SELLING A HOME: GETTING STARTED
There are some important steps that you should take before you put your house on the market—all steps that protect your interests and help you get the most return from your investment.
DETERMINE HOW MUCH YOUR HOUSE IS WORTH
Market value is what price the house will bring at a given point in time. A comparative market analysis is an informal estimate of market value, based on sales of comparable properties, performed by a Bozeman real estate agent or broker. A comparative market analysis of Bozeman real estate is the most accurate way to determine what your home is worth.
GET PRE-APPROVED FOR A HOME LOAN
Sellers often sign a contract to sell their house before they know if they are qualified to buy another. Maybe their financial circumstances have changed since their last purchase, and they can no longer qualify for a loan, or they arent able to sell at a price that allowed them to buy the type of replacement house they wanted. They end up renting or buying something that was far from ideal.
Before you decide to sell your house, get pre-approved by a lender you trust and research the Bozeman housing market, so you are prepared to buy your replacement home.
CHECK YOUR MORTGAGE PAYOFF
Contact your lender to check the payoff for your current home mortgage.
ESTIMATE YOUR COSTS TO SELL
- Real estate commission for the selling agent.
- Attorney, closing agent and other professional fees.
- Excise tax for the sale.
- Prorated costs for your share of annual expenses, such as property taxes, home owner association fees, and fuel tank rentals.
- Any other fees typically paid by the seller in your area (surveys, inspections, etc.).
- Real estate agents deal with transactions every day and can give you a very close estimate of seller closing costs.
DETERMINE YOUR COSTS TO ACQUIRE A NEW HOME
Total your costs to acquire a new home: moving expenses, loan costs, down payment, home inspections, title work and policy, paying for a new hazard insurance policy--all expenses related to buying a home. Your lender should give you a disclosure of estimated costs when you apply for pre-approval.
CALCULATE YOUR ESTIMATED PROCEEDS
- Deduct your mortgage payoff from your home's fair market value.
- Deduct your costs to sell from the remainder to get an estimate of the proceeds you will be paid at closing.
Will your closing proceeds cover your costs to acquire a new home? If not, do you have cash or other funding to make up the difference?
MAKE NECESSARY REPAIRS
Make all needed repairs unless you want the house to be regarded as a fixer-upper—not cosmetic updates, but items in need of repair. Anything that's obviously broken gives potential buyers a reason to submit a lower offer.
GET THE HOUSE READY TO SHOW
Most houses need at least a little cleaning up before they are shown to potential buyers. Great curb appeal, fresh paint indoors (and sometimes out), organized closets and cabinets, sparkling clean windows and appliances, and a clutter-free atmosphere are essential if you want the house to appeal to buyers.
It's time to get your home in "showing and selling" condition. Most of us don't keep our homes in the condition it would need to be in to sell. Over the years those boxes in the corner of the garage just seem to multiply on their own. Things have broken that we just never get around to fixing and some things have just worn out. We just accept the fact that they will always be this way. It is this frame of mind that you have to break out of in order to get your house ready to show. How your home looks will have an immense impact on how quickly it sells and whether or not you get full market value for it.
First impressions are very important and you only get to make one. Your real estate agent, who is interacting in the marketplace every day, can assist you in approaching your home from the buyer's standpoint. What needs to be changed to make a good first impression? This may mean that all you do is prune the trees and shrubs. On the other hand, it may mean that you completely repaint the house, inside and out. Do a "curb to door" check. Give the potential buyers a clear path to enter the home. The fewer obstacles between the buyer and the true appeal of your home the better. Keep in mind that over time we become accustomed to our surroundings. What's normal for you may be detrimental to the buyer.
Make your home look as spacious as possible. Organize your closets and kitchen cabinets, and if you have things stored in the attic or basement, make sure they are presentable. If you are showing during the day, pull back your curtains and drapes to show how bright and cheery your home is. If you are showing at night, turn on all of the lights to create a warm and welcoming environment for the prospective buyers. A home that is marked with your personality and style may be harder to sell. You might even consider such things as removing obvious clues to your political affiliation and tucking away any biased literature that may be visible. This will reduce distractions and help the buyers to visualize the home as their own.
ALLOW A BUYERS AGENT TO SHOW YOUR HOME IN PRIVACY
If you're listing with a real estate agent, she'll no doubt ask you to leave when the house is shown. Why? Because lurking sellers make buyers nervous—they don't feel comfortable inspecting the house when they feel they are intruding.
Unless there's a real reason for it, don't ask your agent to be present for all showings. That's the kiss of death for showing activity. Other agents want privacy with their buyers and they don't usually have time to work around your agent's schedule.
Make the house accessible. That means it's always ready to show. Many agents won't bother showing a house that requires a 24 hour delay.