Seller Checklist: 9 Basic Steps to Getting Your Home Ready to Sell
1. Determine Whether To Use A Listing Agent Or Sell On Your Own
Many people that want to sell their home want to cut costs by selling their property on their own. If you decide to sell on your own, you can potentially save thousands of dollars in agent fees.
However, going it alone means you do all the work yourself. You also have to market your home without the use of the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) used by real estate agents to let others know your home is available for sale. If you answer no to any of these questions, then you will want to find an agent.
- Do I know how much my home is worth?
- Can I work with my buyer’s agent in a professional manner?
- Do I know how to market my property?
- Can I listen to others make unkind remarks about my home without getting upset?
- Do I know how to screen potential buyers?
If you answer no to any of these questions but don’t want to spend thousands on an agent, consider an option like the Movoto Sellers Program, which offers customizable packages to help your home sell successfully.
2. Choose A Listing Agent
A listing agent represents you and your house during the sale and looks out for your best interests. A good way to find an agent is to ask friends and family. Interview at least three agents to see if you like their style. Check to see what training they’ve had, how long they have been in business, and the license they hold. You should also take a look at agents’ current listings online to gauge how well they use the Internet to market your home, since that will be where most of your potential buyers will start looking.
3. Have Your Home Inspected
When you sell your home, the buyer will be given the right to have your home inspected. Therefore, it is a good idea to inspect the property beforehand so that you know what to expect.
A good inspection will include appliances, plumbing, septic, electrical, heating and air systems, roof, and foundation. If possible, make the necessary repairs suggested by your inspector before putting your home up for sale and before having it appraised.
4. Decide How Much To Remodel
Things that are easy to fix should be fixed before selling a home because they always pay off. But what about big remodeling? What is worth it and what should you sell “as is”?
In general, buyers want a home that is move-in ready and up-to-date. They don’t want to be plagued with maintenance issues when they are handed over the keys to their new home. Here are a few things to consider that are usually worth your time and money:
- Floors: If you home has hardwood floors covered by carpet, have the carpet removed and the floors refinished. If you don’t have hardwood, replace the carpets with a light tan because a neutral color is best for resale. Finally, if you have tile flooring, replace anything that is chipped or cracked, and clean or replace the grout.
- Ceilings: Potential buyers look at ceilings to see if there are any signs of a leaking roof or bad plumbing. If you have any cracks or stains, cover them with a new coat of paint.
- Walls: Fresh paint is a very cost effective improvement. Always paint the walls in a neutral color. If you have wallpaper, take it down and then repaint, and remove any wood paneling.
- Kitchen: Be sure that your counters are stain-free and your sinks and faucets look shiny and new. Cabinets and appliances are expensive to replace, so don’t do this if you don’t have to. But, keep in mind, dated kitchens don’t sell, and studies have shown that kitchen remodels return on investment is 100%. If you can’t afford new cabinets, consider resurfacing them and replacing the hardware.
- Bathrooms: Just as with a kitchen, bathroom remodels recoup 100%. If you bathroom is looking a little too worn-in, new floors, fixtures, and lights will help you sell your home for more.
- Roofs: If your roof needs replacing, do it before you try to sell. Buyers shy away from buying a home with a bad roof.
5. Deep Clean Your Home
A clean home that sparkles from floor to ceiling will help your home put its best foot forward. Focus on the kitchen and bath, as well as windows and floors. Also, look at those areas you rarely clean like baseboards and blinds. Consider hiring a professional to help since this step is key to selling your home.
6. Stage Your Home For Sale
Home staging is simply means preparing your home for sale by making it appealing to potential buyers. If your home is well-staged, it will sell more quickly and for more money.
- Increase your curb appeal. Before coming into your home, many buyers will do a quick drive-by. Power wash the siding and sidewalks, wash the exterior windows, stain the front porch, mow the lawn, and plant fresh flowers.
- Declutter the interior. Removing all the clutter from your home may mean that you need to store some of your things off-site. Areas to declutter include surfaces, bookshelves, cupboards, and closets.
- Give each room a clearly defined purpose. Turn your spare room into an office or exercise room or even a guest bedroom. If you don’t have furnishings, borrow some from friends, buy something inexpensive, or rent furnishings.
- Depersonalize your home. You want potential buyers to be able to see your home as their own home. Take down any family photos and replace them with generic wall hangings. In the bathroom, always put your personal care items in the cupboards. Try to make your home feel like a model home for a new community–pretty but impersonal.
- Get rid of pet odors. If you have pets, make sure you steam clean your carpets before putting your home for sale. Keep your pets and their toys out of site during showings.
- Consider hiring a home stager. The Real Estate Staging Association found that homes that are staged spend 81% less time on the market and receive higher offers. Hiring a home stager may well be worth the price. A professional will look at your home from top to bottom and point out things that you might miss. Additionally, they often have furniture, artwork, and other items to use to enhance your home.
7. Have Your Home Appraised And Set Your Selling Price
Find a qualified appraiser. Real estate agents usually know several appraisers that they routinely work with. You can help our your appraiser by having the plot plan or survey of your house, the most recent tax bill, your home inspection report, and the title policy.
You will also want to give them a list of the most recent upgrades, like a new roof or updated kitchen, which will increase the price of the home. Your real estate agent should also provide the appraiser with recent sales prices from homes similar to your own in your neighborhood. Once your home has been appraised, work with your real estate agent to determine the right number for your selling price.
8. Keep Your Home Tidy
During the time your home is for sale, you need to keep it clean and ready to be shown. This means taking the time each morning to make the beds. It also means putting away your grooming products, keeping the kids’ toys picked up, and keeping your kitchen spotless.
It may seem like a hassle, but you would hate for your real estate agent to show your home to a potential buyer, only for them to see a mess instead of a beautiful home.
9. Leave Your Home During Showings
You may be tempted to stick around your house during showings to hear what the potential buyers have to say. However, it is far better for you and your family to leave during showings. Lurking in the background will make the potential buyers feel uncomfortable.
They may not ask questions and will simply take a quick look around and then move on to the next house. If you’ve hired a real estate agent, let them do their job.