Thinking of selling? If so, there are some things you can do to make the process easier and to help get top dollar for your property.
1. Decide if you want to hire a real estate agent or not. According to a 2013 report done by the National Association of REALTORs, the average price of a For Sale By Owner property was $174,900 while the average price of a property sold with a listing agent was $215,000 – for a difference of $40,100. Why leave money on the table? Hire the right agent to ensure your home is priced properly. Your agent will also provide you with marketing expertise and help negotiate a fair contract.
2. Gather key documents to help put together a solid listing:
- Prior year tax bill, utility bills and water bills
- Restrictions or covenants on the property
- Assessments, surveys and plats
- Purchases and repairs of major appliances or to the home
- Pest or environmental inspection reports
- List of items to be included or excluded from sale
- Contact your current lender for payoff information if your property is financed
3. Prepare your home. Your agent should lead you through this process. Listen to them. They know what buyers are looking for and aren’t emotionally attached to your property. Things to consider are potential large fixes such as major cracks in the driveway, a leaking roof, etc. Also make sure your home is attractive from the front providing a potential buyer with a good first impression. Lastly, declutter and depersonalize. This doesn’t mean take down every personal photo but don’t overwhelm a potential buyer with 10 photos of your family in one room and a credenza of soccer trophies in the next. Potential buyers may not be able to see past these distractions to the value in your property.
4. Once listed, keep your home clean and ready to show. There is nothing worse than bringing in an enthusiastic buyer who steps in a pile of laundry then trips on a child’s toy. They rarely make it through the mess to see the rest of the property.
5. Communicate with your agent. Your agent should set up a regular schedule for communicating with you but, if they don’t, be sure to take the lead. You deserve regular updates and should only work with an agent that truly listens to what you have to say.