How to Sell Your Home Online in 7 Steps

Digital Home Sales: How to Sell Your Home Online in 7 Steps

Selling your home no longer means you have to put up yard signs, organize open houses, or even hire a listing agent. Instead, you can learn how to sell your home online at a fraction of the cost of a realtor’s commission. Using this strategy doesn’t just save you money; it also meets the needs of today’s homebuyers and makes it more likely your home will be visible precisely where the house shopping process takes place.

The majority of buyers use the internet to look for homes, and 51% of buyers actually found the home they ended up buying online. Compare this to other sources like selling to acquaintances (10%), through yard signs (4%), or via print ads (<1%). Online home-selling platforms and tools include all the resources sellers need to market their homes and complete the entire sales process.

Even though it’s more accessible than ever before, selling a home is still a major undertaking. Homes are often the biggest single asset most people will ever own, so it’s important to avoid making a mistake or selling it for the wrong price. As you’re creating your home-selling strategy, learn how to sell your home online and understand more about the process to make sure everything gets handled properly.

How to Sell Your Home Online: Your Step-by-Step Guide

There’s a lot of work that happens behind the scenes whether you sell your home online or not. The first four steps cover everything that happens before you list your home and start hearing from interested buyers. The last three steps cover the negotiation, offer acceptance, and closing processes.

Step 1: Conduct Pricing Research

Once you’ve decided to put your home on the market, start with some research. How much can you sell your home for? What have other homes like yours sold for recently? There are a couple of approaches you can take, especially if you want to sell your home online without an agent.

The first method is to do your own research—look up market activity in your neighborhood, research pricing trends, and learn about upgrades that can have the biggest effect on your sales price. The second is to use online pricing tools. AI and machine learning tools can do all the research and data analysis for you and offer pricing suggestions. Even better, they can access market research you can’t.

Smart pricing tools can give you recommendations based on different periods of the year, whether you make certain upgrades, and aspects you’d like to get out of the deal, such as a leaseback or a fast closing timeline. The reasons you should start by pricing your home are:

  • You can decide if repairs or improvements make sense for your budget and potential profits.
  • You can create a timeline, as selling in the summer typically yields a higher price.
  • You can more accurately budget for professional photography and marketing.

Step 2: Make Repairs, Improvements, or Updates to Your Home

Based on your pricing research, decide if you should conduct repairs or improvements—making your home move-in ready—or if you want to sell the property as is. Move-in ready homes generally sell for a significantly higher price, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a high ROI for all of your efforts. You can use this remodeling ROI report to determine the viability of common improvements, or you can see which changes might be significant factors in your local market. 

Related: 4 Strategies for Selling Your Home Without a Realtor

Start the repairs that make sense to you. Reach out to multiple contractors to get estimates and, just as importantly, timelines. 

Step 3: Take Professional Photographs of Your Home

Once your improvements are complete, take professional-quality photographs of your home. A large number of exterior and interior shots allow buyers to visualize your home in complete detail, especially if your photographer takes pictures from multiple angles. Beautiful photographs make your home more memorable and enticing, which can lead to a greater number of showings and offers once your home is on the market.

A modern real estate photography service can give you lots of perks, including:

  • Dozens of images
  • Virtual staging options
  • 3D virtual tours of the property
  • Videos for additional engagement

These assets are especially crucial when you’re selling your home online to prospects out of state, as they can’t easily visit your home in person before making an offer.

Step 4: Create and Publish Your MLS Listing

This is the final step before your home is active on the market. If you have a real estate agent, they’ll handle the process of creating an MLS listing for you. This listing holds all the details about your property, such as the price, house description, images, information about the area, and your seller’s disclosure notice. 

The MLS database is where buyers’ agents search for properties that fit their clients’ needs and wishes. The database also pushes out listings to sites like Realtor.com and Zillow for online shoppers to explore.

If you want to sell your home online and don’t have an agent, a flat-fee MLS listing service can take care of this aspect. Because only licensed agents and brokers can directly access and add information to MLS, you’ll need a licensed provider to do the uploading. Through an online platform, it’s easy to provide your home’s information, and the service will set it up. Then buyers and agents can coordinate directly with you based on your listing.

Once your property listing and home are ready, change the status to active. From there, interested parties can review the details, see your home in search results, and decide whether they want to see the home in person or put together an offer.

Step 5: Coordinate Private Showings

When you sell your home online, most of the process will be virtual. The biggest exception is arranging private showings and open houses. Most buyers want to see properties in person before deciding whether to make an offer. If the home is vacant, this becomes very simple. Even if you still live in your home, there are a few tactics you can use to minimize disruptions.

  • Coordinate with buyers’ agents on ShowingTime: This platform allows agents to request showings and gain access to your property. You can block off set hours for showings when you won’t be home, directly approve each showing, and make sure buyers can see your home without interrupting your life.
  • Add a Supra lockbox to your door: Supras are lockboxes that protect your key, allowing only licensed agents to open the front door. You can have a combination or get a Wi-Fi-enabled box. This is a much safer option than leaving a key under the front mat and more convenient than having to open the door every time there’s a showing.

Step 6: Answer Questions and Assess Offers

While your home is active, you’ll receive emails, texts, and phone calls from buyers and their representatives. Give objective, neutral, and short answers to their questions. It’s important to avoid accidentally giving an answer that can be construed as a promise or include information that hurts your negotiations.

Related: 2024 Texas Real Estate Housing Report

You’ll also start to receive offers. You can either review offers until you receive one you like, or you can call for “last and best” by a set deadline. It’s generally best practice to respond to every buyer, regardless of your answer. As you weigh different offers, consider factors like:

  • If the buyer is meeting your listing price
  • If they’re offering conveniences like a leaseback, paying for title fees, or having a very short close timeline
  • If the offer looks risky, such as having a long option period or being right up against their borrowing limit

Once you have an offer you like, you can sign it, and your home goes under contract.

Step 7: Manage the Closing Process

This final step is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. Your buyer likely has an option period of five days or so when they can conduct inspections and back out of the deal without losing their earnest money. They may also request amendments to the contract, either lowering the sales price or requesting repairs to accommodate whatever was found during the inspection (this is common). You can negotiate or decline amendments.

If the home stays under contract, the buyer’s lender will require an appraisal to ensure the home meets their lending standards, and then you’ll finally reach the day of close. Both sides sign the paperwork, and you receive your funds (minus any closing costs). The deal is complete!

Online Home Sales Are Even Easier With Services From a Trusted Provider

It’s a popular strategy to sell your home online, especially for homeowners who want to be involved in the process and manage it without a listing agent. At ListingSpark, we provide services that help Texas homeowners sell their homes. Take advantage of our pricing tools, marketing and showing management resources, flat-fee MLS listing services, and more. Contact us to see how our services fit into your unique home-selling strategy.

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