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Things You Should Know Before Selling Your House


Are you planning to sell your house? If yes, then great! It's time to roll up your sleeves and get busy - because as you can imagine, selling a house requires much more than posting a "For Sale" sign on your lawn. The time you take prepping your house for selling will pay off once your property gets listed, and some of your work may even increase its value, meaning you get a little extra money back for your efforts. 

So, before you get the house listed, use this guide to learn a few things about selling a house.

1) Gather Information, Paperwork, and Documents

Having all the right paperwork for your property will be very useful for when you hire a Realtor. And why does this matter? Well, even a good Realtor needs detailed information on the house - and this includes any updates that may have been made over the years, and even some of history that may help sell your house fast. The point of gathering every bit of information and material on the house will be used to determine its value, and also, to lock down a potential buyer. Perhaps try helping your Realtor create a compelling backstory for the house, and maybe some famous person that lives in the neighborhood (...).

Anything you can use to describe your house and what it represented to you, may be useful to your Realtor when he or she gets it listed for sale. Here’s a list of some of the paperwork you need:

  • Outstanding mortgage, pay off balance (if applicable)
  • Instrument survey
  • Detailed list of home improvements (bathroom or kitchen remodels, windows, carpets, etc.) including dates
  • Appliances that come with the house, manuals for said appliances
  • Water heater age, model, instruction manual
  • Furnace instruction manual
  • Roof warranty, age
  • HVAC age, instruction manual

2) Estimate the Potential Profit (or loss)

Determine early on how much money you're going to make (or lose) from selling your house. This will be determined by the condition of your property, the market conditions, and other relevant factors that your Realtor will point out. Remember, you want your home price to be attractive to buyers, but not so low that it hurt your own pocket. Also, it doesn't help that prospective buyers may want to one-up the seller by paying less for a premium property. The key then, is to find a balance and possibly look for a buyer that actually wants to live there, because the emotional connection is an incentive to pay the full asking price.

To with this, do a little study of your local housing market. Since you've probably lived there for years, you have a pretty good idea of the economic conditions in your city and neighborhood, and you can always get more detailed information from the National Association of Realtors at REALTOR.org. If you price your home too high from the start it can be a problem for you. Ideally, you want the price of the house to do all the marketing for you; and buyers are smart enough to know when a house is overpriced.

3) Find a Good Real Estate Agent

The benefits of having a good Realtor cannot be overlooked. When selling property, you should only get the best person for the job, and this requires that you do a little extra research and maybe even conduct some interviews. The most successful agents have very unique skillsets and it's not so different from hiring a good lawyer. They tend to cost more, but they get the job done. Look for someone with good ratings and call three of their most recent clients to confirm. It’s no guarantee that the top producing Realtor will sell your house in two weeks, but it will help to have a competent individual handling the sale.

Repair Your Home Before Selling

Selling a property is a lengthy, exhaustive process; but one of the things you can do to make your house more attractive to buyers is to ensure that a repair man goes through every broken hinge or faucet, and also ensure that it gets a whole new paint job. Basically, the more attractive it looks, the more people want to own it. It is also worth mentioning that the money you spend on repairs may be recovered when you set the price, and your real estate agent will help you figure out which items in your house need repairing, repainting, or cleaning.

Home repairs are essential because you want to create the best first impression with buyers. If you don't prepare it for sale, it can cause you to lose a lot of money.  Also, before putting up your property for sale, have a professional inspector come over to determine if your house is ready to be listed. Check that the home inspector is a member of the National Institute of Building Inspectors (NIBI), or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). 

Choose an Ideal Time to Sell

As your agent will tell you, knowing when to sell is just as important as setting the price. The real estate market can go up and down, meaning there are times when you really don't want to list your property. But generally, the time between March and May are considered the best time to sell a house in the U.S., because buyers are willing to spend more money during this period.  While it's possible to sell a house during winter, it’s likely that you won't get many offers as compared to springtime. Evaluate all the factors that affect home pricing, including crime rates and proximity to schools and health facilities, and using all that information, you can set a price that reflects the true value of your house.

Good luck!  

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