Latest News 2017 March How to Get the Ball Rolling on Selling Your Home

How to Get the Ball Rolling on Selling Your Home

Selling your home is a massive project, but one with crazy benefits if you do it right. The key is to have an action plan and execute the plan one step at a time. With the right plan, you can be on your way to buying a new home, increasing your wealth, and achieving the future you've always wanted for yourself.

Below, our team has outlined the key steps you need to follow. The plan below focuses on getting your home ready for the market, from home inspection to setting a price and interviewing potential real estate agents.

Read below to learn more and create your action plan!

#1: Get Your Home Inspected

The first step is all about taking stock of what you have. The average cost of a home inspection is between $200 and $400 depending on your square footage, but the small investment pays big dividends later. A thorough inspection protects you from surprise repairs or maintenance later on—protecting you from major sources of stress.

More importantly, an inspection makes you an expert on your own home. No buyer will pay for a house they know nothing about—and how can you expect them to know what they're getting unless you know it first? In short, knowing all your issues ahead of time gives you an idea of how to market your home, what to invest in, and what kind of budget you'll need.

If you're not sure what to look for in a home inspector, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development put together this handy little questionnaire for you!

#2: Collect Key Documents

Simple enough, right? Get all your paperwork squared away, so you can focus on making your home into a real estate jewel.

Here's what you'll need to gather up:

  • Title
  • Survey (rundown of your property's boundaries)
  • Mortgage contract
  • Home insurance policy
  • A record of your equity from the lender

You'll likely need each of these pieces of information multiple times during the selling process. Having them handy will save you time (and headaches) down the road.

#3: Get Your Home Ready for Primetime

Here's where we get to the meat-and-potatoes of home selling. You'll want to do this step about 6 weeks before putting the home on the market—that gives you enough time to get everything handled at a doable pace, take care of last-minute issues, and keep your home in ideal shape for prospective buyers.

Here are some of the things you'll need to do:

  • Repaint old rooms
  • Make sure cabinets and doors are working correctly
  • Repair holes in the wall, strange stains, etc.

The best thing you can do is create a list with two columns: label them "Problems I Can Fix" and "Problems I Can't Fix." As you fill in each column, forcibly remove any worry about the problems you can't handle. You can't fix your neighbors noise level, and you can't fix your location. You can fix your pool, and you can definitely fix or repair old appliances.

Finally, get rid of clutter. Buyers like a clean, tidy home. No need to make it look like a museum exhibit though—buyers actually respond well to homes that look lived-in (and it helps feed their fantasies about living there themselves).

#4: Interview Real Estate Agents

Plenty of real estate lawyers and agents offer at least one free consultation or appointment. Take advantage of that to conduct an interview. Find someone you'd like to work with.

Here are the vital questions you need to ask:

  • What would they market about the home?
  • What would they change or fix?
  • Ask for comparative market analysis.
  • What's their estimate for your net profits? (Worst case and best case)
  • What's would be their marketing plan?

Your real estate agent is your advocate, and the success of your home sale often comes down to their experience and marketing savvy. That said, choosing one should be a careful screening process. Make real estate agents understand what you need—and make sure they give you honest answers. The last thing you want is a real estate agent who overpromises and doesn't deliver. You've got one shot at this. Proceed with caution.

#5: Stage Your Home

Home staging is essentially like turning your home into a showroom for real estate. You want your home to look warm, tidy, and inviting. It includes putting blooming flowers on the doorstep, or even rearranging your furniture to present each room's best qualities. It also includes basic landscaping upkeep, power washing your exterior walls, and repainting the porch as needed.

Essentially, you're upping your home's curb appeal.

It's a bit of an investment, but experts agree that home staging pays for itself. You can command a better asking price (and often get a better offer) when your home looks ready to sell as-is. You can create a checklist and do home staging yourself, but you can also hire a professional home stager.

Houzz did a great article titled "Sell Your Home Fast: 21 Staging Tips" that can give you some DIY ideas for getting your home ready for the market.

#6: Set Your Asking Price

You're almost there! It's time to get to the nitty-gritty: setting an asking price. Obviously, you and your real estate agent will figure this out together, but here are some things to keep in mind:

Don't overprice and look to negotiate down. It's a soft market right now, and buyers will just walk away (or won't bother coming to see your home) if the asking price is too high. Be realistic about your asking price, and be specific about why you're pricing it the way you are. If you do your job right, people will want to be sold on your home—you just need to give them a reason.

In addition, track property sales in your community. Your newspaper likely reports real estate sales locally—which actually tracks sales prices, not just asking prices. This will give you a far more accurate idea of property values of homes in your area. Use Zillow to look for asking prices in your area as well.

Tip: For online listings, price a dollar below your asking price (e.g. $399,999 instead of $400,000). Doing so will widen your audience because the price will be included in searches made by prospective buyers looking for $300,000 homes.

Now all you have left to do is list your home online and in the local print publications! Good luck selling your home, and we hope you find the experience fun. It's a complex process, but there are things to enjoy about it—if nothing else, enjoy the prospect of increasing your financial independence and buying a new, better home.

Which brings us to our final note:

Sell your home before buying a new one. It can get intoxicating to get into the process of looking for a new home and dreaming about what you'll do to furnish it, etc. etc. Don't buy a home yet. It's more profitable to sell your home first—it keeps you from being put in a position where you're in the hole before you start the next stage of your life. It also puts your cash flow tightly under your control.

Otherwise, happy selling!

Categories: Real Estate