Thinking of selling your home and moving?
Get started early!
After 24 years in the mortgage and real estate industry, I’ve heard many stories, and experienced first-hand the joys, frustrations, anxiety and overwhelm people can go through when they sell their current home and purchase a new one. Although the end result is to benefit them and their families, the process of getting there can be difficult.
Although the Central Texas real estate market is still very strong and healthy, I have heard recently from numerous Realtor professionals that the “frenzy” of multiple offers, bidding wars and unending pricing increases is slowing and coming to an end. Gone for now may be the days of being able to put a sign in the yard and expect a line to form of eager and desperate buyers who don’t care what your home looks like. Prices will need to be in line with the market and other similar homes which have sold recently in and around your neighborhood.
Preparing your home to put on the market is a very important step, and one that can take some time, especially if you’ve lived there a while. It is human nature to get used to our surroundings, and begin to stop noticing the little things around the house that need attention. However, a potential buyer and their Realtor will be sure to notice these things, and having the home properly prepared for showings can make the difference between getting attractive offers or having the buyers pass on your home and go to the next one on the market.
- Curb appeal: Drive up to your home as if you were a stranger seeing it for the first time. Is the yard well-kept and maintained – leaves raked, etc? Does the home look well maintained and cared for? Does it need painting? What about the landscaping – does it have attractive flower beds with color & fresh mulch in them? Is your roof in good shape, and is it clean and free of accumulated leaves, etc?
- Interior first impression: Walk in through your front door – how does the home smell? You may want to get a friend to help you who doesn’t live there. Again, sometimes we can get used to the way our own home looks and smells. If you have pets, if you smoke in the home, etc, you may be unaware that your home has an unpleasant odor. This can really turn prospective buyers off. A whiff of fresh paint is nice!
- Bright and cheery or dark and gloomy? Making sure your home is light and inviting, with lots of light (natural is preferred) can really make a difference to a prospective buyer. A fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling, plus brighter bulbs in the fixtures can make your home more inviting. However, more light can and will also show dirt, unfinished projects and deferred maintenance more clearly too. For example, look at your flooring & baseboards – do they need replacing, cleaning, painting, caulking, etc? Again, looking at your home with fresh eyes will help you see what needs to be done.
- Furniture and clutter is a killer! Many of us tend to accumulate things over time, the longer we are in a home. We can acquire pieces of furniture, books, clothes, toys, electronics, etc. These things can over time begin to crowd the home and make it look cluttered. Many Realtors advise that “Less is more” in this area. Getting rid of excess furniture, going through closets and storage areas to cull through things you won’t be taking to the next house is well worth the time and effort. Prospective buyers may have different decorating tastes than you, and with fewer items in the home, they can picture their own furniture and style in the home. Although time consuming and sometimes tedious to go through your closets, home, storage, etc and get rid of as much stuff as you can, even putting the keepsakes in storage, can do wonders for opening up your home. It also makes it look bigger, which is always a good thing!
- Need money for all this? Sometimes the cost of these preparations can be costly, especially if you hire out the work. If you are a DIY expert, you may be able to do some or all of these projects yourself. However, sometimes it helps to bring in professionals who can save you time and make your home look great. A home equity loan or home equity line of credit can help with some of these costs. However, please know that lenders will typically not approve a home equity loan or any kind of refinance if your home is listed for sale. Some have lengthy waiting periods after taking your property off the market before they will consider a home equity loan or other refinance. Therefore, if you believe you will want or need to get some sort of loan on your home or access some of your equity, it is best to complete this prior to putting your home on the market.
Because some of these tasks can take quite a while and sometimes cost money, it is much better to get them done well before you approach the date you plan to put your home on the market. Getting in a rush at the last minute and feeling pressure to list your home for sale before it’s properly prepared can hurt you in the long run, as excellent prospective buyers may pass your home by, causing you to miss the opportunity.
I hope these tips and suggestions will help you and those you know when they begin thinking of selling their home. I’d love to help your friends, family or co-workers with their financing if they plan to purchase or refinance their home – please keep me in mind.
Thanks so much – I’m grateful for your support!
photo attribution CC by 2.0 Mark Moz