Seller's Timeline: Getting the Most Out of Your Home

Seller's Timeline: Getting the Most Out of Your Home

Preparing to Sell a Home While there are certainly instances when the decision to sell a home happens quickly and there is little time for careful plans and preparations, rushing a home to market is not an ideal situation.

In fact, putting a home on the market without considering the home's condition, appearance and even the season of the year can result in longer market time, increased stress during the sale, and a lower final sales price than a home that has been thoughtfully and carefully prepared.

If you are planning to sell your home and want to enjoy the smoothest, most profitable home selling experience possible, a detailed timeline, like the one below, can be a great place to begin. 

Step 1: Interview and Hire a High-Energy Real Estate Professional

Hiring the best possible real estate professional is the easiest way to smooth and simplify the process. Their knowledge, experience and market expertise as you prepare the home for sale may even keep you from making expensive mistakes. Look for an agent that:

  • knows the local housing market and has a successful record of selling homes like yours
  • is known to be responsive to their clients and interested in helping them succeed
  • understands the importance of preparing the home for market and is willing to advise their listing clients accordingly 

Once you have found a real estate professional that fits these parameters, invite them to discuss the market and identify any condition or appearance issues to be addressed before actively listing the home for sale.

Walk with them and take careful notes as they go through every room and examine the exterior, as well. Make a list of repairs to be done and any cleaning or decorating ideas they think will enhance the home's marketability. 

Step 2: Determine the Best Time to Actively Put Your Home on the Market

Another important part of the home selling process is planning when to actually place the home on the market. In many areas, weather and other factors, such as major holidays, can have a profound effect on real estate market activity. For example, if your area typically has very harsh weather in January or many families leave for vacations in July, those two months are not ideal times for a newly listed home to hit the market.

Ask your real estate professional to help choose a listing date that will place your home on the market when buyer activity levels are typically highest in the area. 

Step 3: Use Input From Your Real Estate Professional 

Use the time before actively listing your home for sale to make any repairs necessary, and ensure that all cleaning, decluttering and landscaping chores are completed before marketing photography is done and well before the first showing is scheduled. Making the best possible first impression is extremely important, especially when the competition for buyers is fierce. 

As you begin making repairs and improvements to get your home ready for market, remember that some improvements pay off well during a home sale and some do not. For example, trading out worn or mismatched appliances, replacing soiled carpeting and adding fresh paint are all good examples of modestly priced home improvements that should be considered to help your home compete well.

More expensive or custom improvements, such as adding a swimming pool, or completely gutting and redoing the kitchen or bath, should generally be avoided because they will likely cost more than they will add to the sales price of your home. 

Step 4: Price the Home Correctly 

One of the most important parts of marketing a home successfully is pricing it correctly for the local market place. If the price is too high, buyers will gravitate away from it because they are able to find better values in other homes. On the other hand, if you price it too low, you risk losing out on profit unnecessarily, or even worse, having buyers avoid it because they feel the home must have something wrong with it. 

The best way to price a home with pin-point accuracy and ensure maximum buyer interest is to have your real estate professional prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA). These detailed studies use similar recently listed, pending and sold homes to establish the price range your home belongs in, based on comparable size, age, area, features and amenities.

In addition, a carefully prepared CMA can offer valuable insight into what features and amenities buyers are searching for and how long your home will likely take to sell. 

Step 5: Put Your Home on the Market 

If you have followed this plan and completed all of its steps through step four, step five will be easy - just list the home for sale and get ready for the right offer! 

There is quite a bit to do before buyers even know your home is on the market, but all of this preparation can pay off in a big way.


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