1. If you are planning to sell this year, list your property now! Don’t wait for the grass and flowers to bloom. Many owners will plan to put their homes on the market in April/May when they feel the spring market will maximize their sale price. At that point, with many more homes in competition and possibly higher interest rates, prices may be impacted. Many buyers are beginning their home search now to avoid rising interest rates (which are predicted to rise to 5 percent+ by end of 2014), so listing now allows a homeowner to possibly experience multiple bidding for their home because of tighter inventories and a higher ultimate net. Also if you are planning to trade up you will be in an excellent negotiating position having already gone to contract on your old house with closing ready once your new home has been decided on – and you will have more homes to choose from in those spring months!
2. Consider doing pre-sale inspections before you put your home on the market. This way you can be confident in the “product” you are selling and won’t be surprised by a buyer’s inspection or title report when it can cost you unexpected dollars.
A pre-sale termite inspection will give you a chance to treat and repair any damage. You can also market the home with a one-year warranty showing the home is pest-free – definitely a plus. A pre-sale home inspection can uncover areas of your home with deferred maintenance. You can decide, with contractor estimates, what you would want to repair. Just know these costs to repair are usually much less than what the buyer will calculate and “negotiate” off their original bid.
Marketing your home with a home warranty policy – which covers the basic systems of the house and appliances for one year – eases buyers’ fears of unexpected repair costs. Homes marketed with a home warranty usually sell faster and for 2-3 percent higher price than other homes.
Ordering a preliminary title report as you prepare to sell can identify any outstanding liens on your property, ie. Tax, sidewalk, contractor etc. You might also check what shows on the report as far as certificate of occupancy and work permits filed for improvements/additions to the home. In this beginning stage of your moving process you can have these issues taken care of before they cost you time and money. Title issues are usually identified only right before closing.
3. Stage your home to sell! First impressions count so consider your curb appeal starting from the outside and moving inside. Declutteirng, cleaning, creating inviting spaces with well-lit rooms and appealing color is important as you have just minutes to impress the buyer.
4. List your home with an experienced agent. A Wall Street Journal article (9/12/2013) highlighted a study showing “veteran agents sell homes for an average of 12% more than less experienced agents.” -
5. Be sure your home is listed on your local multiple listing service. Benefit from the widest exposure possible and generate multiple bidding for your home. This way you can choose the buyer with the best combination of price and terms – and have back-up bids should the first buyer hesitate. This puts you in a position of strength.