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Selling your home can bring on a lot of mixed feelings. Excited that you are going to a new place, sad to leave the one you know behind, and stressed that you now have to worry about moving. Selling your home is one of those stresses. Starting early to get your home ready to sell will help keep part of that stress down. How do you get your house ready to sell? Glad you asked.

How to Get Your House Ready To Sell

Getting your house ready to sell involves more than just packing all of your belongings in boxes and hitting the road. It begins long before you stock up on boxes and heavy tape. A lot of the time, it even begins before you purchase another home. Many depend on the money from the sale of their house to fund their next home purchase. If that’s the case for you, beginning the process early in the game will help you get top dollar when it comes to selling your house.

Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the process. We’ll begin with some improvements you can make to your house to help it sell quicker. From there, we’ll help you complete a Comparative Market Analysis to establish the fair market value of your home. Next, we’ll help you understand the costs associated with your home to help you be prepared for closing. Last, we’ll go overselling your home yourself versus selling with areal estate agent.

Improvements to Make on Home

Some homes require a little extra love and care, which is why it’s important to start this process early. When we say improvements, we aren’t necessarily talking about adding a pool, but we are talking about things that will bring up the value of your home.

First, take inventory of all the repairs needed on your house. Spend a weekend or two knocking out the easy things like touching up paint and patching nail holes, and budget out larger sections of time for the bigger projects.

The main areas of your home such as the kitchen and bathrooms are the ones you want to improve the most. Don’t worry about knocking out any walls, though. Improving these areas of your home can be as simple as replacing hardware, painting the cabinets, and hanging new light fixtures.

While you’re making improvements, keep an eye out for anything you think might need a bit of work. This can be things like replacing a section of rain gutter or tightening up the stair banister. These improvements shouldn’t cost you a large amount of money, but completing them before you list your home for sale will mean you are able to get more money from the property.

Fair Market Value of My Home

The fair market value of your home is the price that a buyer would pay without any pressure from outside sources to do so. This depends on several things such as the appraisal, tax assessment, as well as homes in the area.

An appraisal is usually completed by the buyer’s lender to make sure the value is in the home before they purchase it. The tax assessment is an estimate based on data the government has on your property without really seeing the inside of your house. Figuring out your house’s value based on others in the area is called a Comparative Marketing Analysis (CMA).

We’ve written a pretty comprehensive look at a CMA, but we’ll break it down for you a bit here. CMA’s look at homes with the same square footage and similar features to determine a sale price for your home. A complete CMA also takes into account homes that have been sold or are currently listed for sale, their duration on the market, and how they compare with your listing.

The value of your home may rise and fall based on the area that you’re in, the market you are currently in, and in the season you are trying to sell. It’s a good idea to have a real estate who knows your area complete your CMA. They have a more complete vision of the market you’re in and will be able to price your home at the sweet spot where it will sell fast for the highest value.

House ready to sell

Cost of Selling A Home

You may have heard of the term “Closing Costs” and thought that they only applied to the buyer. In fact, some, if not all, of the closing costs are negotiated into the sale of the house. Meaning you’ve got to be prepared to shell out some of that hard earned cash to closing costs. Some of these costs are title insurance, inspection fees, and title transfer fees (if you don’t own the title outright). The rule of thumb is to set aside between 2% and 5% of the purchase price of the home for closing costs.

For Sale By Owner vs Real Estate Agent

After seeing a list of some of the things you should know and do before you sell, you may be thinking, “Hey, I’ve got this!” You may even be thinking you should list For Sale By Owner (FSBO) rather than working with an agent. We have an awesome look at listing FSBO here, but let’s take a quick look at the difference between the two.

What does it mean to list FSBO?

Listing FSBO means you are responsible for putting your home up for sale, advertising the property, and seeing it close. Selling a house can be a full-time job. You may even start spending your weekends and evenings posting for sale signs and showing the house. You’ll be fielding calls from agents and other potential buyers, as well as juggling schedules. And it doesn’t stop once you go under contract, either. From there, you’ve got to handle paperwork and bank processes, as well as negotiations and inspections.

How is working with a real estate agent different?

How does going to a restaurant differ from you making the meal yourself? At a restaurant, they will listen to what you want, prepare it to your specifications, and clean up afterward. At home, you would be responsible for the whole kit and caboodle. It’s very similar in real estate.

Your real estate agent listens to any stipulations you have and marketing plans for the house, and they do the work for you. They’ll schedule the open houses, post signs, and field any questions. If someone comes with a lowball offer, your real estate agent will rebuttal it with their own. As it comes to closing, the real estate agent will take care of handling the paperwork. All you basically have to do is sign and hand over the keys. As with the restaurant, however, working with an agent does come with a price tag.

Selling your home can be a long process, but knowing and completing these things in advance will make the process run a lot more smooth. So, get out there and sell your house!

Working with a quality agent can be quite expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Some believe that you can have your cake and eat it, too. And that’s why we created Clever. Clever works with the top agents in your area for a flat rate price. No more will you pay 6% to sell your home. Clever agents will do it for $3000 or a 1% commission price on homes more than $350,000. Call us today at  1-833-2-CLEVER or fill out our online form to get started.


Andrew Schmeerbauch

Andrew Schmeerbauch is the Director of Marketing at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you top agents to save on commission. His focus is educating home buyers and sellers on navigating the complex world of real estate with confidence and ease. Andrew has worked on projects for the United Nations and USC and has a particular passion for investing and finance. Andrew's writing has been featured in Mashvisor, L&T, Ideal REI, and Rentometer.

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