You’re thinking about putting the house on the market. It’s a big step but could also mean new and exciting things in your future. And with a bit of preparation, it’s more than possible for this to go off without a hitch. If you’re considering this significant life move, it’s time to get your ducks in a row. Read on for five things to consider before putting your house up for sale.
- Know the Market
If you have control over this, you want to make sure that you put your house up for sale in a seller’s market. As this Zillow.com article notes, “In a seller’s market, there are more buyers looking for homes than there are homes available. This type of housing market is favorable to sellers, as you’re more likely to receive multiple offers — sometimes above your asking price.” Inventory is a driving factor, but there are other things to consider in determining whether it is, indeed, a seller’s market. Study the comparables (aka comps) from the area (your real estate agent should help with this), note recent house pricing cuts, analyze how long other houses in your area have been up for sale, and find out how many short sales and foreclosures there are around you. If interest rates are very low, that’s also an indicator that more people are likely to enter the market, which is ideal for you.
In the end, if you determine it’s more of a buyers market, you might want to wait until conditions are more favorable for your sale. Of course, things like job relocations or family emergencies don’t always lend themselves to this choice. If you have to sell your house fast, this might not be up to you.
- Determine Where You’re Going
Again, this might be dictated for you, such as when a company needs you to relocate for a job. Even then, though, you need to decide whether you’re going to take the money from the sale of your home and reinvest or save it while you rent or whether you’re going to buy another house. If it’s a sellers market, that leaves you looking at unfavorable options on the other end. However, if you’re moving to a new city or state, the real estate market could be entirely different there.
- Find a Great Real Estate Agent
Unless you’re very savvy in real estate, you likely want to find someone who is qualified to get get you the most money for your home. Putting your home on the market on your own can be an appealing idea, as you’re likely thinking about the money you’ll save by cutting out the middleman. But as this Realtor.com article notes, “It can be tempting, especially in a hot market, but resist the urge, says Jon Sterling, a real estate consultant with Keller Williams Realty in San Francisco. He’s found that a ‘For Sale by Owner’ transaction is almost always a disaster, leading you to sacrifice both money and time.” You’re better off doing the research on who is the most qualified person is to put your home on the market. He or she will be able to throw successful open houses for you and get your home off the market in a reasonable amount of time.
- Assess the Condition of Your Home
There is a fine line sellers typically try to walk in determining what aesthetic and other kinds of repairs to take care of in order to put their homes on the market. You don’t want to spend so much money on a home remodel that you’ll be in financial trouble for changes you’re not even going to be able to enjoy. Alternatively, you can’t forego getting things repaired that need to be in order to sell. Not only do you need your home to pass inspection, but you also want it to look appealing enough to get your asking price. The key is to be able to make small changes to your home to make it more inviting.
- Go for the Easy Fixes
Even if you’re still debating whether to sell your home or not, there are simple changes that can be made that will make this easier should you decide it’s a go. Giving each room a new coat of paint is often the easiest and least expensive way to give your home a makeover. Choose neutral tones that are more likely to appeal to a wide audience of prospects. Also, consider making some landscape changes for added curb appeal. This is your chance at a first impression, so you want to ensure your lawn isn’t brown, your bushes are manicured, and that the fence, garage door, and front door are freshly painted. If you live in an area that’s prone to droughts, you might consider going from grass to turf or replacing it all with succulents or other drought-resistant plants.
Consider this a checklist of sorts of things you want to factor in when putting your home on the market. Create a list of pros and cons, evaluate your options, and make your decision. If carefully weighed, you’ll surely have success.