I’ve been where you are now. I’m ready to sell this home, this place is too small, I know my family needs something different, and [insert all other reasons to move]. It’s an exciting time! It can also be stressful. As homeowners looking to move on, we must balance our budget, timeline, and all the other logistical factors.
But it can be done– smoothly, even. People move every day. The key to a positive home sale experience is in the preparation.
#1: Create an Ideal Timeline- and Then Stay Flexible
Isn’t this always the rub? “Have a really super specific plan- but be flexible enough to pivot at any time.” (Um hello EVERYONE on the planet during a Pandemic).
You hear this advice a lot, because it’s good advice. We can directly apply it to your home sale, too.
Determine an ideal timeline based on your goals. But keep in mind that your buyer might not be able to stick to your timeline. Things might not go as planned along the way (like say, a less-than-pleasant home inspection that unearths multiple defects). This is why you must also mentally prepare yourself to stay flexible.
Here are some questions to guide your thinking regarding your home sale timeline:
- Are you moving into a new house?
- Have you found the new house yet?
- What is the market like for buyers right now? (i.e. Do you anticipate a long or short search for YOUR next home?)
- Do you have a firm or flexible deadline for the move?
- Can you afford to close on your new home first? Or must you sell your current house first?
- Does your home need renovation prior to selling?
The “Are You Ready to Sell Your Home” quiz will suggest a personalized timeline and coinciding strategy.
#2: Prepare Your Home
It’s hard to write generally about this step, because the advice tends to be highly individual. For example, if you need to move fast, it’s a bad idea to attempt a ‘quick’ renovation. If you aren’t in a rush, you could take on thoughtful and extensive upgrades without needing to adhere to a deadline.
You must also consider your home’s after repair value (ARV) and the current market value (CMV) of comparable homes in that area. This is where a realtor can step in and help. They’ll be well-versed in the market and can give you a range for these two data points.
KEY for renovators: Aim for an ARV similar to the CMV of comp homes. If you overspend and over-improve your home, it might end up being too expensive for the neighborhood and buyer pool.
After you take the quiz, you will be emailed a strategy that most aligns with your situation.
Some general best practices for preparing your home for sale:
- CLEAN. Seriously. Like you’ve never cleaned before. I’ve seen clean homes win over ‘better’ homes… a lot. Clean gives the impression of being well-cared for, which increases your buyers’ trust in the purchase.
- De-Clutter & De-personalize. Get rid of the “live, laugh, loves” and family portraits. Tuck away the unopened mail. Pack up as much as you comfortably can for the duration of showings. Do you normally have an open shelf in the kitchen piled high with plates and bowls? Pack away 75% of it and artfully display the rest.
- Fix obvious defects. What’s a defect? It’s any damage to the home that would reasonably decrease the safety and/or value of the home. Some common examples include a damaged window or a water leak. (Note: not all sellers elect to fix defects. That’s perfectly fine, but be prepared for buyers to request a fix or a price drop).
- Style the space. This part gets tricky. In this scenario, you have to let go of “MY style” and focus on welcoming other families into THEIR new space. Some good rules of thumb include:
- Most rooms should have a neutral color palette (creams, beiges, soft grays are good choices)
- Less decor is often best
- Move out any bulky furniture that crowds the space
- Create vignettes (ex: a side table with a pretty book, a candle, and small plant)
#3: Look For Your Next Home
This is the third step for one reason: If you take care of #1 and #2 early, you can buy yourself some time shopping for your next home. Put yourself in a position where you are “ready to go” at any time… then grab your coffee, hop in the car, and hit those Open Houses!
*Note: not everyone has control over this step. There are many factors that influence which happens first- buying or selling.
I’m just saying, if you DO get to choose the order of operations, prep your current house first. Knowing that you can list at any time will be HUGE peace of mind.
This is especially true in a seller’s market. You may have trouble finding your next house!
If you get to choose the order of operations, prep your current house first. Get it ready to sell. Knowing that you can list at any time will be HUGE peace of mind.
For lots of people, the buying and selling happens concurrently. There tends to be overlap between the purchase of your new home and the sale of your current home.
That’s a lot of legal and financial stuff to keep track of.
For this reason, above all others, I recommend working with a quality Realtor. They are trained to help you navigate these complicated logistics.
If you follow these guidelines, you are setting your home sale up for success!
Thanks for being here. Hope this helps. Go get ’em!
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