Are you considering selling your home this year? As with any New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to have a plan. Here are some critical resolutions for you. We can almost guarantee that not only will you follow through with selling your home, the process will go a lot more smoothly than it otherwise would.
#1: I will begin thinking about fixing up my house - NOW.
Even if you have a smidge of doubt that you're going to sell this year, this is a smart strategy that will only help you, no matter what you do. Because the best way to start prepping your house for sale isn't to put an ad in the paper but to start working on home repairs and making sure your house is more than livable.
"Sellers frequently underestimate the amount of time required to prepare a home for the market," says John E. Horton, chairman of the Austin Board of Realtors in Austin, Texas. "Many sellers want top dollar when their home is not in top condition. As homeowners, we live in our homes every day and we become accustomed to the normal wear and tear, but prospective buyers see a house through their own critical lens."
#2: I will clean out my house - NOW.
While you're fixing up your home, you should really be thinking about all of the junk that has piled up over the years. If your basement and garage look like they could be filmed in one of those hoarder reality shows, then not only should you begin carting trash out to the curb now, so you can make a better impression on future buyers, do you really want to pack that up and move it with you to a new house? And if the answer is--well, as a matter of fact, yes, I do want my junk in the next house--then invest in some cardboard boxes now and begin organizing at least some of your clutter now. Might as well. It's going to take you awhile.
#3: I will plan now to price my house as though we're living in 2011 and not 2007.
Do the research and see what comparable houses are going for in your neighborhood and price accordingly, even if it's really, really painful. Chad Rogers, a Realtor in Los Angeles, is sympathetic. "No one ever likes to hear that their home is worth less than they thought," says Rogers. "It's a tough reality for people to be in, but it is a reality. No matter if your home is worth $200,000 or $60 million, it needs to be competitively priced or else it's not going to sell. I always tell sellers that they can sting now or sting much worse, later when their home becomes a stale listing. The price that a home is worth after sitting on the market for six months to a year will be far less than if it was priced right from the get-go."
#4: I will make this a business transaction and not an emotional decision.
That's a little easier said than done, of course, but it is especially critical in the current marketplace because we are in a buyer’s market. So go beyond the emotions because this is a financial transaction, and if you can keep that in mind, you'll likely come through this in better shape. Yes, it is your home, but remember that it is typically just another house to potential buyers.
When it comes to selling your home, everything may feel personal, but at the same time, nothing's personal.
#5: I will get a pre-inspection for my own house, before I sell it.
If you have been living in your house for awhile, and especially if you know it needs some work, this is something worth considering. "Sellers can better position themselves in the market by having a pre-listing inspection conducted on the home now and then have the opportunity to have any issues corrected before the house goes on the market and before the purchaser's inspector finds the problems and puts the sale of the house in jeopardy," says Reggie Marston, president of Residential Equity Management Home Inspections and the original house detective on the HGTV series The House Detective.
It is, adds Marston, a "tough, tough market out there now." His argument is that since it's a buyer's market, your house "better shine and be in pristine condition." And if you can get a handle on anything wrong with your house before you start selling, obviously your home is going to tower above the other competition in your community.
Excerpts By Geoff Williams, FrontDoor.com
COASTAL SAN DIEGO PROPERTIES