Getting Ready to Sell your Home? 4 Key Things to do First
At some point in everyone’s life, that urge to find a new house hits. Whether it’s the nearby garage band that practices at all hours or the urge to live in that neighborhood that always seemed perfect, you start daydreaming of “For Sale” signs.
While the prompt is usually emotional, buying a new house is an expensive and stressful process. Lower your stress and keep costs in check by getting a few pieces in place before starting your search for a new home.
Take a hard look at your finances- According to Money Magazine, you should be working on getting your credit score in order months before you start circling pictures of houses in the paper. Get a copy of your credit score and clean up any issues ahead of time. At the same time, enter your information into a house affordability calculator. Buying a house that’s too expensive can leave you in a financial situation that’s even more expensive to get out of.
Price out using a real estate agent against doing it yourself- While many people think they can avoid the costs of hiring outside help, you can pay in the long run if you underestimate the work involved. Real estate agents can help you with everything from deciding when to put your house on the market to properly pricing it. If you do want to sell your own home, start in on the legwork. Research home pricing trends and successful marketing channels in your area and figure out how much time and money you’ll have to invest to get your home sold.
Price out renovation costs- Even if you’ve recently renovated your home to your exacting specifications, it’s likely you’ll have to make a few more changes. A free consultation won’t cost you a penny, but will arm you for the negotiations to come. In addition to making some updates to boost your sale price, you’ll get information even for those things you DON’T upgrade. That gives you an edge in negotiations; you’ll have documentation on what a fair price for that furnace replacement or new kitchen counter would be before you even start talks.
Gather any helpful papers- Get together everything a real estate agent or interested buyer may want: property assessments, renovation receipts, warranties, appliance manuals, recent utility bills (with your personal information blocked out), paint chips. Put them all in a binder, and tuck them in a kitchen or desk drawer. You’ll have everything you need at hand, and you’ll save yourself trying to track them down in the mess of moving.
It’s easy to let that stunning, state-of-the-art kitchen and airy layout blind you to the realities of your home sale, but getting a plan in place beforehand can cut down on much of the stress and hidden costs in finding a new home.