Selling a house in Arkansas doesn’t need to be complicated. If you need help understanding the process, we’ve got you covered.
Our step-by-step guide breaks it down from start to finish. We discuss how to find and choose the best Arkansas real estate agents, list your home for sale, negotiate with buyers, sign paperwork, and close.
It’s a good time to sell a house in Arkansas! Median home prices rose by more than 16% over the past year to $257,300, and prices are expected to rise further in 2023, according to Redfin.
If you want to save money on your home sale, check out Clever Real Estate. Clever pre-negotiates lower listing commission rates for you. Arkansas sellers who use Clever pay a 1% listing agent commission rate, or $3,000, compared to the statewide average rate of 2.72%.
9 Steps to selling a house in Arkansas
Here’s our 9-step guide to navigating the Arkansas home sale process.
- Find and choose a realtor
- Sign a listing agreement
- Set a list price
- List your house
- Market and show your house
- Negotiate with buyers
- Review paperwork and disclosures
- Conduct inspections
- Close on your sale
1. Find and choose an Arkansas real estate agent
We recommend finding at least 2-3 local realtors to compare and choose from before signing a listing agreement, which locks you into a contract.
Comparing multiple options helps you find the best fit for your situation and could save you thousands on realtor commissions.
There are many ways to find a realtor in Arkansas, from online sources like Zillow and Realtor.com to personal referrals (friends, family, neighbors, etc). But to save the most time and money, we recommend sticking to sources that make it easy to find quality options.
Agent matching services
These companies match you up to local agents (for free). You simply provide some details about your home and what you’re looking for in an agent and get matched up quickly to top realtors from name-brand brokerages.
It’s the best way to connect to multiple experienced, local realtors in Arkansas, while also potentially saving you thousands on your home sale.
For example, Clever Real Estate has pre-negotiated a flat $3,000 or 1% listing fee with its network of top agents — much lower than the average Arkansas listing agent commission of 2.72%.
How to vet and compare agents
It’s a smart idea to interview agents to see if they’re the best fit for you, even after getting matched through a service like Clever.
Realtor criteria to consider includes:
- Experience: It’s best to work with an agent with at least 2-3 years of full-time experience, and one that’s focused on your area, price point, and property type.
- Customer reviews: Positive customer reviews from past clients is a good sign. One or two bad reviews aren’t a big deal, but agents with multiple bad reviews in a short timeframe (3-6 months) could be a red flag. You can vet each agent’s reviews using Zillow’s agent finder tool.
- Marketing skills: Check each agent’s active and closed listings on Zillow, or ask them for listing photo examples. Look for clear, polished photos with good lighting. and compelling listing descriptions that highlight each home’s key features.
- Commission rate: Arkansas listing agents earn an average commission rate of per sale (not including the buyer’s agent commission), but this figure isn’t set in stone and can be negotiated.
- Ask what the agent charges (and what is included in their services), and consider using an agent matching service like Clever, which has pre-negotiated a flat 1% (or $3,000) listing commission rate with agents in its network.
- You can also check to see if each agent’s real estate license is active and in good standing – or if it’s suspended or inactive. View licenses at the Arkansas Real Estate Commission website.
2. Sign an Arkansas listing agreement and seller disclosures
After meeting with agents and deciding on your top pick, it’s time to read and sign an Arkansas listing agreement to move forward with your listing.
A listing agreement provides important details of your home sale, including your anticipated listing date, initial list or asking price, what items are included (or not included) in your home sale, where the listing will be marketed, and the length of your agreement.
Key things to pay attention to include:
- Type of listing agreement: Most Arkansas realtors work under an exclusive right to sell listing agreement or single agency. It simply means your realtor works solely for you and gets paid regardless of whether they bring forward a buyer or not.
- Commission rate: Make sure the rate you discussed with your agent matches up to what’s on the listing agreement. You’ll also need to decide on what to pay out to the agent that brings you a buyer (2% to 3% is a common fee to pay in Arkansas).
- Items that convey with the property: Items and belongings in your home that you plan to keep – like appliances or storage sheds – will need to be written down in the contract.
Contact a local real estate attorney for more advice on Arkansas listing agreements and required disclosures.
What do Arkansas homeowners need to disclose?
Arkansas sellers aren’t required to provide buyers with a formal property disclosure form, according to the Arkansas Real Estate Commission.
The Arkansas Real Estate Commission regulation states that agents “shall exert reasonable efforts to ascertain those facts which are material to the value or desirability of every property for which the licensee accepts the agency, so that in offering the property the licensee will be informed about its condition and thus able to avoid intentional or negligent misrepresentation to the public concerning such property.”
In other words, sellers still need to inform buyers about any known material defects or issues impacting the condition of their home and answer any of the buyer’s questions.
Material defects may include items like a cracked foundation, active termites, flooding problems, or major weather-related damage to the property.
We highly recommend consulting with your realtor or attorney on your property disclosure requirements.
3. Set a fair listing price
Your next step is to determine a competitive listing price for your home.
Your realtor should have provided you with a free comparative market analysis (CMA) report: an estimate of your home’s fair value, based on its condition, upgrades, and what similar homes have recently sold for in your area.
A CMA report usually includes:
- Recent sale prices of similar homes in your neighborhood.
- How long it took those homes to sell after going on the market.
- What homes are selling for in your area compared to their initial listing price.
- How much your home’s upgrades or repairs add to its value.
- Key information about your home and its comparables, including square footage, bedrooms and bathrooms, and the age of each home.
- The agent’s recommended list price.
Should I just get an appraisal instead?
Appraisals are usually conducted by the buyer during the home sale process. But you can technically get an appraisal before listing your home for sale to guide your pricing.
Appraisers often have more knowledge and experience valuing homes compared to agents and may provide you with a more accurate valuation.
However, appraisals aren’t cheap, costing around $350 to $445 in Arkansas, according to HomeAdvisor. They can also be time-consuming (1-2 weeks to complete), so it needs to fit within your budget and timeframe.
There’s also no guarantee your home value will come in higher with an appraisal compared to your agent’s CMA, so consider this risk before proceeding.
4. Prepare your home for sale
Now you’re almost ready to start hosting potential buyers!
Gather important documents
Most Arkansas home sales require a variety of documents and records for closing, including a mortgage statement, homeowners and flood insurance records, homeowners association (HOA) documents, and property taxes.
It’s also a good idea to gather utility bills, plus any home warranties or appliance manuals you might have, in case the buyer requests them.
Get a pre-listing inspection
You can get a home inspection before putting your house on the market if you suspect it has an issue that could potentially delay or derail your sale.
A pre-listing inspection may help you spot and fix issues with your home before those issues surface on a buyer’s home inspection.
However, a pre-listing inspection may not be necessary, especially for homes in decent shape. An experienced Arkansas realtor should advise you on whether or not it’s worth your time and money.
Make home repairs and improvements
Based on your home’s condition and other factors, it could be worth making certain repairs or improvements before listing.
Common home inspection issues in Arkansas are related to:
- Water damage from storms, plumbing leaks, or leaky roofs.
- Crawl spaces with high moisture levels.
- Deferred maintenance on HVAC units.
Again, your realtor is in the best position to advise you on which repairs or improvements to make before listing. It might just be worth selling your home in as-is condition.
Declutter, depersonalize, and clean
Many home sellers find it beneficial to host a garage sale or donate personal belongings before listing their home.
Before hosting buyers, it could be a smart idea to either clean your home or hire professional cleaners. Pay careful attention to areas with the most foot traffic, such as kitchens, living rooms, and bathrooms.
We also recommend depersonalizing every room. Remove family photos, artwork, and posters — it’s best to keep the buyer’s attention on your home.
Consider home staging
Staging can increase your home’s appeal and lead to a higher sale price, but it doesn’t make sense for every seller.
Home staging is expensive, costing between $1,000 to $3,000 on average, according to Fixr. But pricing depends on the size of your home, the number of rooms staged, and your local market.
Consult with your realtor for advice on whether or not home staging is right for you.
Arkansas home sale calculator: Estimate your net proceeds
Here’s a calculator to show you what you might earn in your home sale after deducting typical home sale costs, including realtor commission and closing costs.
Realtor commission. Arkansas sellers pay an average realtor commission rate of 5.44%, according to our data. That fee covers both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent, which is seller is responsible for paying in Arkansas.
Closing costs: Arkansas sellers pay an average of $2,118 of the home sale in closing costs, which includes common costs in Arkansas, like title insurance and documentary stamp tax.
It does not include other potential costs, such as home staging, relocation expenses, if you agree to pay a buyer’s closing costs or capital gains tax.
Mortgage/liens: An example of what a seller might owe on outstanding mortgage or liens, which is paid in full at closing by your attorney or title company.
Net proceeds: The amount of money you’d walk away with from your home sale at various price points after deducting commission, closing costs, and mortgages.
5. Market and show your home to buyers
Now it’s time to actually list your home and host potential buyers!
Your listing agent will put a “for sale” sign on your front lawn and post your home for sale on the multiple listing service (MLS): a database most real estate agents use to market and sell properties.
Your agent should also list your home on all popular real estate sites (like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor), and they might also host an open house to bring in more potential buyers.
Are you selling for sale by owner? Consider listing your home on the MLS via a flat-fee MLS service, so it reaches buyers’ agents and their clients.
My listing is live: What happens next?
Listing your home for sale can be both exciting and nerve-racking! Here’s what to do next:
- Have a plan in place for your pets: If you plan to keep pets in your home for showings, you’ll probably need to notify buyers (ask your agent for advice on how to do this).
- Check out your listing on Zillow and other popular sites: Make sure you like all of the photos used by your agent (contact them if you don’t and request new ones!).
- Double-check the agent’s listing description: It should describe all of your home’s main features and selling points, and have good grammar and punctuation.
- Consider posting your listing on social media: Get the word out to family and friends, and consider sharing the listing on local Facebook groups.
- Keep an eye on your listing activity: You can check how many people have viewed and saved your listing on Zillow and compare that to other local listings to see how it is performing. This information can be found under “overview” on your listing’s Zillow page.
How are showings booked?
Most agents use a mobile app called ShowingTime to help manage showing appointments.
The app allows buyers to request showings digitally, while sellers can view and approve (or deny) any showing requests (and agents are notified of all activity).
You may start to get showing requests within just a day or two of going live, although it could take longer depending on your home’s price, condition, and local market.
What happens during showings?
You’ll leave your home so the home buyer and their agent can tour it.
Your house key might be left in a lockbox where the buyer’s agent can access it, while agents gain entry by using a one-time code.
Showings typically last a half hour or so, depending mainly on the size of your house and how fast the buyer can walk through it.
Let your agent know if you have any special showing requirements, like if you want buyers to take off their shoes before entering, if the lights should be left on (or turned off) after showings, or if any part of the house should be closed off.
What happens after showings?
The ShowingTime app or your agent notifies you when the showing is complete and you can return home.
You may get showing feedback from buyers through the ShowingTime app, via email, or from your agent. Feedback can provide valuable insights into your home’s price and condition from the buyer’s perspective.
Hopefully, you’ll also receive a call from your agent saying that the buyer loves your home and is interested in purchasing it.
6. Negotiate with buyers
With a good realtor and the right pricing strategy, you might receive multiple offers within just a few days or weeks of going live!
The offer should contain the buyer’s offer price, if they’re asking you to pay for any of their closing costs, the type of financing used, an estimated closing date, and an offer expiry date (typically 24-48 hours after submission).
There are three ways sellers and their listing agent can respond to a buyer’s offer:
- Accept the offer. If the offer has everything you’re looking for – price, terms, and timing all look great – then you might just want to accept it without countering, especially if no other offers are on the table.
- Counter the offer. Most of the details of an offer to purchase your home are negotiable, including the home’s sale price and closing date. It could make sense to counter an offer if you’re confident you’d receive another good one if the buyer declines it.
- Ignore the offer. There’s no need to respond to a lowball offer or one that doesn’t meet any of your criteria – especially if you have stronger offers on the table (or you’re confident others will come in.
How long might it take me to get an acceptable offer?
Timing depends mainly on your home’s desirability, and how well you’ve priced your home.
Arkansas listings are on the market for a median of 25 days as of August 2022, according to Redfin. However, this varies widely by city, as homes only took nine days to sell in Springdale, but took close to two months in Pine Bluff, according to data.
Talk with your agent to discuss expectations on when you might receive an acceptable offer after going live.
Price is important, but it’s not everything!
As an agent, I always advise my clients that the highest price offer is not always the best offer.
Besides price, other factors to consider include:
- Buyer closing costs. Is the buyer asking you to cover part or all of their closing costs? This impacts your total net proceeds at closing, so run the numbers carefully with your realtor.
- Financing type. Is the buyer paying all cash or financing the purchase? (Cash deals usually close faster and with fewer hiccups compared to financed deals).
- Earnest money. How much risk is the buyer taking on? Earnest money is usually between 1% to 3% of the home’s purchase price. A larger earnest money deposit gives the buyer more “skin in the game,” meaning they have more to potentially lose by backing out of the deal.
- Timing of sale. Is the buyer willing and able to close on the sale within your desired timeframe?
- Home sale contingency. Does the buyer need to sell a house in order to buy yours? It might not be worth the risk of the buyer’s other sale not closing — especially if you have stronger offers on the table.
Your realtor is in the best position to advise you on how to compare offers and negotiate with buyers.
7. Review paperwork and sign an offer
Once you’ve decided to accept an offer and you’ve talked it through with your agent, it’s time to review the contract and sign!
After all parties have signed, your home is under contract and you’re just a few months away from closing.
In Arkansas, it usually takes about 84 days to close on a home sale from start to finish, according to Clever Real Estate.
What’s in an Arkansas purchase and sale agreement?
Here are some key items the buyer’s offer to purchase form should contain:
- Basic details: The buyer and seller’s full legal names, and your home’s address.
- Purchase price: How much the buyer is offering to purchase your home.
- Possession date: The estimated date of closing, when ownership transfers to the buyer.
- Earnest money or binder deposit: A sum of money submitted by the buyer which is held in a trust or escrow account until closing, at which point it is applied to the home’s purchase price and/or closing costs.
- Personal property: If the buyer is asking for any of your personal property to transfer in the sale, such as appliances or storage sheds.
- Financing information: What loan type the buyer is using to finance the purchase (conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, cash, or seller financing).
- Closing costs: A list of closing costs the buyer and seller agree to pay.
8. Conduct inspections, appraisal, and closing walk-through
Arkansas contracts typically provide buyers with a 10-day inspection period (or “due diligence” period), during which time they can conduct a home inspection.
Don’t worry: this step is a totally normal part of the home sale process. In fact, the vast majority of home buyers (87%) have a home inspection contingency nationwide, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The home inspection usually takes 1-2 hours to inspect and report on the overall condition of the home, pointing out potential issues.
Sellers usually don’t attend the inspection or even get to see the buyer’s home inspection report. But the buyer might ask you to fix any defects or serious issues discovered in the inspection (or negotiate a lower price or closing credit).
Check with your agent to learn what you’re obligated to fix and the best way to move forward following the home inspection.
Termites are common in Arkansas, and a Termite and Other Wood Destroying Organism Report (WDO) may be required when buying a home.
You may or may not be on the hook for the cost of a termite inspection (about $100), so check with your agent for more information.
Lenders often require buyers to get an appraisal to be certain that the home is worth its purchase price. It’s typically paid for by the buyer in Arkansas.
The appraiser visits your home to take interior and exterior photos, noting any features or upgrades that add value to the home. They compare your home to recent sales in your area and generate a report that provides an opinion of value.
The buyer may do a walk-through of the home a day or two before closing, to make sure the home is in the same condition since their last viewing.
Here’s what you need to do before their walk-through:
- Clear out your house if you haven’t yet, removing all personal belongings.
- Repair or patch damaged drywall, paint, or nail holes that might have occurred when you moved out of the home.
- Make sure items included in the sale contract are still there (appliances, light fixtures, etc).
- Do some light cleaning if the home is dirty.
9. Close on your home sale
You’re almost at the finish line! Here’s what to do in the days leading up to your scheduled closing.
Look out for a closing disclosure (CD)
You’ll likely need to sign the CD two to three days before closing. It contains every cost to be paid by the buyer and seller, and your estimated net proceeds.
Double-check all the numbers with your agent, and speak up if the numbers don’t look right.
Clear out your house entirely
Your home should be completely empty before the buyer’s scheduled closing walk-through. It’s a good idea to do another walk-through yourself before then just in case you missed something.
Hand the keys to your agent
Your realtor will likely need your house keys and garage door openers to hand over to the buyer’s agent.
Find out when closing is scheduled
Most of the paperwork has already been completed on your end. Ask your agent if you need to attend your closing, or if you can sign any remaining paperwork digitally.
Keep in touch!
Buyer closings get delayed quite frequently (there are a lot of moving parts in a real estate transaction). Don’t be surprised if the closing doesn’t happen exactly at its scheduled time! Your agent should keep you updated on closing status 24/7.
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Clever Real Estate – Must-See Reviews. The Real Estate Witch team reviews the agent-matching service Clever Real Estate. Does its service actually save sellers $9,600 in commission fees, on average, as it claims?