iStock-1489531658 (1).jpg

7 Steps to Selling a House in Florida

Lara ManettaMay 30, 2024

Recent Posts

At Redy we care about quality and integrity. Read about Our Approach to Editorial Integrity.

One of your neighbors put their house for sale and it sold within days. But another of your neighbors has had their house on the market for over a year. What’s going on with the Florida real estate market? How can you make sure that your home sale is successful?

Florida isn’t just a popular vacation spot: It’s a popular place to move. In 2023 alone, housing sales accounted for nearly a quarter of the state's GDP. But, even in the best circumstances, missteps can cause a house to languish on the market or to fail to attract the best offers. Sometimes, it’s an easy fix… sometimes it’s a little more complicated. 

With the help of seasoned Realtor® Tricia Stoddard of Clearwater, Florida, we've broken the home-selling process into seven simple, discrete steps. Stoddard has been serving clients in the Tampa Bay area for over ten years, with a wide breadth of knowledge regarding what to do — and what to avoid. 

1. Examine your reasons, timeline, and what you hope to get from the sale.

Before you take your first public step, take some time to examine your own attitude toward the sale. Why are you selling? How much do you hope to make from the sale? How long can you wait for your house to sell at the price you want?

Your reasons for selling set the stage for everything that happens after. Someone who is moving out of state for a new job and already has a new house there will have different needs than someone seeking a short sale to avoid foreclosure. 

If you co-own the house with someone else, talk together about how quickly you need to sell, what improvements you are comfortable making, and how much you feel the house is worth. Be prepared to adjust your expectations after consulting professionals like your real estate agent. 

2. Hire a real estate agent.

Around 89% of sellers partner with a real estate agent instead of attempting to sell on their own. Your real estate agent is your partner throughout the selling process. Compare several agents and see which agents' experience and expertise align with your needs. 

Blog Display Banner

Redy allows you to compare multiple agents side by side. You can see each agent's specialties, their history, and also how much they are willing to offer up-front to win your business. 

Be honest with yourself and your real estate agent about the circumstances leading you to sell. For instance, if your home is in preforeclosure, your Realtor® can help you work through that process through a short sale or another option. "There is nothing wrong with disclosing all the facts," says Stoddard. 

Being open to your real estate agent's input regarding pricing and other aspects of listing your home is vital. In hot markets like Florida, people can wind up thinking their home will fetch a higher price than is realistic. Your real estate agent can show you comparisons to other homes in your market to show you how much houses like yours have sold for in recent months. 

3. Get your home ready to sell.

Next comes all the prep before selling. Take this opportunity to sort through possessions and sell, donate, or trash those you don't see yourself taking with you to your new place. 

After that, start taking a critical look at what remains. See what items can be boxed up and stored while you are in the process of selling. That blender that only gets pulled out at parties can come off the counter and go into storage. Slim down the displayed portions of your favorite collections so you have one or two decorative items out instead of a cluttered shelf.

Clearing out items makes your rooms look bigger and more inviting. Buyers will be able to visualize their own possessions there and begin to see themselves in the home.

About half of all sellers opt to upgrade appliances before they sell. While you may not make back the full cost of your upgrades, they can improve the look of your home. 

Take care of any minor maintenance and repairs. A coat of paint, a pressure-washed driveway, and freshly trimmed hedges can make a huge difference in the curb appeal of your home. 

"Focus on anything that could pop up on a home inspection," Tricia says. "Missing outlet covers, little things like that. Then, focus on small changes to make the place more appealing."

Considering updating your home's look before you list? Be careful what you choose. According to a recent NAR survey, trendy looks, like Barbie pink and other pastels, are among homebuyers' least favorite interior design choices. 

That doesn't mean you must settle for bland monochromatic interiors or modern farmhouse gray. In the same survey, buyers preferred artistic touches like a single accent wall painted with a vivid color. 

4. Stage and market your home.

When selling a home, you want to give every buyer a great first impression. HGTV notes that staging before showings can make a huge difference in the look and feel of your place. 

Of course, the process can be more complicated if you are still living in the home. After all, you still need to go on with your day-to-day life while other people come and go. On showing days, give your home a once over and get it back in beautifully staged shape. Toys strewn across the floor or mail on the counter can detract from the appearance of your home. 

Your real estate agent can assist you in scheduling showings so they’re as non-disruptive as possible, but there’s always going to be a little disruption. Have a few bins handy so you can sweep clutter into them and tuck it all away in a closet. Once you work out a system, it will only take a few minutes to get everything in order when your agent books a showing.

Your agent will handle most marketing tasks that involve photographing, listing, and showing your home. Buyers nearly universally use the internet as part of their home search, so your agent's strategy should involve online listings and social media.

You can also get more visibility by sharing your listing on social media and asking friends if they know anyone looking for a property like yours. 

5. Review offers and negotiate with buyers.

Many lucky sellers in Florida get offers equal to the asking price, or higher when they list their homes. According to WKMG/ClickOrlando.com, 13% of homes in Tampa sold for more than the asking price in 2023. 

In some circumstances, a potential buyer will make a lower offer. Balance the amount against how long you can afford to wait for a sale. Sometimes, you can save money by taking a lower offer sooner.

Buyers may also have conditions they want met before they agree to purchase your home. For instance, if you are selling a home with an older HVAC system, a buyer may want you to either cover the cost of a new one or split the cost with them. Crunch some numbers to see what works best for you.

The buyer may also have contingencies that need to be met before they can buy, such as selling their own home before buying yours. In a case like this, you must consider whether waiting for this buyer balances out against the risk of losing out on others while you wait.

6. Accept the offer.

If you and the buyer are simpatico, the next step is to accept their offer formally. Chances are, they will want a home inspector to go over the property before they buy. This is a visual inspection to detect potential issues that could impact the value of the home. It usually costs between $300 and $500.

The buyer's mortgage company will also have an appraisal done. This is to ensure that the value of the home lines up with what the buyers are borrowing to cover the purchase.

There may be other issues to negotiate during this stage. Your real estate agent will represent you and your interests during this phase. Once you and the buyers are happy with the terms, it's time to close. 

7. Close.

After negotiations, it's time to gather and sign all the paperwork and close. There's a lot to go over at this part of the process. Your agent will let you know what you need to bring. Common documents include the deed, any papers related to your homeowners association, and your ID. You may not need to attend the closing in person at all; in some cases, you can sign the deed in advance and give your attorney (if you're using one) power of attorney to close the sale on your behalf. 

Once everything's signed and ship shape, all that's left is to hand over the keys and celebrate. 

Congratulations on selling your home!

Redy makes it easier

Selling a home can be a whirlwind of stressful activity. Redy allows you to find the right listing agent from the comfort of your own home. When you sign up, you get a curated list of agents on your phone or laptop so you can review their proposals in one convenient location, including their upfront cash reward. Redy is the only platform where real estate agents pay you for the privilege of selling your home.

Get started today by creating a property profile on Redy — and let qualified, motivated agents come to you.

Lara Manetta is a freelance writer based in Florida. She's written extensively about local and national real estate trends, including a book for doctors interested in real estate investing. When she's not writing, you can find her kayaking, reading, or sailing. 

Redy to Get Started?

Answer a few quick questions to see what agents will offer you.

100% free, no obligations.

Join 5,000+ home sellers in our community.