Is Your Home Ready to Sell?

It Matters: What You Need to Know Before Selling Your Home

By SaleCore Elite

Choosing to sell your home is one of those crucial decisions that will have a lasting impact on your journey to financial independence. Whether you’ve sold many homes or are considering selling your first, there are many factors you need to know before putting your house on the market. Your time is valuable and your goal is to get your house sold for the highest price in the least amount of time. Selling a home can be inconvenient for your family, create stress and anxiety, and lead to thoughts of uncertainty. These feelings can be minimized if well-thought-out decisions are made, and proper preparation is taken along the way. Whether you are relocating for work, moving to a more desirable neighborhood, making room for a growing family or downsizing, you need to take the proper steps to ensure that your home is ready to sell.

Experience Matters: Hire Skilled Professionals

Team of experienced professionals

Often times the most overlooked step when selling a home is the importance of hiring experienced real estate professionals. By partnering with a skilled agent, sellers have the advantage of working with a professional who has expertise in promoting homes, getting your home sold for the most money in the shortest amount of time, and with the least possible inconvenience to you. Homeowners should interview a minimum of 2-3 prospective realtors, as well as other potential team members (i.e., home inspector, handyman/painter, landscaper, interior home stager, photographer, and a closing attorney) to ensure you are choosing the best team of professionals possible. Understandably, giving away a portion of your profits after a home sale can seem frustrating, but consider how much more it can cost you by not allowing these specialists to help you sell your home.

Timing Matters: When to List Your Home

A desk calendar with the pages fanned open

Deciding when to sell your home is the next most important step. Although experts may say the peak season for selling a home in most housing markets across the country is typically during the spring, you must be sure that you choose a time that is most convenient for your individual situation. There are some strategies that you can put into action to help sell your home regardless of the season or current economic conditions that are out of your control. If you are more flexible in your timing, research your local housing market. Find out how many houses are currently on the market in your area and the average number of days they have been listed. It’s also helpful to look at comparable homes in your neighborhood to get a general idea of what the competition looks like. In addition, it’s important to evaluate the pros and cons of each selling time frame, and to remember that every real estate market is different.

Appearance Matters: Preparing Your Home

A home inspector writing a note holding a clipboard

Selling a home is not a simple process, and often a huge undertaking. However, it’s crucial that you make a good first impression for potential buyers. If you don’t make the effort to create an appealing home, it can lead to a poor first impression and can cost you thousands of dollars in the long run. Take the extra time and energy to prepare your home, you’ll be glad you did. Most buyers today will pay a premium for "turn-key" homes. They are not, for the most part, paying the big money for "fix-uppers".

  • Pre-Listing Inspection: Before listing your home, it is a good idea to have a professional home inspector perform a pre-listing inspection. A buyer will likely make their offer contingent on an acceptable home inspection. By completing a pre-listing inspection, you can address reported issues prior to putting your home on the market. Be sure to obtain a detailed report, as well as pictures relating to anything they note in their findings. In addition, consider inspections for radon, pests, chimney, septic, and well water.
  • Curb Appeal: Homebuyers often make snap judgments based simply on a home’s exterior, so curb appeal is very important. Start by cutting the grass, trimming the hedges, and clearing away any clutter. Consider replacing house numbers, painting the front door, planting some flowers or installing a new porch light. While significant landscaping updates don’t play a major role in a buyer’s decision- making process, it does help to avoid anything that could detract from a positive first impression.
  • Repairs and Renovations: Take care of all those pesky repairs you’ve been procrastinating. Cracked window sills and unsightly holes in the wall can be a deal-breaker. And, while kitchens and bathrooms can increase the value of a home, you won’t get a large return-on-investment if you do a major renovation just before selling. Minor renovations, however, may help you sell your home for a higher price. New countertops or appliances may be just the kind of incentive you need to attract a buyer. In addition, one of the easiest and most cost-effective updates you can make to your home is to apply a fresh coat of neutral paint. Neutral colors also help a property stand out in online photographs, which is where most potential buyers will get their first impression of your property.
A kitchen breakfast bar set with plates and glasses
  • Clean and Decluttered: Tidying up is a good first step, but consider hiring a regular housekeeper while your home is on the market. Tossing dirty laundry in the closet and vacuuming the floors is just not enough anymore. This gives you more time to focus on your family and life, but still ensures your home is ready to show. In addition, declutter by removing personalized photos, memorabilia, and other knickknacks. Buyers want to envision how various spaces could be used in different ways to meet their lifestyle needs and desires.
  • Staged: Staging your home will highlight your home’s best features and compensate for its shortcomings. An un-staged home will pale in comparison to others on the market. There are many DIY simple staging tips that you can try, or again, consider hiring a professional who has the eye and training to stage your home successfully.

Price Matters: Set a Reasonable Listing Price

Concept of property value - neighborhood, condition, age, market, improvement

Pricing your home correctly from the start is extremely important. Avoid making emotional decisions, as the first few weeks of your listing are critical to achieving your goals, and buyers will swarm to a well-priced listing. Your house is competing against similar listings to find one of those buyers. If you live in a “hot” market, there are more buyers than sellers and prices are likely being driven up by that demand. You can often price your house more aggressively as long as you stick within reasonable price limits. In a "cold" market, buyers tend to be more selective and pricing usually needs to be at or slightly below market value to attract an offer.

  • Don’t Pad the Bill: Once you and your agent have priced your home, resist the temptation to add the costs of sale (commission, transfer taxes, closing costs, etc.) and a "negotiating premium" to the asking price. By adding these line items to your asking price, you may just price yourself right out of the market. You will do far better generating multiple offers by not adding these items, than you will for an offer that you must "negotiate".
  • Estimate the Potential Profit (or Loss): Once you have decided on a listing price, be sure to evaluate potential gains or losses within your acceptable price range. The selling price may be reduced by the following: real estate commissions, closing costs, title charges, government recording and transfer fees, additional settlement charges, debt obligations for existing mortgage, and home repairs (completed prior to and in order to list your home).

What Else Matters?

Concept drawing of the different aspects of communication via mobile
  • Adequate Social Media Exposure: There is also a great deal of success in getting the word out about your desire to sell via social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). Many agents also use YouTube videos, Pinterest groups, and blogs to obtain potential buyer lists and market their services.
  • Accept All Showing Requests: Set your expectations upfront... selling a home is inconvenient. You must get your home ready, keep your home ready, and be out of your home at any given moment. Your family's routine will be interrupted by constant showing requests, day and night. Never turn down a showing request, as you won't ever know which buyer will be the buyer.
  • Gather Important Documents: Collect important information on the major mechanics of the home, as well as any repairs and renovations that have been completed. This may include paperwork and warranty information on your roof, HVAC system, hot water heater, appliances, kitchen or bathroom remodels, window or flooring installation, and any permits pulled to conduct the work.

Selling a home is likely to bring added stress, anxiety, and unwanted uncertainty. These feelings, however, will be drastically decreased if you set your expectations and the proper preparation is taken. Understanding the importance of these steps and how to make suitable decisions can make the difference between success and disaster in your home-selling experience.

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