The first step of selling your home isn’t staking a “for sale” sign in your front yard, it’s getting your house ready for its closeup and partnering with a real estate agent so that when you launch your house into the marketplace it sells quickly.

Find Your Agent

How do you find the right real estate agent for your house? You want someone who knows what they’re doing, is easy to work with, and will work hard to get your house sold at a fair price and in a reasonable amount of time. The best way to make sure your agent will be a good fit is to ask someone who has recently been through the process. If you have friends or family who have just sold a home nearby, ask who they used and if they would recommend their agent to you. Facebook groups for your area are another great place to ask for recommendations and reviews.

Your real estate agent is going to be your partner to sell your house. Before signing a listing agreement (the contract giving your agent the ability to sell your home), make sure you’re clear on the details of the contract (commissions, type of listing, expiration, duties of agent) and feel comfortable with the agent.

Make Your House Picture-Perfect

You want to show your home in the best possible light to potential buyers, and that most likely means you’ve got some work to do. That can range from simple decluttering to freshening up rooms with paint all the way up to bigger repairs or remodels. You might complete these projects before signing with a real estate agent, or you might wait until you have an agent so you can get their advice on what work would have the biggest impact in your house and neighborhood. Either way, here are some of the things you might want to do from the simpler end of the spectrum before putting your house up for sale.

  1. Clean & Declutter

    This one’s pretty obvious, but a clean, clutter-free house is significantly more appealing than the opposite. This should be a step beyond your typical spring cleaning. Since the end goal is to sell your house and move, kill two birds with one stone by packing up items you won’t need for a while and getting rid of stuff you just don’t need period. The less stuff in your house, the bigger it looks and the easier it is for buyers to picture themselves living there.
  2. Paint the Walls

    Painting your house in neutral colors may be boring advice, but it’s sound. A fresh coat of paint in beige, gray, white, or greige freshens up your house and, once again, makes it easier for buyers to see themselves in the space. Move-in ready houses have had more appeal in recent years than fixer-uppers. Neutral walls are one less thing that needs to be done before moving in.

    Have wallpaper? Take it down. Wallpaper decreases a home’s value and deters buyers. Why? It’s a highly personal design choice and a pain to remove. Don’t want to put in the effort to get rid of it? Neither will buyers.
  3. Make Repairs

    Most of us are so used to our house that we barely notice our surroundings anymore. Walk around your house with a critical eye and set to work fixing all those “little things.” While you may see no big deal, a buyer might see neglect and worry about bigger issues they can’t see. So, patch that drywall, replace the missing piece of hardware, fix the leaky toilet, and finish that DIY that you lost interest in halfway through.
  4. Add Value

    Want to do more to maximize your sale price? Consider one of these home projects known to increase value:
    • Update your kitchen and bathrooms.
    • Put a deck on your house.
    • Boost curb appeal with landscaping updates.
    • Replace your garage door.
    • Install new windows.
    • Put in hardwood floors or refinish your existing flooring.
    • Finish your basement.

Before starting any of these bigger projects, make sure you’re not over-improving your house and pricing yourself out of the neighborhood. Your real estate agent will be able to offer you more personal advice about whether a value-add project makes sense for your house.

If you and your agent see potential for a good return on one of these projects, but you don’t have the cash needed for the project, a home equity loan might be the solution.

Capitalize on Spring’s Beauty for Exterior Shots

The photos of your home used in your online listing are the first impression buyers have. Even if you’re not ready to list or take indoor photos in spring, don’t miss out on the natural beauty of green grass and fresh blooms. Take full advantage by snapping some photos when the outside of your home it at its best and make that what potential buyers see when browsing home listings.

Make a Splash with Your Listing

When you take the time to prepare your home for sale, you’re giving it the best chance to draw in interested buyers and sell for what you’re asking. You don’t always have the luxury of time when planning a sale and move, but when you do, put that time to work.

There’s one other thing you should be thinking about when you’re getting ready to sell you house, and that’s financing for your new one (assuming you plan to buy again). Get pre-approved for your next mortgage so that you can make an offer on your next house before you sell your current one. Call our Mortgage Consultant at 1-800-641-5036 to get started.


Janet Weinhofer

Janet Weinhofer

Jan is the VP of Lending at GOLD. She directs and coordinates all lending activities within the credit union, ensuring compliance with lending policies. She ensures her team provides friendly, professional, timely, and personal service to all our Members. Jan is proud to be part of GOLD’s mission to empower our Members to achieve personal financial success.

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