Selling your home can be a wrenching and time-consuming process, even in a booming market as we have now in the Charleston metro. It’s nearly a full-time job to whip it into selling shape, hire a real estate agent and show the house. People come in and pass judgment on your home and tell you it’s not worth much. Prepare for the ride:
- Know Why You’re Selling – It’s often easy to answer the questions “why?” if you’re relocating to another town, graduating to a larger house or moving closer to work. Sometimes, people begin the process of selling their house when they haven’t considered how they will feel when they leave. If you harbor qualms about relinquishing your house, the selling process is going to be painful.
- Get Real About Price – Selling price is a function of the market and the particulars of the home for sale. Lots of houses have interesting features, so be realistic about how much value they add. Just because you spend a large sum to update or improve something doesn’t mean anyone else will pay more for it. And don’t forget that once you sell, you’re going to pay transactional costs, including possibly a significant amount in taxes.
- Draw People In – A National Association of Realtors’ study found that far more effective than advertising were curb appeal and your real estate agent’s network of contacts. So clean up the front yard, get a coat of paint on the outside, add some nice landscaping and engage a real estate agent – preferably a Realtor® — who knows the market and knows all the avenues to promote your property.
- Be Always On Your Best Behavior – Once you begin showing the house, an agent can call at any time to show the house. That means you have to keep the house neat, tidy and smelling good, even if you have children (including husbands) and dogs.
- Detach – don’t let your emotions overwhelm you during the process. The process isn’t personal; it’s business, and there will always be ups and downs along the way. Approach it with that mindset and you’ll have a healthier experience.
- Take a Deep Breath – Selling a house rarely happens overnight. It can take several months, especially if you’re holding out for the best price. Patience is a virtue.
- Reasonable Expectations are the Key to Happiness – Something always goes wrong when you’re selling your house. A purchase falls through at the last minute or inspections uncover the need for a major repair or…the point is, prepare for some hiccups. If they don’t occur, then you’re pleasantly surprised.
- Don’t Blow a Sale – There’s often haggling at the end over nit-picky kinds of things. Don’t let a multi-hundred-thousand-dollar sale collapse over who gets to keep the doggie door.
Follow these directions and optimize your experience. There may be bumps along the road, but you and your agent will be able to put them in context and roll with them.