Key Steps for Selling a Home in Michigan

For those looking to sell their home in Michigan, the process can seem overwhelming at first. With a real estate market that has continual year over year growth, it can be difficult for home sellers to keep up to date on the market and how they should be pricing their properties. The state has a diverse real estate landscape, forcing homeowners looking to sell to navigate a market influenced by local economic conditions, seasonal changes, and buyer preferences.

The process begins with understanding the local market trends, including pricing strategies that reflect the current demand and inventory levels. Michigan’s real estate market can vary significantly from one region to another, making it crucial for sellers to work with experienced real estate professionals who have in-depth knowledge of their specific area.

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Finding a Michigan Realtor

The journey of selling a home is far from straightforward. It involves high-stake decisions, complex dealings, and requires significant time and expertise to achieve a favorable sale. For those aiming to sell their home in Michigan at an optimal price, while also looking to alleviate the associated stress, securing the services of a highly-rated local real estate agent is essential.

Michigan’s premier listing agents possess a keen insight into the desires of local buyers and the strategies to effectively engage them. They provide comprehensive support, seasoned advice, and continuous guidance from the initial listing phase right through to the closing of the sale.

Data reveals a notable financial benefit to working with real estate agents. Sellers collaborating with agents typically see a 33% higher profit compared to those who choose to sell independently. For a home valued at the Michigan median of $169,475, as cited by Zillow, this could translate to an additional $55,927. Thus, enlisting the expertise of a real estate agent proves to be a worthwhile investment.

The Realtor John Goodman of John Goodman Real Estate standing behind a recently sold sign on the yard of a two story home.

Deciding When to Sell

Deciding when to sell can be a challenge for homeowners who are not familiar with the sales cycles of real estate. The real estate market goes in cycles, and generally speaking it is best to choose the time of the year where that market has historically done well. This is key to maximizing the profit from the home sale as well as reducing the number of days on market.

In Michigan, the best time to sell is typically in June. This is due to historical averages, with the months of April, May, July and August following closely in sales volume. As a rule of thumb, home buyers do not like to move during winter or colder months. Warmer months allow the best presentation of properties and is a time when buyers are most active.

Pricing Your Home

Pricing a home can also be a difficult thing for home owners who have not followed the market closely in recent times. In many markets, prices have adjusted significantly over the past several years due to increased home values and economic changes in the state. It’s important to ensure that the pricing of a home is based on current market conditions, as well as recent appraisals of similar properties in the area.

One of the biggest benefits of working with an experienced real estate agent is their ability to not only accurately price a home, but also to ensure the seller nets the highest possible profits for the sale. This means that not only does the home itself need to be priced correctly, but the negotiations and details surrounding the transaction need to be handled by a skilled real estate agent.

Knowing Your Location

Understanding the specifics of your location is crucial when selling a home, as it significantly influences both the property’s appeal and value. The location determines key factors such as accessibility to amenities, quality of local schools, proximity to employment hubs, and the general safety and attractiveness of the neighborhood.

These elements are often top priorities for potential buyers. A home in a well-positioned area with easy access to transportation, shopping, and recreational facilities can command a higher price and attract a broader pool of buyers. Additionally, knowledge of the local real estate market trends, buyer demographics, and community developments allows for a more tailored and effective marketing strategy.

It helps in setting a competitive price, staging the home appropriately, and highlighting the aspects of the location that are most attractive to potential buyers. In essence, a deep understanding of your location is a key component in maximizing the appeal and value of your property in the real estate market.

The following communities are examples of hot areas to buy or sell a home in Michigan,

Northville – Northville is known for its charming historic downtown, lush parks, and excellent schools. This community offers a mix of traditional and modern homes, making it appealing for families and professionals alike. Its vibrant arts scene, community events, and upscale shopping and dining options provide an enriched lifestyle while maintaining a small-town feel.

Novi – Novi stands out for its bustling retail environment, including one of Michigan’s largest shopping centers, Twelve Oaks Mall. The city is also renowned for its diverse dining scene, expansive parks, and strong educational institutions. With a variety of housing options from luxury condos to spacious single-family homes, Novi caters to a wide range of preferences and lifestyles.

Plymouth – Plymouth boasts a picturesque downtown with a unique blend of history, entertainment, and community activities. The city is famous for its annual Ice Festival, weekly summer music concerts, and art fairs. Plymouth’s residential areas feature beautifully maintained homes, and its schools are among the best in the region, making it a desirable place for families.

Farmington – Farmington offers a cozy, small-town atmosphere with a historic downtown area that hosts regular community events, farmers markets, and cultural activities. The city is characterized by well-established neighborhoods with a variety of home styles, excellent schools, and abundant parks, attracting those looking for a tight-knit community vibe.

Farmington Hills – As one of the largest cities in Oakland County, Farmington Hills combines suburban comfort with access to metropolitan amenities. It’s known for its top-rated public schools, extensive park system, and active community life. The housing market is diverse, featuring everything from affordable starter homes to luxurious estates, making it suitable for a broad spectrum of buyers.

Livonia – Livonia is celebrated for its strategic location with easy access to Detroit and Ann Arbor, making it perfect for commuters. The city boasts an extensive array of recreational facilities, including parks, golf courses, and a community recreation center. Livonia’s neighborhoods are family-friendly, offering a range of housing options that appeal to first-time homebuyers, growing families, and retirees.

Ann Arbor – Known for its vibrant downtown, rich cultural scene, and being home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is a highly sought-after area for families and professionals alike.

Rochester Hills – With its excellent schools, beautiful parks, and thriving downtown area, Rochester Hills offers a suburban lifestyle with plenty of amenities.

Birmingham – This upscale community is known for its luxury homes, sophisticated downtown area, and excellent public schools, making it a prime location for high-end buyers.

Royal Oak – Popular among young professionals and families for its lively downtown, diverse housing stock, and strong community feel.

Brighton – Offers a mix of rural charm and modern conveniences, with plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities, making it ideal for those looking for a quieter lifestyle close to nature.

Troy – Recognized for its strong business environment, top-rated schools, and shopping destinations, Troy is a magnet for families and businesses.

Canton – Known for its family-friendly atmosphere, excellent parks and recreation facilities, and good schools, Canton is a desirable suburb for families.

Bloomfield Hills – One of the most affluent areas in Michigan, offering luxurious estates, exclusive communities, and top-notch educational institutions.

Grosse Pointe – Situated along Lake St. Clair, offering waterfront properties, historical homes, and a tight-knit community atmosphere.

Clarkston – Offers a small-town feel with a quaint downtown, beautiful lakes, and a mix of new and historic homes.

Each of these Michigan communities has its unique charm and advantages, making them hot spots for buying or selling homes. Whether one is drawn to the historic allure of Northville and Plymouth, the shopping and dining in Novi, the community feel of Farmington and Farmington Hills, or the convenient location of Livonia, Michigan offers diverse options to suit various preferences and lifestyles.

Marketing and Showing your home

When you decide to sell your home, it’s crucial to make it stand out by listing and marketing it effectively. There are several strategies to enhance your home’s appeal and increase its marketability. The first of these is staging your home for potential buyers. Statistics show that staged homes sell 86% faster than those that aren’t staged, with nearly half of listing agents reporting that staging increases the selling price. Therefore, staging should not be overlooked.

The goal of home staging is to enable potential buyers to envision themselves living in your space. Achieving this requires an understanding of the preferences and values of local buyers. Consulting with your real estate agent or hiring a professional staging company can transform your property into the ideal home for buyers in your area.

In addition to staging, it is important that your listing show well online. We live in a time where online home searches dominate, which means a listing needs to stand out among the vast array of different platforms such as Zillow and Realtor.com. Begin with professional photography to capture your home’s best features, selecting images that will leave a lasting impression on potential buyers.

Your listing description should be informative yet concise, highlighting your home’s key features in an easy-to-read format, such as bullet points, to engage potential buyers without overwhelming them. Once you have your listing squared away, there are numerous ways to market your home. While your real estate agent will cover the essentials, such as MLS listings, adding a “for sale” sign in your yard and promoting your listing on social media can broaden your reach.

With a listing created and the home marketed, buyers will want to see the home in person. It is critical to be open to frequent showings, as well as organizing open houses. While this can be inconvenient at times and require ongoing tidiness and organization, these efforts are critical for a successful sale.

Receiving Offers and the Negotiation Process

When a prospective buyer is interested in purchasing your property, they will present an offer detailing their proposed price and a deadline for acceptance. At this juncture, you have the option to either agree to their terms or propose a counteroffer. When you opt for a counteroffer it resets the initial deadline.

Negotiations proceed between both parties until a mutual agreement is achieved, culminating in the signing of a purchase agreement. This agreement outlines various conditions, known as contingencies, that need to be fulfilled for the transaction to proceed, including satisfactory property inspections, securing financing, and more. Should any of these contingencies not be met, either you or the buyer have the liberty to terminate the sale agreement.

Appraisal and Inspection Process

A professional appraiser will evaluate your home to establish its market value, a critical component in the buyer’s loan process. The lender uses the appraisal to ensure the property is valuable enough to act as security for the mortgage.

Should the appraisal value be lower than expected, it could pose issues for you as the seller. A lower appraisal may prevent the buyer from obtaining the necessary financing, potentially derailing the sale.

Following the appraisal, the buyer will arrange for a home inspection to uncover any hidden problems that might require fixing. Discovery of issues during the inspection could lead to a new round of negotiations regarding repair responsibilities. Buyers might request a reduction in the sale price or ask that you cover repair costs.

Your willingness to accommodate these requests often depends on the state of the local real estate market. Consult your real estate agent to make informed decisions about any concessions.

Managing Paperwork and Disclosures

If the process unfolds without any hitches, you’ll find yourself ready to finalize the transaction.

On the day of closing, the buyer will conduct one last inspection of your property. After this, you’ll meet at the title company to complete the necessary paperwork and hand over the keys to your home.

Selling a house involves a significant amount of documentation. It’s beneficial to familiarize yourself with the various documents required for closing, but it’s crucial to seek advice from your real estate agent or a legal professional before signing or submitting any paperwork. A qualified expert will guide you through the documentation process, ensuring you have all the necessary paperwork tailored to your specific situation.

Under Michigan law, nearly all sellers are obligated to complete a Seller Disclosure Statement before selling their property. This document requires sellers to disclose any known defects that could influence the buyer’s decision to purchase.

Omitting pertinent information from this disclosure can lead to the termination of the sales agreement, or in cases where the sale has already concluded, it could result in legal repercussions initiated by the buyer.

Closing on Your Home Sale

Closing on the sale of a home involves various expenses, collectively known as “closing costs.” These costs can significantly impact the final financial outcome for sellers. Understanding and preparing for these expenses is crucial to ensure a smooth transaction. The typical closing costs that sellers may encounter include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Transfer Taxes: These are government-imposed taxes on the transfer of property from one owner to another. The rates can vary by locality, and they are often based on the property’s sale price.
  • Title Search Fees: This is the cost associated with verifying the seller has a clear title to the property, free of liens or other encumbrances. A thorough title search protects the buyer from future title disputes.
  • Title Insurance for the Buyer: Although this insurance primarily benefits the buyer by protecting them against undiscovered title issues, it is traditionally paid for by the seller in many transactions.
  • Loan Payoff Costs: If there is an existing mortgage on the property, the seller must pay off the balance. This may include any fees or penalties associated with the mortgage payoff.
  • Mortgage Prepayment Penalties: Some lenders charge a penalty for paying off a mortgage early. Sellers should verify with their lender if such penalties apply.
  • Outstanding Amounts Owed on the Property: This can include any unpaid property taxes, homeowners association (HOA) fees, utility bills, or other outstanding obligations tied to the property.

For those selling a home in Michigan, it’s advisable to allocate approximately 1-3% of the home’s selling price to cover these closing costs. This range is a general guideline, as the exact amount can vary based on the specifics of the sale, the property, and any agreements made during the negotiation process. Being prepared for these costs and budgeting accordingly can help sellers manage their expectations and financial planning as they navigate the closing process.

As a first-time home buyer, John's guidance through this process was excellent. He provided support every step of the process and helped me know what do, when to do it, and, most importantly, why I was doing it. He was very responsive to my calls and/or texts, and helped push the entire process along in a timely manner. I appreciate all of John's help and am excited to be moving into my new home!
John helped me sell my house in Michigan while I was living out of state. Selling a home can be stressful and challenging, especially remotely. After working with another realtor that wasn't able to help us market and sell our home effectively, we were referred to John. John did a great job and I'd highly recommend anyone looking to sell their home with a high touch agent that cares.
It was an absolute pleasure working with Jeremy. He showed a tremendous amount of dedication and focus in looking out for my best interests. He was incredibly knowledgeable about every house we saw – going above and beyond to get me as much information as possible. I appreciated the level of clear communication throughout the entire process, and would recommend him 100 times over for anyone looking for help.
Working with Sara was a pleasure! Despite being in a down market, we not only landed in our dream home, but also sold our previous home without any issues! She was always available for all of our questions, including one-off requests. We felt like we were working with an old friend.
John is a highly qualified and noble person who will take care of you and any of your real estate needs. John went above and beyond in purchasing my first ever home in Livonia, MI. He is extremely attentive, informative, and lets you think for yourself while making such a huge financial decision without being pushy.
John listed our home in Tanglewood. After that, he took complete control of the whole process. We did not have to worry about a thing. He kept us updated whenever anything arose. I would highly recommend John to anyone who needs the services of a realtor.
Jeremy Goodman has gone “over and above the call” to make selling our home as seamless as possible. Not a single question or request went unanswered – even those that didn’t fall within his responsibilities. We cannot say enough about his professionalism, respect, timeliness in answering questions, knowledge of the process, and overall genuine concern for our level of comfort throughout.
Sara was the most amazing person we could have had in our corner in buying a house. We are first time home owners and had never had experience with any of the process. Sara walked us through everything step by step and had no problem dealing with all of our questions. She was patient, kind, courteous, knowledgeable, and made sure we found a home that met all our wishes.