5 Things to do Before Putting Your Home on the Market
1. Have a pre-sale home inspection.
Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home
inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good
indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to
potential buyers, and youíll be able to make repairs
before open houses begin.
2. Organize and clean.
Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used items,
such as large blenders and other kitchen tools,
out-of-season clothes, toys, and exercise equipment.
Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the
garage or basement. Clean the windows, carpets, walls,
lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house
3. Get replacement estimates.
Do you have big-ticket items that are worn our or will
need to be replaced soon, such your roof or carpeting?
Get estimates on how much it would cost to replace them,
even if you donít plan to do it yourself. The figures
will help buyers determine if they can afford the home,
and will be handy when negotiations begin.
4. Find your warranties.
Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals
for the furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any
other items that will remain with the house.
5. Spruce up the curb appeal.
Pretend youíre a buyer and stand outside of your home.
As you approach the front door, what is your impression
of the property? Do the lawn and bushes look neatly
manicured? Is the address clearly visible? Are pretty
flowers or plants framing the entrance? Is the walkway
free from cracks and impediments?
Does Moving Up Make Sense?
questions will help you decide whether youíre ready for
a home thatís larger or in a more desirable location. If
you answer yes to most of the questions, itís a sign
that you may be ready to move.
1. Have you built substantial equity in your current
Look at your annual mortgage statement or call your
lender to find out. Usually, you donít build up much
equity in the first few years of your mortgage, as
monthly payments are mostly interest, but if youíve
owned your home for five or more years, you may have
significant, unrealized gains.
2. Has your income or financial situation improved?
If youíre making more money, you may be able to afford
higher mortgage payments and cover the costs of moving.
3. Have you outgrown your neighborhood?
The neighborhood you pick for your first
home might not be the same neighborhood you want to
settle down in for good. For example, you may have
realized that youíd like to be closer to your job or
live in a better school district.
4. Are there reasons why you canít remodel or add on?
Sometimes you can create a bigger home by adding a new
room or building up. But if your property isnít large
enough, your municipality doesnít allow it, or youíre
simply not interested in remodeling, then moving to a
bigger home may be your best option.
5. Are you comfortable moving in the
current housing market?
If your market is hot, your home may sell quickly and
for top dollar, but the home you buy also will be more
expensive. If your market is slow, finding a buyer may
take longer, but youíll have more selection and better
pricing as you seek your new home.
6. Are interest rates attractive?
A low rate not only helps you buy a larger home, but
also makes it easier to find a buyer.
How to Get an Offer on Your Home
1. Price it right.
Set a price at the lower end of your propertyís
realistic price range.
2. Prepare for visitors. Get your house market
ready at least two weeks before you begin showing it.
3. Be flexible about showings. Itís often
disruptive to have a house ready to show at the spur of
the moment. But the more amenable you can be about
letting people see your home, the sooner youíll find a
4. Anticipate the offers. Decide in advance what
price and terms youíll find acceptable.
5. Donít refuse to drop the price. If your home
has been on the market for more than 30 days without an
offer, you should be prepared to at least consider
lowering your asking price.