Even though the real estate market has shifted from the red-hot seller’s market we saw during the spring and early summer, it’s still a great time to sell your home — and with interest rates expected to keep rising, it’s a good idea to sell your home as soon as possible before soaring interest rates make the market more challenging to navigate.
Top 5 Things To Know Before Selling
If you’re preparing to sell your home, here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Get Organized
Before you do anything, you need to get organized and declutter your house. You want to present your house in the best light possible to potential buyers and real estate agents, and when it’s a chaotic, cluttered mess, that can’t happen. So, start paring down your closet, cleaning out the junk drawer, and putting away those toys your kids haven’t played with in years. A good decluttering will allow you to take inventory of what you have and what you need, and it will help you enter your new home — and chapter of life — with a clean slate.
While you’re decluttering, don’t forget to de-personalize. How can potential buyers envision themselves in front of their new fireplace if there’s a 50x50 portrait of you hanging in front of it?
2. Find a Real Estate Agent
Now that your house is organized and neat, it’s time to find an outstanding real estate agent who will help you through the entire process of selling your home — and potentially buying your new house. Ask around to your neighbors and colleagues if they have any real estate agents they’ve worked with and recommend. The real estate market is changing fast, so it’s important to work with someone who has experience navigating this market and with whom you can feel confident. So, take your time, do your research, and interview as many agents as possible until you find the one you jive with.
3. Get Your Home Picture-Perfect
Once your real estate agent has been hired, they will want to have a photographer come over to take some professional photos of your home for the listing. Make sure your house is in tip-top shape to attract potential buyers. That means it’s time to finally fix that cracked front door, the chipped paint in the living room, and the dead shrubs out front. It’s also worth hiring a professional cleaner on the day of your photos, so your house will look immaculate in its listing photos and be sparkly clean for your first showings.
During this stage, your real estate agent may also recommend you have your home professionally staged. A stager is essentially an interior designer who specializes in preparing homes for the real estate market. This means they know what buyers are looking for and what turns them off. Your stager will likely create an organized, sleek aesthetic to showcase your home in its best light. First impressions are everything, so don’t skimp on these services!
4. Gather All Necessary Paperwork
There’s a lot of paperwork involved in the home-selling process. Don’t wait until the last minute to find these papers, or you risk delaying or even losing the sale. Some people will want to see these documents or have questions about the information listed on them during their search process, so find them and keep them handy just in case. Here’s a general idea of what documents to collect:
- Information on the age of the roof, any maintenance that occurred, and when it was last replaced.
- Age of the furnace and record of maintenance/repairs.
- Age of the HVAC system and record of maintenance/repairs.
- Age of the hot water system and record of maintenance/repairs.
- Dates of any home improvement projects, including kitchen and bathroom remodels, new windows and flooring, etc.
- Outstanding mortgage balance and payoff balance, if applicable.
- Certificate of compliance permits, if applicable, such as for sheds, fences, decks, etc.
- Any other relevant information on recent updates, maintenance, and repairs, including new appliances and other improvements and upgrades.
5. Review Offers
If you get multiple offers, which is still happening in this real estate market, set a deadline for offers. On this day, you and your real estate agent can review all offers and choose the best one. It will be especially helpful to lean on your real estate agent’s expertise during this process because it’s not always the highest offer that’s the best. For example, the highest offer may be using a specific loan type which may have more stipulations than other loan types. A lower offer may be more favorable if they have a higher down payment and are willing to waive the inspection. So, take your time and go through each offer to find the best one.
Once you’ve chosen an offer to go with, the most stressful part of the home-selling process is over, and you can sit back and wait for moving day!