Jackie Behr Watson Realty Corp
Here are 38 things to do if you plan to sell your home this spring.
1. Learn the market in your area.
If you want to expedite a sale, your property has to be marketed properly and be priced appropriate with other homes in your neighborhood.
2. Avoid over-pricing
Gradual price drops signal to house hunters that more decreases are to come. Plus, if your home sits on the market long enough, prospective buyers will wonder what’s wrong with it. In the end, most homes that start overpriced sell at a price lower than a home priced [appropriately] from the start.
3. Hire a Realtor
A good Realtor can be instrumental when it comes to the whole “learn-the-market, price-it-right” stuff. Plus, they’ll do the heavy lifting when showing the house and negotiating offers.
4. Get a home estimate
Yes, your real estate agent can help you set the right price on your home by comparing what other homes have sold for in your neighborhood.
That’ll help preclude any problems during the bank appraisal.
6. Determine how much the sale will cost you
Because there are plenty of expenses associated with selling a home. A lot of sellers are not aware of what their costs are, including attorney, commission to broker and any other closing costs, including potential repairs before putting the home on the market. Fortunately, your listing agent can help you pin down a rough estimate of what you might have to shell out.
7. Ask for a mortgage pay off quote
You may think you know how much you owe on your mortgage. However, it is not always what you see on your lender’s website.
8. Build your coffers
Be sure you’ve got an adequate emergency fund on hand to cover the costs, moving expenses and mortgage or rent associated with your next home.
9. Check state tax records
Make sure any debts you thought you paid off, were, in fact, posted in municipality tax records [and] satisfied, Otherwise, you will have an arduous task getting issues resolved if faced with either a quick closing or finding out by the title company near closing, when life is hectic.
10. Consult an accountant
Or a trusted financial adviser before putting down For Sale stakes. They can fill you in on any tax deductions or bills associated with the sale that you’ll be expected to pay next year.
11. Pull your credit reports
In addition to liens, look for any judgments because those can go against the title of your home. I have seen … people who thought they were getting X amount of dollars find out that they owe back taxes from many years ago.
Beyond that, pay down high credit card balances, limit new credit inquiries and address any other credit-score killers to improve your credit scores.
12. Set realistic deadlines
It takes a lot of time to prepare a home for sale. Be realistic in what you can do, and consider where you may need help from family, friends or by hiring professionals.
13. Map out your move
If coinciding with a closing and purchase, make sure there is a contingency in your purchase contract. Otherwise you owe on two properties or will be in default on new purchase due to lack of proceeds from the sale of your existing home.
14. Get a pre-home inspection home inspection
Sure, it’ll cost you. Still, spending a few hundred dollars on a thorough home inspection can help you get a better idea of what repairs need to be made, and more importantly, what your net proceeds will be from the sale of your home.
15. Make any major repairs
Pay particular attention to roof and air conditioning issues, as buyers tend to shy from expensive repairs. Completing as many repairs as your budget allows will pay off when potential buyers are not put off by the amount of time or money they would need to bring the home up to speed.
16. Consider some small upgrades
Replacing old curtains and blinds or even appliances and fixtures will make your home look better in pictures and on showings.
Fresh neutral colors are best.
18. Carefully consider major home improvement projects
Fix the roof, sure. Have the AC serviced, but consult with your Realtor or stager before blinging out the bathroom or wallpapering the basement. Certain home improvements that seem like a good idea may not actually bring any value to your home — or, worse, could be a turnoff to potential buyers.
19. Get your disclosures ready
If you know of an issue in your home, write it down on the disclosure form provided by your Realtor . Nothing is too small to disclose, and failing to disclose is a serious breach of real estate law that can undermine the sale or worse.
20. Trim the (furniture) fat
Too much furniture makes a home look smaller than it really is, so sell or move out furniture to make the home feel more spacious.
21. Hire a photographer
And consider hiring a professional. Solid listing photos make a big difference when it comes to getting buyers over to your house.
22. Clean your windows before showings
Multi-exposure photography … will make the photos really stand out, but if the windows are dirty, you don’t get the best shots. Plus, cleanliness in general just makes for a better showing.
23. Actually, clean everything
We’re spelling this out just in case you hadn’t taken the initiative to do so already. Nothing turns buyers off like grime, odor and general dinginess.
24. Grout and glaze
How does the bathroom look? Do you need to reglaze the tub or put new grout on the tile?
25. Set the stage
Your Realtor can provide some valuable insights into how to organize your (leftover) furniture. Stagers can also help you organize your furniture, and they can bring in just a few pieces that accentuate the positives of your home.
26. Change the light bulbs
Lighting can be just as important as furniture feng shui when it comes to attracting homebuyers.
27. Up your curb appeal
Neatly trimmed bushes, fresh mulch and a colorful pot of flowers work wonders on that all-important first impression. Repainting (or washing) the front door and pressure cleaning the driveway and sidewalks are also simple tasks that provide eye-catching results. Drive the neighborhoods in Oakleaf Plantation and find homes that have great curb appeal.
28. Find a place for Your Pet
Sure, your dog is cute and all, but you’ll want your pets out of the house during any showings. Plus, it will always bring questions about any pet damage or difficult-to-remove smells.
Homeowners become smell blind and don’t realize how powerful smell is to homebuyers. The home should smell fresh and clean, not perfumed and not like cats, dogs, cigarette smoke, old furniture, mothballs, mold, old food, gym locker or just plain stale.
Pack away those personal pictures and mementos. Removing these items helps buyers imagine themselves in the home.
That goes beyond offloading some excess furniture and your picture words. Bottom line: It’s time to put all those books, toys, video games and figurines away. The more crowded the home is, the smaller it appears
Sellers are usually emotionally attached to their homes, which is natural. However, they have to remember that any potential buyer is looking at it without the emotional aspect that the owner has for his own property.
33. Clean out your closets
They should look roomy.
34. Start packing
You’ll have to do it sooner or later. Might as well get a head start.
35. Do a final walk-through
Just to be sure there’s nothing you missed with regard to repairs, curb appeal or staging your home.
36. Be available
Appointments often come with only an hour’s notice. Work as smoothly as possible with your Realtor to accommodate showings.
If you find you did list your home for more than it’s worth, go ahead and change your listing. (Again, consulting with your Realtor can come in handy here.)
38. Stay flexible
We’ve seen purchases fall apart over very small amounts of money, over a single appliance and over attitudes. Remember the big picture and how much it will cost to start over finding another willing and capable buyer. [Getting] the deal closed is often the best financial (and emotional) choice, even if you have to give up a little more than you wanted.