Step 1. Pricing. Pricing your home is challenging. As the seller, you’ve invested in your home over the years through improvements. You expect to receive a return on the improvements you made. You have an idea of the value of your home and your absolute lowest selling price. The challenge is finding the price a buyer will pay for your home. Besides a buyer, you also need to sell the home to the appraiser who works with the bank or mortgage company to finance the home.
To find a competitive price your realtor will show you comparable reports of homes that sold in your neighborhood. The comparable report matches similar style, rooms, and size of sold homes to your home. Your SRES will also compare features of your home to the sold homes. For example, you can ask for a higher price if you recently remodeled a kitchen or bathroom or installed new windows. Keep in mind that not all improvements raise the price. For example, replacing a furnace is an expectation of the buyer and won’t necessarily raise the selling price. However, a new furnace is a selling feature when comparing a home with an outdated one.
Your realtor will also give you a net sheet report which shows the estimated amount you will receive when your house closes minus all the expenses. It is best to receive several selling price points to help you make your pricing decision. Ask for price points at most improved, moderately improved, and “as is”.
Most improved homes sell for a higher amount and include recent remodels such as bathrooms and kitchens. Homes priced in the moderately improved category sell middle range and include painting and older upgrades. Finally, many seniors who need to move in a hurry sell their home “as is” when there is no time or money to complete repairs or improvements.
Step 2. Prepare your home for sale. Often referred to as Staging, you want to prepare your home to highlight its best features before taking pictures. Unless you are selling your home “as is”, most buyers expect a move-in ready home. You can help the buyer by preparing your home well. Staging involves looking at your home from the eyes of a buyer and trying to appeal to the most buyers possible. You can do staging yourself, hire an interior designer or staging professional, or you can use an Accredited Staging Professional Realtor.
Staging involves three simple steps. The first step is to declutter your home. Pack and discard items to create as much open space as possible. You want your buyer to imagine their items in the room. Remove anything specific to your personal, cultural, religious, or political views. .
The next step of staging is repair, replace, paint, and clean. In this stage, you want to restore or upgrade your home to highlight its features. Hire a professional for jobs too large or extensive for you to complete. Ask a handyman to do minor repairs first. For bigger projects, contact a contractor. Remember that some forms of financing like FHA have strict requirements for the condition of your home. Your realtor can advise you of these.
Once repairs are complete, consider a fresh coat of paint throughout. Neutral colors are best like white or light gray. Paint is a low cost way to greatly improve the appearance and value of your home. Next complete a thorough cleaning of your home. Remove odors from pets or smoking.
Remember the outside too. Curb appeal draws the buyer to want to see the inside. Keep the lawn and shrubs trimmed. In the winter, keep the snow shoveled. During the holidays, minimize decorations to respect a buyer who may have different beliefs from you.
Finally, accessorize, but not too much. Remember, you want a lot of open space for the buyer to imagine personalizing the room. Walk through and imagine each room at its best. Look at the purpose of the room and arrange furniture to highlight the best feature. For example, if the room has a great view, position the furniture towards the view. Highlight the special feature of each room by adding some accessories. Accessorize in groupings of odd numbers, 3 is best. For example, 3 pillows on the couch or 3 pieces of art on the wall.
Step 3. Show your home. When the time comes to show your home, it is best to leave. This allows the buyer to fully experience your home. It also prevents the buyer from asking you questions or possibly offending you. There are two types of showings, an open house or by appointment. Work with your SRES to choose the best showing option for your home.
Step 4. Negotiate. Your Realtor or SRES can help negotiate the best deal for you. While price is important, you may choose a deal on other terms. For example, you may choose terms such as closing quickly or on a specific date over price. Your SRES can help you decide the best deal based on your goals and needs. It is always best to have an attorney review all contracts before accepting an offer. Part of the negotiation process usually includes passing a successful home inspection. Check your contract for details about responding to the home inspection report and making repairs.
Step 5. Closing the deal. Once the terms are accepted, the closing process begins. A closing typically takes around 45 to 60 days but this varies depending on the activity in your market. Financing, appraisal, and title work are completed during the closing process. Once all of these are met, the closing will be scheduled, usually at the title or attorney’s office. At closing, documents are signed, money is exchanged, and the keys are turned over to the new buyer.
Step 6. Packing and Moving. Now that the transaction is complete, you’re ready to move. If you prepared your home well for selling, the hard part is done. During the declutter phase, you sorted and packed away items you’ll use in your new home. If you didn’t do this step, you’ll want to sort your items for packing and moving. A recommendation is to sort by keep, donate, and throw away. Many seniors prefer to use moving companies who will help with packing. Your SRES can give you names of reputable movers in your local area. Remember to contact organizations, friends, and family about your new address. As you plan your move, develop a list of the organizations you need to contact about the sale of your house and change of address.
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