The Basics of Selling a Home
The process of selling your home can differ from state to state. Before putting your house on the market, there are some important steps you must take to get the most from your investment and to protect your interests.
Step One Get pre-approved to buy another house before you sign a contract to sell your own home. If your financial situation changed since your last purchase, it’s possible that you may no longer qualify for another loan. You may also be unable to sell your house for a price that will allow you to buy another house you want. This way, you won’t end up renting or buying a house you don’t really want. When applying for a pre-approval, be sure the lender discloses the estimated costs required for you to purchase a new home, such as: the loan price, down payment, new insurance, title and inspections fees.
Step Two Call your lender to check the mortgage pay off and calculate the estimated proceeds. First, you will need to subtract the mortgage pay off from the fair market value of your home. Second, you will need to subtract the costs to sell your home from the remainder in order to get an idea of the proceeds you can expect to be paid at closing.
Step Three Determine your home fair market value. Most real estate agents will gladly help you determine the market value as a courtesy and may also give you helpful hints to what you can do to increase the value of your house. You may also consider hiring a licensed appraiser, which you will have to pay for out of pocket, to perform an appraisal on the subject property.
Professional appraisers will provide you with a detailed report that will usually include: the neighboring property values in comparison to your own, an evaluation of the real estate market in your area, harmful issues to the property’s value and any defective qualities.
Step Four Estimate what it will cost you to sell your house. If you are using a real estate agent, you may have to pay their commission. If you are planning to sell by owner, then you must consider the advertising, signs, attorney fees, closing agents and other possible fees involved. These other fees may include: appraisal, inspections, surveys, taxes and home owner association fees. Real estate agents can give you a more precise estimate of the closing costs and any other fees that may be involved. Real estate agents are professionals that deal with these transactions every day and can prove to be a valuable asset to you.
Step Five Make repairs. Whether these repairs can be done by you or by hiring a contractor, they should be completed. If there are too many repairs that need to be done, your home will be considered a fixer upper. You want to get the most out of your house and dissuade potential buyers from submitting insultingly low offers. These repairs can range from fixing a broken window, adding a fresh coat of paint, replacing or repairing the flooring, to spackling a hole in the wall. The larger repairs may include fixing a damaged roof or repairing damaged siding. Other issues that can deter a potential buyer is mold and mildew stains and odors, leaky basements, lead based paint, broken gutters, location or type of circuit breaker, plumbing problems and old or faulty electrical wiring.
Step Six Before you show your house, do some spring cleaning, regardless of what season it actually is. Organize your shelves and closets, wash the crayons off the wall, dust off the blinds and window sills, clean away the cob webs and wash all windows and appliances. You will want to make everything as spotless as possible and remove any offensive odors and clear the clutter. You will need to present your home in a clean and appealing way to the potential buyers.
You may also need to work on the exterior part of the house by scraping and painting porches and windows or maintaining an appealing lawn. You can also add low maintenance decorative flowering plants and shrubs to dress up your yard.
Now that your home is ready to show, make it accessible to real estate agents with potential buyers at all times. Most buyers feel more comfortable being shown a house when the owner is not present. If you decide to take a walk while your house is being showed, make a note to the agent if there are any pets on the premises. You will want to be sure that your cat doesn’t get out the door or that your dog is securely locked up in a crate or in the back yard. You want everything to go as smoothly as possible.