Stage 1: Get Yourself Ready to Sell
The process of listing (and, hopefully, selling!) your home can be an arduous one. There’s so much more to it than sticking a sign in the yard, getting photos on Zillow, and waiting for offers to pour in. It’s stressful and disruptive even when things go as planned. More so when things don’t. So, getting yourself and your family ready is the best first step to a successful sale.
Assess Your Motivation: Without a compelling reason for selling – one that can carry you through when there’s a setback – you might not have the will or the stamina to weather the inevitable ups and downs of having your home on the market. So, it’s important to define your reasons for selling and assessing whether or not those reasons are reason enough to go through the hassle of selling and moving. Take this short Seller Readiness Survey to find out if you’re really ready to sell this year, or if it’s better to stay put for now.
Define Your Timeline for Selling: They say timing is everything. Never is that more true than when you’re trying to time a move. If you’ve got school-aged kids, it’s important to make the transition between the time school lets out for summer and the time it starts back up in the fall. No kids? You still may prefer to move in the warmer months. So,if you want to move in June, you better get your home on the market by early March. Use this handy Seller Timeline app to figure out when you need be in each stage of the Roadmap to make your move date.
Monitor Market Activity: Your home selling success depends, in large part, on your willingness and ability to respond to your local market conditions. As soon as you know you’re serious about selling, you should start monitoring the 8 local real estate trends which directly impact your home’s value. Then scope out the competition by monitoring active listings similar to your own and visiting open houses in your area. Both will give you a realistic idea of how your home compares to other homes in size and condition and what it might sell for in the current market.
Calculate Your Closing Costs: Even if you’ve got the strongest motivation in the world to sell, it makes no sense to put your home on the market if you can’t afford to sell. You’ll need to sell it for enough to pay off the mortgage, but there are a half-dozen additional burdens to your bottom line that you need to factor in to determine your total closing costs and potential net proceeds. Best case, you’ll walk out of the closing with a hefty profit. But if you’re net proceeds are in the red, you’ll need to either bring money to the closing table or negotiate a short sale with your lender in order to move on. If neither is an option, you’ll a Plan B. If you can stay, you may want to live in your home until your property appreciates enough to cover the shortfall. If you must move, you may need to investigate the option of renting out your home for a few years.
Contact an Agent: Now’s the perfect time to get in touch with an agent for an initial, informal consultation. Find one who’s willing to answer your initial questions in a pressure-free environment. They can help you decide whether you’re going to try to sell on your own or work with an agent, give you an idea of what your home might sell for in today’s market and what you’ll net after closing costs. Not all agents are created equal.Selecting an agent is one of the most important decisions you will make in this entire home selling process.