There are a lot of articles regarding home selling tips, and my goal in this article is to offer a few things that are both obvious and not so obvious, but hopefully fresh and doable, instead of a whole bunch of crap no one will actually do anyway. Some tips will cost you money, and some will simply take some effort, but all are focused on maximizing the sale price and creating desire in a potential buyer. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, all the better.
There are some things every home owner should do, like maintain records of repairs and upgrades and keep a folder of all your utility bills. Knowing the average cost per month to keep the utilities on is important for all homeowners. Here is a list of things every homeowner should have:
- A list of the features of your neighborhood (like where the police and fire departments are and where the post office is as well as schools and where other civic facilities like public pools and fitness centers are).
- An understanding of the basics of selling a home before calling a realtor.
- All the receipts of repairs and utility bills for at least a full year.
- A running list of renovations and upgrades, with installation dates and costs.
- Up to date yard maintenance.
- Installation dates of the water heater, furnace, air conditioning unit, roof, stove, dishwasher and any other fixed appliance in the house.
That should keep you busy for a little while. Next, you should begin valuing your property. You can call and get a comparable price from a realtor, but they will quickly begin to press you to sign a sale contract with you. Before you do that, you can ask several realtors what the "high", "median" and "low" price per square foot is in your neighborhood. That will give you a pretty good idea about where a realtor might price your house. Once you do decide on a price, set it and stick to it. Do your research first.
Decide what you can do yourself and what you will need to have done professionally. Be honest. You will have to disclose the defects of the house at closing, so you may as well write out everything that you know is wrong with the house and let prospective buyers read it. It will weed out the less serious buyers, and that'll save you a lot of time in the long run. Walk through your house and write down everything you need to do to prepare your home for listing. It will become your "to do" list.
Talk to as many people as you can who know something about buying and selling houses, even if it's just a friend who recently purchased their home. They may tell you something you had not heard before.
Here's some things to consider once your house is ready to place on the market:
- Make sure your realtor can write a great ad. Write one yourself and hand it to them if you can improve on their lack of ad writing skills
- Stage your home correctly. Make sure you keep it clean while the house is on the market.
- Talk to more than one realtor before signing any contracts.
- Learn the process of selling, then execute.
- Print out a map for police, fire, schools, highways, etc. that you can show to potential buyers.
- Never talk about the neighbors to any potential buyer.
- Lube the garage door.
- Paint new curb numbers on your sidewalk.
- Clean out the fireplace.
- Make sure the yard is well maintained.
- Think about your motivation to sell. It will give you ammunition when someone asks.
- Get an appraisal after you finish getting it ready to sell.
- Provide all the information you can to the realtor, who will share it with buyers.
- Fix everything you will be required to fix by a lender first.
- Fix the big, obvious things next.
- Fix as many of the little things that will make a big difference as you can.
Finally, here's some things you might start on, just to spruce things up:
- Light switches and cover plates
- door knobs and hinges.
- Broken screens
- Leaky faucets
Remember, be honest and put as much effort into preparing your house for resale as you possibly can. It will pay off when an interested buyer makes an offer.