When your home goes on the market, it’s exciting because it usually means you’re heading on to something new and different. But selling your home can also be stressful, emotionally draining, frustrating, and all those other emotions. Things can go wrong, and feelings get hurt, expectations sometimes fall short.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are certain things you can do that will lessen the angst associated with selling a home, from proper pre-planning to other things that will keep you sane during the entire process – from the time the sign goes up until that last signature at the closing table.
While most of us don’t just wake up one morning and decide to list our house, sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough time to prepare for the whole process. Potential sellers should provide themselves with a minimum of two months to get ready for the onslaught of activity that will happen once the sign goes up.
Do a little of your own research as to recently sold homes in the area and set your expectations in line with those. Determine your personal goals, such as what’s most important in regards to your sale. For example, is it more important that you sell quickly or that you get top dollar for your home?
Those few months will also give you time to fix some little things around the house – minor issues such as dirty carpets, stained grout, loose drawer knobs on the cabinets, mold on your siding. These are all things you can tackle before you begin calling realtors about listing.
Find the RIGHT realtor
Just because an agent has left multiple postcards in your door, telling you that they sold five homes in your neighborhood, that doesn’t mean it’s the right person for you, though it is an excellent place to start. You should interview a minimum of three agents before you choose and more if you don’t feel like those first three fit the bill. Once you reach more than 6 or 7, however, it’s time for you to re-examine your wants and needs. Perhaps you’re being unreasonable.
Nonetheless, your decision must be accompanied by the knowledge that your realtor truly knows the market in your area and knows how to advertise your home so that ample traffic comes through. Furthermore, you should have personalities that mesh. In other words, you should genuinely like the realtor you hire because you’re going to be spending plenty of time with that person over the next few months.
Understand the costs
You know you have a certain amount of equity in your home, and you’re pretty sure you know approximately how much you’ll get for the house, so you’re excited about what could wind up in your pocket. But even if you’ve come to a listing price you can live with, make sure you understand all of the costs of selling or you may be in for a huge disappointment.
Realtors do indeed get paid for all the hard work they do, and that percentage comes off the top of your proceeds. Though that’s the most significant chunk you’ll need to subtract; there are plenty of other costs involved in selling as well, including title insurance, transfer taxes, recording fees, inspections, and more.
Take a good look at the estimate of closing costs the agents should have provided you with at the interview and make sure you’ll still be making ample money to move ahead.
Price it right
Nothing is more frustrating than sitting around for weeks or months waiting for someone to look at your house, let alone buy it! Sure, you’ll get plenty of traffic at the beginning when it’s newly listed, but unless the price is in line with the other comparable homes listed in your neighborhood, you can expect those showings to stop.
If you’re serious about selling, don’t play around. Price it correctly at the start and get the job done. It’ll make everyone’s life easier in the long run.
Make your home appealing
You don’t have to repaint your entire house or replace your carpets with hardwood floors to make it appealing to buyers. However, you can certainly do a few things that will help your cause and simply make your home look fresh.
Clutter is one of the biggest deterrents for buyers; they have a hard time seeing past it. So pick up your “stuff” and put it elsewhere for the time being, and if you’ve got vast collections of things that might not appeal to others, box them up and get them ready for the next house. If your curtains are dingy or dated, take them down and let the light shine through. If there are walls painted with very unusual colors – neons, black, etc. – you could consider painting those.
Remember, your job is to show your house at its best as it is now, without having to complete major renovations. So keeping it clean, clutter-free, and smelling fresh should do the trick.
Don’t be a “helicopter” seller
You hired your realtor because you were impressed with his/her knowledge. Let your agent do their job! Don’t hover. Work WITH your realtor to draft a plan that will work for all of you and don’t micro-manage. Don’t ask why they didn’t advertise here or there. Don’t suggest weekly open houses. Have faith that your agent knows that he or she is doing and that you will begin to see results. And – for goodness sake – don’t hang around during showings or open houses.
If, of course, you’ve seen no progress after a few months, schedule a meeting to hash out the things that might be wrong and decide how to proceed from there. Things don’t ALWAYS work out, and it could be time to move on or perhaps just time to make some adjustments.
Don’t be offended
There will be things that happen during the selling process that won’t make you happy. Some will make you downright angry. Like buyer criticisms of your home or lowball offers that only the desperate would accept. It’s all part of the game. Take it in stride and keep going. Just as your home was once the right one for you, there’s someone else out there who will love it, too.