7 Steps of Selling a House in Missouri

Considering selling your house in Missouri? Read on to discover the essential steps involved to simplify the process and maximize profits.

Selling Your Home
December 24, 2023
7 Steps of Selling a House in Missouri

Knowing what to expect is a tremendous asset when selling your home in any market. However, it’s an absolute must in a market like Missouri's. The state’s population has steadily increased, with remote workers and city-dwellers flocking to St. Louis and Kansas City. The heightened popularity of these two locales has sent property values skyward and created heightened competition –– a challenge for buyers but a real benefit to sellers. If you’re selling a house in Missouri or planning to sell soon, there are some strategic steps you’ll want to follow to get the most out of your property. 

Explore the seven crucial steps of selling a house in Missouri, and discover how a sale-leaseback can make this process a breeze. 

Determining How To Sell

Before selling a house in Missouri, you must make some fundamental decisions. By taking the time to carefully consider your options, your timeline, and your goals at the start of this process, you can ensure the road ahead is what you expect. 

Choosing Your Selling Strategy

There’s more than one way to sell your home in Missouri, and your selling strategy will dramatically affect any subsequent steps in your home-selling journey. Consider these options –– and the advantages, limitations, and specifics of each –– when searching for the perfect strategy.  

  • For Sale By Owner (FSBO): In 2021, only 10% of sellers sold their homes for sale by owner (FSBO), according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.1 But while this approach isn’t the most popular, it offers sellers some significant benefits. Chiefly, selling a home FSBO can save you thousands of dollars in commission that would otherwise be paid to a real estate professional. With that said, that commission covers a bevy of time-consuming tasks that become your responsibility should you opt for this strategy. From marketing to negotiating to showing and navigating the legal aspects, for sale by owner can quickly become a full-time job. 
  • Using a Real Estate Professional: When you work with a Missouri real estate agent, you pay them a percentage of the total sale price. But you get expertise in market trends, strategic pricing, and skillful negotiation in exchange. These professionals handle most aspects of the sale, resulting in a more stress-free –– and generally faster –– transaction. 
  • Sale-Leaseback: Some sellers prefer not to deal with the toils of FSBO or the fees affiliated with realtors. Further, selling a house in Missouri using either of these strategies often means you have to navigate the stresses of selling and the pressures of buying a house in Missouri simultaneously. With a residential sale-leaseback, you can avoid this juggling act. Instead of a traditional sale, you sell your home in exchange for your home equity, then continue to live in the house as a renter while you look for your next property. 

Evaluating Market Conditions

Current market conditions can play a significant role in deciding how to sell. Depending on these conditions, different strategies can begin to make more sense. Before you decide which of the above pathways to pursue, conduct thorough research on home sales in the surrounding area. Details like time spent on the market, percent over (or under) asking price, and broader trends like mortgage interest rates can all impact your journey. Study up on these details before you make your choice.  

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Should You Work with Real Estate Agents?

As mentioned above, you’re not required to work with a real estate agent when selling a house in Missouri. But considering the average FSBO home sale was over $100,000 less than its realtor-assisted analog, according to the same NAR report, working with a professional may be worth exploring. 

Real estate agents can help your home fetch a higher price, but they also deal with the aspects of a sale you might not even consider. Responsibilities like creating compelling online listings and scheduling showings fall under their purview, saving you time and energy compared to selling your home unassisted. When you decide to work with a real estate agent –– especially a local agent –– you're also tapping into their expertise and network. The right real estate professional will know the local market well and will take the time to get familiar with the specifics of your property. They may even know a prospective buyer or two before your online listing goes live. 

Ultimately, deciding if working with a real estate agent is the right approach is up to you. But given the swath of benefits outlined above, you might find that the help of an expert is well worth the fee. 

Deciding When to Sell

Figuring out how to sell a house in Missouri is vital, but determining when can be equally important. Consider these timing-related factors when deciding when to put your property on the market. 

Seasonal Trends

Even in hot markets like St. Louis and Kansas City, there are good times to sell a home and not-so-good times. Generally, spring and summer tend to be the best times of year to sell a home, with winter’s chill out of the picture and school out of session. So, if you're looking to maximize your pool of potential buyers, spring or early summer may be best. 

Region-Specific Nuances

National trends impact local trends, but Missouri’s unique character means the state carries its own set of nuances. Research the local housing market for trends pertaining to buyer demand, inventory levels, and pricing changes –– or enlist the help of a skilled agent to help you do so. In Missouri, the different cities and regions can have vastly different real estate markets, so it's crucial to get a clear picture of your area to determine if now is the right time to sell.

Your Timeline

Lastly, your circumstances and goals will determine when you sell. Closely examine your financial objectives, motivations for selling, and work or school schedules before shaping your timeline. Whether you need to sell quickly or can hold off for the right offer and the perfect time, your unique situation will help determine your ideal selling window.

Preparing, Marketing, and Staging Your Home

After determining when to sell your home, you can prepare it for its close-up. This proven five-step process can help you show your property in its best light and appeal to more buyers. 

  1. Schedule a Home Inspection: While a pre-listing inspection is not mandatory when selling a house in Missouri, it can be a great way to identify and address any necessary repairs limiting your home’s value. The findings may be largely inconsequential, but should they reveal deeper issues, you can adjust your timeline to tackle them before listing. If your report does come up clean, including this inspection report with your listing can demonstrate to the prospective buyer that your home is well-maintained and free of significant defects. 
  1. Work on Curb Appeal: It’s essential to make a strong first impression with buyers, and one of the best ways to do this is to improve your home’s curb appeal. A well-kept exterior attracts buyers and can increase your home’s value by as much as 7 percent, meaning something as simple as landscaping or a fresh coat of paint can give your home a significant boost.2 
  1. Stage Your Home: While some choose to let their home be a blank canvas for buyers, staged homes captivate buyers, allowing them to envision living in your Missouri house. A professional home stager can help you elevate the ambiance of your home, but you can take on this task yourself with the following tips:
  • Depersonalize: Remove personal photos and affectations (trophies, holiday cards, etc.) to help buyers see themselves in the home.
  • Declutter: Excess furniture and belongings can make rooms feel cramped. 
  • Keep it Neutral: Neutral paint colors and decor appeal to a broader range of buyers.
  • Highlight Amenities: Staging should cast your home in its best light. Showcase the most appealing features, like a cozy fireplace or a spacious kitchen.
  1. Invest in Professional Photography: High-quality photos entice potential buyers to schedule viewings by capturing the true essence of your home. Missouri offers diversity in landscape and scenery, so make sure your listing photos highlight the best features of your property –– inside and out –– including local hotspots. 
  1. Market Your Home Effectively: In Missouri's competitive real estate market, you'll want to utilize various marketing channels to maximize exposure. Leverage a combination of online listings (on Zillow, Realtor.com, and others), social media, local advertising, and open houses. You can also appeal to the many out-of-town buyers by offering virtual tours. 

Set a Listing Price

Determining the right listing price for your Missouri home is often easier said than done. Price it too high, and your home might sit on the market longer (or not sell at all.) Too low, and your sale might be speedy –– but it could cost you thousands. Leverage these strategies to make sure the price is right. 

Conduct a Market Analysis

One of the best ways to figure out what your Missouri home is worth is by conducting a comparative market analysis (CMA). In this process, you’ll research recent sales of similar properties in your neighborhood or surrounding area –– comparing your home's features, size, and condition to those of recently sold homes. This will give you a better understanding of your home’s market value, allowing you to set a price that’s right on the money. 

There are online tools out there to help with CMAs, but a local real estate agent can provide you with deeper insight into the Missouri market and where your property fits in.  

Consider a Professional Appraisal

When pricing your home, you could conduct hours upon hours of research or hire a real estate agent to do the same. Or, you could schedule an expert home appraisal. This process sees a home appraiser objectively examine every contributing factor of your home’s value –– location, age, size, bedrooms/bathrooms, amenities, condition, and comparable sales –– to assign it a fair market price. On average, home appraisals cost around $450, but depending on the size of your property, this can top out at $2,000. Either way, this may be a worthwhile investment.  

Adjust Your Price as Needed

Home pricing is fluid, and while home appraisers, real estate agents, and comparable sales might say your home is worth a certain price, market adjustments and buyer psychology may disagree. If you find that your home isn’t getting much attention, consider a slight price reduction. A would-be buyer (or their agent) may be waiting for even the smallest price discount to bite. Lowering your asking price, even by $500, could put you in a whole new pool of Missouri buyers.  

Negotiate Offers and Schedule an Inspection

When dialed-in marketing strategies and the right price combine, you can expect offers from buyers to start rolling in. Knowing how to negotiate with these buyers is instrumental in getting the best price.

Evaluate Offers

Carefully review each offer you receive and consider whether it aligns with your goals. While the offer price is a significant factor, other terms and conditions can influence your decision. Evaluate the following aspects of each offer:

  • Financing: Assess the buyer's financing terms (specifically the type of loan and down payment.)
  • Contingencies: Buyers may include contingencies necessary for an offer to become binding. Examine any contingencies in the offer –– pertaining to home inspections, appraisal, or financing.
  • Closing Timeline: Evaluate the proposed closing date and decide whether it aligns with your established timeline.
  • Earnest Money: Consider the amount of earnest money the buyer will put down to show their commitment. If you have multiple offers, this can help you decide between them. 

Navigating these finer details can be challenging, but if you’re working with a real estate agent, they can help you understand and properly weigh these factors. 

Make Counteroffers

Reviewing your offers is just the warm-up –– the real negotiating starts here. By making counteroffers with potential buyers, you can work toward a mutually beneficial purchase agreement. In some cases, this back-and-forth can go on for several rounds, but it's essential to communicate clearly with the buyer's agent while maintaining a collaborative and respectful attitude throughout. Your Missouri real estate professional should be a skilled negotiator, helping to smooth this process for everyone involved. 

Schedule Your Home Inspection

Once you accept an offer that feels equitable and aligns with your goals, you can schedule your home inspection –– if you haven’t already. Lenders often require this step to ensure a home buyer makes a sound investment in your property. An appraisal may also be needed, ensuring that the home’s sale price and actual value align. Should issues arise during the inspection, communicate with your home buyer to continue negotiations or chart an alternate path forward. 

The Closing Process

After all your hard work, you arrive at the final step in selling a house in Missouri: the closing process. But while it took a great deal of effort to get here, there’s still much to do before you can hand over the keys and receive the proceeds from the sale. 

For starters, you and your buyer will want to select a reputable title company to handle the closing process to make sure your property’s title is clear. Note, however, that in some cases, your buyer will select the title company independently. In this event, maintain clear communication to stay in the loop. 

From here, your local realtor and attorney will help you navigate the real estate transaction smoothly. If you’re on your own, take note of Missouri’s disclosure requirements to ensure the sale complies with local law. Among others, these requirements dictate you report if lead-based paint was used or if your home was the site of specific drug activity.3 Given the complexity of these disclosures and the paperwork involved, it’s wise to consult a qualified real estate attorney during this process. They will be able to walk you through any documentation needed to close. 

Assuming your title is clear and all paperwork is in order, you and your buyer can begin finalizing the sale –– reviewing final documents, exchanging funds, handing over the keys, and officially transferring ownership. Selling a house in Missouri may have taken months or even a year, but you’ve finally done it. Now, it’s on to your next adventure.  

Truehold: An Easier Way to Sell a House in Missouri

If the seven steps outlined above are any indication, selling a house in Missouri can be a lot of work. And if the time, energy, and effort that goes into selling a home weren’t enough, there are countless legal complexities you have to navigate to ensure the sale is above board. A skilled real estate professional or attorney can help you get through this process unscathed, but you may still be looking for a simpler way to sell your Missouri home. 

Enter Truehold’s sale-leaseback. Instead of selling your home through a traditional channel –– dealing with finding a realtor, setting the right price, marketing your home, and seemingly endless negotiations –– you sell your home directly to us in exchange for your home equity. Then, you can move on to your next property or live in the home as a renter for as long as you need (provided you adhere to your rental agreement.) This allows you to sell your home and shop for a new one on your own schedule, ensuring moving revolves around your life, not the other way around. Explore a St. Louis sale-leaseback or Kansas City sale-leaseback to take advantage of this opportunity. 

Connect with one of our Truehold advisors today to learn more.  

Sources:

1. National Association of Realtors. Quick Real Estate Statistics. https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/quick-real-estate-statistics 

2. RE/MAX. How Important Is Curb Appeal When Selling a Home? https://news.remax.com/how-important-is-curb-appeal-when-selling-a-home 

3. Houzzeo. Seller Disclosure Requirements in Missouri. https://www.houzeo.com/blog/seller-disclosure-in-missouri/ 

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