People sell their homes for a variety of reasons, whether it’s because they need more space, they’re downsizing, moving up, leaving the country, or getting a divorce. They all have one thing in common: They want to get the most they can.
Here are 8 things to take into consideration before selling your house.
1. What’s my house worth?
Agents look at what else has sold in the neighborhood and make a comparison. But trying to figure out value in a fast moving market can be like pinning a tail on a galloping donkey. What sold last might not be where the market is today. But at least it will give you some baseline numbers.
That ballpark figure is essential to helping you to figure out how much equity you have in the home. That’s the amount of money left after you sell, minus your mortgage and other expenses such as moving and commissions. It gives you an idea of what you can afford for your next property and whether it’s worthwhile selling in the first place.
I know you’ve seen those reality shows where the hoarders have junk packed to the ceilings. I know this isn’t you. But I also know that you don’t always vacuum every day and the house isn’t necessarily as pristine as it could be. Decluttering is the cheapest way to make your house shine to a prospective buyer. You may also find many things that you couldn't before
3. Curb appeal
First impressions count. The front of your home is the first thing buyers see. Some buyers have been known to stop at the front door and walk back to the car if they are turned off. That means making sure your lawn is freshly mowed. A coat of paint outside can’t hurt either. And get rid of the garden gnomes.
4. Use an experienced trustworthy agent
The realtor that suggests the highest price is not necessarily the best for you. Is he just trying to get your business? Find out how he calculated the price and assessed the value. Use an agent that has your best interest in mind, not there own. Always use an agent that will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
5. Depersonalize your home
Pictures of your kids and grandkids are cute, but not to all buyers. Buyers want to be able to imagine living in your house. That means visualizing sitting on your comfy couch watching your big screen TV with a huge tub of popcorn. Just like you. So take away anything that will remind them that they’re just visiting. You want them to linger awhile. Don’t spoil the illusion.
6. Maybe hire a stager
Home stagers help you rearrange things in the house to make its appearance more attractive It could be worth it, but can also be expensive. But if it’s a slow market, your home has an odd layout, or your furniture is from a tattoo parlour (not that there’s anything wrong with that) a home stager may be the answer.
7. Marketing your home
Posting your home on the Multiple Listing Service, newspaper advertising and flyers are some of the traditional means that many people use. There are also internet sites where you can post your home for sale.
The easiest and cheapest way starts with a sign on your lawn. Some people don’t like the For Sale sign because of privacy issues, but it’s round the clock billboard advertising.
You can also consider an open house for agents. Many realtors prefer to pre-screen a home before recommending it to their buyers. You can also have a general open house where anyone can drop by. Yes, so will all your nosy neighbors, but they may have friends or relatives who might want to live in the neighborhood.
8. When to sell?
Spring is traditionally the strongest market and prices are typically higher. As summer approaches, families have more time to look around, but most parents want to get settled before school starts.
Come winter, inclement weather keeps people indoors and buyers are thinking about the holidays. Not surprisingly, Christmas tends to be the slowest. But that doesn’t mean you have to shy away from listing. Sometimes less competition can mean good results. And your home is already decorated. Take advantage of the fact that the place already looks great for the holiday season. The tree is up, the fireplace is blazing. Let it snow!