5 Steps To Success To Sell in 2014

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It’s that time of year when most of us start to count our blessings, look back at what we’ve accomplished in 2013 and think about what we’ll get done in 2014. If selling your home is part of your resolution list for next year, there’s plenty of prep work you can do to set yourself up for home selling success.

Here are 5 things you can and should start working on without further ado, if you want to get your home sold - smoothly and for top dollar - in 2014.

1. Put your intentions in writing. The first step to any real estate transaction - actually, to anything important in life! - is to get clear on your goals. Unexpected challenges and situations might very well come up in the course of selling your home, so having a clear idea of your ultimate goals at the outset is a must to help you make the right decisions along the way and to remind you when you might need to course correct.

When you’re setting your objective and writing it down, it’s critical to be specific and holistic, drilling down to the details of what result it is you want your home sale to achieve in your life.

Also, establish where your priorities lie: with speed or with dollars? For example, your goal might be to sell your house as quickly as possible so you can relocate your family by spring. Or, your goal may be to sell your house at the best possible price no matter how long it takes.

Getting as clear as possible from the very beginning on your priorities and ultimate life objectives for the sale will allow you to communicate these crucial things clearly to your agent, and will power your decisions on issues like:

  • which home improvement projects, if any, to complete before you sell;
  • whether to accept a particular offer; and
  • how aggressively to negotiate counter-offers, and on which points to push back against a buyer’s offer.

2. Study the local market. The most successful home sales are the listings that are priced right from day one. Ask any sales person: even in the toughest markets, there are listings that sell quickly, mostly because the one-two punch of the property and its price look to buyers like a very strong value.

In order to position yourself and your property at the point of pricing nirvana, you’ll need to do some leg work. You don’t need to pick an exact price this moment, unless you’re planning to list your home super soon, but you can get started on what I like to think of as the ‘thinking seller’s’ three-pronged approach to pricing now, by:

  • visiting open houses,
  • studying nearby listings,
  • talking with our broker.

Before the year is up, try to visit a handful of open houses in your neighborhood. This will help you get a sense of the types of homes that are on the market, what condition they’re in, and how they are priced. Keep in mind that no home is going to be exactly like yours, but if it’s similar in size, location and features, then buyers that see that property will probably be the same buyers that come to see yours - and they will be comparing list prices.

Another great prep tool in gearing up to sell your home in 2014 is to study similar homes for sale on Trulia, the MLS, (http://goflatfeerealty.com/properties-on-mls) Realtor.com and any of your favorite Real Estate websites! Pay particular attention to what features they have, how they are described and priced, any incentives the sellers are offering (e.g., closing cost credits, etc.) and how long they’ve been on the market. (Hint: you might not want to price your home right in line with one that’s been on the market over a year. Obviously, that home is overpriced, and that is NOT a result you want to replicate!)

3. Gather your paperwork. In planning for your sale next year, you can get a great head start by pulling together the necessary paperwork now. Keep in mind that the specific requirements vary by state, so this is not an exhaustive list. In general, you’ll need to have these ready.

4. Prep you’re listing plan and timeline. After you’ve done all your pricing homework then, you can create a plan and timeline for how all the moving pieces will come together - including who is responsible for getting which tasks done. At minimum, your plan should specify:

  • prep work you’ll be doing to your property before it’s listed for sale - including DE cluttering, staging and any repairs or cosmetic power-tweaks you plan to make;
  • if you’re planning a short sale, a timeline for submitting an application to your lender for approval (this might be before or after the property is listed - consult with your lender and your agent on the matter)
  • planned list price (based on current local market conditions - this could change if you don’t plan to list your home for several months);
  • the target date on which your home will be listed for sale in the local MLS; and
  • how showing arrangements will work so that local agents can get their prospective buyers into your home.

Go Flat Fee Realty: other elements we encourage sellers to include in their listing plans? 1. Plan open house at least 10 days ahead of your event to allow for advertising.  You can advertise it FREE on your pages at goflatfeerealty.com. We can advertise your open house on the internet that includes all of our internet affiliates. ( http://goflatfeerealty.com/open-house-internet-ads)

5. Get a head start on your ‘homework’. How much prep work your home needs really depends on its current condition. A good starting point for many sellers is to order an inspection. Most buyers will get their own inspection before closing a deal, but getting ahead of them with your own will help you avoid any unwanted surprises later on in the transaction. An inspection will give you a reality check on your home’s condition, enabling you to decide upfront whether it’s worth it to fix something now or simply reduce the price in consideration thereof.

Your holiday vacation from work is a great time to:
     (a) obtain any advance inspections,
     (b) have any reasonable repairs completed,
     (c) pre-pack and DE clutter your place, and
     (d) prettify your home’s curb appeal - painting the shutters and sprucing the landscaping goes a long way toward attracting buyers.

Kudos, in advance, for taking the time now to prepare for your home sale in 2014!  Selling in today’s market is no easy task, and doing the heavy lifting now - before the buyers show up and, hopefully, while you're on vacation! - will help tremendously in making things go as smoothly, and profitably, as possible.