Selling Your House? Read These 3 Things!
So you’ve decided to sell your house. Maybe you want to move to a different state, or maybe you want to avoid possible foreclosure. Maybe it’s just time for a change. Whatever the reason, you’re planning on getting out of your house quick this year. When you look at your house, though, you see rooms that need staging, a yard that needs extensive landscaping, a roof that might need replacing, and a lot of other steps that you need to take to for a house sale. Here are the points you need to think about if you plan on selling your house.
- Curb Appeal
If the outside of your property doesn’t look nice enough, your chances for a sale plummet. Keeping your property looking attractive and inviting – what is referred to as “curb appeal” – is required, if you have any serious plans to sell your house. Maximizing curb appeal may require a large investment in landscaping, repairing or replacing the roofing, a new paint job for the house, and perhaps even resurfacing your driveway. Your deck may need to be sanded and weatherproofed, and once everything is redone, the house will need to be kept pristine until it is sold. That may take months, or longer. Once your house is truly ready for sale, it may no longer feel like your house. While that is the eventual goal, it may be unnerving if you still have to live in the house while you are selling it.
Cost is a major factor in getting a house ready for sale. It is easy to spend thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars on fixing the driveway and sidewalk, landscaping, roofing, and a new paint job. But what about the hidden costs that prospective buyers may demand you accept before they will purchase? You will at least want to consider hiring a professional inspector to see what may need to be replaced, and what the inspector finds may be shocking. Your house may need repairs to the foundation, mold and pest treatments, or perhaps even expensive plumbing work, before it would be ready for sale. Do you have the money set aside for these changes to your house’s curb appeal and other areas? Hiring an agent to help you sell the house can also be a costly step to take, although you could potentially sell your house on your own. But the cost of not hiring an agent, and potentially settling for a less-than-ideal price, might be just as bad as, or worse, than the cost of hiring that agent.
- Real Estate Agent or self-representation?
Are you up to date on local, state, and federal laws regarding selling your house, such as the Fair Housing Act? Do you relish the thought of marketing your own property, holding open houses, and negotiating hardball-style for a fair selling price? Do you have a flexible schedule, and like the thought of constantly preparing for open-houses on short notice for your potential clients? If no, you may want to consider a real estate agent. Be prepared to pay a commission, do plenty of research to make sure you’ve hired an ethical realtor/agent that will fairly price your house and negotiate well on your behalf, and beware conflicts of interest the agent may have! The average commission that realtors charge averages around 6%, according to Realty Today (www.realtytoday.com, “Why real estate agents ask high commission prices or letting fees”). If you want to use a realtor, be prepared to see a sizable portion of the sales proceeds be pocketed by someone other than you. There may also be other closing costs to consider, which could include title transfer costs and transfer taxes.
Selling your house can be a big chore. It requires money and a lot of patience, and still there is no guarantee that you will find an interested buyer or get a price you’re happy with. If not done right, it may take months or even years to sell a house. In the meantime, your money is still tied up in the house. If you are trying to get rid of it before an impending divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure or other event, selling a house may take too long
for your circumstances. Finally, be aware that your house still might not sell. Whether you are representing yourself or being represented by a third party, potential buyers may still not agree to the sale, no matter how well the house is presented and priced.
If you are determined to sell your house, no matter how much it may cost or how long it takes, take a look at “The Ultimate Staging Guide Checklist” put together by HGTV (www.hgtv.com). But if you are on a tight schedule or just want to be done as soon as possible, or if you do not have the cash available to spend on curb appeal, then selling your house through a broker may not be the best choice. It may be a better option for you to sell your house for cash.