The Three Most Important To-Do’s Before Selling Your Home

Small Projects and Repairs
Appraisal and Home Inspection
By Contractors.com Team June 08, 2021

It’s that time again. You’ve been at your current home for too long, and you're aching for something new. It’s time for a change of scenery, a change of city, and a change of lifestyle. It’s time to put out the old “FOR SALE” sign and see who bites. Alas, selling your home is a bit more complicated than that. There’s so much to do, so many things to consider, and so many boxes to tick off. But there’s no reason why selling your home can’t be made easier. 

And it can be easier with three easy steps that are the most important when preparing to sell your home.

1. Check Housing Market Timing and Trends

Timing is important in the residential real estate marketplace. In some cases, the timing of a house’s entry into the market can be more important than the house’s condition. Real estate markets generally peak during mid-to-late spring and taper off by the fall in many parts of the United States. This is also the case in California, where May is reliably the hottest month for residential real estate sales. It is the most active period both in terms of the number of homes being sold and the number of buyers. It is also the most competitive period since there will be many other sellers. 

Depending on when you want to sell your home, knowing the ebbs and flows of the housing market will give you an idea of how much time you have to prepare your property for sale. So, if you plan to make some home improvements to improve curb appeal and increase home value, you’ll have a more solid timeline. Also, understanding the market trends in your area will help you understand when in the year homes that are similar to yours sold and what their average asking price was. This will allow you to sell your home in the most profitable period. June is the best time for the most profit on Los Angeles real estate as many families will be looking for a home to buy before the start of the school year. But May is the best month in LA for selling your house fast. Homes on the Los Angeles real estate market in May sell eight days faster on average thanks to the high number of prospective buyers.   

Timing the Real Estate Market Just Right

Timing the Real Estate Market Just Right

Trends in the residential real estate market aren’t just limited to the state or city level. Your neighborhood may also have its own set of unique factors which means that the best times for you to sell may differ. For example, the peak market season for homes in many beachside communities is summer. Contact your local realtor for some free yet valuable advice on the best times to sell in your neighborhood. But before you try to time your local housing market, there are a few things you should do first. 

2. Choose the Right Real Estate Agent 

Many moving parts come together to make a successful sale, and a realtor is perhaps the most important of them all. So be sure to do plenty of research on the realtors in your area to see which one best fits what you are looking for. If possible, seek out referrals from friends and family. This is a surefire way to verify a realtor’s experience, and an established track record is a good sign. A real estate agent who’s been around the block a few times will be better able to give you plenty of information on real estate trends in your area. This is integral to helping you time your sale and will give you a better idea of what the most competitive price is for your property.   

Once you find a real estate agent that looks like a good fit for you, set up an appointment. A crucial part of choosing a realtor is finding one you can establish a transparent dialogue with. A good real estate agent should also be a good conversationalist. Negotiation is a big part of the job, after all, so feel free to ask whatever questions you like during the meeting. Establishing a rapport with an agent is a good pathway to success. It’s also a good idea to have a list of goals written out so you can communicate them to your realtor. Once a real estate agent has heard your terms, they will give you a proposal. If you agree to go forward, the next step will be a listing agreement. 

Choosing the Right Agent Is An Important Part of Selling Your Home

Choosing the Right Agent Is An Important Part of Selling Your Home

As you go through the agreement, be sure to ask questions about anything you aren’t clear on. A professional realtor will be happy to help clear up any confusion. Having a good rapport with your real estate agent is a two-way street, so be sure to tell your agent about anything that might need to be disclosed to buyers. This will keep the selling process running smoothly and avoid any unexpected legal issues. At the end of the day, if you don’t feel like you can trust a potential real estate agent, that’s probably a sign to move on to someone else. When selling a house, your gut feeling is often your most valuable intuition. Selling a house is a big step, so don’t be shy about wanting the best realtor for the job.     

3. Prepare Your House for Open House

Before prepping your house for open house day, you might want to attend someone else’s open house. This can be helpful research for organizing your open house day, especially when it comes to noting the things homeowners often forget. As any experienced real estate agent will tell you, staging your home is a very important part of the home selling process. When potential buyers come into your home, they should be able to form an emotional connection with your home’s aesthetic. They need to be able to see their future home in yours, and envision their family living and interacting in this new abode. Completing all the items on this home staging checklist will give you the best chance of success on open house day. 

Cleanup

This means clearing out the junk as well as cleaning up the house. Purge your home of any unnecessary clutter and knickknacks, and hide anything unsightly like a garbage can. The goal is to make your home’s layout clean and simple, like a blank canvas. Try to depersonalize your home as much as possible, as someone else’s personal items can make it hard for a potential buyer to imagine themselves in your space. You also want your home to be as clean as possible, so be sure to wipe things down to the last detail.

The Drastic Effect On Customers a Thorough Decluttering Session Can Have

The Drastic Effect On Customers a Thorough Decluttering Session Can Have

Maximize Curb Appeal

The housing market is one of those places where a book is absolutely judged by its cover. There are quite a few simple DIY projects you can do which will measurably increase your home’s curb appeal and make it look more inviting from the outside. Focus on sprucing up your entryway with a new door, a fresh coat of paint, or some refreshed house numbers. Keeping up with lawn maintenance will keep the yard looking healthy, and adding a few exterior lights will make your home look more inviting still. These home exterior hacks are crucial and will also increase your home’s value

Maximize Your Curb Appeal In Time For Open House

Maximize Your Curb Appeal In Time For Open House

Take Good Photos and Share Them Everywhere

Having a good social media strategy is a great way to attract more buyers. You should consider hiring a professional photographer so you can capture the best angles of your home. Once you have made some snappy pics, it’s time to spread the word. Sharing pictures of your home on real estate websites and social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube will give your home the most visibility.

Professional Photos Go A Long Way When Selling Your Home

Professional Photos Go A Long Way When Selling Your Home

FAQ

Selling my house without a realtor?

It is possible to sell your home without a realtor, it just requires you to do more. In addition to the usual home-staging preparations and market timing, you’ll need to take care of things an agent would have done for you. That means buying a listing on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), finding the most competitive price, negotiating, and reading up on local laws to make sure you comply.  

Can I sell my house after refinancing? 

In most cases, the answer to this question is yes; you can sell your house immediately after refinancing. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If your mortgage contract included an owner-occupancy clause, you will need to wait for the clause to expire before selling. Some owner-occupancy clauses are set to expire in 6-12 months, whereas others do not have an expiration date. Your mortgage contract may also have a prepayment penalty clause. This means that a costly penalty fee may apply if you sell your house too soon after refinancing. Normally, your mortgage company should be upfront about these conditions.

Do I have to pay capital gains tax when I sell my home?

Yes and no. If your profit (from the increase in home value in the time you owned it) from the sale exceeds IRS thresholds, you will have to pay capital gains. But you could stand to pay a lot less if you check off certain boxes. If you are single, you can be exempt from paying capital gains tax on the first $250,000. Married couples that file jointly can be exempt on the first $500,000. However, this exemption is only allowed once every two years. If your profit from selling your home doesn’t exceed the IRS thresholds, you won’t be required to pay capital gains tax. 

Should I remodel before selling my house? 

Do You Need to Remodel Before Selling Your Home

Do You Need to Remodel Before Selling Your Home

While a home remodeling project is a great way to increase your home’s value, it certainly isn’t a requirement for selling your home. Having said that, remodeling your home does have some significant benefits when it comes to selling. You’ll be able to boost curb appeal, attract more buyers, and sell your home sooner. So sprucing up your home can make it easier to sell, but a few small projects are usually better than a huge renovation. So, for best results, keep remodeling changes small and focused and hire a professional to get the job done well and fast.  

Will I need a home inspector?

In some cases, a contract between you and a buyer will carry a clause that states the contract isn’t valid until the buyer can have a home inspector check the property’s condition. Nevertheless, it won’t hurt to hire your own inspector to have your home checked out. Getting your home inspected will help you to uncover any potential issues long before a sale is made. That will help you plan your remodeling and keep you out of hot water.  

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team

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