The decision to sell your home is one that
is rarely reached easily. Once you decide it is the right time to sell, a
"to-do list" quickly develops in order to get your home ready for sale. This
to-do list will no doubt be very long, but three items should definitely be
included: 1) Evaluate and fix up your home, 2) Gain an understanding of your
property value, and 3) Decide if you will get a real estate agent or sell
the home yourself.
First on your to-do list should be to
evaluate your home with a critical eye. Start from the outside, as if you
were a potential buyer arriving for an open house. Look for dead patches of
grass, bushes that need trimming, and broken birdbaths that you've been
meaning to replace. Be sure that anything like bags of mulch, remodeling
supplies or junk that hasn't quite made it to the curb are thrown out or
placed out of sight. It's easy to get so used to walking right by that stack
of wallboard in your driveway that it becomes part of the scenery. You can
be sure potential buyers won't want it to be part of their scenery. Do the
same thing through the rest of your home. Replace dead plants, or add some
if you don't have any.
Strive to make your home and the areas
around it look clean, spacious and sound. Light up dark corners, purge
clutter, and clean and organize every aspect of your house from kitchen
cabinets to the garage. Now is the time to repair that leaky faucet,
squeaking door, patch the hole in the wall and repaint, tear out the old
shag or wall-to-wall carpet, etc.
One thing that shouldn't be on your to-do
list: major home improvements. Keep in mind that all improvements should be
aesthetic at this point. One thousand dollars worth of improvements will not
increase your selling price by $1000, so don't invest the money or time in
adding that room over that garage that you've always dreamed about.
The next item on your list (and one that
you should do periodically throughout the time you own any home) is to watch
property values in your neighborhood. Find houses that are similar to yours
and find out the list price, as well as the selling price. You can do this
by touring the open house, talking to the sellers or the buyers, or striking
up a conversation with that nosy neighbor who seems to get the scoop on
everything in your neighborhood.
Also on your to-do list: finding a
qualified real estate agent or decide to sell your home yourself. Selecting
a real estate agent immediately puts you in touch with a network of buyers
and provides some directed and effective advertising that your home is on
the market. And, more importantly, provides you with their experienced
negotiating skills on your behalf. Selling your home yourself means that
you will need to do a bit more legwork to advertise your home and be
available to show your home to potential buyers, but it also means that you
will receive more of a profit when the house sells.
Selling a home can be an involved process,
but one that is definitely easier if you have a plan, a to-do list and some
elbow grease to prepare for the sale.
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