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Thinking of Selling? Read This First

 Whether you’ve sold a home before or you’re going to be a first time home seller, there are things that you need to know before listing your home for sale.  Any friend, family member or Realtor who says selling a home is a fun filled experience is not being honest. The truth is that selling a home can be an inconvenience, create stress and anxiety, and lead to thoughts of uncertainty. The process is not that easy, but it can be better with a little preparation.

Hiring A Great Realtor Is Extremely Important

Often the most overlooked step when selling a home is the importance of hiring a great real estate agent.  All real estate agents are not the same!  When selling a home, you should have high expectations of the person who you hire to sell your home.  Agents possess different qualities and have different skill sets and levels of experience. While there is no guarantee that the top producing Realtor you hire will be the right one for you, you can make a better, more educated choice if you ask the right questions.

Gather Information, Paperwork, and Documents

A great Realtor knows what information should be included in the information of the house they’re selling.  Having information on the major mechanics of the home and also any updates that have been done to the home will be extremely helpful.  A great Realtor is not going to just place a sign in the front of your home and wait for it to sell.  They should know how to write compelling information about your home to attract potential buyers in addition to creatively marketing it online and offline.

Here are some examples of the kind of information, paperwork, and documents you should gather before selling a home.

  • Roof age & any warranty paperwork, if applicable
  • Furnace age & any instruction manuals
  • Central air conditioning age & any instruction manuals
  • Hot water heater age & any instruction manuals
  • Any included appliance ages & any instruction manuals
  • Dates of any home improvement projects, such as, kitchen remodels, bathroom remodels, window installation, carpet installation, etc
  • Any certificate of compliance (permits) that apply such as deck permits, shed permits, fence permits, etc…
  • Outstanding mortgage balance (if applicable) & pay-off balance
  • Survey if available

Before putting your home on the market, it can be a good idea to have a professional home inspector perform an inspection on your home.  Whether a buyer is purchasing their first home or their fifth, it’s likely they will make their offer contingent on an acceptable home inspection.  A home inspector should find at least some issues with the home they are inspecting, even in new construction.  If they don’t find at least some small issues, they maybe inexperienced.

By completing this pre-listing inspection, you can address the issues that the home inspector may note during his inspection.  The home inspector will provide you with a detailed report and also pictures relating to anything they note in their report.

There are other inspections to consider before selling a home as well.  Here are several other inspections that a buyer could possibly make their offer contingent upon and to consider performing prior to selling a home.

  • Radon
  • Pest/Termite
  • Septic
  • Well Water

There are several things that should be examined before selling a home.  A Realtor should be able to point out during a walk-through items that should be corrected or repaired.  Painting, a thorough cleaning, and decluttering are just a handful of low cost preparations that should be done prior to selling a home. The first impression is crucial.  By not preparing your home for sale, this can often lead to a poor first impression and also can cost you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Which Items Should You Fix?

Now that you may have had a few inspections prior to listing, which items should you fix and which should you let the buyer handle?

If you know of issues – you the seller should fix:

  • Any simple, easy items that you can handle inexpensively and those that would be considered regular maintenance – such as doors not hanging right, broken cabinets, light fixtures not working correctly, hardware updates
  • Regular maintenance issues – furnace repair/inspection, plumbing leaks, roof leaks, etc.
  • Electrical issues
  • Radon (if found to be high)
  • Safety / environmental issues such as broken steps, loose or missing handrails, buried or abandoned underground tanks

Do not worry about cosmetic issues that appeal to a buyer’s specific taste, such as new carpeting or paint. If these items need repair you can offer the buyer a credit at closing for them. Get a quote on new flooring or on fresh paint to show the buyer. Then the buyer can pick the carpet and paint they’d like.

Pricing The Home Right From The Beginning Can Be The Difference

The most important factor to whether a home sells or not relates to pricing.  If you price your home too high from the start, it can actually cost you money in the future.  The price a home enters the market at will do the majority of the marketing of the home.  It’s important to understand today’s buyers have tons of information at their fingertips. Buyers often know a home is overpriced and will choose not to even look at it.

Sellers make the same pricing mistakes over and over again, and it’s important that you know what they are before selling a home.  Don’t hire a Realtor simply because they suggest the highest listing price. Hire the Realtor who gives you a solid, detailed market analysis showing you why they think your house should be priced in a certain range. Price it based on data, not what you want or need to get out of the sale, or how much you have invested over the years in the house. None of that matters to the buyer and won’t help you sell.

Decide Whether Or Not To Offer A Home Warranty

Home warranties can be a great idea for some when selling a home and will make no difference for others when selling a home.  Sellers commonly ask and wonder if offering a home warranty to a buyer is worth it. In most cases, home warranties are a nice bonus to offer to a potential buyer and also a nice marketing tool.

Staging Can Help Sell Your Home But Not The Only Reason It Sells

Staging is not the only reason a home sells, period.  There are real estate agents who say their listings sell faster and for more money because they stage them but fail to mention the fact that price, location, condition, and several other things play a huge part in the sale.

Homes that are staged will normally show better, which can lead to a quicker sale.  There are simple tips that you can follow to help get the home sold quicker.  Many of these tips do not require a real estate agent with a certification for www.  An experienced real estate agent, certification or not, can suggest many tips that will help your home show better and sell faster.

Preparing Your Home For Showings

When selling a home, you want to make your home appealing for potential buyers.  What do you think the a potential buyer who walks through a home that has piles of dirty clothes on the bedroom floor or  dirty pots and pans in the sink would think?  Most buyers would be either distracted or disgusted, possibly leading to them not being interest in that home.

Preparing your home for showings can be a job in itself and an inconvenience.  Making sure the clutter is minimized, pet odors are eliminated, and that the curb appeal is attractive are just a few tips that can help prepare your home for showings.  It’s possible that a home that is well prepared for showings will sell before an unprepared home just because the image that it portrays to potential buyers walking through the door.

Evaluate Whether Open Houses Are Worth It Or Not

This is a controversial topic in the real estate industry.  Some real estate agents swear that open houses are worth it and others will swear they are a huge waste of time.  Ultimately, the decision whether they are worth it or not is the home owner’s.

There are potentially some major drawbacks of open houses.  While there is a small possibility that a home will sell as a result from an open house, you should determine whether you would like your home to be open.

The above things need to be known before selling.  Selling a home is likely to bring added stress, anxiety, and uncertainty.  These feelings though will be greatly reduced if the proper preparation is taken before selling your home.  Understanding the importance of these things and how to make the proper decisions can make the difference of your home selling experience being a disaster or a success.