Selling a home, especially your first home, can be super stressful and a little bit terrifying. Here are 5 things you can do, starting now, to make the process less scary.
- Stalk your neighborhood
Start scoping out what homes in your neighborhood are selling for. Not only do you get to see pictures of the inside of your neighbor’s homes and indulge your voyeuristic side without being a super-creep, you will get an idea of what you can realistically expect to sell your home for once you are ready to list. Look for homes within a 2-mile radius that are similar to your own.
Try searching on Redfin or Zillow. Both sites let you explore by zip code and you can narrow down the list by number of bedrooms and baths, square footage or property size to get a comparable list. Be sure to check out “recently sold” to get the most info possible.
- Clean, repair, and declutter.
Start with getting rid of clutter by cleaning out closets, storage rooms, pantries, and the garage. Donate, sell or trash all the unwanted junk, and pack up personal and sentimental items you can’t part with, but shouldn’t have on display either. Buyers love to see how much space a home has, and clutter just, well, clutters.
While you are decluttering, take note of any repairs or touch-ups that need to be made, like scuff marks on floors or walls, a loose doorknob, a leaky faucet. Start these repairs as soon as you can and CLEAN EVERYTHING as you go. Walls, carpets, chandeliers, windows; every surface in your home and yard should be as sparkly as a Twilight vampire.
- Start hunting realtors
Start shopping around for an agent or agency that fits what you need. Your realtor will provide you with a professional market analysis, suggestions for improvements you may not have thought of, and a plan for marketing and selling your home, and much more. You don’t need to be BFFs, but you should be comfortable and confident in your agent’s abilities.
Ask friends for referrals, check out agent websites, or search realtor.com, and don’t be afraid to “interview” more than one realtor. Home selling is a major process, and you don’t want to get stuck with someone who doesn’t really care about you and your home.
- Make any arrangements for pets or kids
Will you need to arrange for daycare during the day? Pet sitting on the weekends? Your realtor and the buyer’s agent will work with you to set up times to show the home as best they can, but if you are motivated to sell, you will want the home to show as much as possible. Have backup plans in the case plan A falls through.
Also keep in mind that if you have an open house, you will need to be out of the house for close to an entire day on a weekend. This can be tricky if you have a dog, but check out local pet boarding facilities for doggy daycare options or see if a family member can handle Pooch for a few hours.
- Start planning your move
If you are purchasing your next home before selling your current one, this should be easy, since you already have somewhere for all your stuff to go. But if you are selling your current home before buying the next one, start planning now where you are going to store your things, and how you will get them there.
Check out storage units, truck rentals, moving companies and sources for packing supplies. Once your home sells, you will have somewhere around 30 days to move before closing. This sounds like plenty of time, but there are not always storage units or trucks available where and when you need them, so have a plan, and a backup.
Selling a home is stressful, no matter how much planning or prep work you do, but it doesn’t have to be painful or result in high blood pressure. Working through these 5 steps before you list will make the process easier for everyone involved. You might even enjoy it. Now go sell your house!