Do Your Research
Selling your home can feel overwhelming, especially if you have never done it before. The internet can be a great asset to help you decide if it is the right time for you to put your house on the market, see what comparable homes in your area are listed and selling for, and help you decide if you would like to sell your home on your own or use a real estate professional. If you want to sell your home in order to move to a bigger one, are relocating for a job, or are an empty nester trying to downsize, be sure to check out websites such as Trulia.com and Zillow.com to see what your desired new home will cost in the area you want to live in. Plug that information into the Eastex Credit Union’s mortgage calculator to see what your potential new house payments would be.
Should You Hire a Real Estate Agent?
Once you’ve decided to sell, the next question is should you hire a realtor? The commission charged by real estate agents, generally 5-6% of the sale price of your home, does seem steep, however, they can help take lots of the stress out of the selling process. Agents can help you determine a competitive price for your home, enlist your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), facilitate showings and open houses for potential buyers, negotiate the sale, and help ensure all necessary paperwork is in order for the transaction. If you decide to use an agent, choose someone familiar with your area, who has a proven record for selling homes in a timely manner. If you choose not to hire an agent, you will be responsible for marketing your home, all showings, and negotiating the sale, which can be time-consuming and may limit the number of possible buyers who are aware your home is on the market.
Is it the Right Season to Sell?
Spring is the busiest home selling and buying season for most areas, according to Realtor.com. The warmer months are typically when yards and landscaping look their best, so use this to your advantage. Winter, especially around the holidays, is the slowest time of year for home sales. Fewer buyers looking for homes could mean your home stays on the market longer and you may get less money for it. If you have the option, it may be advantageous to wait a few months to list, while using the additional time to get your home in top shape so it can be listed at the beginning of the prime season.
Get Your House Ready to List
- Tackle necessary repairs and updates. If you decided to use an agent, ask their advice on what fixes you should make to your home prior to listing. Spend your money on the items that are the most necessary and will bring the most return for your investment.
- It’s easier for potential buyers to imagine living in your home if it isn’t overly crowded with your personal items. If you are staying in your home while it is listed, adopt a more minimalist approach during this time. Clear rooms of excessive furniture, clothes, personal photos, and scale back the contents of all bookshelves, closets, and cabinets. The goal is to sell your house, so use this as an opportunity to get a jump start on packing. Donate items you no longer want or need and rent a storage unit, if necessary, for items that will go to your new home.
- Clean thoroughly. Make sure every surface, floor, ledge, sink, window, mirror, bathtub, and faucet is as clean as possible. Don’t forget about the outdoor areas either; sweep the patio or deck and blow the grass off the sidewalks and driveway. If you have pets, clean the yard, hide the litter box, and arrange alternate accommodations for them during the time potential buyers will be viewing your home.
- Consider staging your home. Staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than non-staged ones, according to Realtor.com. Home stagers bring in furniture, art, and accessories that are on-trend and make a home more appealing to potential buyers. If there are an abundance of similar homes for sell in your area, staging could be an advantage that will set your home apart from the rest. If you choose not to stage your home, at least make small improvements, such as new towels in the bathroom, and fresh, crisp bedding.
- Hire a professional to take photos of your home. The majority of buyers begin their search online, and the quickest way to make your listing stand out is to have an abundance of high quality, well-lit photos. The photos should highlight your home’s best assets, show all rooms and outdoor areas in order to attract potential buyers.
When you are ready to buy your next home, let Eastex CU help. If you have any questions about mortgages and home loans, don’t hesitate to contact us!