How To Sell Your Home: A Step-By-Step Guide

How To Sell Your Home: A Step-By-Step Guide

You purchased your home 2-5 years ago and now you're thinking of selling your home. It could be that your downtown Charleston home is too small, the equity in your Mount Pleasant home has increased greatly, or you have a new job or business opportunity requiring you to relocate from the Folly Beach party scene. Whatever your reason is, you need to know how to sell your home.

We work with many homeowners looking to sell their homes in the Charleston, SC area so we decided to put together a step-by-step guide on how to sell your home.

It's always best to work with a Realtor that can help you with knowing the current market, costs associated with selling your home, and the in's and out's of getting the best value for your property.
selling your house - guide

Step-By-Step Guide For Selling Your Home

1. Determine If You're Ready To Sell Your Home

When you've decided that now is the time to sell, check to be sure that it's not just a whim or fleeting idea. Sometimes at first glance, homeowners feel like they want to move right away before realizing after looking into the matter in further detail that maybe now is not best for them.

Now is a great time to consult with a realtor that knows your local market and can help you with running the numbers, such as projected home sale price, loan payoff, moving expenses, closing costs, etc.

Be honest with yourself about what's motivating you to put up your house—do you need the money? Is this your plan B? Be sure of why you really want or need to sell.

2. Create A Plan For Selling Your Home

Now that you're ready to sell your home, it's time to create a plan. It's crucial that your plan answers the big questions that must be asked when selling your home:

  • How much will you make after all expenses and mortgage payoff?
  • Where will you live after the home sells?
  • What will we do if the home doesn't sell when we expect it to?
  • What will we do if there are unexpected repairs that need to be done?
Answering these and other important questions will help prepare you for the expected and some of the unexpected costs when you sell your home.
How to sell your house - Step 1

3. Know The Exact Condition Of Your Home

It's important to know the condition of your home and what you'll need to do before selling it. If there are areas that need repairs or updates, now will be the time to do them. Other things like getting rid of old furniture and unnecessary knick-knacks can also help increase your home's wow factor and show buyers what they're really walking into when they make an offer.

Especially in the Charleston, SC area, we see homeowners ordering pre-inspections so they can prepare their home to sell for the most money and ease the buyer's concerns before they put an offer on a house.

4. Fix What You Can And Update What You Can't

When you've decided it's time for a change, there are some changes you can make on the fly such as sprucing up rooms with new paint (paint colors will help create the perfect vibe that homebuyers are looking for). Other times, certain projects may take a little more time. Be realistic about your timeline and prioritize any changes based on what you think the biggest impact will be for potential buyers.

We have noticed that both lead times and material costs have increased dramatically for remodeling companies in the Charleson, SC area, especially in Mount Pleasant, Daniel Island, Dewees Island,, and Isle of Palms. Some contractors are booked out for 3 years!

5. Stage Your Home

The best salespeople are those who sell themselves, so make sure to show your home off in the best light possible! While staging can be expensive, it's worth investing in if you want to see a return on your investment. Staging helps potential buyers visualize their lives in your new home by making it warm and cozy instead of cold and empty. It might seem ridiculous or unnecessary since it's just an empty house that hasn't been lived in—but trust us, it works. One trick is to have someone walk through the rooms with some simple props like throw pillows or boxes of fake food (make sure they're really fake, not the kind that smells like Chinese takeout).

6. List Your Home On The Market

There are many ways to sell your home but your best bet is always through an agent whether you do it yourself or hire one. To get started, put together a package of information about your home including photos and other details to give agents an idea of what you're looking for. If you don't know where to start, contact our team so we can assist you with the sale of your home, or make an introduction with a trusted real estate agent in your area. Make sure they have all the information on your house so they can market it properly before handing over this responsibility to someone else. This way you'll know that whoever takes over will do a great job and get the best deal.

7. Prepare Yourself For Moving

Moving can be stressful, but it's usually made worse by trying to forget you ever lived somewhere in the first place only to see it on TV or hear people talking about it years later. In order to avoid this from happening, try not to sell everything that reminds you of your past life at once or keep any photos from other places—if necessary, take them with you instead of trying to forget they exist. While some may say this is a sure-fire way to go crazy, others think it's a good idea so if anyone asks why there are never any pictures or keepsakes around, you have a reason ready without having to make one up.

8. Show Your Home And Negotiate Offers

Your home will now be available for potential home buyers to view and make offers on your home. In the Charleston, SC housing market, an average home will receive 4 offers and will typically sell within 45 days. During this time, you will need to keep the home clean and "show-ready" to give your home the best chance to receive the highest and best offer for the home.

You may deal with situations that require you to negotiate with potential home buyers like competing offers, or offers below the asking price. These situations are best handled by a licensed real estate agent that knows the proper state-approved paperwork and understands how to negotiate effectively.

9. Offers With Financing and Inspection Contingencies

Once you and the potential home buyer come to an agreement, the offer to purchase your home will be accepted by both you and them. At this time, the purchaser of the home will pay whatever earnest money you've agreed to before the agreement is valid. You might accept a cash offer that can close quickly (14 days or less), however, it's more likely that the offer is contingent on financing or inspections.

State-approved agreements, like the ones we use in the Charleston, SC area, usually dictate the terms of how inspections and financing issues are handled leading up to the closing. Inspections usually have a limited timeframe of when inspections can be completed, as well as how to negotiate repair or local code issues that arise from inspections. Mortgage loan approvals are based on the borrower as well as the home itself, this is why the financing can take 45 days or longer to be approved for the closing.

10. Close and Sell Your Home

You're selling your home to a family that loves it, the inspection came back clean, and the financing is approved, now you're ready to head to the closing table. Usually, the buyer chooses the closing company or closing attorney, regardless of who is paying for the title insurance. Your real estate agent will get all the necessary documentation together and the title company and attorney will research to ensure that there is nothing that will prevent the home from closing.

On the closing day, the title company or attorney's office will present you with documents to sign, ask you to fulfill the last obligations of your purchase and sale agreement, as well as hand over anything important for the new owners to have. Here's a list of what we have our Charleston home sellers bring to closing:

  • Cashiers check for seller-covered closing costs or repair credits or wire transfer to the title company or attorney's office.
  • A personal checkbook to cover any incidental expenses.
  • Keys, remotes, or access codes for locks, doors, and gates to the home.
  • 2 forms of identification. The first must be government-issued and include a photo like a driver’s license or a passport. The other should have your name printed on it (like a social security card, or credit card).
How to sell your house - Guide conclusion


Things can get really stressful when you sell your home. Remodeling, showing, negotiating, and inspections can make your head spin, especially if you've sold a home before. A real estate agent's role is to make the process easier by facilitating the transaction, negotiating offers, and representing your best interests as a home seller. Next time you are wanting to sell your home, read through our step-by-step guide before you start the process, and contact a real estate agent that knows your market like our team knows the Charleston, SC market.

Ready to find your dream home?

Andrew Robertson - Charleston Broker

Andrew Robertson 

Real Estate Broker
(843) 513 7309

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