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Before the pandemic, the real estate market largely favored buyers. Now, elevated prices, low inventory and fast turnaround have created a seller’s market, and many homeowners are taking advantage of it. Here’s what you need to know if you’re one of the many Americans planning to sell and move this year.
It’s easy to get emotional about selling your home, especially your first one. Even those who don’t consider themselves sentimental might shed some bittersweet tears as they pack up their things and bid their home farewell. Unfortunately, these emotions can cloud your judgment when listing your home and negotiating with buyers.
That’s why it’s so important to look at the transaction from a purely financial standpoint. Think of yourself as a salesperson rather than a homeowner to keep your emotions in check throughout the entire process.
According to research from Zillow, home values will rise by 11% in 2022, which means prices will inevitably go up, too. This is great news for sellers who’ve held off on listing until this year. However, they must properly valuate their homes if they want to take advantage of current market trends.
Get an appraisal to get the most your can from your property without pricing it out of the market. If you need to sell quickly, you may want to list it for less. Meanwhile, homeowners who can stand to wait might list their homes for more. Speak with three separate real estate agents and ask for a Competitive Market Analysis from each one. They’ll help you compare recent sales data with your property to determine a realistic price range.
Today, 97% of buyers search for homes online. On average, they’ll take five virtual tours, with some even purchasing a new house before seeing it in person. That’s why it’s so important to take great photos of your home and post them online.
Thoroughly clean both the exterior and interior before whipping out your Canon. Rearrange or store some furniture to create more space and turn lights on to brighten every room. You might even hire a professional stager to attract more buyers and get better offers.
Maybe you were planning to paint over water stains or hide a few cracks in your home’s foundation before taking photos. While you might be able to fool buyers into thinking your home is flawless, inspectors are sure to uncover these and other major problems. When they do, you could lose buyers, so it’s best to disclose issues upfront.
List your home for less to make up for the inevitable repairs or offer credits to fix the problem. Alternatively, you can fix everything yourself so you don’t have to disclose anything. Then, you won’t have to worry about losing buyers who want a turnkey home. Remember to raise your asking price to account for renovations and repairs.
Most lenders require homeowners to carry insurance but, if yours doesn’t, you’ll want to take out a policy before listing your home. Homeowner’s insurance will cover your home’s structure and all of its contents, including any fixtures, appliances and furniture you plan to sell with the house.
You’ll also want general liability insurance to cover showings and visits from potential buyers. There’ll be plenty of people on your property between now and the day you finally sell your home. If someone trips or falls, they could easily open an injury lawsuit against you. Having liability coverage will protect you from such legal risks so you can sell and move with minimal hiccups.
Winter is typically a slow time of year for home sales, especially around the holidays. After Christmas and New Year’s, people are trying to save rather than spend their money, which means they’re less likely to shop for homes. Cold weather also makes it more appealing to just stay home and put off moving.
That’s why most sellers will list their homes during the spring. At this point, many people have financially recovered and are ready to invest. Plus, warm weather will make it easier to move. Attract more buyers and sell your home faster by waiting a few more months to put your home on the market.
Selling your house can be incredibly time-consuming and emotionally challenging. That’s why so many people hire a real estate agent to list their property and find a new one. They’ll help you navigate the points listed above and even take some of those responsibilities off your plate. That way you can focus on decluttering, cleaning and packing for your own move. Although agents often command a hefty commission, they can actually help you save more money overall.
If you do forgo an agent, consider hiring a real estate attorney instead. They’ll help you with the fine print and small details you’re more apt to overlook. Even with attorney’s fees, they can save you thousands, too. You’re about to make one of the biggest transactions of your life. Make sure you do it right by getting some professional advice, first.
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