Selling and buying a new home is all about timing, especially if you're moving because of a job or to start school or because of other reasons. This is a problem that many people face - how to ensure your home sells in time to buy another place. Find out how to ensure your sale goes through so that you can - literally - move on.
Plan, Prepare and Be Organized
- Make a list. Make a list of all the documents you'll need, how to acquire them and the people you need to involve in the sale. Also make a list of all the tasks you need to complete, adding details of which areas of the house require fixing, things you'll need to purchase, when you need to have inspections completed, etc...
- Make a schedule. The next step to selling your home, is to set up a schedule. Start backwards. Begin at the point when you want to move and plan a timetable backward. Think about all the details that go into your sale, including fix-ups, cleaning, staging and advertising. Use the list you created to plan how you'll accomplish all the tasks and which member of the household will complete each one. A schedule will provide both you and a real estate agent a rough plan of how you expect your move to go. It also provides a concrete, step-by-step guide to tasks you need to complete before your house is ready to sell.
Get To Know the Market
- Check real estate listings. It's important that you find out how other houses in your area are selling. Know how much similar properties are selling for, what features they list then think about which unique features of your home will distinguish your listing from any other. Check prices. Attend open houses in your neighborhood and note similarities and differences between your house and the one for sale. Find out how long it's been on the market and think about why it might not be selling.
- Research the neighborhood. Research what kind of people like your neighborhood. For example, is there a school close by that will attract families or do you live in an area with lots of restaurants, clubs and other features that would appear to singles or young married couples? What are some of the key features of your neighborhood that first attracted you? What's changed and who will these changes appeal to?
Assess Your Property
- Be critical. Before putting your home up for sale, take a good look at your property and note all the features that might prevent a sale from going through. Then think about whether it's worth fixing that feature, changing it or if you'll be willing to compromise on the price should it be hard to modify the existing issue. For major changes, ask for quotes. Again, it's up to you whether or not the changes are necessary. If you're not sure, talk to a real estate agent. Changes to existing features also require time, so consider how much time you have before your ideal closing date.
- List the positive features. Make a list of all the things you love about your home. Often, these are the features overlooked by potential buyers. Think back to all the reasons why you felt at home in the space while considering time of year (i.e. Christmases were great because of the cozy fireplace that managed to heat the entire first floor), how the house worked for different family members, the costs of maintaining, the location, the outside features, etc...
Secure the Right Agent
- Hire the right person. If you're under a deadline, the fastest way to sell your home is to secure a real estate agent. This may be the most critical decision you make as they have the potential to make or break your sale. Choose someone that you like and get along with and someone who has a history of sales in your neighborhood. Ask about commission rates, number of successful sales made and how they plan on marketing your home. A good agent should know your neighborhood, the kind of people who might buy your home and they should know how best to advertise the sale. Make sure you read over the contract before you sign it and make sure everything you agreed to is listed. If you know someone who recently sold their home, find out which agent they used, then research the agent's history. Ask around. Sometimes the best agents are found through word of mouth.
Prepare Your Home for the Sale
- Ask your agent. Ask your agent which features need to be changed or renovated in order to secure the best price. Find out which homes are currently selling and why and how your home might fit into the market. Also consult with your agent about the price and when you'd like the house to sell by. Trust that your agent knows the market better than you do and that they're working in your favor. A house that sits on the market too long tells potential buyers that something is wrong with it as does a house that seems like too good of a deal. Your ideal price lies between the two, so figure out how much you expect and whether that price works for the local market.
- Stage your home. If your agent suggests hiring a designer to stage your home, then you probably need some help. Ask your agent for a referral or other people who've recently sold their home. Staging a home can make or break a sale. Most buyers want to imagine themselves in the space without the need to do any major fix-ups. Consider painting walls, hiring a professional cleaning and adding in extra furniture pieces or room accents that will create the right look.
- Be reasonable and realistic. You've done your research, spoke with your agent and know what price is reasonable for the market. Don't stretch too much beyond what's reasonable or you'll be stuck with your property for a long time. If you've priced your home at the top end of the market, think about how much you'd be willing to drop it for the right buyer. Time is also an issue. If you have a set move date, then you'll be more willing to compromise on the price. Just remember to be flexible and reasonable as well as willing to take advice from the professionals as needed.