Selling your home is a lot of work and to get the most out of it you really need to sit down and get yourself properly organized and ready to go. Every seller has a goal they’d like to achieve with the sale of their home. Perhaps you’d like to get the very best price, or selling your home as quickly as possible is what you’re working for. To ensure you reach your goal consider these important actions and milestones and before you know it you’ll be well on your way to realizing your goal and packing up the moving truck!
Put on Your Buyer’s Goggles
There’s lots of things about your house that aren’t perfect and the odds are you don’t even really notice them anymore but a buyer will. It’s time to walk thru each room and evaluate the exterior of your home and figure out what needs fixing, refreshing, and/or replacing. Look at light switches and the paint all around them. Are they a mess of dirty fingerprints? It might be that simply washing walls and utility plates will suffice but maybe you need to do some painting. On that note, do you have a room painted a non-traditional color? It might be something you love but it will most likely not be a sentiment shared by potential buyers. Even if you do not have the time or money to repaint you whole house you should at least repaint rooms with quirky or potentially offensive colors. Choose something neutral that makes the room look fresh and light.
This is the time to steam clean the carpet and make it look as presentable as possible. If you have badly stained or smelly carpet you need to bite the bullet and replace it. If the carpet repulses people they’re likely to walk away and if you do get an offer they’re bound to come in lower, sometimes significantly, than you may anticipate. You might want to consider small upgrades that can significantly improve the look of a room without adding a ton of cost. For example, do you have ugly bathroom faucets? You can head over to the local home improvement store and pick up a new one that looks dramatically better and can completely overhaul the look of the bathroom. Same goes with drawer and cabinet pulls and hardware. Look for ways that you can affordably breathe new life into your home.
A pre-inspection isn’t a requirement but it sure can make a difference in how much and how quickly your home will sell. Any offer that comes in will most likely include a clause that stipulates that it’s contingent upon a home inspection. Going through a pre-inspection can signal to potential buyers that you are a conscientious home seller. It’s also going to reveal any big problems that could derail a potential sale. You might find out that your hot water heater is on it’s last leg or your roof needs repair. If you do a pre-inspection you can remedy these issues prior to listing and it allows you the ability to price out the job and do it the way you want. If you leave it to the buyers inspection and they find a significant problem and they don’t back out of the sale they will ask for an allowance. Some problems a buyer will trust a seller to address but when it comes to big jobs they will want to oversee that work themselves and the aren’t going to want to foot they entire bill themselves. You will lose money at sale. So you’re going to pay for it either in the repair or the allowance and you have to decide if it’s going to be less of a headache for you to oversee the work or take the risk that it’ll cost you as much or more in allowances and possibly set your close back or even end the sale altogether.
To Agent or Not to Agent
Once you’ve freshened the place up and decided what you’re going to do in the way of repairs it’s time to decide whether or not to go for it with an agent or to sell by owner. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Overall, selling a home is stressful and you can lose a sale if you don’t know what you’re doing so you need to seriously do your research before you decide to sell by owner. I know you make not like paying a commission to a agent but you could very well end up losing that money an more trying to sell on your own. An agents fees can be worth their weight in gold when it comes to the decreased stress and professional guidance they can provide. If you do decide to go with an agent talk to a couple before you make your decision, talk to past clients, make sure you’re finding the best agent for you and your home.
What to Price
This is a critical step because if you under-price too much you’re losing money. If you overprice too much you’re losing time. An agent can give you the comps for your area to help you determine what to price your home at. There are many advocates that will tell you to find what your house is worth and put it up for 10 – 15% less than that. The reasoning is that even in the worst markets that will attract buyers in droves and many will overbid to have their offers accepted which brings you in at, or close to value with a quicker timeline. Others will advocate going a bit above what you want to get so when the inevitable bids roll in shaving several percentage points in value in an effort to get a deal you’re at the price you wanted and your buyer feels like they got a great deal. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to pricing. understand that there isn’t a golden ticket to getting your home sold but there are ways to go about doing it efficiently and bringing in the price you want.
Clear it Out
If you’ve already purchased a home and that’s why you’re selling then you’re in a great position to get stuff cleared out of the house you need to sell. If you’re waiting to purchase a new home until you’ve accepted an offer of sale then rent a storage space and start packing. Clear out as many personal effects as you can so that your place is de-cluttered and your home is as neutral as possible. You want potential buyers to be able to see themselves living there and it’s a lot harder for them to take that imaginative leap when the house is steeped in your trinkets and toys. You can also clear out any oversized furniture that makes the place look smaller than it is. A clean and spacious look is going to go much further for you than a cramped and cluttered one.