When it comes time to sell your home, you could argue that there are several cardinal rules worth keeping in mind. That said, you are only hurting yourself if you don’t hit the right price point or fail to position the home in front of as many people as possible. Believe it or not, there is a correct way to sell a property. However, one fundamental aspect has been the subject of some heated debate over the years: the proper time to sell a home.
The lines have been blurred for years as to when the most optimal time to list a property is. In all honesty, the best time to sell your home, or at least list it, is when you need to. I don’t recommend letting the weather, season, or buyer sentiment dictate your decision to sell. Truth be told, if you need to sell now, there is no way around it; you must list the property.
If you are pressed for time and need to list your home soon, don’t forget your due diligence. Above all, you must check off the following:
1. Market Research: The better home sellers understand the market, and their home’s role in it, the better the results. Understanding the real value of the property is critical. Having said that, what is the house worth? Is it in a popular neighborhood? What are comparable homes selling for, or not? How much will it appraise for? It may pay to get an AVM, or consult a local neighborhood real estate expert on a CMA. Research and know who the best prospective buyers are for your home and what they are looking for. Remember, knowledge isn’t just power; it’s everything. The more you know, the more likely you are to realize success.
2. Build The Right Team: Will you be using a real estate agent? What other real estate professionals might you benefit from having in your corner? Will you need a contractor, or title insurance company? Do you have a real estate attorney on retainer to help you review contracts? You must know the answer to each of these questions (and more) if you hope to successfully list your home. Sort, list, interview, and select the professionals you will want in your corner from the beginning. After all, your are only as strong as the people you surround yourself with in the real estate industry. Make sure you trust them completely, and I guarantee it will make things that much easier.
3. Title Searches: The titles to thousands of U.S. homes have been impacted by the Great Recession in more ways than I can imagine. That said, it’s not uncommon for many homeowners to find big liens or pre-payment penalties on the books when they go to sell. Others will have to solve code violations before they can even consider selling an option. Unfortunately, these title inconsistencies may prevent some from selling altogether. As the seller, it is up to you to know what may impact your future transaction. Get ahead of the problem, if there is one, and tackle the issue before it prevents you from selling. I recommend ordering your own title search to streamline the entire process.
At the same time, you will also want to consider pulling your existing title policy, deeds, recent property inspection reports, tax bills, and lien pay-off contact information.
4. Spring Cleaning: If you haven’t noticed it yet, spring is right around the corner, and that means it’s time to clean things up. Don’t hesitate to maximize space and showing potential with a little spring-cleaning. Clear out the junk, host a yard sale and get some cash for your items. However, it is important to remain focused on the goal at hand. You want to present the property in a light that the majority of people will appreciate. While cleaning is important, you will also want to provide some neutral forms of decoration. So get rid of that old centerpiece and upgrade. You must show people you care about the property if you ever hope to sell it.
5. Repair & Improve: Unless you’ll be selling fast to a real estate investor, it often makes sense to make some improvements. Go through the home and take note of the things that need to be improved. Even small issues can raise concerns with potential buyers. Make needed repairs, especially those that will be mandatory for new buyers, even if they are relatively small.
6. Home Staging: Home staging is an excellent way to maximize visual potential, boost your marketing, and help visitors fall in love with your living space. However, you must adhere to one specific rule: keep it neutral. When staging a property to sell, you want to appeal to the largest audience possible. Select neutral furniture, colors and decorations. It also isn’t a bad idea to consider hiring a professional. It will save you time, and probably end up looking a lot better than if you just throw a few pieces of furniture in a room. Of particular importance, however, are the studies that have identified the benefits of staging. Some experts have suggested that a properly staged home can sell faster and for more money.
We are coming into one of the most important seasons for the entire housing sector. Spring has become synonymous with heightened activity and sentiment. People are simply looking to make moves at this time of the year, and you can really benefit from preparing accordingly. If you are looking to sell your home this spring, make sure you follow these six steps.