After deciding to sell their home, the first thing sellers think about is contacting a real estate agent. Don’t pick up the phone just yet. Perform these 10 steps before speaking with an agent. You will save yourself and your chosen agent preparation time getting the home to the market.
Wanting to sell your home, perform these 10 steps before speaking with an agent.
1. Fix known defects. Don’t try to hide issues and don’t think you are going to fool anybody. During the home inspection, the inspector will discover the flaws. Once documented, repair issues then become contingency issues. Any repairs you have done by someone else, be sure to keep receipts for disclosure purposes.
Understand that if your home is appraised appraisers surmise that comparable homes are in good condition. If he/she sees the side of your home with dry rot, the loan value will suffer.
2. Tidy up the landscape. I don’t advocate redoing your landscape unless it is only a weed patch. Trim the bushes, mow the grass. Doing so should not be a significant expense, but a necessary one. The front yard will be your agent’s and potential buyer’s first impression.
3. Perform any touchup painting that needs completing, both interior and exterior.
If the interior or exterior paint is in poor condition then having the home repainted should be considered. It is either repainting or not being surprised the house does not attract offers above or at list price.
4. Be sure to clean and begin de-clutter. Most likely your agent will tell you the same so why not start now. Understand that you want the potential buyer to see themselves in the home, not you. Too much stuff gets in the way of that mental process.
Additionally, by performing these tasks, agents who show up to discuss selling begin with a good impression of the home and you. Agents seem to try a little harder when a house is clean and in their minds ready to sell.
5. Do not perform any upgrades or improvements. Only two reasons I can think of to do any of these: 1) required by a statue and 2) if not making specific enhancements the home is unsellable. The return on investment may be poor. Study carefully before performing any improvements. By improvements I’m visualizing , for example, replacing tile counters with granite slab.
6. Document any liens that may be attached to the property. Some liens could be a challenge. Inform your agent if any liens, other than a first mortgage, exist.
7. Is title free of any clouds? If you are divorced is the ex-spouse’s name still attached to the deed? How about the mortgage? A death of one of the owners can create an issue depending on the estate or lack thereof. All documentation should be gathered and given to your agent before marketing the home.
8. Perform your own market value research. If possible, find out the sales price of recently sold homes in your area. Any currently for sale; if so, what is the asking price? If there is an open house, go to it, check out the competition. Do not tell the hosting agent you are thinking about selling as they will start selling themselves to you. You are there to gather information and perform an honest evaluation, comparing your home to possible competition.
9. Look at your last mortgage statement. The principal balance plus one month’s mortgage payment should be close to the payoff of your current mortgage. All other liens will need to be satisfied before or with the closing. Know the numbers, don’t depend on your agent to do this work for you.
Doing the research will mitigate any surprises. The difference between payoff and sales price usually dictates whether a move is in your immediate future.
10. Make sure of your motivation to sell. Not being certain will create obstacles, confusion and remorse for you and your agent. The reason to sell will be the roadmap for your agent in marketing your home; is selling a need or a want? A loss of income could require a quick sale whereas downsizing may not.
I assure you, following these 10 steps before speaking with an agent will significantly reduce lead times getting your home to the market.
My wish is for you to have a stress free experience and maximize your potential profits.