People sell their homes for many reasons and in many different stages of their lives. Before you decide to sell, even before you put a sign in your yard, go through this checklist and be sure that you are ready to sell your house.
Why are you selling?
What is your reason for selling your house? Do you have a great new job lined up in another city that requires you to move? Is your house already too small, and a new baby is on the way? Are your neighbors driving you crazy? Did you see your dream house two streets over?
The point is you must be fully committed to the idea of selling your house, and not just dabbling to see what you can get. Being truly motivated to sell is often the difference between a house that sells quickly and one languishing on the market for an extensive period.
Plan and prepare for selling your house. Realize fully that everything you have in your current home will need to be moved out whether that is to your new house, the dumpster, or Goodwill. Moving is a lot of work!
Consider carefully if selling is the right move at this time. Perhaps the new job won’t work out and you’ll decide to come back home. In that situation, it might be better to lease your home and rent one in the new area for the first six to twelve months. Many people who’ve outgrown their homes have decided to add an addition to alleviate the problem rather than uproot the family, so that option should be mulled over also.
Where will you go?
Often, a home seller will be looking into buying another home as they are thinking of selling their current one. If you’ll be staying in the local area, you should decide on the neighborhoods you’re interested in and start scoping out home listings in those areas. There are a lot of factors to consider when purchasing a new home: the price, the property taxes, the neighborhood, and its amenities. You should go to as many open houses in your desired areas as you can so that you can get a first-hand look at what you get for the money in that area. It also gives you time to drive through the neighborhood and see how people care for their yards and property, and where the schools, parks, and restaurants are located. Now compare all of this to where you currently live and weigh the two. Sometimes, the decision is easy to make a move and other times it really is best to stay put.
Find a good real estate agent
If you’ve decided to go ahead and sell, call several real estate agents. You’ll want to interview at least three agents who work extensively in your neighborhood, and ask what their plan would be for marketing your home. Also, be sure that they prepare a comparative market analysis report for you.
Good real estate agents will be ready with suggestions on prepping your home for sale, staging it for open houses, and setting a competitive suggested price. They should also be able to give you a range of what your house will ultimately bring when sold. Consider the low end of the range to decide if selling for that price makes sense for you. If the numbers work for your situation, go ahead and list your house.
Arrange to finance
While you are speaking with your current lender to get an exact payoff figure, also ask about current finance rates with them. Ask them for a GFE (good faith estimate) on the amount you’ve determined you’ll need to borrow for the home you’ll be buying.
Also, call a few other lenders to get similar information from them, so that you can compare rates and fees from one lender to another. Choose the lender that you feel most comfortable with, keeping in mind the fees and rates that you’ve acquired from each of them. Next, ask for a loan preapproval letter so that you’ll know how much you qualify to borrow based on your income, assets, and monthly bills. This preapproval letter will help your buying transaction go more smoothly because sellers will know you are serious and ready to buy.