Your dream home’s calling your name, but first, you have to sell your current residence. Not sure where to begin? Not a problem! Our handy checklist outlines seven simple steps to take before listing your house, townhome or condo.
__ 1. CHOOSE AN AGENT. If you’re planning on buying a new construction home, ask your homebuilder if they have a program to help you sell your current home. If not, it’s time to choose an agent. Ask friends and family members for referrals and take the time to interview several candidates. It’s important to select an agent who understands your home, your community and your expectations. An agent can help with everything from advertising your home and setting a fair price (see below) to scheduling showings and negotiating your sale.
__ 2. SET A PRICE. To help set a price for your home, your agent will conduct a market analysis of current listings and recent sales of comparable homes in your area. He or she may also request that you have your home evaluated by a certified appraiser. Factors such as your timeframe and whether or not you’re willing to make necessary repairs (see below), will also play a role in determining your asking price.
__ 3. GET A PRE-LISTING INSPECTION. Many sellers choose to have their home inspected prior to putting it on the market. A pre-listing inspection can help uncover surprises and allow you to get estimates for repair work well before you reach the final stages of the home sale. Even if you’re unable or unwilling to make the recommended repairs, knowing how much it will cost to fix or replace faulty items (e.g., your water heater) can help during negotiations.
__ 4. GATHER YOUR PAPERWORK. Compile all of your important documents, such as appliance manuals, warranty information, examples of past utility bills—even a list of the home’s paint colors—to address potential questions from prospective buyers.
__ 5. BOOST YOUR CURB APPEAL. Your home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers will notice. So make sure they remember your residence for the right reasons. Touch up peeling paint, fix cracks in your driveway, pull weeds, plant flowers and, in short, do everything in your power to immediately impress house hunters. For additional advice, see Kick up the curb appeal: 5 ways to give your home a great first impression.
__ 6. CLEAN, DEPERSONALIZE & DECLUTTER. Prospective buyers must also be able to envision themselves inside your home. The best way to achieve this is to ensure that the home’s clean (hire a professional if necessary!), clutter-free (store knick-knacks and kids’ toys out of sight) and light on family photos and other personal items. Make sure your home is ready to be viewed at all times because you never know how much notice you’ll get before a showing! For additional advice, see Tips for selling your home: To-do’s when putting your home on the market.
__ 7. REMOVE PROOF OF PETS. Not everyone loves pets, and even those who do may be hesitant to buy a home that was previously occupied by your furry, four-legged friends. So stash the chew toys, hide the litter box, vacuum the floors and send Fido to a friend’s house. Don’t deny that you have a live-in canine companion—just demonstrate that your home is clean, move-in ready and worthy of your asking price.
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Want additional tips for selling your home? Check out our other informative articles for sellers.