Part 1: Your pre-listing checklist
Once the decision has been made to sell, most homeowners want to get their homes on the market quickly, but sometimes it makes sense to wait. Regardless of your timeline, there are several things you should take care of before listing your home to ensure a smooth and successful sale.
Do your research
Real estate agents have a wealth of knowledge about market trends and factors that impact home value, so you should certainly lean on their expertise. But with so much information out there, many homeowners can’t help but do their own research on what they need to do to prepare for the market and sell their homes. Understanding the home sale process and what goes into a home’s value can also make the selling process a lot less stressful and confusing.
To get an idea of what your home might sell for, you can do a little comparative analysis. Look at what homes similar to yours—AKA comps—have sold for recently. You can use listing sites like Redfin to get an idea of the market value of homes in your neighborhood. Make sure to consider the size, location, and condition of your home to get a good idea of its market value.
In other words, don’t compare your home to one that’s much larger, located in a completely different zip code, or with much newer flooring, roofing, and appliances. Some of this, of course, you won’t know—and your real estate agent can help fill in any gaps.
Get your finances in order
Selling your home doesn’t come without expenses. For example, you may have to pay for essential repairs, home improvements recommended by your Realtor®, staging, and moving.
You may also need to pay:
- Your mortgage off, along with any related fees
- For the buyer’s title insurance, which protects them against financial loss if there’s a defect in the title or with the property
- Capital gains taxes, which are taxes on the difference of the amount you purchased your home for and what you sell for
- Transfer taxes, which is required in some states to transfer ownership of a home from one individual to another
You’ll want to get a clear understanding of what costs are associated with selling a home so you can factor them into your home sale plan before you list.