Selling a Home

Buying a home could be the biggest financial decision you make in a lifetime. The process may feel daunting and complex, but with a general understanding of what to expect and the valuable guidance of a REALTOR®, your journey to home ownership can be an enjoyable and streamlined experience.

It’s important to have experts to guide you through significant life events. When you experience a serious health issue, you seek the help of a medical professional. In the case of complicated tax issues, you seek the advice of a tax specialist. Have a legal concern? The first call is your attorney. 

Real estate transactions are similarly important and complex. When making a decision as big as selling a home, you need the guidance and expertise of a professional. REALTORS® stand ready to assist you every step of the way with a strategic plan of action and a commitment to protecting your best interest.

When you are ready to sell your home, make sure that partnering with a REALTOR® is at the top of your list.

Need to find a REALTOR®? Try out our REALTOR® search tool

After selecting your REALTOR®, the first order of business will be discussing the best strategy to sell your home quickly and for the best price. Your REALTOR® will begin by assessing your home’s current market value. Location, home size and type, lot size, condition and recent sales prices of comparable properties are some of the factors that will be used to determine the appropriate listing price.

Often, your agent will also recommend ways to further maximize the value of your property including repairs or cosmetic updates such as fresh paint. And because first impressions make a big difference, you might also be given advice on how to get your home ready for showings. Common suggestions include small outdoor projects to help with curb appeal or decluttering and staging to help buyers focus on the most important features of your home.

Listing Contracts

Before your REALTOR® officially puts your home on the market, you will discuss and sign a listing contract. This contract serves as the foundation of your home sale and gives your REALTOR® permission to work on your behalf. The document also outlines the specific terms of the agreement including the length of the listing period, list price, expiration date, compensation and other details.

Marketing and the MLS

Your REALTOR® will discuss the elements of their marketing plan for your property. It is in your best interest to have a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach to maximize exposure of your property to the most potential buyers. The marketing plan can include everything from photography and open house events (a scheduled date where your agent is present on property to allow prospective buyers to tour the home without appointments) to email marketing and online advertising (online listing portals, agent or company websites, social media, etc.). 

The most effective and important piece of the marketing plan is entering your property into the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS is a database of properties for sale in the market. In the Kansas City region alone, over 11,000 REALTORS® work cooperatively through the MLS to market their listings to one another. Once your property becomes an active listing in the MLS, REALTORS® can begin matching it with their potential buyers and setting up showing appointments.

Home Showings and Safety

Once your home is listed on the market, REALTORS® will begin to schedule appointments to view your property with their clients using a secure lockbox and key system that provides convenient, authorized and documented access to your home. Your listing agent can work with you to set up specific showing preferences for your convenience.

While lockbox and key systems provide an important level of security, it’s also important to talk with your REALTOR® about best practices when it comes to preparing your home for showings including securing your pets and the safekeeping of valuables, medications and documents of personal nature.

Negotiations and Contracts

As showings occur, your REALTOR® will be in communication with buyers’ agents to receive feedback and offers. Purchase and sale agreements outline important details of the offer including proposed sale price, financing plan, closing date, personal property to be conveyed, offer expiration date and potential contingencies. Your REALTOR® will present all offers to you in a timely manner and will discuss the specifics of all offers to allow you to best respond.

If you would like to modify the terms of an offer, your REALTOR® will prepare a counteroffer to submit to the buyer’s agent for consideration. Your REALTOR® will serve as your advocate during negotiations to protect your best interests. Once a you have reached an agreement on the terms of the sale, you and the buyers will work through your agents to finalize the contracts and proceed with the next phase of the transaction.

Inspections and Appraisals

Once you have accepted an offer on your home, you will likely move into an interim period, where you and the buyer address any contingencies of the offer. Common contingencies include home inspections or appraisals that may be required for final approval of financing. Once all contingencies are resolved, you will move into the final closing process.

The Closing Process

The closing phase of the transaction includes the transfer of funds and documents resulting in the official transfer of ownership to the buyer of your property. All agreements made in the sale contract, such as promised home repairs, will need to be completed ahead of the closing date.

It is important to work closely with your REALTOR® during the closing phase to ensure closing procedures, especially funds transfers are handled thoroughly and securely. The closing is complete when all funds have been transferred and the deed has been recorded. At this point, your home sale is complete, and possession is given to the new owner.  

Most home sellers who plan to purchase another property work with their REALTOR® to conduct the search for their next home during the time that their current home is on the market. Your REALTOR® will be able to work with you to establish the best timelines for coordinating your home sale and next home purchase, working toward a seamless transition. To learn more about the home buying process, see our Buying a Home page.

Housing discrimination

Discriminatory activity in the sale or rental of property is not permitted. In fact, a number federal and state laws exist to protect you from discriminatory behavior. 

  • Civil Rights Act of 1866: The Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibits all racial discrimination in the sale or rental of property.
  • Fair Housing Act: The Fair Housing Act declares a national policy of fair housing throughout the United States. The law makes illegal any discrimination in the sale, lease or rental of housing, or making housing otherwise unavailable, because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act: Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in places of public accommodations and commercial facilities.
  • Equal Credit Opportunity Act: The Equal Credit Opportunity Act makes discrimination unlawful with respect to any aspect of a credit application on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age or because all or part of the applicant’s income derives from any public assistance program.
  • State and Local Laws: State and local laws often provide broader coverage and prohibit discrimination based on additional classes not covered by federal law.

Complaints alleging discrimination in housing may be filed with the nearest office of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or by contacting them at http://www.hud.gov.

The REALTOR® Code of Ethics

Article 10 of the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics provides that, “REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”

A REALTOR® pledges to conduct business in keeping with the spirit and letter of the Code of Ethics. Article 10 imposes obligations upon REALTORS® and is also a firm statement of support for equal opportunity in housing.

If you suspect discrimination, call the local Board of REALTORS®. Local Boards of REALTORS® will accept complaints alleging violations of the Code of Ethics filed by a home seeker who alleges discriminatory treatment in the availability, purchase or rental of housing. Local Boards of REALTORS® have a responsibility to enforce the Code of Ethics through professional standards procedures and corrective action in cases where a violation of the Code of Ethics is proven to have occurred.