Should You Sell or Hold?
First of all, that home you’re considering selling to move up to your next home may serve you better as an investment home. Before you put your home on the market for sale, you should seek expert advice from your financial planner and your lender before even talking with an agent. If it’s financially feasible and wise for you to hang on to your current asset while moving on to another home that better suits your current needs or plans, then you should! Put a property manager to work for you, and let a tenant make your mortgage payment while you build equity in your investment.
Get an estimated value
If you have done your homework and the best solution for you is to sell your home, then it will obviously be helpful to have an idea of your homes’ value. Having a Realtor® visit your home and provide you with a market analysis would be most helpful. If you are resorting to getting a “zestimate” or an idea of your homes’ value from an online source, keep in mind that there is no exact science to accurately pricing a home. No two homes are alike – even if they are the same builders plan. There are too many variables that cause values to shift and change, which can easily give you a false representation of what your home is truly worth when your relying on algorithms to represent your homes value. There is no better source for market data than the local MLS that services your area, and the best way to obtain the data is through a Realtor®.
Get Your Needed Repairs Done
You have many advantages as a seller. For instance, you know before the market knows that you are planning to sell your home. Take full advantage of that by being prepared for your buyer. When you list your home for sale, you already know that your buyer will have your home inspected. Is there something about the home that concerns you enough to say “I wish I could know ahead of time what the inspection results will show?” If so, then you should have the home inspected beforehand. When I meet sellers for a pre-listing, I commonly recommend that the homeowners have their home inspected if it’s 10 years old or older before putting the home on the market. If there’s a major repair item that rears its ugly head after the inspection, the seller can then contemplate their options on how to deal with it before their home is on the market, instead of being under pressure to make a decision when they are pending sale with a buyer. Inspection reports can also be sold. A seller could potentially recoup at least some of their expense towards the cost of the inspection by offering to sell the inspection report to their buyer. You likely won’t get full value for the report, but it’s worth something. When you contact me, I will provide you a list of reputable inspectors that will do this for you. Otherwise, ask your local chamber of commerce to give you a list of home inspectors in the area, and handyman service contractors too.
After the inspection, what’s next? Overall, the home is in good order and it needs some repairs. Do you do all the repairs? To summarize, the answer is no. When you review your report, focus on two things: 1. What are the most critical findings on the report? 2. Were there any other findings that are concerning enough to the inspector to cause him/her to ‘recommend further review by a licensed contractor’ for that particular item or subject? Focus on those items only. Let your buyer focus on the smaller issues during their inspection - this will give you peace of mind that they likely will not find something you don’t already know about, but they are finding something to at least focus their attention on.
Cleaning and Prepping Your Home
Our next step is to get ready to de-clutter, de-personalize, and clean! I have referrals for you if you are seeking my guidance. Otherwise, I highly recommend that you find a really good house cleaner, and a home stager to help you get through this, which you can find through your local chamber of commerce. You may look at this as an expense you’d rather avoid, but the cost of getting this kind of help will always be cheaper than the first price reduction, keep that in mind.
Here are some tips to consider when working on de-cluttering. To start with, go after the stuff you know you don’t need anymore and get rid of it! Clear out your closets, and box up what you can live without for at least 4-6 months. Clean out the garage, do not make it a catch all for what you don’t want in the house, consider renting a storage space if necessary. Pack up your family photos, and any other personal items that adorn the walls or living space. The goal is to help minimize your buyers objections, and allow them to visualize themselves living in your home. Curb appeal is important too, keep your yard and landscaping nice and tidy.
When your home is on the market, you should have a checklist and a routine to make sure the home is clean and show ready at all times. Make sure all the members of your household know what they need to do to contribute to the routine. Beds should be made, kitchen should be clean, etc.
Before your home is on the market, your Realtor® should be able to gauge an estimate of how long you can expect to be on the market before your home sells. Use this estimated timeline to plan your next move by previewing new homes that may interest you. If you play your cards right, you may find yourself moving to your next home fairly seamlessly.