Before listing your current home on the market, there are a few things you’ll need to do to prepare it for home staging and great sale photos and increase its value:\n\n- __Make necessary repairs__. Any repairs you need to make—like a leaky pipe or a broken dishwasher—will come up during a buyer’s home inspection and be taken out of your final price. Paying for the repairs upfront will make your house more desirable during [open houses](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/questions-to-ask-at-an-open-house) and avoid last-minute price changes to make up for them.\n- __Perform cost-effective renovations__. When selling your house, certain renovations can make a huge difference. Consider giving your walls a fresh coat of paint, cleaning or refinishing your floors, touching up the landscaping, replacing outdated faucets, and replacing old blinds with new ones or with curtains for more natural light. These low-cost renovations can make your home more attractive to buyers. Avoid expensive projects like replacing flooring or countertops because you can’t recoup the costs when you sell. \n- __Declutter__. When prospective buyers walk through your house, they need to imagine their furniture and belongings in it, and clutter can adversely affect their ability to do so. A cluttered home can also look smaller and stuffier, which won’t be attractive to buyers. Before inviting buyers inside, go through every room and start the process of [decluttering your home](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-declutter-your-home) by throwing away or donating unnecessary items. (As a bonus, decluttering at this stage will help you get a headstart on the move-out process.)\n- __Deep clean__. A clean house is much more attractive to buyers, so deep clean every room in the house—scrub the walls and baseboards and wash the windows.\n\nA good real estate agent is an incredible asset during the [home buying](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/steps-to-buying-a-house-explained) or selling process. The most common ways to find a good agent are:\n\n- __Conduct an online search__. A brief online search should reveal a list of local [realtors](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-a-realtor-explained), along with reviews and their track records. Several websites will compare realtors for you to help you find the best one for you. \n- __Ask for referrals__. One of the most reliable ways to find a great realtor is to ask around—if a friend or family member recently sold their own home, ask if they recommend using their [real estate agent](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-become-a-real-estate-agent). \n- __Talk to your lender__. Whether you’re a potential home buyer taking out a loan for a new home, or a home seller with a current mortgage, your lender may have great recommendations for reliable realtors in the area. \n\nOnce you find a handful of local agents, try to interview at least three before making your final decision. \n\nSelling a house is an extensive process, but here’s what you can expect, step-by-step:\n\n1. __Figure out the best timeline for you__. Selling your house is a time-consuming process, so think about when you’ll have the most time to manage it. Many local housing markets fluctuate during certain seasons (for instance, spring can be a more lucrative time to sell), so consider consulting a real estate agent before you officially decide when to sell. Selling during a seller’s market, which occurs when housing demands outpace supply, can net a bit more money than selling in a buyer’s market, which occurs when supply exceeds demand, resulting in favorable pricing for buyers.\n2. __Hire a good real estate agent__. Hiring a real estate agent to coordinate the home-selling process can be helpful for first-time buyers. While they will collect a fee (called an [agent’s commission](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/real-estate-agent-commision-explained)) out of your home sale (usually around 6 percent), they know how to handle most of the legwork, from marketing to giving tours to filing paperwork. Realtors can also usually sell homes faster and for more money than homeowners who sell their homes (usually called “for sale by owner” or FSBO).\n3. __Determine your listing price__. Choosing the listing price of your home can be tricky—too high, and your house could sit on the market for months, but too low, and you could miss out on a lot of money. Your realtor can walk you through the comparative market analysis, which shows how much comparable homes are selling for in your area. They can also tell you about local real estate market pricing and your home’s likely market value price to help you choose a reasonable asking price.\n4. __Prepare your home for listing__. Your realtor will bring in a photographer to take great photos of your house—but you need to prepare it first. Make any necessary repairs, complete cost-effective renovations like repainting your walls, declutter, and deep clean, room by room. Consider curb appeal in mind during this step—small landscaping projects or a quick power wash can significantly improve your house’s first impression. Your listing agent may also hire a home stager to come in and help you rearrange furniture for the best interior design. \n5. __List your home__. Once the photos are ready and the time is right, your real estate agent will list your home online and market the listing. They will typically post it on different social media sites and [multiple listing services](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-mls-in-real-estate), and call on their network of buyer’s agents to take a look. You can help by linking the listing on your own social media or talking to friends and neighbors about it.\n6. __Prepare for walk-throughs__. Interested buyers will want to see the house in person. Your realtor will take care of coordinating with the potential buyers and walking them through your property. While some buyers choose to be on the premises during the walk-through, it may make the potential buyers feel awkward or intimidated. To create an ideal atmosphere for potential buyers, be ready to leave your house (sometimes without much notice), and keep it as clean as possible, too. \n7. __Consider your offers__. After your realtor has shown the house, you’ll hopefully have a few offer letters come in. Sit down with your realtor and consider each offer. Look at each buyer’s financial portfolio and the stipulations or contingencies they lay out in their contract when making your decision. \n8. __Begin the bargaining process__. If none of the offers were quite what you were looking for, you and your realtor can submit [counteroffers](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-counter-offer-after-a-home-inspection), or offers that include revised prices or contract contingencies. Submitting a counteroffer may prompt buyers to submit another offer—don’t be alarmed if this process goes back-and-forth a few times. Work with your realtor until you’re happy with an offer, or let them know that you prefer to wait for the right buyer.\n9. __Complete the title report__. Once you accept a particular offer, you and the buyer will enter into a contract of sale. During this time, you and your realtor will coordinate with an escrow company (or title company, depending on what state you live in) to complete a title report, in which the company confirms that you’re the legal owner of your house. If any issues arise during the title report, you may need to consult a real estate attorney to sort out the situation.\n10. __Address inspection issues__. In the final stages of closing a deal, the buyers will likely order a home inspection, in which an official inspector will conduct a thorough review of your home for defects. It’s normal for the inspector to find minor faults. However, if they find a substantial issue, like bad sding or roof damage, you’ll need to coordinate with the buyer’s agent and decide if you’ll do the repairs before the sale or lower the sales price so the buyer can do them after they move in. \n11. __Get ready for the appraisal__. One of the last major steps in closing your house is the [appraisal](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/appraisal-report-guide) conducted by the buyer’s lender to ensure that they aren’t paying significantly more than they should be for your house. Most homes are appraised for near or above their listing price; if the appraiser finds an issue, you’ll need to coordinate with the buyer’s agent to make up the difference. \n12. __Finalize the sale__. Once the major closing steps are finished, there are just a few more details you’ll need to finalize, including signing final documents, paying [closing costs](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-are-closing-costs-explained), moving out by the closing date, and paying off utility bills or HOA fees. After that, you can collect the buyer’s money from the escrow company. \n\nAll investments, including real estate investments, come with inherent risks which may involve the depreciation of assets, financial losses, or legal ramifications. The information presented in this article is for educational, informational, and referential purposes only. Consult a licensed real estate or financial professional before making any legal or financial commitments.\n\nAll you need is a [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com) and our exclusive video lessons from prolific entrepreneur Robert Reffkin, the founder and CEO of the real estate technology company Compass. With Robert’s help, you’ll learn all about the intricacies of buying a home, from securing a mortgage to hiring an agent to tips for putting your own place on the market. \nWhether it’s your first time or your fifth, selling your house is an extensive process—here’s what you can expect.