We’ve all heard how stressful a traditional home sale can be (especially if you're selling and buying at the same time) from the endless open houses to intense price negotiations.
The good news is that with just a bit of preparation, you can avoid many of these obstacles. In light of that, we’ve brought you the ultimate home selling checklist so that you can be ahead of the curve.
Many home sellers choose to work with a real estate agent who can guide them through the process. If you’re on the hunt for an agent, remember that not all real estate agents are created equal. Here’s how to pick a top real estate agent:
☐ Make a list of candidates
Ask friends and family for any recommendations.
Look at active listings in your area to identify local agents.
☐ Rank your candidates
Read online reviews.
Look for awards or disciplinary actions.
Check if their past listings are similar to your home.
☐ Meet your potential agents
Ask them about properties for sale in the area to gauge their local knowledge.
Get their opinion on what you will need to do for your home in order to sell.
Ask about their fee and what services are included.
While home buyers are usually prepared to handle minor repairs, some issues might just scare them away. That’s why it’s often a good idea to assess the condition of your before listing. Here are some areas to look out:
☐ Walls and ceilings
Look for any signs of water damage or leaking.
Check for nail pops, cracks, chips, or other finishing details.
Look for discoloration, stains, or abrasion on paint.
Check wallpaper for lifting.
Check for areas of excessive wear or damage.
Look for stains or discoloration on carpeting.
Check for any cracks or damage to window panes.
Ensure all windows properly open and close.
Feel for drafts or signs of air escaping.
Verify all windows have functional locks or latches.
Examine window screens for holes or damage.
☐ Lighting & electrical
Verify all light switches and power outlets function, including those with reset switches.
Look for any exposed wiring or damaged electrical boxes.
☐ Water & plumbing
Check faucets for dripping or leaking, including bathtubs, showers, and outdoor taps.
Test drain function.
Ensure toilets flush normally.
Verify sinks are properly sealed to countertops.
Look for damage to sidewalks, driveways, or patio.
Check your yard for bare spots, overgrowth, and drainage issues.
Examine wood decks for split boards, bowing, or structural damage to supports or railings.
Check fences and gates for damage.
3. Make repairs
Consider tackling any home buying red flags before they even become an issue. In order to decide what to fix and what to leave as-is, consult your real estate agent and consider getting a pre-listing home inspection.
Tip: Want to just focus on repairs that will help you get top dollar? When you work with Orchard, we'll evaluate your home and suggest repairs that will get your home sold.
4. Prepare for listing
Don’t forget to do some decluttering and deep cleaning to boost your home’s appeal to buyers. Many sellers also choose to make upgrades to their home so it can make the best first impression possible.
Upgrade: Do you have any unusual or controversial wall colors? If so, consider painting them with neutral colors instead.
Touch up any paint damage to walls, doors, baseboards, and frames.
Upgrade: Do you have old or worn carpeting that should be replaced?
Upgrade: Do your hardwood floors need to be resurfaced?
Do you have area rugs that need freshening or replacing?
Consider removing them if there is suitable flooring underneath.
☐ Windows & doors
Clean the inside and outside of the window glass.
Remove and clean all screens.
☐ Knickknacks & decorations
Remove as many personal items as possible, including family photos.
Store children’s toys in an organized fashion and pack away the non-essentials.
Is all exterior paint in good condition?
Are flower beds and gardens orderly and weed-free?
Is your lawn well-maintained and tidy?
Are you storing any items outdoor that should be discarded?
☐ Cupboards & closets
Start pre-packing for your move by decluttering your storage areas, including:
Remove some furniture to open up the room.
Rearrange and staging your home to be more inviting.
Now it’s officially time for you and your agent to put your home on the market. While you want to maximize your profit, keep in mind that competitively-priced homes tend to sell quickly, while overpriced properties usually spend more time on the market.
☐ Decide on price
Ask your agent for a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).
Research current market trends.
Seller’s market? That competition may help you get top dollar for your home.
Buyer’s market? To attract buyers, you may have to lower your list price.
Calculate your break-even point: how much you need from the home sale to cover your mortgage balance, real estate commissions, and closing costs
Factor in the cost of any repairs that the buyer will need to make.
Get professional estimates to calculate this expense accurately.
Once the offers start rolling in, you’ll enter the negotiation process. It can take a lot of back and forth to finalize the details of an offer, especially if you and your potential buyer aren’t on the same page.
☐ Be ready for offers
Decide the price range and contract conditions that you’re willing to accept. That way, you can speed up the negotiation process later on.
Wait for your buyer as they finalize the details of their mortgage.
Sign all paperwork at closing and celebrate your home sale!
At Orchard, we have one goal: to simplify your home sale. That means removing the hassle and uncertainty that comes with the traditional process, from costly repairs to contingent offers. We can also make repairs to sell your home for top-dollar and help maximize your profit. Get started here.
Free download: Your guide to buying while you sell
Say goodbye to the days of needing to sell your home before buying a new one. There’s an easier way, and our FREE guide breaks down how it can work for you.
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