preparations

Make Moving Preparations

Once everything is in the clear, you need to be prepared to move.

Be sure to budget for this expense, as moving costs can add up quickly.  

Timing can also be tricky.  

If you're selling and buying at the same time, it can be extremely difficult for the timing to work out.  

You may need to consider staying with relatives or in temporary housing while all transactions are going through.  

Keep in mind that you need to be moved out of your Tampa home by the closing date, so have a plan for a quick exit.  

10. Take care of closing

The closing process is the final installment in the steps to selling a house.

Many items will need to be checked off and submitted.

If repairs are needed, have them done and be ready to hand over inspections and certifications so that the buyers know all the work was done.

  • Complete property disclosures.  Sellers are required to disclose any known problems or defects that could impact the value or safety of the home
  • Review closing costs. Make sure that you understand and are prepared for closing costs.  Closing costs for sellers generally are about 8 to 10 percent of the sale price.  These include items like commissions for the buyer's and seller's agents, taxes, and fees.  If there is plenty of equity in the home, these costs will come out of the profits from the sale.  
  • Read, date and sign documents. Show up at the closing appointment and sign all documents.  In some places, this is done at the same time as the buyer and in other places, the appointments take place separately.  
  • Closing the transaction. Give the keys to the buyers and close out the transaction. The settlement agent will record the new deed, ensure that your remaining mortgage balance is paid off, pay all closing costs, and get you a check for the remaining profit.  

Conclusion

There's certainly a lot of steps to selling your house in Tampa. It doesn't have to be overwhelming, however.

In this article, you have enough information to proceed with your decision.

In reality though, who has the time, the patience, and the necessary follow up & negotiation skills to see it through?

If you're looking to sell your house in Brandon, Riverview, Tampa or Valrico and need more information on getting started, please feel free to reach out to me by email, phone or text.  


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