After listing your home for sale, things move fast — faster than many of us think. The average listing period lasts anywhere from 3-6 months, and a lot can happen in that time.
So how do you prepare yourself for what happens after you put your home up for sale?
Let’s take a look.
What Does “Listing Your Home” Mean?
First things first, we need to define what the MLS is — a nearly ubiquitous term when discussing real estate. The MLS, which stands for Market Listing Service, is a service used by real estate brokers in order to browse listings of properties listed as for sale. It allows sellers’ agents to widely distribute information about the property with buyers or their respective brokers and also feeds to public facing websites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc..
For homeowners, the MLS is the core of the listing process. Listing your house in the MLS is often a seller’s most anticipated step, one that marks the beginning of the journey to sell his or her house. Before listing or during the “Coming Soon” period, a number of pre-listing tasks must be completed in order to adequately prepare the home before listing.
If you choose to use the option of the “Coming Soon” part of listing your home, you can advertise and market your home on the MLS, but not allow showings or open houses until the home is shown as “Active”. The Coming Soon period can last anywhere from 1 to 14 days. Once that amount of days is over, your listing will switch over to “Active” and start allowing showings.
Here is a list of the steps to complete to get your home ready to list or during the Coming Soon period:
- De-clutter and clean the home
- Keep countertops as empty as possible (Kitchen utensils, toothbrushes, and such put away)
- Get photographs taken
- Make brochures
- Get a pre-listing inspection if you choose (this is solely for the sellers to see what may come up during the inspection process once a buyer is found)
- Complete necessary disclosures such as the Seller’s Disclosure, Lead Based Paint, etc…
You want to have all of this done before the home hits “Active” on the market so you can have everything in order on the 1st day. Its even more crucial to have the photographs completed in advance since once your home is listed on the MLS, it only shows as a “New Listing” for the first few days. Most agents also look at the “Hot Sheet” when searching for homes for their buyers and they most times only look at New Listings posted in the last 24 hours.
You Listed Your Home For Sale. Now What?
Shortly after listing your home for sale, it will appear as “for sale” in the MLS and other websites, which indicates to prospective buyers that they may begin contacting your agent for home showings. So, your home should be ready to show by the time it’s listed in the MLS in case a buyer is interested in seeing your home right away, sometimes even on the first day.
Things Your Agent Will Do To Prepare Your Home
As you prepare for showings, your Agent will bring by some things for showings.
1. A Lockbox
Lockboxes are crucial for allowing an agent to show the house whenever he or she needs to, rather than relying on the owner for a key. Owners are also expected to vacate the property for showings — something we talk about in our following section — so having a lockbox makes everyone’s life easier.
3. A “FOR SALE” Sign in the Front Yard
Being able to publicly show that your house is for sale allows people passing by to be able to inquire about the property if interested
4. A Clean and Clutter-Free Home
Throughout the entire selling process, your home will need to remain clean and relatively free of personal belongings, as you’ll never know when a showing might take place.
Prepare to Leave at a Moment’s Notice
During showings, you should be prepared to lock up personal belongings and leave the property at your agent’s notice — something many sellers often forget to take into account. When the owner leaves, buyers have room to browse and breathe.
Typically, there are two types of showings: Open Houses and individual tours. Open Houses are open to the public, whereas individual tours are ones interested buyers can personally schedule with your agent. Through these showings, it’s the seller’s responsibility to keep the house looking great and be flexible with your schedule so that your agent can plan showings.
What Your Agent Does During This Time
On the agent’s end, the initial rush right after listing is a pretty hectic time as well. Parrish described that in this period, she and her team:
- Follow up on buyers’ feedback
- Make adjustments to the property to address any problems
- Host showings and open houses
- Market the home by posting on social media and distributing listing information
After the Initial Rush Dies Down
Although the immediate frenzy of selling a house can be exciting, few people prepare for what happens after the initial post-listing rush begins to fade. Many sellers get discouraged, questioning why they haven’t received a viable offer or why fewer and fewer buyers appear interested as more time passes.
What should sellers do in this time?
- Be patient
- Stay up to date with your local market
The slowdown in traffic is completely normal. In fact, an average days on market cycle lasts two-three months, depending on where you are in the country.
If there’s little movement on the property after 4 weeks, it’s time to re-strategize.
What if it Doesn’t Sell Right Off the Bat?
Some steps you can take are:
- Speak to your agent about trying a new arrangement
- Target a different group of buyers
- Consider making a price adjustment
In the lull of prospective buyers or showings, you should still expect to keep the house clean and well-maintained — after all, you never know when the right buyer will suddenly pop up, ready to offer what you’re asking — but it can’t hurt to refine your selling tactic after so much time.
After listing your home, prepare to wait — but don’t get discouraged. Few people realize how much waiting time there is after listing your house in the MLS, and many sellers lose hope too quickly when they don’t achieve rapid results.
Even though the home selling process is long and draining, some of the anticipatory stress can definitely be alleviated with effective preparation. And, now that you know what to expect after listing your home in the MLS, there’s no doubt that you’re already one step ahead.