House on the Market
There’s much to deal with as you prepare to sell a home. Fixing/prepping the house to show, finding your new home, and taking care of yourself and your stuff? There’s a lot of ground to cover, especially if you need to buy a house contingent on selling yours. Getting that offer is imperative. Here are some important categories with tips to help you sell your house in time for you to buy your new home.
Smart Strategies for a Seller’s To-Do List
1. Add a Contingency Clause
If you need to sell and buy together the timing can be stressful. You do not want to lose out on your next dream home, but you also don’t want to pay two mortgages. More than 60% of home buyers face this situation.
One way your real estate agent can help is to add a contingency clause to your purchase contract. Designed to protect you from paying two mortgages, a contingency clause:
- Arranges for you to buy the new home only when the old one sells. Your purchase contract is on “pause” until then. You usually have 30-60 days to sell, before the “paused” contract is voided.
- May have a “kick-out clause,” meaning the home you want to buy stays on the market, but if the owners get an offer, they promise you 72 hours to decide whether to buy before they accept the other offer.
2. Make All of the Important Fixes
Since the ideal with a contingency clause is to sell your home fast, you don’t want to turn off buyers or have a deal fall through. Both can happen, so make every necessary fix on:
- Electrical wiring.
- Grade (slope) and drainage on the ground, as well as gutters and downspouts.
- Roof damage; it’s ok to repair and not replace the whole thing–you’ll save a ton of cash.
- Foundation instability, which shows up as slanting floors, gaps in cabinets, etc.
- General upkeep, because peeling paint, cracked pavement, worn carpets, etc. can discourage buyers.
- Plumbing leaks, mold problems, or hideous pipe sounds.
- Heating and AC should be cleaned and repaired, if not replaced.Let your real estate agent guide you through this list for your particular sale. That’s what his experience is for!
3. Declutter and Clean the Entire Space
Do not underestimate the power of decluttering and cleaning. A fresh, bright home attracts buyers faster and can get you 3-5% higher offers. You’ll also thank yourself later for front-loading this task when you have to pack and move.
- Map your home into zones, and start with the easiest. Tackle a bit at a time. Set up boxes for Trash, Donate, and Keep, and be firm with yourself.
- Remember that potential buyers need to imagine the house as theirs, not see it as yours. Remove your everyday life from surfaces and storage, and reveal the features and space the house has to offer.
- You cannot make the house too clean. Scrub crevices with old toothbrushes and wash the walls: that’s the clean we mean.
4. Make Small Renovations that Make Money on Your Sale
Add value to the house through proven improvements that don’t cost a bundle but give you a Return on Investment. Columbia real estate would have different needs because there is a totally different climate than in upstate New York real estate, of course, so make sure that you consider any additions or updates with that in mind.
- Fiberglass insulate the attic, if your agent thinks it’s a good idea for your market.
- Re-seed the lawn.
- Add curb appeal with trimmed shrubs and trees, bright flowerbeds, or potted plants near the front door.
- Paint the front door a welcoming color. Paint the window trim.
- Strip off window dressing, leaving just blinds or shades. Let your style disappear, and let the light in.
- Update lampshades, bulbs, lighting fixtures, drawer pulls, and cabinet hardware.
- Paint old walls with fresh neutral colors.
5. Market to the Right Audience
If your house needs major work, don’t panic, and don’t break the bank. Just clean up well, inside and out, and strategize with your agent to find the right buyers.
- Market to the flippers, deal hunters, and remodelers. They have different reasons to be okay with a house’s problems, but they all expect to do work. That’s what they’re looking for, a fixer-upper.• There are Renovation Loans for some buyers. Ask your agent to make one part of the deal if possible.
- Focus the listing on the house’s great features, like the vast storage, the beautiful views, or the versatile “bonus” room(s).
- With your agent’s help, price it realistically to sell.The logistics of selling and buying a home simultaneously can seem overwhelming. Your real estate agent is your main support for getting work done on many fronts and for giving great advice. Enlist family and friends to support you with a place to stay, babysitting, pet-sitting, storage, etc. A lot of people succeed at this, and you can, too!