It takes a large amount of planning to sell a home, and getting the best price for your home can take time and a good strategy. We’ve listed some steps to help you prepare to put your home on the market.
1. Know Your Home’s Market Value
Many home owners have a decent grasp on what their homes general value. Whether the information came from fliers in the mail, online searches, or even their neighbor down the way selling their home. Or, perhaps, they recently refinanced and therefore saw an appraisal.
However, a general idea is not going to cut it, instead you need a firm idea of your homes “market” value. That value will determine what the buyer is willing to pay on the open market.
The easiest way to get a proper idea of your home’s value is to have a local agent take a look it. This is the first step towards getting your home priced correctly and get buyers lining up to put in offers. Any good agent would welcome the opportunity to meet a potential seller and will put together what they call a CMA, or Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA can give you recent comparable sales and am opinion of your home’s value. Even if you don’t plan to sell immediately, having an agent early on engages you in the process and makes gathering the right information a breeze.
2. Assess your Home’s Condition
Think like a seller. It’s easy to get into the mentality of only seeing your home as that, your home, when you really need to be viewing it as a ‘product’. If you can accomplish this then you can tell why that paint color you like so much, or your cluttered office might be a turn off for a potential buyer.
It’s likely you will have some work to do in order to sell your home. Your agent can give you some good ideas for improvements to consider. These changes can be as simple as moving a few things into storage or as completely repainting the kitchen and renovating the bathroom.
Also, you need to consider your home’s overall condition. It’s a good idea to invest in a property inspection because you might find out you need a new roof or the furnace is close to expiration. By knowing these things early, you will have plenty of time to address it before the buyer catches it. In the long run all of this can save you time and money. Having an idea of what your home needs early on can help orient you towards a successful sale.
3. Watch the Comps
Once you’ve gathered all of the information you are well on your way to a successful home sale. Since you know your home’s market value and know what is needed to make it ready, it is time to start keeping an eye on the comps. This means going to open houses and fully engaging with the local real estate market. The more homes you see, either in person or via your agent, the better you will understand what it will take to get your home sold. Pay attention to how homes that go before yours fare on the market. Get a sense of what the highest and best price would be for your home and neighborhood.
4. Do Your Homework
Your agent will most likely give you a list of things to do before you can put your home on the market. Start talking to painters, contractors, landscapers, and stagers. Ask your agent for referrals. Get bids for what would need to be done. Start understanding how much of the work you’re willing to do, what needs to be fixed and how much you want to spend. With your agent, prioritize the work and get things lined up.
You need to stay one step ahead of potential buyers. Google your address and check your home’s records with the building departments, check your title report and find out as much as a buyer would if they were about to make and offer on your home. Things come up, and it’s better to find and fix them now – before you get into contract with the buyer.
5. Set a Deadline and Get Moving
Pick a date to officially list the property and then use that to plan out the work that needs to be done. Your home needs to be open house ready for the listing photos. Listing photos are important because they are people’s first impression of your home. Curb appeal is still important, but photos are the most important. Plan to get all the work done before these are taken. The hardest part for most sellers is these weeks and months leading up to a sale. Once the home is on the market, the home is out there, for everyone to see.
Everyone is different and this process is filled with bumps along the way, and red flags that can pop up out of the blue. The first step to being a successful home seller is finding the right agent and getting them involved from the get go. Take your time and be thorough. The more planning involved the quicker the sale will be.