The process to sell your house can be fast and painless, but selling your home is much more than just contracting a Realtor. Even though the job of a real estate agent is to facilitate the transaction, there is as many responsibilities and sources of stress to you as a seller. At the end of the day, the longer you home takes to sell, the longer you will have to wait until you can move to a new home, the longer you will have to wait to see your check for a profit, and in the case of a landlord, the longer your place sits vacant, the longer you will be stuck paying for a mortgage and taxes without it creating any profit for you. Even though some problems are inevitable when selling a home, there is a lot that can be prevented when one is educated on the subject.
From finding the right Realtor to represent you, to surviving showings and open houses. There's a lot of things you should know and consider when it comes the time to sell your home. Here's a list of 10 things every seller should know before listing their house on the market.
Sure, we understand you want to get the most you can for your home, but always look at your home objectively, dirt stains and all, and price accordingly. If the home is overpriced from the get go, it could sit on the market for months and start to “stale.”
The truth is that buyers will notice the home has been sitting on the market for a while without selling, assume there is something wrong with it and cross it off their list.
On the other hand, pricing at, or slightly below market value will generate vital attention from buyers during the first couple of weeks after listing, which is usually when sellers see the most activity. The right listing price will make your home move faster, simple as that. As a rule of thumb, if the home is properly priced, a seller should be receiving an offer within the first 10 showings.
#2 Make sure you and your agent are on the same page when it comes to the worth of your house and how it will be marketed.
You and your agent should be in agreement on the price the home will be listed at, so if the range she/he suggests doesn’t match the one in your head, don’t be hesitate about asking for an explanation.
As important, of course, is how she/he will promote your home. Figure out if professional pictures will be taken, what places the ads will be placed and if your agent will hold open houses and advice other agents to bring in some buyers.
Asking the right questions will not tell you the resources the agent is willing to use, it will also give you an idea on how they work and how excited/committed they are about your home.
#3 Yes, you have to keep your house clean, all the time.
On top of the scheduled open houses, there will be (If the house was price right) frequent calls from agents who want to show your home to prospective buyers, frequently on short notice. And every single time, your place has to be looking its best. For you this means that, until you sell your home, you are responsible for keeping it spotless 24/7.
No leaving mail out or leaving your shoes out. You have to think about all those little things and fix them when you come home. And on weekends, if someone wants to come over for a showing, you must be ready to just get up and leave.
#4 Buyers are every nitpicky.
Even if you think your house is perfect and it has been good enough for you all these years, buyers may think otherwise, and they are not shy about letting you know!
Perhaps they didn’t like the paint color in the master bedroom or the tile in the kitchen. Maybe they are bitching about the house not having two full bathrooms. They always have something to say.
#5 Selling your house could take a while.
Of course, you want to unload your house as quickly as possible, but hold your horses in. The truth is, most of the time, the process is sell your house fast, is not so fast. It may take a while before offers come in and even longer before anything is negotiated. And THEN there's the closing. If the buyer is getting a mortgage, it could take them up to 45 days after contracts are signed to secure a mortgage commitment from the bank!
Multiply that timeline by 8641088 if your home is a short sale. You may have to list it at one price, wait three months, then list it another price. Then wait until you have an offer to THEN wait for the bank to get back with an approval. By the time you close it'll be like a year.
#6 Having pets makes everything harder.
If you have a dog or cat, you will have to take extra steps to ensure it doesn’t go running out the the door during open houses or showings (It happens more often than you would think.) That means telling every agent who will show the house that you have a pet and that it’s not allowed out, a warning that can get annoying after a while. Also, don't forget to stay on top of cleaning your pet's shit before showings, please.
#7 Expect a lot of tire kickers.
Open houses are great to bring potential buyers, without a doubt, but they also bring many curious people who aren’t even interested in a new home. Nosy Neighbors, passersbyers, teenagers interested in the snacks... It’s hard not to be excited about a filled guest book after an open house, but keep in mind that not everyone on the list is serious!
#8 Give yourself some time to get your home “Market ready”.
Before thinking on putting your house on the market, take a moment to walk the home and try to see it through a possible buyer’s eyes. Then give yourself at least a month to paint over any unappealing colored walls, do a deep clean of the entire house, get rid of clutter and personal objects and make any necessary improvements that could upgrade curb appeal and ultimately affect the asking price.
Depending on how much were talking about, you may want to consider getting rid of as many things that don't serve a vital purpose for open houses and showings. A neat, organized space is always welcoming for buyers, since it facilitates for them to envision themselves in your home. Also, staging your home could increase the value of your home tremendously!
Renting a storage unit to store furniture and personal belongings is something that would make any seller's life a lot easier!
#9 Don't base your decisions on word of mouth.
Referrals are very handy, yes, and we in the industry LOVE THEM, but let's be honest, they’re not the only way to come up with a potential Realtors. Look up brokerage websites and reviews on their agents. Look for anyone that stands out to you, then give them a call
Visiting open houses is another great way you could meet agents who represent sellers with similar homes as yours, this also gives you the opportunity to talk directly with various agents and get a feel for them.
#10 Try not to hire your friend as a Realtor.
Now this can go both ways, it really all depends on who you are dealing with, some times it can work great, some times it may not. You see, selling your house can be a long, and annoying process, and you should feel comfortable to speak up without having to worry about putting your relationship in jeopardy.
Whether you chose you sell your house to a cash buyer investor, or through working with a Realtor, these are some of the things you might want to keep in mind next time you are planning to take the big leap of selling your real estate! The process to sell your house can be a fast, and pleasant experience, but in some cases it can go south, specially when there is nobody there to advice you. There's a lot of ways to make things easier when it comes to selling your house, this is just some tips I have learned through my experience in the industry and as a seller myself.