If you are getting ready to sell your home, you will want to consider certain issues before starting the process. Careful preparation can help you maximize the value of your home, determine the price range for which you are aiming, and cover the costs related to the sale. For example, you may want to handle any minor repairs caused by normal wear and tear a few months before you put your house on the market. You should focus on issues that are visible and can be easily fixed without the assistance of a professional. Once you meet with an agent, you may decide to make more substantive repairs. In some markets that favor sellers, however, the buyer may be willing to undertake the cost of repairs.
Determining Your Selling Points
In addition to repairing problems, a homeowner preparing for sale should consider the distinctive and notable features of their home. This can be vital when marketing it to a prospective buyer, especially if there are several comparable homes for sale. You might want to point out the benefits of a safe neighborhood, proximity to work or schools, and design features like hardwood floors, fireplaces, large closets, or a fancy kitchen. If your home includes space for an office, this may help attract someone who often works from home. Many buyers will be interested in homes that have top-grade appliances and state-of-the-art technology as well.
If your home was built or remodeled recently, you can bring this point to a prospective buyer’s attention. If your home is older, on the other hand, it may have notable historical features attached to it, such as past residents of interest or a famous architect who designed it.
Setting the Timeline for Sale
Some homeowners have a specific date by which they need to sell their home, while others are more flexible. If you have bought your next home or will be starting a job in a different city by a certain date, you will need to sell your home as efficiently as possible. Otherwise, you may want to wait until warmer weather, when more people will be thinking of buying a home and will have time to move outside the school year. Another factor to consider is the state of the local real estate market. You may want to wait until there is less competition from comparable homes so that you can sell yours more efficiently. If you do not sell your home for a long time, buyers may be suspicious that there is a problem with it, so the timing can be important.
You should make sure that you are mentally and emotionally ready to sell your home before you put it on the market. If you are not ready to engage in the process or not totally sure that you want to sell, you should wait until you are confident that you are making the right choice for you.
Understanding the Competition
Reviewing comparable homes for sale in your area will give you a sense of how your home compares to them and the steps that you need to take to prepare for sale. You can review local real estate listings, paying attention to the features of each home that the agent emphasizes. These likely will make good selling points for your home as well if it shares them. Reviewing listings can give you some benchmarks for appropriate prices, although you should be aware that homes often sell for a different price than the listed price. If the market favors sellers, a home may sell for more than the listed price, while it may sell for less if the market favors buyers.
You can also visit homes for sale in your neighborhood, putting yourself in the position of a potential buyer. You should think about how you would respond to the advantages and drawbacks of any given home.
Costs Related to Sale
While you should expect to make a significant profit out of selling your home, you may need to undertake certain expenses during the process of preparing it for sale. For example, you may need to arrange for repainting, window washing, and carpet cleaning. Minor repairs usually can be handled inexpensively, and you can easily add minor decorative items to make your home look more appealing. You can retain a professional to help arrange your home and even refurnish it after you move out, which is a process known as staging. This is optional and will add some cost, but it has been known to significantly increase the prices of homes in some areas.
During the period that your home is on sale, you will need to keep up with utilities bills and potentially buy extra homeowners’ insurance. Your current insurance policy may not cover a home that is vacant. You should also keep up with landscaping and potentially add some new features to make the home’s surroundings more appealing. If you are concerned that your home may have some hidden issues that should be addressed, you can retain an inspector. (The buyer will still retain their own inspector.)
You should also plan for specific costs related to the sale, such as a real estate agent’s commission, transfer taxes, closing costs, capital gains taxes (in some cases), and moving costs. Some buyers will ask for a home warranty to cover repairs to appliances and other features during the first year after the sale. If you live in a common interest community, you may need to bear certain costs related to the requirements of the homeowners’ association or other governing body.