10 Things to Do When Preparing to Sell Your House

The Real Estate Selling Checklist

Thinking about selling your home in Rutland, Addison, or Bennington County? Go through this real estate selling checklist first, just to make sure you haven’t missed anything important.

1) Determine your timeline

The timeline for selling a house is very market dependent. Currently, in Rutland County, the average number of days on market is about 177, or about 6 months, according to Vermont Realtors. In Addison County it’s a bit lower, at 73, and in Bennington, it’s a little higher at 183.

Note that this is not the time until the house is actually sold, which can take several more weeks as you negotiate with a buyer and they get the money together.

Have a shorter timeline in mind? Don’t panic! We’ve compiled some tips to make your house more attractive to buyers.

2) Set a minimum price

In 2016, most homes in Rutland County have sold for 88% of the asking price; in Addison County they sold for 94% and in Bennington County 90%, which means you should list it a little above what you want.

No matter what you set the listing price, you should know the minimum you can afford to accept so you don’t end up taking a loss. Be sure to avoid setting your expectations too high.

Paperwork for Selling Real Estate3) Get your paperwork together

Selling a home involves a lot of paperwork. If you have the documents prepared, organized, and ready to sign, the process will go considerably smoother. Some of the most important documents include:

  • Proof of the age of appliances and the roof
  • Warranty information for anything the buyer will get with the house
  • Tax information
  • Utility bills
  • Vermont Home Energy Profile

Don’t have your Vermont Home Energy Profile? Get an Energy Audit today!

You may also want to get a home warranty that can be used to repair or replace anything important that breaks down in the first few years they’re in the house. Many homeowners are worried about getting a house that has more problems than they realize, and a robust protection plan can soothe these fears.

RealtyWorks Ready-to-Sell Checklist

4) Get your home inspected

This is a more important step as part of your real estate selling checklist than many people realize. A home inspector can tell you what absolutely needs to be done before your home is listed.

Failure to do this could result in buyers avoiding your home, or offering a lower amount than you truly want to accept.

Check out this podcast about things you should consider when hiring a home inspector and what should take place during the inspection process.

Selling Real Estate in Vermont5) Decide what to leave behind

You don’t have to take everything out of your home when you move. In fact, leaving behind several nice items can be enticing to buyers who don’t already have them, especially if they’re first-time buyers and the items you’re leaving behind are still in good condition.

For example, that may be stainless steel kitchen appliances or a flat screen HDTV.

6) Seriously study the prices in your region

Any potential buyer is probably going to look up the average prices for your area, and they’ll catch on immediately if your offer looks too high for what they’re getting.

This does not mean you have to match the average price for your area – only that your home must look like a good deal for the price you’re asking.

For example, at RealtyWorks we look at regional real estate market trends, inventory levels, and turnover rates, as well as what’s going on in your neighborhood and even on your street, and we consider comparable properties that are currently listed as well as what recent sales have brought. We will also look at your assessed value to see how our recommended list price compares.

Real Estate Tips - Home accessibility7) Find a way to make your home accessible

Homes that don’t get shown don’t get sold. Low-priced foreclosures and short sales that are vacant and can be shown anytime are tough competition.

It’s not easy to get potential buyers to show up if you can only host them within a narrow timeframe each week. Find a way to be as accessible as possible so your realtor and any potential buyers can visit on a schedule that works for them.

8) De-personalize your home

Pictures are nice, but they also mark a home as yours… and that’s not good when you’re trying to get a buyer to envision their own family in the home. Take down all of the personal items and anything you haven’t used in the last 12 months.

Remember: empty rooms look bigger, and that’s more appealing to buyers!

Similarly, pay particularly close attention to any evidence of pets. Ideally, the home will look as if a pet has never been there. This means no toys, no pet furniture, and no pets in any of the pictures you take. Wildlife is an exception to this, especially if you have a bird garden – photographs of avian visitors can help sell the house to owners who’d like to continue that.

Selling Real Estate - Deodorize9) Deodorize your home

Many of us grow used to the smell of our homes over the years, but a potential buyer won’t have that experience… and if the first thing they smell is unpleasant, they’re probably not going to buy the house.

As such, deodorizing your home is an important part of the real estate selling checklist – the building should be as free of scents as possible when buyers come to visit.

Simple, cheap, and healthy options include placing baking soda in the fridge, leaving lemon slices face up on a dish, or vacuuming baking soda into the carpet- you’ll be amazed by how effectively these options work.

10) Improve your curb appeal

Most potential buyers will make a decision within minutes – the rest is just formalities. Improving your curb appeal is one of the most important parts of the real estate selling checklist because it helps appeal to emotions and make a good first impression.

In many cases, this will be the deciding factor that makes a buyer say “yes” to your offer.

Read more about low-cost exterior improvements here.

Do you have questions about how to get started? Give us a call at 802-438-2131, we would be happy to discuss how to sell your home!

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RealtyWorks can help you sell your home and move on to your next step. Contact us today!