Once we survive the Inspection Period, the appraisal came as he wanted and all of the repairs, if any, are completed, be aware that if your buyer is financing the purchase, during the underwriting process it’s possible that your buyer’s financing could fall through. It could be caused by new debt, missed payments or an unforeseen change in employment that makes the bank feel like there’s too much risk in financing the home. It doesn’t happen often, but I have seen it. The silver lining if this happens, is that we have an inspection and repairs are done, which will be an added value to another buyer if your house goes back to the market.

Step 23:  Mortgage Approval and Clear to Close

Step 24:  The Final Walkthrough

Step 25:  Closing Day!

Step 26:  Review Me!





Back to the Start



Posted on March 25, 2020 at 5:00 am
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Seller Step by Step |

Step 1: Find a Realtor. Find Your Advocate.

Many homeowners start the selling process by looking at sites such as, Zillow, Redfin or Trulia to see what similar properties have recently sold for in their neighborhood to determine the current value of their home.

That’s fine and understandable, but keep in mind:

  • The sites aren’t 100% accurate, because listings that were never in the BLC (Broker Listing Cooperative), such as pocket listings or For Sale by Owner properties, will be missing.

  • The information on the online sites is often out of date or not accurate, as most Realtors are not good at updating this information regularly. A property might show as still ‘Active’ on Zillow, even though it sold nine months ago.

  • When professional appraisers conduct an appraisal, they only consider homes that have sold in a particular neighborhood within the last 90 days. It’s not possible to sort the data by date on the online sites, so it’s difficult to only look for properties that have sold within the last 90 days.

  • Square footage isn’t always listed, so it’s hard to know if you’re comparing similarly sized homes, which makes a big difference when determining value.

Find a Realtor

How do you find a good Realtor? Hopefully, you’ll connect with me so we can see if we would be a good fit. Remember, not all Realtors are right for all people.

You need to find someone who is not only great at his or her job but someone you like and trust, as you’re putting a big piece of your financial future in their hands. Ask friends and family for referrals. Contact those Realtors and set up initial phone screenings with them.

Notice how quickly each Realtor responds to your initial phone call or email. The Realtor should get back to you within 24 hours; if not, that’s a bad sign. This business moves fast, and deals can fall apart if your Realtor doesn’t respond quickly to showing requests, offers, inspection negotiations, etc.

Initial Phone Screening

During the initial phone screening, find out if the Realtor knows your neighborhood and if they’ve ever helped a client buy or sell property in your area. Ask about their experience. If your gut reaction says this person might be a good fit, ask them to do a comparative market analysis (CMA) on your home and set up a time to meet with them in person. Be prepared for the Realtor to ask questions about your home, how much you owe on your mortgage, and if any repairs are needed, as this information is crucial to do an accurate CMA.

Send us an email so we can set up a time for me to conduct a free market analysis of your home.

Read ‘How to Use a CMA Comparative Market Analysis’(CMA) before your in-person meeting.

Meet in Person and Review the CMA

When you meet with the Realtor in person, ask them our important questions to ask BEFORE hiring a Realtor.

Go over the CMA. Ask what the average days on the market are in your area, which is the number of days from when the house goes on the market until you have an accepted contract. If the Realtor doesn’t know this, move on.

Ask how much the closing costs will be, what their commission fee is, and what your net will be if you sell your home for X price.

Most importantly, be honest with each Realtor. If you need to sell your home for a certain amount of money or in a specific time frame, tell them. Only when Realtors have a complete picture can they come up with the best strategy to fit your situation.

Lastly, trust your gut.

Sign the paperwork

Once you’ve picked a Realtor, expect to sign a Listing Contract authorizing that Realtor to represent you. That starts the ball rolling to get your home on the market.






Posted on November 28, 2018 at 5:08 pm
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Seller Step by Step |

Step 2: You’ve Hired a Realtor. Now What?

You’ve picked ME as your Realtor (Yay!).

Now we need to get your home ready for the market. This involves:

More paperwork

Selling your home involves a lot of paperwork. Review the Listing Agreement and Disclosures for the information you’ll be asked to provide. I know… seems like A LOT, right? But don’t worry, you picked the right agent when you hired me.


I will introduce you to a unique solution called dotloop. It is an online workspace that connects everyone and everything needed to complete a real estate transaction in one place. dotloop allows us to edit, complete, sign, and share documents without ever needing to print, fax, or email. It helps us eliminate actual paper and keep your transaction organized. We save all the documents there, and you will be able to see the process in action while I do the work.

You will create an account and will be able to fill out all the forms needed, from the convenience of your phone, tablet, or computer! You can also sign all of them in a secure and verified way.

It will speed up the process of selling your house by giving you instant access to any offer we get, and any document that will need your approval and signature.

Top 10 List

Write a top ten list of reasons you love living in your house. We don’t want these reasons to be things the buyers can easily see for themselves, such as your gorgeous kitchen. Instead, we want them to be intangibles that only you know, such as the beautiful sunsets visible through your living room windows, that you have great neighbors, that there is a farmers market down the street every Tuesday, or that the area is very quiet and gets little traffic. I will use this list in marketing your home, and it will be a good started point for the  Letter to Future Buyer that you will be writing.

Let us know what date you want your home to go live in the BLC

We need about one week’s notice before we can put your property on the market. Before it goes on the market, you will need to declutter your home, fix any items that need to be fixed, and either clean the house (and yard) or have it professionally cleaned.

If your home isn’t going on the market within 48 hours, we need you to fill out the mandatory BLC Exempt Disclosure, saying it’s acceptable for your home to go into the BLC at a later date.

Change the privacy settings on your social media pages so only friends can see your posts

We don’t want potential buyers Googling you to learn that you just got a big promotion at work, are moving across the country, or are buying a new house because you’re having a baby. All these pieces of information can hurt my negotiation position; therefore, it’s imperative that you change your security settings to make your posts and photos unavailable to strangers. And while you can mention that you’re selling your home, don’t say why.



Posted on November 28, 2018 at 4:36 pm
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Seller Step by Step |

Step 3: Time to Declutter and Stage Your Home

Whitney Vredenburgh   |   Nested Spaces   |

Tips and Tricks from Nested Spaces PDF

Once all the paperwork is complete, it’s time to get your house ready to attract those buyers! I go above and beyond the average agent by hiring a professional photographer to shoot each home I sell. I pay a stager to provide the seller with a detailed list of recommendations for improving the home’s chances of selling.

The magic word is declutter! Review and print my Staging and Decluttering Check List. It will be a great help to you for getting the staging process started.

Once the decluttering is done, our stager will walk you through your home room by room to create a comprehensive list of remaining things that need to be done, including furniture that needs to be moved or put in storage.

Unless the property is vacant, the stager usually won’t need to add furnishings to your home but will advise you on how to take your home to the photography level.  They may recommend artwork or small pieces of furniture to augment what you already have. If your home is vacant, we’ll take care of all the furnishing and staging.

Let us know as soon as you’re done decluttering so we can schedule an appointment with our stager and photographer!



Posted on November 28, 2018 at 3:01 pm
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Seller Step by Step |

Step 4: Conduct a Pre-market Inspection

I am a big believer in pre-market inspections, especially for single-family homes.

This means you pay an inspector to inspect your home before it goes on the market. The cost is usually between $400 – $700.

You can then fix any items that come up in the inspection report before the home goes on the market. It keeps you in control of repairs, not to mention you will not be as pressed for time. Sometimes buyers will even waive doing their own inspection if they can see your inspection report.

If you’d like to do a pre-market inspection, let me know, and we will schedule it. I can even be present for the inspection, so you don’t have to take any additional time off work.





Posted on November 27, 2018 at 8:28 pm
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Seller Step by Step |

Step 5: Repair Time

If you did a pre-market inspection, we will already have a list of items that need to be fixed.

If you didn’t, and your dishwasher hasn’t been working for years or your AC unit has been making lots of noise, we need to know. We can have those items repaired before your home goes on the market.  It’s better to get items fixed now, before they come up in an inspection report, and potentially scare off a buyer later.

We have access to affordable painters, electricians, handymen, etc., and are happy to make repair appointments. We can even be at your home to let workers in and oversee the work for you.

At a minimum, I recommend that you:

  • Touch up the paint in your home.
  • Install new caulk around every shower and tub.
  • Hire a professional HVAC company to service and clean both your AC unit and furnace.
  • Hire a company such as Stanley Steemer to steam clean your carpets.
  • Make sure all light bulbs are working and that every light fixture contains the highest wattage light bulbs it can bear.
  • Have chimneys professionally swept and add a rain cap if needed.  If any brick is loose, have it repaired.
  • Change outdated cabinet hardware in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Replace any broken window/door panes or screens. Your local hardware store carries screening, Glass repair shops or window dealers can help with both panes and screens if you don’t want to handle repairs yourself.
  • Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are functioning properly.
  • Make sure downspouts aren’t improperly sloped or damaged in single-family homes. If they are damaged, replace them.
  • Repair any damaged, broken, or missing roof shingles if you own a single-family home.

See our list of Service Providers We Trust




Posted on November 27, 2018 at 8:21 pm
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Seller Step by Step |

Step 6: Deep Clean

Once all repairs are completed, give the home a deep cleaning. This should ideally be done the day before or the morning of the photography appointment.

Your home needs to be sparkling clean, especially the kitchen and bathrooms, as nothing turns a buyer off more than a dirty home.

If you don’t want to personally clean, see the Service Providers We Trust list. Once the deep cleaning is done, please do your very best to keep the home clean going forward.

An idea of the difference between General Cleaning vs Deep Cleaning

General Cleaning VRS Deep Cleaning






Posted on November 27, 2018 at 6:30 pm
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Seller Step by Step |

Step 7: Professional Photography


We’re so close to getting your home on the market! The last step is professional photography.

I’ll notify you of the appointment a few days in advance. Photo sessions take between 1 – 2 hours for condos and 2 – 4 hours for single-family homes/townhouses, depending on the size.

You do not need to be home for the appointment.

Remember, I pay for the photography; there is no cost to you.

Here are our pro tips for ensuring great photos:

  • Remove any cats or dogs from the home or put them in a crate during the photography appointment.
  • Hide any pet beds, bowls, children’s toys, etc.
  • Make the beds.
  • Put all dishes away.
  • Turn on all lights and make sure all light bulbs, especially those in lamps, are working.
  • The day before the professional photo shoot, take your own snapshots of your home. If a room still looks too cluttered in your photos, declutter it even more.

During the photographs, we will likely move a lot of things in your home. We do our very best to put things back where they were but don’t be surprised if you come home to find a few things out of place. We apologize in advance, but we want your photos to look the absolute best they can, and this often involves moving items to get the best shots.

If your home is a condo, we often photograph amenities in the building, such as exercise rooms or parking garages. For single-family homes, we photograph nearby neighborhood features, like parks or playgrounds.  If there is anything in particular you want us to photograph, just let us know!

It usually takes 48 hours to get the photos back.




Posted on November 27, 2018 at 5:23 pm
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Seller Step by Step |

Step 8: Pre-Market Your Home

While the professional photos are being edited, we’ll market your home to other Realtors before it’s even on the market (it’s what’s called a pocket listing) by executing the strategies below. We’ll discuss which tactics make the most sense for your property and situation:

  • Advertise your home via Century 21 email and Facebook groups for pocket listings. This is a great way to expose your home to top Realtors before it goes on the market.

  • Send ‘just listed’ postcards to nearby homes in the community (who better to help us market your home than a neighbor wanting a friend, family member, or co-worker to live close by?)

  • Conduct a broker open house (optional)

  • Schedule and advertise your first open house to take place on Sunday after your listing goes live in the BLC

  • Create and print professional brochures

  • Install a For Sale sign in front of your building or in your yard

  • Hang professional flyers outside your property which passersby can take for additional information

  • Put a lockbox on your property for showings

Generally, the above takes 48-72 hours. During this time, I will also send you a copy of the listing sheet to review. Please read it carefully and let me know of any errors. If you didn’t like how I phrased something, or feel we left out an important point, let me know that as well. Remember, we’re a team, and we want to get your house sold just as much as you do!




Posted on November 27, 2018 at 4:47 pm
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Seller Step by Step |

Step 9: My Property is Live In The BLC


Syndicating Your Listing.

Once your property goes live in the BLC, I will syndicate your home to the rest of the real estate websites such as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor, etc.

This process takes 24 – 48 hours depending on the site, so be patient.

Congratulations, your home is now on the market!

All the hard work you’ve put in thus far should start paying off soon! So far, you’ve done a lot of prep work to get your home market-ready.

Going forward, each Monday morning we will send you a report showing how many people have viewed your home on the syndicated websites as well as in the BLC and marked it as either ‘Interested’, ‘Maybe’ or ‘Not Interested’.

Now What?

Generally, it takes 36 – 72 hours before we get our first showing request.  The Showing Time system will text you with showing requests. As much as we’d like to ask for 24 hours’ notice, we will miss a lot of showing opportunities if we do. Most of the time we will get showing requests in the morning for that afternoon or evening. Therefore, when you leave each day, plan to have showings even if we don’t have one on the calendar.

If that is an issue, let me know, and I can require 24 hours’ notice.

Once a showing request comes in, you can approve it, deny it, or ask for a different day or time. Remember, the faster we can get buyers into your place and the fewer showings we have to decline or reschedule, the faster we can get your place under contract. The buyer shouldn’t have to work around our schedule. We want to get buyers in as quickly as possible and, to do that, we need to work around their schedule.





Posted on November 27, 2018 at 3:58 pm
Lee Ann Balta | Posted in Seller Step by Step |