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15 Questions you should ask when selling you home. (We even answer them for you!)

Depositphotos_50024463_s-2015Are you thinking about selling your home? You’ll have plenty of important decisions to make along the way, but a smart seller arms themselves with the proper information along the way. So by asking these 15 questions before you put your home up for sale, you’ll be sure to maximize profit and ensure a smooth and efficient process. We cover the first seven questions here and will go over the rest in part two of this blog.

If you’d like to discuss any of these questions or need some advice about selling your home for top dollar, give me a call!

  1. Should I have my home professionally staged?

Not all homes need to be professionally staged, but no matter what, you should make sure your home is decluttered, clean, and free of most personal effects. However, if you have a high-end or luxury listing, or just one you are very motivated to sell for top price, you definitely want to consider it. According to a study conducted by the Real Estate Staging Association, homes that were staged sold in an average of 42 days, while those who were left unfurnished lingered on the market for 154 days!  So if you want to get top dollar for your home you may want to spend a little in the beginning for staging, but if done correctly, the results always pay dividends.

  1. Am I pricing the home correctly?

We all want the best deal possible. Every owner wants to sell their home for the absolute top of the market (or higher!), and every buyer wants an amazing deal. But no matter which side you are on, pricing a home should be based on logical data, not emotion or personal beliefs. That is why your listing agent will present you with a detailed Comparable Market Analysis, and even the buyer’s lender will do an appraisal to make sure the value is equitable. If you’re outside the bubble of realistic pricing and where the home will appraise you’re going to end up with a lot of frustration and wasted time.

But don’t worry – a great Realtor will help you navigate the data and market research to price it correctly, with minor adjustments over time if necessary, as well as negotiate aggressively on your behalf so when the home sells, no money is left on the table.

  1. Would I buy my house for this price?

Another way to objectively look at pricing your home is by asking the ultimate question: “Would I buy my own home (or one like it) for the price I want to list it at?  If the answer is no, or if you even have to think about it for a while, then you probably need to get realistic and readdress the pricing, condition, and marketing strategies. Of course you deserve to get top dollar for your home, and remember that the asking price, the terms, division of closing costs, and timing all play into the number you’ll see on the check when the deal closes. Of course you deserve to get top dollar for your home, and that’s why hiring the right Realtor and listening to her is the best way to ensure that happens!

  1. Is my Realtor knowledgeable about my area?

There are many criteria to pick the right Realtor, and their knowledge of your neighborhood and area is a crucial one. Especially with luxury homes and houses in unique communities, where you live is also a statement about your lifestyle, so knowing (and selling) nearby amenities like country clubs, golf courses, business parks, town centers, arts and cultural events, bike trails, lakes, boat clubs, etc. all goes a long way in persuading a buyer.

Buyers will also appreciate supporting data, like detailed neighborhood demographics, trends on home values, crime reports, information on schools, and planned developments in the area.

The bottom line is that if your Realtor isn’t selling the neighborhood as well as the home, then she might not be the best one for you.

  1. Should I move out of the house during the listing process?

This is a great question, because there’s no denying it’s inconvenient to pack up the whole house, clean immaculately, and move into temporary housing like a rental or even hotel as you list your home. But the research shows that homes for sale, and especially high-end listings, attract more buyers and sell faster if they are vacant during the sales process. So if that up-front inconvenience is worth a faster sale and a higher profit, then consider it. In the end it’s a personal decision, but remember that you’ll have to pack up and move out eventually, anyway!

  1. When should I make my home available, and how easy should it be for Realtors to show it?

One of the biggest mistakes some buyers make is to make it hard for buyer’s agents to show their home, restricting hours and requiring appointments or phone calls to gain access. Of course there might be concerns (like a dog, children home from school, security, etc.) but it’s best to talk this out with your Realtor and find a solution that won’t inhibit buyers from seeing your home. Remember that you’re competing against all other homes for sale in your area in the same price range, and buyers and Realtors have limited time, so don’t give yourself an unnecessary competitive disadvantage by restricting access.

  1. Have I consulted with my CPA or tax professional?

It’s highly recommended that you consult with your CPA or tax professional before and then after the sale of your home. There are some amazing tax advantages to owning and selling a home, like interest write-offs and capital gains exemptions. Taking the time to chat with your tax professional can either give you peace of mind or potentially save you huge amounts of money. Either way, they will make sure you are in compliance and set up to take full advantage of the tax benefits when selling – and not get any surprises come April 15!

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Look for part two of this blog soon, where we cover the next eight questions you should ask when selling your home!