Check the Mortgage
Before meeting a listing agent, call your current mortgage lender and get the most up–to date pay-off figure. Knowing your loan amount upfront will help us know what options and strategies to discuss when we meet for an initial listing appointment. Whether your home has equity or you need to do some rearranging because of potential foreclosure, we are experts in all kinds of residential real estate. We’d be happy to help you sort through the details of listing your home for sale to achieve the best results for you.
Identify Liens and Disputes
The easiest property to sell is the unencumbered property. But that’s not always possible and the more a seller can tell us in advance about liens and other issues the better. When a house is listed for sale, a title company will pull the history of that property and any item attached to that house will show up. We want to know about any issues like liens or property disputes prior to listing so we can help you deal with them before the house hits the market. Think about any tax issues, disputes you have had with contractors, or other problems that could have allowed a creditor to put a lien on the house. Likewise, be upfront about disputes with neighbors, especially if they regard property lines because it’s easier to settle those matters before listing the property.
Hold Off on Making Improvements
While it’s tempting to add value to your home ahead of listing, it’s better to hold off on improvements until you’ve hired your agent. What you think will net a return on investment may not be what’s trending in the market. Your Realtor will know what the buyers in your area are asking for and, more importantly, what they will pay a premium to get. Working with an agent to determine what upgrades to make also has the benefit of objectivity. Sellers are always tempted to go overboard, but they shouldn’t because they’re moving. If you run those decisions by an agent they’ll help you stick to what’s necessary and keep you from making choices that are specific to your tastes, which might not appeal to local buyers.
Consider getting rid of, packing, or storing 30% of your stuff in preparation for showing your home. That means stashing away extra chairs, storage boxes, plants, magazines, CDs, clothes, knickknacks, exercise equipment, small appliances, and books.
This is one of the most difficult things for many sellers to do but also one of the most important when selling your house. De-personalizing a house by alleviating personal items, family photos and knickknacks allows potential buyers to imagine placing their personal items in the home and living there in the future.
Take Stock of Your Upgrades
While sellers shouldn’t make improvements in advance of hiring an agent, they should have the details on any upgrades they’ve made. Provide a list of upgrades or improvements that have been made to the home during the course of ownership such as room additions, new carpet or flooring, upgraded appliances, or a new furnace. We take all of this into consideration when determining the right sales price for your property. We can also use this information in our marketing material that goes to potential buyers to show the added value of your home.
Locate all the important papers you’ll need to entice a potential buyer. The operating manuals for your appliances and HVAC system, notes about the paint colors you used on your walls and any applicable warranties are important to have on hand.
Check Your Schedule
Give some advance thought to your schedules. We want to maximize the times your property can be shown to prospective buyers because a home that is easy to show always sells faster. In some cases, you may have to make some small adjustments to their lives during the listing process. Family schedules may need to be changed slightly to accommodate showings and if a pet lives in the house you will want to have a plan for the animals during the showing times or an alternative for critters during open houses or last-minute showing requests. Scheduling and planning are important so that we can best represent our client's listing while also keeping the lives of our clients as normal as possible during the sale of your home.