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Preparing to Sell Your Home

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Have you been thinking about selling your Hampton Roads home, but are not sure where or how to start? Deciding to sell your home is not an easy decision and can take time; according to Zillow’s Consumer Housing Trends Report 2018 on average it takes seven months for a seller to decide about listing their home.

Whether you’re selling because you want to downsize, size up or are relocating, it’s essential to be prepared for the home selling process as it can be both emotional and stressful. Selling requires a fair amount of prep work to make sure your home gives potential buyers the best impression possible. To help you get started, we have created a list of tips that will help you through selling your home.

Ask Yourself: Why Am I Selling My Home?
Selling your home can be tedious and expensive, determining the reasons you are selling your home is important before getting too deep into the process. If you decide to move forward with the sale, it is a good idea to speak with your mortgage provider to learn how much equity you will have at the time when your home is listed. Knowing this amount will help you understand your budget for home improvements and your budget when purchasing your next home. Making a list of conditions that need to be in place to sell your home is also a good idea, for example: What is the lowest price you would take? or When would you be able to move?

Do Some Research
Establishing knowledge of your local market will help you figure out when is best to list your home. Are you in a buyer’s or seller’s market? If possible, wait to list your home when it’s a seller’s market, when there are more buyers searching for homes than houses on the market. This will allow you to have more power as a seller and drive up prices due to a large amount of buyer competition. Learn more about the state of the Hampton Roads housing market with our quarterly market analysis blog.

Another piece of the puzzle to keep in mind is capital gains tax. This is calculated using your purchase price, the price you sold the home for and the length of time you owned the home. If you are selling a home you have owned for one year or less your tax rate will correspond with your normal tax bracket. If you own the home for longer than a year you will be placed in one of three long term capital gains brackets based on additional information including your taxable income and your filing status.

Is there a certain time of year, that is best to sell? Based on Zillow’s findings, overall homes in the U.S. sell faster and for higher prices in early May, though the best time to sell may vary in your local market.

Pick a strategy
One of the first decisions you will need to make is whether to sell your home For Sale By Owner (FSBO) or if you will be working with an agent. Learn more about the pros and cons of listing your home with our blog For Sale By Owner – Good or Bad? If you decide to sell your home FSBO, you should market your home on multiple channels and find comparable sales around your area. If you choose to work with an agent, we recommend you ask for referrals and interview potential agents before making a choice such as choosing between a traditional commission-based realtor or a flat fee realtor in Virginia Beach.

Home Improvement Projects
Before listing your home, you might consider completing some work around the house to make it grab a potential buyer’s attention. Common improvements buyers today appreciate, such as updating older appliances to more modern professional ones, can help increase your ROI and speed up the sale of your home. Revitalizing your yard with some plants that are in season is another way to make a great first impression and up your home’s curb appeal. Speak with your agent for some additional items to add to your list since they usually have a good idea of what buyers in your area are looking for.

Price Competitively
Pricing your home correctly is the most important part of selling your home and can either bring in buyers or send them running for the hills. Homes priced accurately tend to sell in a more timely manner and homes that sell within the first week of being listed are usually sold at or above asking price. The longer the home is on the market, it tends to sell for less. When determining the listing price of your home, it is best to view comparable sales to see what other homes similar to yours sold for in your area. Your real estate agent will have tools to help you with this, but you can also use Zillow’s ‘Recently Sold’ search filter or pricing tool to get some of your own insight. It is also advisable to schedule a home appraisal by a third party and follow the guidance of your agent.

Stage Your Home
Before starting any tours of your home to prospective buyers, we recommend decorating your home in a way that will appeal to a wide variety of people. Rearranging the furniture, organizing and decluttering can help your home feel larger and more open. Remove family pictures to make it easier for buyers to picture themselves in the space is also a nice touch. While there are many degrees of staging, choose which plan works best for your budget and look to your agent to help determine how important staging your home is in your local market.

Marketing Your Home
Now that you’re ready to list your home, the next step is to get your listing seen by as many people as possible. Make sure to use multiple channels (both online and offline) to advertise your home since the majority of buyers nowadays utilize the internet when searching for homes. Having professional photos taken can help your home stand out and improve the buyer’s first impression. Highlighting your home’s features in the listing description without rambling on can also show buyers what makes your home different than others.

Unexpected Delays
If your home is taking longer to sell than you originally hoped, it may be necessary to revisit some of the topics we discussed earlier. Once your home is under contract, you are not out of the ballpark. There are multiple delays that can occur before closing such as the buyer’s financing falling through, a bad home inspection or the home appraisal coming in lower than the loan amount.

Moving Out
Moving no matter how close or far is a time-consuming and expensive affair; it gets even harder if you are buying a home and selling a home at the same time. Consider arranging for temporary housing to relieve some of the stress and be ready to move out in a moment’s notice, especially if there is no delay in closing.

Complete All Closing Obligations
As part of the selling process, you as a seller will be required to file and complete any necessary legal documents and tasks in order to close in a timely fashion. Make sure to finish any repairs and gather all certifications that were previously agreed upon and submit any disclosures that may affect the safety or value of the home and open an escrow account. Once all these tasks are finished, all that’s left to do is review closing costs, sign on the dotted line and hand over the keys!

Now that you know what selling your home entails, you might be a little overwhelmed. Choosing the correct real estate agency to partner with on this journey is crucial. When selling your home with Affix Realty, your agent will put your best interests first. Affix Realty is a flat rate real estate agent that you will sell your home for a fixed rate of $5,500 no matter the price of your home.