Main Content

Deciding to Sell


Decisions. Decisions. Deciding to sell property, whether your personal home or an investment property, is a big decision. There are several things to consider, such ascurrent housing opportunities and costs, where you will move, and, of course, the tax implications of selling. So, first determine why you want to sell. Are you wanting to upgrade or downsize, live in closer proximity to work, or live in a better school district. Should you keep your primary residence and turn it into an investment property, or should you sell the investment property or hold it long-term? Financially, are you able to comfortably sustain two mortgages? Certainly, there are other considerations, but the most important thing is to be honest about your finances and what you can comfortably manage.

Ready. Set. Go.

List to Close. Once you have definitively decided to sell, set a realistic time frame from listing to closing. Depending on factorssuch as the market, inventory, and interest rate, it could be 10 days to 10 months or longer. We suggest you contact a professional real estate agent, i.e., Bella Casa Realty. We are happy to sit down with you to assess your needs, discuss what is currently happening in the marketplace, and assist in determining the most favorable time to list.

Curb Appeal.

Pretend you are a seller in an extremely competitive market, and your next-door neighbor also just staked a For Sale sign in their yard. The homes are competitively priced, and the features are similar. Your neighbor’s house is a beauty with its meticulously manicured lawn, blooming flower beds with vibrant florals, painted in a perfect Shoji White hue and paired with Urban Bronze (both by Sherwin Williams) shutters and trim. Oh joy!! Your home’s exterior, however, is as dull as a rusty steak knife. The brick or siding desperately needs pressure washing, the shutters are faded and falling off, the grass is patchy, the shrubbery is lopsided, and there are no flowers to speak of. You get the picture. The interior of the home, however, looks great! Honestly, which house do you think serious buyers will schedule an appointment to see? This is the power of curb appeal described as the perceived attractiveness of a property from the street to a prospective buyer. If the exterior of a property is unattractive, most buyers will assume the interior will be less attractive.

Do not panic. The following simple and relatively inexpensive fixes can move the needle north on the attractiveness scale: 1) ensure the lawn and shrubbery are cut, trimmed, and edged at all times; 2) add a few flower baskets for color; 3) pressure wash the brick or siding; 4) paint shutters a neutral and complimentary color (a half gallon of paint is plenty); 5) keep the sidewalk and walkway to the house clear, and, if necessary, 6) update exterior lighting.

Tip: Buyers can be finicky. I have metbuyers at a property, and they refused to go in simply because they found the exterior of the property less than appealing.

Home improvements.

To be competitive and get top dollar for your home, fix any mechanical issues you are aware of and make cosmetic repairs or upgrades prior to listing. Also consider hiring a home inspector to perform an inspection that may also expose latent issues if the buyer orders an inspection. The cost of a home inspectionis nominal at $400+. A seller certainly does not have to have a private inspection done, but if you suspect there may be a problem(s), i.e., foundational, water heater, HVAC, pest infestation, or latentissues, any will be identified in the inspection report. Once you are aware, you can resolve issues prior to listing.

Daily preparation for showings.

  • Thoroughly clean the home or have it professionally cleaned.
  • Remove all personal photos, diplomas, etc. – a buyer may be unable to imagine themselves living in the home, if there are personal items and pictures of people they do notknow.
  • Ensure floors are broom swept and the carpet is vacuumed.
  • Ensure beds are neatly madeand toys are picked up. There should be nothing on the floor, except clean rugs.
  • Unclean bathrooms or kitchen can be a deal-breaker for the buyer. It is imperative that these areas are kept pristine. Sinks and tubs should be clean and countertops free and clear of personal items. As much as possible, keep personal items and toiletries in drawers and used towels inthe linen closet or hanged behind the bathroom door. Empty trash cans daily.
  • The kitchen. Do not under any circumstances leave used dishes in the sink, leftover food on the countertops, the garbage disposal full, or trash in the trash bin. Not only is there a potential for insects, but unpleasant food aromas and malodorous trash are the perfect recipe for a ‘No Offer.’
  • Energy pros suggest keeping the thermostat between 72-78 degrees in the summer, and the heat at 68-72 in the winter for optimal comfort.
  • Keep lawn cut and edged, sidewalks and walkways clear, and windows clean.

Preparing to move. No truer words have been spoken; you never know how much stuff you have until you are moving. Start packing earlier versus later. An early start will allow you to get organized and packed at a comfortable pace. You might even be able to squeeze in a garage sale and make a little extra money off all the clothes and trinkets and such that you have forgotten you have. Most importantly, you canvirtually avoid the undue stress that accompanies procrastination. Be sure to store packed boxes neatly in the garage or storage shed and out of the view of prospective buyers.

Closing. A week or so before closing, contact all utility providers, as well as lawn care, pest control, and alarm company vendors to place transfer or shut off orders. To assist the buyer, you can provide a list of utility companies and other providers you used and with whom you have had a good experience. Finally, gather all keys, remotes, appliance, and other warrantiesto giveto the buyer at closing.

These suggestions will helpyouto achieve the goal of a smooth transaction and an enjoyable experience from list to close.

Skip to content