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Selling Your House in Georgia: Step-by-Step Guide

Hal WierzbickiJune 27, 2024

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Georgia’s real estate market is doing great.  Homes are selling above list price — and with a median home price hitting nearly $400,000, now’s a great time to sell.  But perhaps you’ve never sold a home before… or perhaps, your purchasing process left a lot to be desired.

Selling a home can be daunting and potentially difficult. Fortunately, there are many resources available to make the process easier, including this guide. As they say, the best way to eat an elephant is bite by bite — and the best way to sell a home is to take it step by step.

To help you sell your Georgia home, we interviewed DJ Olojo — a real estate investor and Realtorⓡ, as well as the podcast host of The Foreclosure Fix and Managing Director of ASO Custom Homes, LLC. We’ve combined expert advice with our own resources and knowledge to create an all-in-one, step-by-step guide to selling your Georgia home.

Is it the right time to sell your Georgia home?

The first thing most sellers wonder: Is it the right time to sell your home? With interest rates high, you might be inclined to wait. However, according to Olojo, “Despite the current higher-for-longer interest rate environment, buyers are in the market and making offers. There is a FOMO (fear of missing out) among first-time homebuyers.”

In fact, one trend Olojo is seeing now is receiving multiple offers from eager buyers within the first few days. Interest rates might be high, but there’s always the fear they could soar higher.

Step 1: Decide how you want to sell your home

The first choice you need to make is how you want to go about selling your home.  There are, broadly speaking, four options.

  • Sell to an iBuyer.  iBuyers are instant dealmakers.  They have cash and are ready to buy, so the process is swift, and you’ll be closed before you even really start the process.  The downside is that iBuyers never offer market rates, so you can expect to get around 80% of the fair market value for your home.  If time is of the essence, this can be a good option… but don’t expect to cash out.

  • List with a discount broker.  Discount brokers are real estate agents that do pretty much everything a normal real estate agent will do but for half the usual commission.  The downside is that you pretty much get what you pay for; they aren’t going to go out of their way with the most compelling listings, the most detail-oriented improvements, or the best negotiations. So it’s the same service… but not quite the same quality of service.

  • List with a full-service agent.  The standard go-to, this is more expensive when all is said and done, but it’s more likely to get you a sale at a higher list price and to make the process smoother than the alternatives.  It’s not completely effortless for you, but it’s as close as you can get without sacrificing the sale price.

  • Sell on your own, FSBO.  FSBO is the “DIY” option for home sales.  You have more control and save money on agent commissions, but it takes much longer and is way more work to do on your own.  

Regardless of your choice (except for the immediate iBuyer option), the rest of the process is pretty much identical. It just depends on who is doing the work.

Your first step could be to find an agent at Redy. At Redy, you can create a property profile and real estate agents will compete for your listing. They may even offer a cash reward. Before you decide on whether you want to use an iBuyer, discount broker, agent, or FSBO, why not talk to someone at Redy?

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Step 2: Contact the people you’ll need to know

Whether you’re in rural Georgia or downtown Atlanta, you need the right people to make the right deal when selling your home.  

  • Your agent.  Unless you’re selling FSBO, you’ll want a good real estate agent to represent you.

  • A real estate attorney.  In Georgia, you need an attorney to close on a home sale, so having one on tap when you start the process is very helpful.

  • A home inspector.  A good inspector can prepare a comprehensive report to hand to potential buyers, streamlining the process and minimizing last-minute revoked bids.

  • A general contractor.  Having a contractor on hand for the larger or more major projects can be a boon regarding staging, repairs, and curb appeal.

Other people can be involved in the process, but these are the most important, especially the agent.  Picking a good agent will define your experience selling a home in the Peach State.

The attorney, meanwhile, will be invaluable for the paperwork aspect of selling your home.  They’re required in Georgia to review deeds and closing sales, but you can also work with them to prepare legal disclosures, review offer letters, and more.

Step 3: Prepare your home for sale

Prepping your home to sell means going over it inside and out, fixing all of those little things you let slide while you were the only one bothered by it.  Maybe those chips in the paint, loose tiles, or crooked curtain rods didn’t bother you, but they can very well bother a buyer.

Staging the inside of your home

Olojo says, “Declutter your home and remove as much stuff as possible. Potential homeowners want to envision themselves living in your home, and fewer items make it easier for them to do so.”

Working inside-out, you need to get your home ready for walk-throughs where potential buyers decide on the property.  They’re trying to picture themselves in the space, so make it easier for them.

  • Declutter.  If you can, move most of your personal items out of the home — to storage if necessary.  Buyers often have difficulty seeing past your stuff and picturing their own in place. Make it easier on yourself by not making them try.

  • Deep clean. There are a thousand little details that need to be cleaned, including washing carpet, resurfacing and finishing hardwood floors, filling nail holes, repainting walls, and replacing light bulbs. A professional cleaning service usually won’t break the bank.

  • Stage the home.  Remove signs of personalization and put generic items in their place.  A few basic bathroom goods around  the sinks, generic curtains and bedsheets, and simple art instead of photography on the walls.

  • If you have pets, minimize their presence.  Some people are turned off by evidence of an animal in their space — it’ll introduce all sorts of questions, such as stains and odors.

One great tip is to promote extra bedrooms if you have them.  Even if you’ve used a bedroom as an office or storage room, stage it like a bedroom.  More people are interested in the extra bedroom than in an office, and everyone knows they can convert a bedroom into an office if they want.  

Staging the outside of your home

Everyone always says not to judge a book by its cover, but the outside of a home is another story.  It’s the first impression and a huge indicator of how much effort you’ve put into making the home sale-ready.  

  • Clean the yard.  Depending on the season, that might mean raking leaves, picking up fallen branches, trimming the lawn, or weeding the garden; just make it attractive whatever the season.  Refresh mulch and other ground cover, as well.

  • Wash the outside of the home.  Spraying down siding, pressure washing sidewalks and driveways, cleaning the windows, even cleaning the roof can be a good way to boost curb appeal.  In some cases, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way.

  • Trim trees and hedges.  You don’t want unruly growth hindering the impact of the front of your home or blocking natural light from the windows.  

Pro tip: pay special attention to your front door.  At the very least, they clean it up and shine the hardware.  If necessary, repaint or even consider a whole new door. You might be surprised at the overall impact of a grand entrance way.

Step 4: Price your home competitively

Olojo says this is one of the most important aspects of selling your Georgia home. According to Olojo, “Properties priced below $500,000 tend to sell more quickly than higher-priced homes. When you get over $1,000,000, the days on the market increase. We're also seeing many homes expire on the MLS due to poor pricing and unrealistic expectations from sellers. Pricing a property appropriately from the onset is key to an efficient sales process and extracting the most value from your home.”

The good news is that home prices in Georgia are higher than ever, and the median home price is $366,000 across the state.  As always, certain neighborhoods and areas are potentially much higher than that average.  The question is, how do you know where your home falls?

Your agent, if you’re working with one, will be able to perform a market analysis and determine the most likely sale price for your home.  You can do the same by performing a comparative market analysis or by hiring an appraiser to perform one on your behalf.  These appraisals can cost you as much as $600 for a comprehensive walk-through, but it’s well-spent money.

But the price can be adjusted.  If you set your price too low, buyers will likely bid higher to out-compete one another, and you can foster a bidding war.  If your price is too high, you lose time seeking the perfect buyer.  It’s all about finding the right strategy.

Step 5: List and market your home to potential buyers

If you have an agent, listing your home is easy; they’ll put it up on MLS.  If you’re selling FSBO, you’ll need to pay a listing service to put up the listing yourself.  

Then, marketing begins: Yard signs, local flyers, scheduled open houses, bidder walk-throughs, virtual tours, social media, the list is endless.  Your agent will generally have both a process and a plan, putting their efforts where they will be most effective.  

All of this is necessary to attract the attention of the right buyers and their agents. After all, the Georgia market is hot.

Step 6: Pick an offer and close the deal

If you’ve done everything right, you won’t have to wait long for the offers to come in.  At that point, you only need to review the offers and decide which to pick.  It’s not necessarily as simple as picking the highest number, though.  Consider:

  • Is the buyer making a cash offer, and does that option appeal to you?

  • Does the buyer have a mortgage qualification or approval in hand?

  • Is the buyer offering to waive contingencies like an appraisal or an inspection?

The highest offer isn’t necessarily the best, but then again, maybe it is.  You have to consider the options to see.

Finally, once you’ve picked an offer, it’s time to ring up that attorney and get the deal finished.  Pay closing costs, manage transfer fees, sign the closing documents, and you’re ready to hand over the keys.

Ensuring a smooth process

There are a million little details you need to track when selling a home in Georgia, but you don’t have to do it alone.  At Redy, we’ve developed a competitive process where sellers’ agents bid to be the one to represent you and your home on the market.  From lower commissions to an up-front incentive, it’s a great way to get more out of the sale while also working with an agent to handle the details that can cost you.  Create a free account and get started today!

Hal Wierzbicki is a professional freelance writer with nearly two decades of experience covering diverse topics, including real estate, marketing, health, and travel. His work has appeared on sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and more. When he's not writing, you can often find him hiking local trails and enjoying nature.

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