Once you decide to sell your home, things move rather quickly. Between consultations and renovations and open houses, a lot happens in a few short weeks. Without the proper planning, you can lose track of the process and end up frustrated, overwhelmed, and underpaid for your property.
The most important thing to remember when selling a home: preparation matters. The better prepared you are, the more likely you are to lock in the selling price you want.
Before you do anything else, research your local real estate market. Some important questions to ask when starting out include:
- On average, for how long are houses sitting on the market?
- Are properties nearby selling for above the asking price?
- How many homes are available nearby?
- What kind of amenities and features are other listings showcasing?
These questions should influence your timing and help you build a selling strategy. Start by researching sale prices for homes in your immediate neighborhood. Home buying markets will shift over time, and you may receive much more than you’d expect for your home.
Perhaps the most important aspect of your research will be finding the right real estate professionals to guide your sale. The earlier you connect with an experienced Realtor, the better your visibility throughout the process (and the fewer headaches you’ll encounter).
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Get an early start on the long, slow process of going through your belongings. People tend to accumulate a lot of things over time, more than they often realize they have. In many cases, those objects pick up emotional significance. Taking time to organize, pack, and declutter ensures that you move less, but don’t dispose of anything that has sentimental meaning.
Decluttering means different things for different people. For some, it’s the Marie Kondo inspired assessment of items like clothes, knick knacks, and small goods that no longer serve a purpose. For others, decluttering involves an inventory of furniture, large appliances, and other costly, bulky items that need repair and replacement.
Decluttering also presents an opportunity to consider renovations and updates throughout the home. However, it’s not a good idea to start ripping out cabinets and countertops in a HGTV-inspired fervor.
Before you start any major renovation work, contact a trusted Realtor who can guide the process. They’ll know what kinds of renovations are connecting with buyers, and which ones will cut into your sales margin. This stage is when you can start making plans for staging your home as well.
Managing multiple overlapping timelines is a big part of successfully selling a home. The selling process moves quickly, and keeping your project organized will take concerted effort.
Once you initiate the selling process, you’ll be responsible for managing renovations — both your own work and subcontractors as needed. Chances are you’ll be simultaneously completing work around the house, researching and scheduling the next round of contractors, and planning your ad buy. It’s important to stay on a timeline during renovations, especially as you start to plan for marketing and open houses. The last thing you want is to have a partially renovated kitchen when your listing photographer is scheduled to arrive.
In short, this part of selling a home is quite the hassle. That’s why it’s best to partner with an experienced full service real estate team, like Laura Dandoy RE/MAX resources, that will handle everything for you from start to finish.
Stay on track so you don't get overwhelmed.
Do you remember all the paperwork you signed to buy your home? Now it’s time to do that process, except backwards.
While most due diligence is left to the buyer, you aren’t off the hook when it comes to executing the sale. You may have to help establish the chain of title or provide documentation of past permitting. In many cases, you may be responsible for safety updates as part of the terms of sale, especially when it comes to remediating problems related to pests, lead paint, radon, and so on.
In all, selling a home is a lot of hassle. Most of the time, it becomes a full time job for people who decide to go the FSBO route. The earlier you partner with a trusted Realtor, the easier (and more profitable) your experience will be.
Thinking about selling? Talk to Laura today.
Originally published June 15, 2017. Last updated October 1, 2019.