10 Steps Before Selling
Step 1: Get Pre-Approved for a Home Loan
Market conditions change rapidly and you do not want to get caught off guard with any unexpected issues involving your credit, so be sure to get pre-approved before you get into the home buying or selling process.
Find a lender you trust and research the housing market in the area where you wish to live so that you have a good idea how much it will take to buy a replacement.
How To Start Researching
Hint: I can show you any property (regardless who the listing agent is) and you can use my website to search to search the entire MLS and find any property in the area!
Start looking for two types of real estate:
Houses that seem to match the one you’d like to buy
Houses that are similar to your current home.
Step 2: Check Your Mortgage Payoff
Call your lender to find out the payoff for your current home mortgage. You’ll need the figure to complete Step 6.
Step 3: Determine How Much the House Is Worth
Determine your home’s fair market value. Your realtor can help you by doing an initial Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) report to see what recent home sales have been in your area and then arrange for an appraisal of a property you are interested in.
Step 4: Estimate Your Costs to Sell Your Existing Home
As your real estate agent, I deal with transactions every day and can give you a very close estimate of seller closing costs including the following factors:
Real estate commission if you use an agency to sell.
Advertising costs, signs, other fees provided by your agent.
Attorney, closing agent and other professional fees.
Excise tax for the sale.
Prorated costs for your share of annual expenses, such as property taxes, home owner association fees, and fuel tank rentals.
Any other fees typically paid by the seller in your area (surveys, inspections, etc.).
Step 5: Determine Your Costs to Acquire a New Home
Total all expenses related to buying a new home including:
Moving expenses, loan costs, down payment, home inspections, title work and policy, new hazard insurance policy, etc.
Your lender should give you a disclosure of estimated costs when you apply for pre-approval.
Step 6: Calculate Your Estimated Proceeds
Will your closing proceeds cover your costs to acquire a new home?
Will you have cash or other funding to make up the difference?
Calculate your proceeds by:
Deduct your mortgage payoff from your home’s fair market value.
Deduct your costs to sell from the remainder to get an estimate of the proceeds you will be paid at closing.
Step 7: Make Necessary Repairs
Step 8: Get the House Ready to Show
Step 9: Make Your Home Accessible and Comfortable
Step 10: How to Find a Real Estate Listing Agent
Find an agent that you feel comfortable with in their personality, professionalism and ability to serve or assist you in your home buying/selling process – like me!
Find an agent who has a good website that provides you with ample educational resources, information about the area, offers me services and has a good MLS search and information on listings I am interested in
Find an agent who will offer you prompt professional service
Find an agent who is knowledgeable and will help guide you through the real estate process
Ask me for referrals. Don’t do business with me because I have a nice website, let my previous customers tell you how I serviced them
Make an appointment and interview me, ask me about my marketing tactics, placement in MLS, services offered, commission rate, etc.
Get a feel for my knowledge and experience of the industry and the area and more.
Top 10 Buyer Turn-Offs
House odors are number one turn off for home seekers, specifically odors from cigarette smoke, pets and mildew. Be sure to get an opinion from someone who does not live in your home (you may be used to and not realize it) and if they feel you have an odor, be sure to get rid of the smell.
Asking a potential home buyer to not go into a room because an animal is locked in there also raises a red flag as it does not allow that person to see or inspect that part of the home.
Remove pets during showings if possible to show respect for the feelings of potential buyers.
ARM’s adjust based on the combination of the index and the margin. The index is the predetermined indicator that establishes the basis for the rate adjustment. The index can be the 12 Month Treasury Average (MTA), the 1 year LIBOR rate, the 1 year Treasury Note, or Prime Rate, or several other accepted indicators. The index is the rate for the particular indicator on a particular date (usually the anniversary of the loan). The index is a number that changes daily, the margin is a static single number, usually 2.25-3.00% that is added to the index. When you add the index and the margin together, you get the new rate.
Both types of loans have their benefits and pitfalls. For example, a fixed rate mortgage is appealing because you always know what your payment will be. On the other hand, when interest rates are high and falling, choosing the adjustable rate mortgage may be favored because the initial interest rate will be lower than fixed and the interest rate may drop in the future, resulting in smaller monthly payments. However, with an adjustable rate mortgage you run the risk of ending up with a higher payment should the interest rate increase during the life of the loan.
An ARM may be advisable if you intend to be in the home for a short time (the fixed rate term or less). Many people know they will be moving in 3-5 years or less and chose to take advantage of the lower rate to have a lower payment or afford more house.
If you intend to stay in the house for a long time, the fixed rate loan and its predictability may be preferable in a rising rate environment.
3. Dirty Bathrooms
4. Dimly Lit Rooms
Replace dim light fixtures
Install additional light fixtures
Install (quality) sun tunnels or skylights
Remove heavy drapes to let the light stream in
Repaint some rooms with colors that reflect light
Trim tree limbs that shadow the house
Clean and reseal (if needed) windows
5. A House Full of Busy Wallpaper
Your home should appeal to the masses and wallpaper is usually a very personal preference and a decorative touch that if buyers want it, they want to pick it themselves.
Decide if it should be removed and replaced with paint. Don’t paint over it, because that usually enhances every seam and looks terrible.
6. Damp Basements
Underground drains might be blocked.
Downspouts could be aimed the wrong way.
Go outside the next time it rains and take a look.
8. Poor Curb Appeal
9. Gutters with Plants Growing in Them
10. Sellers Who Hang Around for Showings
Small Improvements That Sell
Paint inside and out
Fresh paint is the most cost-effective and profitable improvement you can make, even if your home doesn’t need a new coat. Paint the interior walls a neutral color and the ceilings white to make rooms look bigger.
A Clean Garage
The Importance of Curb Appeal
First, You Have to Get Detached
Curb Appeal Exercise
The next time you come home, stop across the street or far enough down the driveway to get a good view of the house and its surroundings.
- What is your first impression of the house and yard area?
- What are the best exterior features of the house or lot?
- How can you enhance them?
- What are the worst exterior features of the house or lot?
- How can you minimize or improve them?
- Park where a potential buyer would and walk towards the house, looking around you as if it were your first visit. Is the path clean and tidy?
- Start making a list of your positive and negative feelings about the property’s appearance.
- Take photos of the home’s exterior. If you have a digital camera, view the color versions first, then switch the photos to greyscale, because it’s easier to see problems when color isn’t present to affect our senses.
Evening Appeal is Important
Lighting is Always a Plus
- String low voltage lighting along your drive way, sidewalks, and around landscaping elements.
- Add a decorative street lamp or an attractive light fixture to a front porch.
- Solar versions of outdoor lights are quick and easy to install, but only work when they receive full sun each day.
- Lighting that’s visible through front windows should enhance the home’s appearance.
Don't Forget the Rear View
Curb Appeal Starters
- Kill mold and mildew on the house, sidewalks, roof, or driveway.
- Pressure wash siding and decks.
Keep sidewalks and driveways clean.
- Stow away unnecessary garden implements and tools.
- Clean the windows and gutters.
- Mow the lawn regularly. Get rid of weeds.
- Rake and dispose of leaves, even if your lot is wooded.
- Edge sidewalks.
- Trim tree limbs that are near or touching the roof.
- If you can budget it, a fresh paint job does wonders.
A more attractive front door…or replace doorknob hardware…or repaint /stain the door and polish the hardware?
Preparing Your Home For Sale
Boost Your Sale
As your agent, I will do a pre-sale walk-through and provide you with advice and suggestions before we determine when to list the home and for how much we should ask for.Budget enough time and resources for improvements. Keep it simple so that you can keep it up, especially if it’s likely your home will be on the market for a number of weeks. Use a checklist to keep track of what you need to do. Boost Your Sale ProceedsTo get the best possible price for your home, consider the following:
Keep it clean: If nothing else, a clean home is essential and clutter is at a bare minimum.
Freshen a room’s decor: Consider a coat of paint or new floor coverings if a prominent room shows signs of wear or is very outdated, (in that room only).
Make necessary repairs: Make sure outlets work, toilets flush, and windows and doors open and shut smoothly. All heating, air conditioning, and other home systems should work, too.
Increase curb appeal: Make your home look as inviting as possible to the drive-by buyer by tidying up landscaping, plant fresh flowers, and up-keeping lawn, etc.
Store your belongings: Put personal belongings into clearly labeled boxes, and store them neatly on-site or in an off-site storage facility.
Refinish wood floors: You may want to pull up the rug and refinish the wood floors under old carpeting in one room to show buyers the quality of the floors.
Do extra maintenance: Consider re-staining your deck or cleaning your gutters. Such projects give your property a well-cared-for appearance.
Intensify your entryway: Paint your front door and put on new hardware, or replace it altogether if it is old. Buy a new welcome mat.
Don't Bother Doing
Install shelves or closet organizers: Don’t invest unless your agent feels it will they will significantly improve its marketability
Paint and carpet entire house: unless it’s absolutely necessary, it is too big a project that may not result in a significantly higher price.
Make major improvements: Now is not the time to put on a deck or build a fence. While these projects can add value, you are not likely to boost your home’s value enough to justify the expense
Put in a new driveway or sidewalk: Unless these items are crumbling and will significantly lower your curb appeal, this is a major investment that probably won’t pay off.