Before You Even Interview A Real Estate Agent, Get Your House In Order
No matter what the motivation is that lies behind the decision to put your house on the market, undoubtedly there are going to be some major changes in your life moving forward after the sale goes through. Reducing stress during the listing process should be high on your list.
Perhaps you’re moving to another town, or upgrading to a bigger place, or selling your childhood home after your parents have passed away? It doesn’t matter what the reasons are for selling, you’re going to want the process to go as smoothly as possible from start to end.
A big part of navigating the sale of your home without doubling your gray hair count is contracting trustworthy real estate professionals who have the experience to lead you down the right path and knock any obstacles out of the way during the sales process. But, there’s not a whole lot the best real estate team in the world can do if you haven’t properly prepared your property for listing ahead of time. Remember, most buyers will need to take out a mortgage to pay for your property, says Paul Joseph, broker for Key Colony Beach Realty. Lenders will require that your property is professionally inspected and appraised prior to approving any loan. If there are any conditions that the bank won’t allow, then your deal could end up dead in the water – and when it comes to real estate deals, the only water we want is the view from the property.
Once you’ve decided to take the plunge and put your house up for sale, take a look through this checklist of vital to-do’s that need to be taken care of to avoid delays and help your home sell as quickly as possible:
- Roof – If your roof has any leaks they will need to be remedied long before a potential buyer lays down an offer on your house. For minor issues a quick repair job is OK, but if you’ve got extensive deterioration or major damage to your roof then it will need to be torn off and replaced. It may seem counter-intuitive to spend thousands of dollars fixing up a house you are about to sell, but no lender will approve the purchase of a house with a faulty roof. Furthermore, you will more than recoup your investment by fetching a higher price.
- Windows and Doors – All windows and doors must be checked to make sure that they are not broken and that they are working properly. If the caulking around your windows is in poor condition then you’ll want to take measures to insure that all windows are properly sealed.
- Basement – Of course, we don’t have any basements in the Florida Keys, but many honeowners do want to inspect all basement and foundation walls for cracks. Any inspector worth his weight will head right to the baseline walls to look for any signs of movement.
- Walls – Speaking of walls, ensure that all holes are repaired prior to listing. The same goes for any signs of water damage. If you’ve got unfinished walls in parts of your home, you may want to consider finishing them off.
- Repairs – Finish them. In-process repairs are a big no-no. If you are in the middle of any major repairs, go ahead and complete the projects before listing. While it is ok to do minor tweaking while your property is on the market, when potential buyers come through to see the house you want as few signs of needed repair as possible. You might think that it’s best to get it on the market sooner even if you don’t think it will sell until the renovations are complete, but the reality is that the first three months after listing are the most important. Once a listing becomes stale buyers start to think something might be undesirable about the property. So finish any renovations and repairs prior to listing.
- Heating system – It doesn’t need to be new, but it does need to work! Same goes for the AC in warmer climates like Florida.
- Water system – Got leaks? Forget about it. You’d better get them fixed, pronto! Any other major issues with water flow and pressure are also a quick way to scare buyers away from your place.
- Hazardous conditions – Any and all hazardous waste needs to be removed from the property in a safe and legal manner prior to putting the house up for sale.
- Hire an inspector – the bank – not to mention any savvy cash buyer – will be hiring a professional inspector and so you should, too. When you think that everything’s tip-top and your house is ready to go, have an inspector come in to really take a good look and give you the chance to remedy the things you might have missed ahead of time.
It only costs a few hundred bucks and is worth every penny so there are no surprises after the contract is signed with your buyer!