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Fears Of Selling, Here's Some Help

Even in the best of markets, selling your home takes guts. I am not going to sugarcoat it; getting your home ready for market is a big job. If you have lived in your home for many years, you are vested with many fond memories, making selling a daunting thought. Secondly, your concerns shift to: how do I sell for the highest price possible/put the most money in my pocket? Fortunately, our market is currently favoring sellers. In fact, current inventory is at all-time lows and nice homes priced properly are receiving a lot of interest and often receiving multiple offers. Simply, there are more buyers than available homes.

Where do I start?

Ideally, you have a trusted real estate agent, and if not, this is your first step. (Tips for choosing the right real estate agent) It’s important to find an agent that you trust, are comfortable with, and whom you can discuss your situation with in great depth. It’s critical to get all your concerns, questions, and hypothetical scenarios on the table before you begin to put the puzzle together. The presale time can be as little as a few days to a year or longer. Some things to consider:

  • Is your (estimated) retirement date part of the equation?

  • Have you decided to complete significant repairs prior to selling? If so, make sure to allow ample time to complete, plus some

  • Debt reduction/additional savings

  • Are you building a new home? Whatever the completion date, allow for some delays.

Do needed repairs frightened you?

Almost every home will have repairs that the seller wants to make in hopes of getting top dollar for their home. And it’s true that many buyers today prefer a move-in-ready home and will pay top dollar for a house in pristine condition. You don’t have to fix everything to get your home sold; the key is to focus on improvements that add value to your home. After all, there’s no point in spending money you won’t recoup in the end.

Keep in mind that big-ticket repairs, like a leaking roof or inoperative HVAC system, can scare buyers away or prompt them to ask for large cash credits to offset the cost of needed repairs. Often, the actual repair cost is less than what your buyer is asking for and it may be prudent to deal with those issues before going to market.

So, it’s critical to start a list and put estimates of the time and money required for each line item. If you want to close escrow in 90 days, you will most likely take a major kitchen upgrade off the table. An experienced real estate agent can help you prioritize your project list, so you don’t spend any more than needed and stay within your budget.

What am I going to do with all my stuff?

One of the largest concerns many potential sellers have is what to do with all their stuff. This is especially challenging if you have lived in a large home for many years and are planning to downsize or perhaps move to a retirement community. This thought is often so overwhelming that it becomes a subconscious excuse not to make the move you really want or need to make.

There are several different approaches that can be utilized, but make sure the path you choose fits into the overall time frame you are trying to meet.

If time allows, break it down into bite-sized goals. You don’t have to tackle all your closets in one day—or even one weekend. Organize the top two shelves of your linen closet this weekend and work on the bottom two next weekend.

If you have a lot of antiques, family heirlooms, fine china and artwork that must go, start with offering them to family and friends.

If you are not able to deal with the task emotionally and/or physically, there are professional “downsizing specialists” available to assist you every step of the way. They will start by creating a floor plan showing the placement of your furniture in your new home and can help you decide what goes and what stays. Then, they will oversee all the packing, unpacking, hanging of your favorite photos, and will even make the beds and hang your favorite towels in the bathroom.

I Don’t Want People Coming into my Home

As a home seller, you must prepare yourself for people coming in and out of your house. This is, in fact, the first thing you should realize and come to accept prior to putting your property on the market.

It’s important that you thoroughly review showing options with your agent in advance. Showing protocols have changed dramatically in our COVID world and they continue to change often and vary geographically. For everybody’s safety, it’s imperative that everyone is on the same page and agrees to the plan. For example, will the house be available at any time, as is often the case for a vacant home? If you’re living in your home, then what days & times are acceptable? How much notice to you need? Be mindful that you may need to pick up some laundry, place dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and tidy up a bit. Secondly, on a regular basis, you may need to get pets and family members out of the house for an afternoon outing.

In general, it’s extremely important that your pre-sale preparation includes the decluttering and depersonalizing of your home. Additionally, most agents will encourage you to remove expensive items from sight and secure or remove jewelry from your home

The idea of selling a home is full of fear and undeniably stressful. Please know that everyone experiences these emotions and survives. While it’s challenging and inconvenient, keep your eye on the prize; visualize your family in your new home enjoying all the amenities and getting to know your new neighborhood.


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