Homeowners ready to “move up” from one tier to the other would love to have all the time in the world to go out and find their perfect next home, make an offer and have it accepted on contingency.
Then they could sell their current home, and use the profits to make the down payment on the new home.
There’s one little problem: Today’s market. If your bid is contingent on the sale of your current home, you’re likely to have difficulty getting sellers to take you seriously.
It's usually easier to sell first, then plan to temporarily rent or stay with friends or relatives while you shop for a new home.
Additionally, your budget is already set by profits from the sale, and you can make bids with cash in hand. It’s great leverage.
So what do you need to do to get your home ready to sell?
Remember, there are professionals who specialize in all the below disciplines, and their work can likely be guaranteed. But if you must DIY, here are some great tips!
• Curb Appeal: Just because it’s a seller’s market doesn’t mean buyers have no standards at all. Bring your best offers by increasing you curb appeal - pressure wash the siding, driveways and walkways, mow the lawn, trim vegetation and clean all the windows. A nice view in and out is important.
• De-personalize: Remove anything that prevents potential buyers from visualizing themselves in the house. Remove family photos, bold artwork and furniture. Repaint brightly-colored walls to neutral tones.
• Make small repairs: Even if it’s not a serious problem, a small area ignored will be seen by a potential buyer as an indication of lack of overall quality.
• Smell test: Due to something called “olfactory adaptation” people get used to the smells they live with. Have an objective, non-judgmental third party come give your house the sniff test. Try using shallow bowls filled with fresh coffee grounds to absorb smells in especially stinky areas. For lingering odors, simmer a cup of vinegar on the stove top in a saucepan
• Clean, clean, clean: Have a goal to make the house truly spotless, taking special care in the bathroom. Try to make the tile, counters, tub, shower and floor shine.
• Consider staging: Professional home stagers evaluate the condition of your décor and furnishings. They might recommend you buy or rent some items, or they might just reorganize in a more updated way.
• De-clutter: Some of us are better at it than others. Take excess and donate or pack it in storage. Even if you’re not selling, make a habit of getting rid of things you’re not using. An ongoing de-cluttering process makes for much easier going when it’s actually time to move.
Last but not least, it’s usually a good idea to hire a real estate agent: In a hot market, it can be tempting to try and sell the home yourself, and pocket the cash instead of paying a real estate agent’s commission.
Real estate agents charge as much as 6 percent commission on the sale price – on a $300,000 sale, for example, that would be $18,000. But a good agent builds his or her commission into the price of the home, and adjusts accordingly.
The commission is usually an equivalent return for expertise in marketing, pricing, paper shuffling, legwork and timing that goes into selling a home, and is well worth the price.