If you're getting ready to put your house on the market, your mind is probably flooded with dozens of unanswerable questions. Much of your uncertainty may revolve around the marketability of your home and how quickly a qualified buyer will come along.
Although there are factors over which you have little control, there are several things you can do to tip the scales in your direction.
Other than sprucing up your home and yard to maximize their visual appeal, choosing a top-notch real estate agent is the single most important step you can take. It's not only crucial to select an agent who is both experienced and proactive, but you'll also want to find a professional with whom you have a good rapport. You can usually get a pretty good idea of their experience and sales history from online profiles, but the only way to know whether they're a good fit for your needs and personality is by meeting with them face to face.
If you have the time and inclination, it can also be to your advantage to interview more than one candidate. The agent you ultimately choose will have a direct bearing on virtually all aspects of the sales process. By choosing a professional who is dedicated, knowledgeable, and easy to work with, you'll be taking a big step toward getting your house sold within the shortest period of time. A good agent will keep you motivated, informed, and focused on keeping your home in marketable condition. They'll also help you with everything from pricing and negotiating to problem solving and setting up appointments.
There are several other things you can do to increase the chances of attracting potential buyers and offers. Creating as much curb appeal as possible can go a long way toward making a great first impression. The concept of curb appeal can encompass many different elements, but the battle is half won when your lawn, bushes, and trees are kept neatly trimmed at all times. Weather permitting, displaying colorful potted flowers and hanging baskets is another way to add a lot of eye appeal to your home. Simple improvements like painting your front steps, sealcoating your driveway, or touching up the paint on window shutters or porch railings can also help enhance your home's curb appeal.
Although interior painting can be time-consuming and a bit messy, it's often one of the most cost-effective ways to make a positive impression on potential buyers. If your walls are looking scuffed, faded, or otherwise neglected, a fresh coat of neutral, beige, or grey paint can often make a huge difference in the eye-appeal of your home. Making sure your carpets are clean, counter tops are immaculate, and your windows are crystal clear are other ways to put your best foot forward when house hunters are scheduled to visit your home.
Even though most of the details of selling your home are usually handled by other people -- hopefully competent professionals -- it still can be a stressful experience.
Major life changes are a "mixed bag" when it comes to the effect they have on your mental equilibrium. On one hand, change can open up new doors of opportunity and give you a fresh lease on life. On the other hand, it forces you to step out of your comfort zone and deal with the element of unpredictability.
While every situation is different and there's no panacea for the stress that accompanies life transitions, here are a few strategies that will help make the road less bumpy.
- Choose an experienced real estate agent or Realtor who will provide the guidance, day-to-day support, and expertise you need to avoid many of the pitfalls and frustrations of selling a house. If you know you're in good hands, you'll have less of a tendency to worry about how things are going. The ideal real estate agent will instill confidence in you, provide you with regular progress reports, and do everything they can to make sure the sales process and other logistics keep moving forward and staying on track. They'll also provide you with good advice on how to effectively stage your home to improve its marketability.
- Go with the flow. Accept the fact that you'll need to keep your home immaculately clean, every day, to make the best possible impression on prospective buyers. There are also plenty of other tasks and challenges you'll have to deal with along the way. Sometimes it helps to remind yourself of the famous serenity prayer written by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr back in the 1930's: "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
- Get enough sleep every night: Nothing undermines one's coping ability, patience, and resourcefulness more than struggling against a sleep deficit. Getting enough sleep, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of eight hours a night, is more crucial to one's physical and mental well-being than many people realize. When you prioritize getting a full night's sleep, you'll generally be able to think more clearly, keep setbacks in their proper perspective, and do a better job of rolling with the changes.
Honesty is the best policy when you’re selling your home. There can be messy legal consequences when it comes to not disclosing problems contained within your home. If you’re unsure if you should disclose something, you probably should reveal it. Legally, here’s what you’ll need to be concerned about in your home as a seller:
A Death On The Property
Some would refer to these as “emotional defects.” A murder, suicide or violent crime occurred on the property most likely needs to be disclosed. If a death is more than 3 years old, it may not need to be discussed. If a buyer asks about it however, even crimes that occurred on the property more than 3 years ago must be exposed.
The Use Of Lead Paint
This is a must when it comes to seller disclosures. Any homes built before 1978 must have a lead paint disclosure signed. This is a federal law that applies to every state. Even if lead paint has been removed, the former presence of it must be revealed. If you are completely unaware of lead paint issues, you aren’t legally required to provide the information. In this area, it’s best to be honest.
There truly is no disclosure too big or too small when it comes to selling your home. You may not think of paranormal activity as something you must reveal, but everything is important. If you believe your house is haunted or if an exorcism has been done to the home, buyers should know about it. Many states have laws that include the obligation to disclose all known facts about a home. Even if you think it’s a silly issue, it could be important to discuss with potential buyers.
Property Drainage Issues
If your basement gets flooded or your backyard gets standing water, you need to expose that in the disclosure. Even if you believe an issue has been fixed, adding what has been done to documents can help to save you legal trouble later on. If you believe an issue has been resolved, at least the buyer has the information on hand as to what they might expect.
Sellers are required by law to disclose any pest issue or infestation. Any types of creatures that have been found in the home like bedbugs, snakes, mice, or bats are an issue that must be shown on the disclosure. Even if the building has had the pests but you have not personally seen them, it’s a good idea to tell buyers about it to cover yourself.
Disputes With Neighbors
It’s wise to disclose neighborly disputes with potential buyers. This is especially true if it involves your property lines and fences. Even small issues can become big ones, so it’s always best to reveal them upfront.