Sell Your Home in 10 Weeks: A Series. Part 1 of 4
"What? Sell my home in 10 weeks? In this market? That can't be right!"
Well, you did read right, and it can be done. This series is designed for home sellers who want to sell a home soon and with as little hassle as possible. With an open mind and the right advice, you can indeed sell your home in 10 weeks - just in time to enjoy the year-end holidays at your next place of residence.
Before we get into the actual steps involved to reach success, let's just consider who this series will benefit. You should follow this series if:
1. You want to attract the best possible buyers for your home.
2. You honestly, truly want to move.
3. You are open to any and all advice by professionals in the real estate industry.
With that said, let's get started.
Part I - Week 1: Preparation
The actions you take in this phase of my plan will have an enormous impact on your success rate. Skip any step and you place yourself in danger of an elongated marketing time for your home. In this phase, you are going to get your house, your paperwork, and yourself ready to place your home on the market.
The first step you must take is to build a team of professionals who will guide you and advise you through the marketing and selling of your home. The team that will cover your back will include a REALTOR, an attorney, a home stager, a home inspector, your current mortgage holder, and an appraiser.
Interview REALTORs: The very first person you should meet with is a REALTOR. In fact, I advise that you meet with three REALTORs and then choose one. You are going to place your utmost trust in this person, and you have the right to interview several of these real estate professionals.
A REALTOR should not only prepare a market analysis of your home, but should also be able to tell you exactly how he or she plans to market your home. Find someone you are comfortable with who also has a variety of marketing techniques, particularly Internet tools. Your REALTOR should also be willing to serve as the coordinator for your home sale transaction - the hub of information among all of your team members, as well as the buyer's team.
At this stage, you are interviewing REALTORs. If you find one who you like during this first week, wonderful. If not, we'll address working with your REALTOR more in-depth in Week 2.
Alert Your Attorney: A great real estate attorney knows the ins and outs of real estate law. If your current attorney does not practice real estate, ask him or her (or your REALTOR) to refer you to a lawyer who regularly practices real estate. A real estate transaction is a legal transaction, and you can not sell a house without legal representation.
Hire a Home Stager: This is a step that many home sellers skip because they view it as an unnecessary cost. If you skimp on this, you putting yourself in the hands of fate instead of taking control of your home sale.
A home stager will come in and give you ideas on how best to present your home to potential buyers. When you interview stagers, ask if they have different levels of service. You may be able to go with a basic level where the stager gives you a list of activities. Or, if your sofa is 20 years old and your rugs are threadbare, you may need a full staging using the home stager's warehouse of furnishings.
By the time your stager is done, your home may look so nice you may not want to move! That's when you know your home is ready for the market.
Employ a Home Inspector: As an agent who has worked with many buyers, I can tell you that the home inspection is often the point that a deal falls apart. The inspector finds a defect, which alarms the buyer. The buyer withdraws the offer. How do you think the seller reacts?
There is a way to reduce the likelihood of your deal falling apart because of inspection issues, and that is to hire your own home inspector. Consider it sales insurance. Your inspector will examine your home for defects. You then make all repairs suggested. Make your inspection report available to any buyer who tours your house, and they have an extra sense that you truly care about the condition of your home. It creates a sense of trust and security, plus it can be compared to the buyer's own home inspection report.
Make Contact with Your Current Mortgage Lender: During this week of preparation, call your mortgage lender. Inform them that you intend to place your home on the market and ask them to send you a list of all documents that you will need to have at the ready. Also, confirm with them the amount that remains on your loan. This way, you avoid unpleasant surprises the day before closing. You want to have an idea where you stand: will you make money on the sale of your home, or will you have to pay the lender some monies at closing? Get your paper work in order this week, before it accidentally gets packed away.
Seek the Services of an Appraiser: The REALTOR who you choose will give you an estimate of the market value of your home. An independent appraiser will give you an opinion as to your home's worth. This is a second opinion of sorts and provides you with extra assurance in the event that the appraisal by the buyer's lender comes in much lower than your own appraisal. We want apples to apples, not apples to lemons, correct?
Other Activities: Building your team should take at most two to three days. What should you do the remaining days of this week? I am so glad you asked.
The remainder of your time is to be spent packing and cleaning. Yes, it is elbow grease time. Pack away any items that are absolutely unnecessary for the next 10 weeks. Rent a storage unit and remove these items from your home. What about storing them in the garage? The buyers will want to picture their car in the garage. What about storing them in the basement? The buyers will want to picture their belongings piled up in the basement. What about storing them in the attic? The buyers will want...you get the idea.
In terms of cleaning, your REALTOR and home stager should both be able to provide you with a detailed honey-do list of ways to make your home sparkle inside and out. But if you want to get started on cleaning, send me an email and I will be happy to send you a list. Just be sure to type "Send House Cleaning List" in the subject line.
Part I, and Week 1, are all about getting ready to put your home on the market. Think of it as getting a product ready for sale, because that is exactly what you are doing. As you have probably realized, it costs money to sell a home! The money spent will come back to you in time savings and hassles avoided. You're worth it, aren't you?
While you go about these tasks, you will start to feel many emotions: anxiety, excitement, fatigue, crabbiness, doubt. Know that this is normal. You are saying good-bye to a home that holds many of your memories and shows the world who you are. Try to roll with these emotions and focus on the reasons that you wish to move and your hopes for the future. Your team will be there to help you and make it as easy for you as possible.
Next time, we'll take a look at the marketing of your home and some ways to survive the showings. Until then, happy cleaning!
Kathryn Acciari, REALTOR
RE/MAX Professional Associates
49 Main Street
Sturbridge, MA 01566
Cell: (508) 982-0686
Strengthening the Massachusetts Real Estate Market One Property at a Time!
Putting Today's Technology Tools to Work for You
Text and photos copyright Kathryn J. Acciari unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved.
Kathryn Acciari, RSPS, SRS, RESE, CFA
Century 21 MetroWest
45 Lyman Street Suite 14
Westborough MA 01581
Serving the Route 9/20 Corridors of Central Massachusetts
Sturbridge to Westborough
Cell: (508) 982-0686