Selling your home for your desired price isn’t as simple as sticking a ‘For Sale’ sign in your front yard and signing a few papers. If you want to get top dollar for your home, you’ll want to consider many variables. There are a few tips and tricks of the trade that will not only help you recieve top dollar for your home, it can also help expedite the sale process. We’ve distilled all of this information down into a digestible home selling checklist. If you’re looking to sell your home, this home selling checklist is well worth the read!
Pick Your Listing Date
As cliche as it sounds, timing is everything. This principle applies to business, relationships, and yes, real estate! If you want to sell your home for top dollar, consider selling it during peak time - which is typically June and the summer months.
Selling your home in the winter is a challenge. In particular, December is historically the slowest month. Between the holidays, families traveling, and cold temperatures, you should avoid putting your home on the market in December as it may just sit idle.
Hire A Great Real Estate Agent
Having the right real estate agent in your corner makes all the difference. A good real estate agent will know when you should put your home on the market to maximize the likelihood of it selling quickly and for top dollar. Additionally, a good real estate agent is; dependable, trustworthy, and will make you feel comfortable.
Selling your home can be a major leap, both financially and emotionally. It’s critical you find the right agent who will help you yield the highest profit for your home and treat you with the respect and professionalism you deserve. Not all real estate agents are the same. Make sure the real estate agent you work with has a lot of experience - which is defined as the number of homes they sold in the last 12 months. Years of experience aren’t nearly as important if the agent wasn’t particularly active during those years.
Perform Market Research
Proper market research and intelligence can give you a competitive advantage. If you’re aware of what homes in the area are selling for, and the features of those homes, you can price your house accordingly.
If the average price per square foot is $115 in your neighborhood, you don’t want to enter the market at $95 a square foot. Take an honest survey of your home, the various work a buyer may want to do to it, such as replacing the roof or updating a bathroom, and what the homes in your area are offering. Ask your real estate agent to tour some of the homes in your neighborhood that are for sale. That will help give them an understanding of what your price point should be.
Assess Your Home’s Condition
To further define what your home should sell for, you and your realtor would want to do an honest assessment of your home's condition. What needs to be fixed? Is the roof in bad condition, or is the kitchen out of date? Put yourself in the buyer's shoes and proactively develop a strategy for what a buyer may see and try to negotiate with you.
This is commonly referred to as a pre-listing home inspection process. Not only is it designed to point out some major points of contention, such as a roof that needs to be replaced or a kitchen that's out of date, it is also used to identify easy fixes/updates you can do yourself to add appeal to your home.
Fix Issues You Find
Whatever is found during the pre-listing inspection process should be fixed, if possible. Understandably, you may not be willing or able to replace the roof, but at least have a game plan or negotiation tactic if someone talks to you about covering this expense at closing.
There are many small things one can complete at their home over the weekend which will make such a large difference when you go to sell it. Add grass seed to a bald spot in the yard, or rent a carpet cleaner to get the stains out of your carpet. These are small expenses and have been proven to be successful.
Get Paperwork Started
Any buyer will want to be aware of any work you completed on your home, the date it was completed, and if a permit was pulled. You’ll set yourself apart from the other sellers in the market if you gathered all of this information proactively and presented it in a small folder to the potential buyer. For example; if your boiler was replaced 3 years ago, make note of that on a piece of paper and include the corresponding permit. This will ultimately give the potential buyer a great sense of comfort, and that may help you sell your home for your desired price.
Many buyers will also be interested in knowing the expenses of running the home. What does this mean? Simply gather some recent utility bills and leave them neatly organized in a folder for potential buyers. Again, this is a small detail that has a high impact, and it doesn’t cost you a dime!
Set Listing Price
Depending on the market, real estate prices can be volatile. Roughly 30 days before you plan on listing your home, you and your realtor should do one final review of the comps in the area. Again, timing is everything and you want to bring your home to the market at the right price. Once your home is on the market, drastically lowering the price of your home can be a red flag in the eyes of a buyer.
Declutter All Living Areas
A cluttered house is difficult to sell. Make sure you keep everything clean and organized for any open house or buyer tour you do. This not only makes the home feel more spacious, it will also help the buyer envision what living in the space would look/feel like. Put the kids' toys away, make sure clothes aren’t on the floor, and keep the kitchen clean and tidy.
Now that everything is decluttered, it's now time to give your home a deep cleaning! Not only should you remove all the stains from any carpet, you should also thoroughly clean the countertops in the kitchen, the bathroom, and even all the appliances. Don’t forget about the dust that accumulates on ceiling fans and be sure to clean all the windows. Buyers don’t want to buy something that doesn’t look well cared for, and if it isn’t clean, that’s the message it will send.
Paint Interiors Neutral Colors
You may love a specific color, but the vast majority of people want to see neutral colors when they enter a home. Neutral colors help make a room feel lighter, bigger, and more open. Remember, you’re trying to sell your home and have it appeal to as many people as possible. While in the process of selling your home, you may need to say goodbye to some of your personal preferences if it's in the best interest of the sale.
Enhance Home’s Best Features
Your home may have a ton of great features and selling points. Be sure to call attention to them. For example, if your home has hardwood floors, be sure to show them off. Remove any carpeting and give those floors a deep cleaning to make them shine again! If you have a fireplace, make sure it's functional. These features will help set your home apart from others and will always be at the top of a buyer's wish list.
Give Attention To Curb Appeal
Now with the vast majority of work done inside the home, it’s now to make the outside look great with some curb appeal. After all, the exterior is the first thing any potential buyer will see. If your home is dirty, consider giving it a power-wash over the weekend. In just a few hours your home will look great and will stand out in your neighborhood.
Make sure the front door is in good condition, and consider painting it a pop of color. Fill in any bald spots in your lawn and consider having it professionally mowed for the duration of time it’s on the market. Adding a few new bags of mulch to the flower beds will give your yard a professional look. All of these little initiatives make the world of difference, and they won't break the bank.
Consider Staging Your House
Having your home professionally staged can be a game changer. Staging a home not only helps bring out some of the home's features, it may also make your home feel more warm and welcoming. Although this is an expense you may not have initially thought of, it may help you get more money for your home when you finally sell it. If your furniture is dated and you’re having trouble making the house feel more presentable to the modern buyer, work with your realtor on finding the right staging firm that can assist you.
Have An Open House
When it’s all said and done, it’s now time to have an open house! Show off all your hard work, and all the wonderful things about your home. Your realtor can run the open house over the weekend, and you don’t even need to be home for it. Despite how great pictures can look online, buyers still want to see the home in person and walk through it.
Where to Go From Here?
This home buying checklist is designed to help you sell your home quickly, and for as much money as possible. There are plenty of small projects you can complete in a weekend that don’t cost a lot of money, but will make all the difference when it comes to attracting the right buyer. The more effort you put into this checklist, the easier it will be to sell your home for your desired price.
Be sure to work with the right real estate agent as they can help guide you through this home buying checklist. For example, if you’re uncertain on what interior paint you should use in your living room, your real estate agent may be able to give you some tips as to what’s in demand/what’s popular in this market.
Take a proactive approach to selling your home. You’ll be very pleased with the results and outcome!
This page last updated: March 21, 2022