What to do before selling your home
Preparing to sell your house is a huge undertaking, which will cost both time and money. It’s important to assemble the right team, ensure that your home is a perfect visual jewel that is ripe for sale, and have your documentation ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Let’s take this process step by step to ensure that you are ready to sell.
Step 1: Assemble Your Team
You need a team of professionals to have your back throughout the selling process. There are a plethora of reasons why For Sale By Owner transactions often fail. In order to move your home through the sales process and receive the most for it, you need a skilled real estate agent and an experienced real estate attorney.
It’s tempting to forego the presence of a real estate agent and pocket the cash that normally goes to their fees. But a good real estate agent is worth their weight in gold and more. They know this industry in a way that sellers never do. It is their bread and butter, their every day gig. Agents make themselves available to show the home, they are experienced negotiators, and can provide valuable insight on how to make your house more desirable to buyers.
The second member of your team should be an experienced real estate attorney from a respectable law firm like New York’s Adam Leitman Bailey P.C. A real estate lawyer can help you draw up the terms of your sale and review a listing agreement. An attorney is also a wealth of knowledge, often offering advice on matters such as property division, imposing a development-limiting covenant, and more. All contract language should be reviewed by an attorney before authorization.
A lawyer will work with the buyer’s legal representation through the closing process, ensuring that everything is in order. Your attorney drafts the deed and reviews the buyer’s proposed settlement statement.
Step 2: Consider Your Curb Appeal
While your lawyer and real estate agent handle the negotiations and paperwork, it is your job to “set the stage” for your sale. Much as one would polish a diamond in a jewelry store window, you have to make sure that your home looks pristine before the eyes of potential buyers. Most buyers will judge a book by its cover, so you want to make sure that you are maximizing your curb appeal.
The moment your listing goes live and a For Sale sign appears on your property, there are a few aesthetic improvements that should be immediately implemented and upkept throughout the process.
- Keep the lawn mowed, hedges trimmed, and weeds pulled
- Plant inviting flowers
- Add planters to the front entry
- Install a new mailbox
- Paint the front door
- Paint the exterior of the home or power wash the siding.
Once the exterior of your home is perfect, it’s time to make sure that the interior matches.
Step 3: Beautify the Home’s Interior
The first step to preparing your home’s interior for sale is to disassociate from it. When one thinks of the house as their home, emotions come into play. This is a business transaction and should be treated as such. It is not your home anymore, it is a house that is for sale.
De-personalization comes next. Buyers don’t want to see family photos and heirlooms. It’s jarring to feel as thought you’re intruding in another person’s home. The buyer needs to see the potential for making this house their home, and they can’t do so with photos of someone else’s kids staring them in the face.
Decluttering is another important step. The home should open, showcasing every inch of available space. If a buyer sees random knick-knacks everywhere they will likely become flustered and wonder if there is enough space for their belongings. Clutter has a negative impact on the human brain, and you want buyers to be relaxed and focused on the potential sale.
Everything in the home needs to look like it is brand new. Carpets and floors need to be cleaned, the walls should be painted a neutral and relaxing tone, furniture should be dusted, bath rooms and kitchens should be re-caulked and grouted, and finally, the entire home should be aired out and dotted with lightly scented air fresheners.
Step 4: Have Your Documents in Order
Buyers are making a huge investment. So, naturally, they will have questions. You need to be prepared to address those questions and back up your answers with documentation. Your real estate agent and lawyer will also need access to a great number of documents, so it serves well to have them on hand.
- The Deed
- Mortgage satisfaction letter
- Copies of rental agreements (if applicable)
- Tax bills
- Utility bills
- Receipts for recent upgrades
Preparing your home for sale can be a daunting task. But with the right team in place it can be a positive and fruitful endeavor. Surrounding yourself with skilled professionals and organizing your documents helps the business end of the sale go by smoothly, while beautifying your house inside and out gives you a positive last vision of your former home.