Did you get a new job? Is your family expanding? Did you inherit property?
The number of reasons to sell a home are as varied as the stars in the sky. Whatever your reason is for listing your home, you can make the entire process easier by being prepared. Here is a list of 5 simple steps you can take to get your home listed as quickly and painlessly as possible.
1. Research nearby home values
- Doing some simple research will help you be on the same page as your agent when it comes finding the value of your home. Give yourself a quick refresher on your local market. The value of your home and the market conditions have probably changed since you purchased.
- You can find the value of your home by using a Real Estate Broker’s website like this one. You can look at comparable homes (comps) in your area with the same number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, and amenities. Be realistic on the condition of your home when comparing it to the comps. Remember, your Realtor has a lot of experience with the market and can offer you good advice on a realistic selling price for your home.
2. Check the Mortgage
- You probably have a general idea of how much you owe on your mortgage. It is a good idea to have an exact number before you meet with your Realtor. Coldwell Banker has an amortization calculator that allows you to see how much principal and interest you will pay over the life of your loan. Input your information into the amortization calculator to see a month-by-month breakdown.
- If you know the loan amount upfront your Realtor can choose the best strategy to help you sell your home. An “underwater” mortgage is when the balance of the mortgage loan is higher than the fair market value of the property. The strategy for a short sale is very different than an equity sale. If your home is in the black, it is better to have an exact dollar amount so you have an idea of what you will make from the sale. This type of precise information will help you if you plan on re-investing in a new home.
3. Clean up the place & De-clutter & De-personalize
- This seems like a no-brainer but you might be surprised how often this simple step is overlooked. You should clean your home as if you having your in-laws over for dinner. You want to make a great first impression on your Realtor because they will be the zealous advocate of your home. The cleaning frenzy should extend to the outside of your home too. Think of your home like a book. The outside curb appeal is the beautiful cover of the book that catches potential buyer’s eye and make them pull your book off of the shelf. If the outside looks beautiful, buyers are more likely to want to tour your home and your Realtor is more likely to feature pictures of your home in the newspaper and on their website.
- Try to de-clutter your home so it appears more open and spacious to potential buyers. Pack away knick knacks from vacations and the pictures on your shelves and walls. Potential buyers want to imagine themselves in your home not feel like they are invading your personal space.
4. Hold off on making any improvements & Take stock of your upgrades
- You know what improvements you would like to make to your home. Unfortunately, those upgrades might not necessarily add value to your home. Your Realtor will know what the buyers in your area are asking for, and more importantly, what they will pay a premium for. If you have a small budget to invest in improvements to your home, your Realtor can give you an objective opinion on what upgrades will give you the most return.
- Sellers should have a detailed list of any upgrades and improvements that they have made to the property. These items can be selling points that your Realtor can use to price your home correctly and market it to buyers. These improvements can range from major expenditures such as additions and renovations, to smaller investments such as new carpet or flooring. Just remember that the price of the updates is not as important as the fact that they have been made. Real estate professionals will know what value is added to the home with the upgrades, and most of the time it is more than the initial investment.
5. Find your papers
- Take the time to walk around your house and collect all of the manuals, warrantees, and pertinent documents about your home. Having one file that contains all your important papers for your home is a time saver. Collect all operating manuals for your appliances and HVAC systems. Keep notes or color names and brand for any paint colors that you have used on your walls. Applicable warranties for your home and copies of previous utilities bill will entice your buyers with your organization skills.
The selling process doesn’t have to be a hardship or a headache. Once you get your ducks in a row, choose a Real Estate professional who’s company has a proven track record of success. Then the only thing you need to worry about is keeping your home clean for all of the showings…but that is another blog article!
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