Preparing To Sell a Home? – Some Practical Advice
Remove all Obstacles for Buyers
Title: Clear Title is required for property to change hands. It is important that all sellers on the title are included on a sales contract. If your agent does not have the correct names of all owners on title in the original listing, a contract offer to purchase could be voided due to incomplete and inaccurate information. If owners on title are out of state, out of the country, deployed, ill, or otherwise unavailable to sign or unwilling to sell, the sale could be tied up indefinitely. If another person has a claim to ownership – legitimate or not – the title could be considered to have a “cloud on title” and the sale could be blocked or delayed. Before the house is put on the market, make sure ownership is established and straightforward. If an owner on the title can not be present at closing to sign the documents, a Power of Attorney must be executed. In most cases, this is a specific, one-time POA created for the real estate transaction and must be done on the appropriate form from the Title Company. Consult your title insurance provider or an attorney if there are extenuating circumstances.
Liens: It is also important that there are no liens on the title due to unpaid or uncollected real estate or taxes, past due Federal or state income tax liens, contractor or mechanical liens.
Declutter: In preparation for a sale – even if it is six months down the line – reduce your belongings to essentials, valuables, your best furniture, artwork you intend to keep for the long haul, and personal keepsakes. Consider donating or selling anything that won’t fit or match in your next home, anything that you have outgrown, and definitely anything that you moved in to your current home that never left the attic!
Your real estate agent can connect you with agencies that routinely pick up donations and provide tax receipts.
Make Repairs: Consider having a home inspection for your own informational purposes. Your real estate agent can help you get a preferred rate for this “pre-inspecton.” You can avoid many contractual points of negotiation completely by assuring that your major systems, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, appliances, and materials are all in good working order. This is also the time to replace that torn up screen door and repair the leaking faucet.
Consider Minor Upgrades: There are some things you have always wanted to do but didn’t want to commit the time or the money. If ever there was a time to recoup a small investment, this is it. Shop for specials and discounts on carpet, appliances, and painting. Consult with your real estate agent about ROI (Return on Investment) of specific upgrades in your area. You’ll be surprised at what a difference cosmetics can make in the overall impression of your home – this will increase your audience of buyers and result in a larger net gain in the end.
Visit Local Open Houses: Visiting local Open Houses is a great way to get motivated! But more importantly a way to see for yourself what stands out – good and bad - in a home marketed for sale.
Have a Game Plan for Contingencies: Begin exploring the different scenarios for the sale of your home. Will you be prepared if the house sells right away, if it takes a long time to sell, or sells with extenuating circumstances? Transferring property involves a lot of people and sometimes another transaction (buyer is selling or renting a home to buy yours-or you are selling your home to purchase another – and that seller is selling to purchase another – you get the idea! ) The dates often work out with a lot of planning and diligence from the professionals involved. But sometimes just one hiccup – financial, emotional, weather, logistical – can throw the entire domino stack out of balance. Have a Plan B for a temporary living situation, storage, or both. Consult your real estate agent for contingency plans that will work for you.
Be Open to and Use Constructive Feedback: We all have emotional ties to our homes – memories, sweat equity, and a personal connection to the “real estate.” Try to remember that selling your home is a business transaction, and that agents and service professionals offer feedback and opinions in the interest of helping you market and sell your home.
Selling a home takes planning, patience, and a professional partner. The Selling Edge is a team of realtors dedicated to giving Northern Virginia home owners the insights and knowledge to sell their homes with confidence. Visit our page for upcoming webinars and insights on how to prepare your home to market and sell.