Are you thinking about moving next spring? Maybe downsizing, up-sizing or relocating? Here are 10 things I recommend you do now, to be better prepared next spring.
- Realize the spring market starts in winter! Buyers start to look on-line and visit open houses in January. 60% of sales, in a traditional market, occur between February and May. Plan to be one of the first homes listed so you have the best exposure to interested buyers.
- Do a really good yard clean-up. Make sure your gardens are cut back, eaves and gutters are clean, all entrances to your home are clear of debris and windows are washed. All of these things will leave a good first impression in late winter/early spring when your home is listed. Also, if you list early and sell early you may be moving in frigid temperatures so make sure all lawn furniture, toys and sports equipment are stored away. The last thing you want to do in -30 weather is dig out "Johnny's favorite dump truck"!
- Make a list of repairs that are needed for your home. Prioritize the list and start to tackle any you or family members can complete and hire or obtain quotes for the balance. A basic rule of thumb - if you think it needs to be done, a buyer will notice it too.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle! Go through each room of your house with a clear vision of what you actually use and need. If there is something that you don't need think about giving it to good will, selling it or disposing it. If there are things you want to keep but they are not needed often or you won't need them for a few months, think about self storage. Carp Self Storage is on Twitter, CSSCarp as is Dymon Self Storage, DymonStorage Watch their posts for specials and storage tips.
- Call for a furnace maintenance appointment. A buyer for your property will almost certainly have a building inspection. The building inspector will check your furnace and filter. The buyer will feel confident knowing that you have maintained and serviced your furnace. Also, if the technician does find an issue, you will avoid a surprise come some cold winter night or at the time of inspection.
- Prepare your house paperwork. Your Realtor will want to see a copy of a survey, tax record, any maintenance records, and receipts for major improvements (such as shingles, windows, furnace).
- Is your property serviced by a well and or septic system? Have your well water tested and keep the proof of potability. Is your septic tank due to be pumped? Call for service if required or locate receipt for last pumping.
- Talk to your bank or mortgage broker. Find out what costs will be incurred with a spring move? Will you have a mortgage penalty for paying out early? Can you port or bridge your mortgage? What are the expectations for spring interest rates? You have a move in mind - can you afford it? Your mortgage specialist can help answer all of these questions.
- Consider a pre-home inspection. Inspectors charge between $275 to $500 for home inspections. Depending upon the age of your home and your own knowledge of the property, an inspection may give you confidence and or direction to ensuring a positive building inspection at the time of sale.
- Call your Realtor now! Your Realtor can provide statistics and pricing for the current market. She can help with # 3 and #4 above, directing you on any deficiency you may not have noticed, recommending reputable repair-persons, and identifying clutter and items that "date" your home. She may also have a buyer, in her network, that is the perfect fit for your property.
Your home is most likely your biggest financial asset. Take the few steps above to make a 2015 sale a most profitable, and less stressful, venture for you and your family.