Below is a few suggestions on what to look out for when selling your home. Use it as a resource and you’ll know what to expect as you head into the real estate market and toward what we hope will be a quick and easy settlement.
#1 Hire Professional Help
Selling your home is a legally binding transaction, and if you’re unsure of what you’re doing it could lead to legal issues. Though it is optional, hiring the right agent who can help guide you through the sale will undoubtedly make everything easier on you.
As you would whenever hiring professional help, consider interviewing realtors before making your decision. Make sure you ask about their industry experience, their marketing process and their opinions about your home, including any potential issues. Trust your instincts and hire the one who gives you the most realistic answers, as opposed to just telling you what they think you want to hear.
A track record of sales that proves they know how to sell your house fast. Are they familiar with the benefits of your neighborhood? Can they walk into your home and tell you precisely what buyers will love and hate? You should also make sure your agent promotes their properties online. Make sure they hire a professional to take photos and includes a variety of photos on their site and social media.
Determine the Sale Price
Sale price is often the biggest hurdle for sellers to overcome when preparing to put their home on the market. Unfortunately, variables such as what you paid for it, how much you spent on upgrades over the years and how much income you need from the sale in order to make your next purchase should not be considered in the asking price.
To sell your home quickly, you’ll need to focus on pricing it fairly according to its current market value. Most qualified agents will visit your home to get a feel for its condition, size and any upgrades or extra amenities. Then, they should perform a comparative market analysis (CMA) — wherein they look at similar homes in your area that are either on the market or have recently sold to see how your home compares.
#2 Marketing Your Property
Think of curb appeal the same way you would a date or a job interview: It’s the first impression that potential buyers will have of your home. Whether they’re driving or asking to see the inside, you’ll want your home to look its best. While your home is on the market, keep the lawn well maintained and add flowers. Provide a clearly marked pathway to your front door, and make sure there’s plenty of lighting to accommodate evening showings. Consider warming up your entrance by adding a fresh coat of paint to your front door or getting a new welcome mat.
Stage Your Home
Staging your home simply means arranging the rooms in the clearest and most aesthetically pleasing way. While there are companies that you can hire for this, you can do the work yourself by following a few easy steps:
- Create a focal points. Each room should have one item as its focus that also clearly defines the function of the space.
- Pack away personal items like family photos so that your home will appeal to the widest range of buyers possible.
- Stay neutral when it comes to details like paint colors and furniture styles, use neutral tones. Your goal is to appeal to the most buyers rather than showcase the latest trends.
- Clean up so buyers can see your home’s worth and add homey touches. Scented candles or fresh flowers can add a warm and welcoming feel to the space.
- Get Great Photographs – the average buyer spends less than a minute looking at listings online before deciding whether to see a home in person. With such a tight time frame, it’s imperative that your home be represented at its best through great photos.
As a seller, the best thing you can do to ensure a positive showing is be flexible. Buyers may want to see your home on your day off or a hectic weeknight, and it’s important to accommodate their requests whenever possible. Remember that every showing has the potential to lead to an offer.
#3 Hire Professionals to Make Repairs
An inspection of your home is paid by the buyer to get an unbiased opinion of the repairs that need to be made. When the report is completed, both parties will negotiate who will pay for what, as well as whether it should be done before the settlement or factored into the closing costs.
When the work falls on the seller’s shoulders, it can be tempting to get a handy friend to do the job under the table for you — but do not fall into this trap. You’ll need to present written proof at the settlement table that the repairs were made. Hire professionals and always keep multiple copies of any work invoices and receipts. If your buyer is receiving financing to buy the property, the bank will likely acquire an appraisal. During this process, a third-party appraiser will be sent to your home to verify its value.
In an ideal world, that figure will match your sale price — another reason to offer a fair price from the start. If there is a discrepancy between the sale price and the appraised value of the property, your agent and the buyer’s agent can appeal the decision by providing their own comparable properties (comps). However, there is a possibility that you may have to renegotiate the sale price based on the appraised value.
#4 Clear the Title
The title report is a document that outlines any restrictions that will interfere with your ability to pass the deed for your home to the buyer. These restrictions could include:
- Legal boundaries on the property
- Unpaid property taxes
- Mortgages or liens against the property
- Association documents on condos or other HOA communities
- Historic oversights, restrictions or planning requirements
Though satisfying most of these requirements is as simple as providing the buyer with written documentation, it is the seller’s responsibility to clear the title report before settlement. You will work with the title company and your real estate agent to determine what needs to be done to provide a clear deed for your property.
#5 Prepare for Settlement
Once the inspection and appraisal are done and the title is clear, the seller has only one job left before the settlement: prepare to move. On the day of closing, the seller must be completely moved out of the home, except for any items that both parties agreed to have left behind in the Agreement of Sale.
Selling your home can seem overwhelming, but it can be easier if you are knowledgeable about the process. Use this home seller guide as a resource for what to expect when you decide to put your home on the market. We hope that we’ve made the process as simple as possible.
Are you thinking about selling your property? What questions do you have about putting your home on the market? Let us know in the comments below.