Selling your home can feel a little overwhelming at times, and too many sellers realize after the fact that there are things they should have done differently. But with the right preparation and a little elbow grease, listing your home for sale can be an efficient -and highly profitable – process! Of course, the first step is to find a great Realtor to help you, and then go through this these seven steps to selling your home together.
- Find out your home’s market value
You may have a pretty good idea what your home is worth based on neighborhood chatter, open houses and For Sale signs in your area, and even websites that provide estimates. However, if you really are considering selling your home, it’s time to get an accurate assessment of your home’s fair market value. Remember that your home is only truly worth what a qualified buyer is willing to spend, so get a local real estate agent who knows your area to run a Comparative Market Analysis, or CMA. This will show you sold and listed homes in your area that are similar to yours in terms of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, and amenities, etc. Once your Realtor sees your home, inside and out, he or she can run this market analysis and give you a good idea what your home will realistically sell for.
- Assess your home’s condition
Your home may be exactly as you like it, but when it comes time to put it on the market, it’s important to shift to looking at it through a potential buyer’s eyes. Are the wall colors neutral and light? Do you have too much clutter? Is it neatly landscaped with great curb appeal? These are all things that the buyer will notice, so it’s best to address them early on in the process before they bring down the price on an offer. It’s hard to look at your home impartially, so ask your Realtor for help.
- Make a list of things that need to be fixed or updated
It also helps to make a checklist of things that may need to be fixed, from peeling to paint to sagging gutters, that leaky faucet to the garage door that doesn’t close right. These seemingly small things can make a big first impression on potential buyers that are walking through your listing for the first time. Additionally, big-ticket repairs like a leaky roof, cracks in the foundation and inadequate heat and air systems definitely need to be addressed before you ever put a For Sale sign in your front room. But even if there are no major repairs, a fresh coat of paint, updating old fixtures and lights, decluttering and putting things in storage, and doing a little landscaping can help you get you the full-price offer you deserve.
- Start paying attention to the competition
There’s a lot you can control when it comes to getting your home ready, but it’s also wise to start gauging what homes are active, pending and sold in your neighborhood. Not only will this give you an idea of where to price your home accurately, but you’ll be able to understand the competition. Remember that buyers go out and look at the same group of houses for sale that you’ll see, making a short list of one’s they might want to make offers on based on price, condition, and amenities.
- Get your paperwork in order
Now is the time to get organized, and that means having all your paperwork in order. Not only will your Realtor want you to fill out important disclosures about the property once you are ready to list, but the new buyers will love you for putting together your maintenance and service records, manuals, warranties, neighborhood utilities and public service numbers, and any other important documentation about their future home. Likewise, if you plan on purchasing another home after yours sells, you’ll have to put together paperwork for your purchase loan and offer to buy a new home.
- Formulate a plan
Now that you know a fair market value price, understand the competition, you’ve taken an honest look at the property, repaired what needs it, and are fully organized, it’s time to put together a plan for selling the home. Your Realtor will guide you through this with important questions, recommendations, and considerations about photos and the listing description of your home, professional vs. amateur staging, marketing, accessibility and showing for buyers, open houses, potential future price reductions, and the like. It’s so important to have a focused, smart plan to ensure that your home sells for top dollar as quickly and smoothly as possible!
- Make it official!
Now that all of that hard work is done, it’s time to sign all of the listing paperwork (if you haven’t already) and officially place your home for sale! Once it hits the market, you’ll feel relieved that you’ve gone through this list with your Realtor and prepared thoroughly. All of your diligence, planning, and preparation will be rewarded when the full-priced offers start rolling in!