5 Action Steps After You List Your Home
You’ve found a real estate agent, settled on a sale price, and have your home listed on the market. What’s next? You may be tempted to take the gloves off and treat yourself to some well-deserved R&R, but don’t pop the champagne just yet. There are still a few important items to tick off the to-do-list before you reach for that ice-cold beer. Make sure you have these five action steps covered after you list your home; then you can put your feet up. Promise!
- Fix Anything That’s Broken
It may not have been a priority beforehand, but now that you’ve listed your home on the market, it’s not too late to search high and low to ensure that you fix anything that’s broken. That piece of flashing that keeps popping out, the missing paint on a windowsill, the rickety drawer in the kitchen you’ve been putting up with for years… If a seller walks through your house and spots petty things like this, then they’re likely going to ask themselves how well you’ve maintained the rest of your place. If you’ve become accustomed to the way things are, try asking a friend to do a walk-through for you. A fresh set of eyes will spot the little things that slip through your radar.
- Tidy Up
If you’re a clutter-bug, then you’ll know exactly what I mean when I mention this one. After listing your home for sale on the market, you MUST tidy up and make it appeal to the widest audience possible. Ideally, you want a potential buyer to feel like they could move in straight away with their things. Those collectible china dolls, the antique foot rest, and the array of family photos you’ve got hanging up as decorations make a prospectives buyer’s ability to imagine your home as theirs that much more difficult. Once you list your home, if you haven’t already done so, get a box and fill it with anything you see that could be too personal or make your house seem messy: photos, memorabilia, books, etc. Remember, you want your home to look like a hotel room: neutral and appealing to the majority.
- Check Your Insurance Cover
When word gets out that you’ve listed your home and a herd of buyers come knocking on the door, you want to be sure you’re covered if they decide to go and have an accident and sue. Be sure to check your insurance policy covers you for liability such as accidental injury. It’s also a good idea to check that there aren’t any obvious hazards around your home while you’re at it. Again, if you’re unsure all your bases are covered, call a friend to give their opinion and to see if they can spot that booby trap that you’ve been dodging out of habit for years.
- Prepare to be Accommodating
Once you’ve listed your home, you need to be comfortable with putting your “host with the most” hat on. Ever walked into a nice hotel, only to be greeted by a rude and obnoxious butler or bell-boy? You want to avoid making the same mistake that bell-boy did with your home. Pretend you’re welcoming an old friend for a weekend visit. Greet them into your home with warmth and kindness, and make it show through the presentation and feel of your home for visitors. Remember, if a buyer wants to have an inspection, then you need to as accommodating as possible, even if it’s inconvenient. It’s short term pain for huge potential house-sale gain.
- Find a Good Attorney
Depending on which state you reside, it’s common for a house sale to be handled through escrow. In many states, attorneys act as the escrow agent and title inspector. Elsewhere, escrow transactions may be conducted by licensed escrow agents who often are affiliated with or who own a title insurance company. So once your agent (or you) list your home on the market, it’s important to find a good attorney to act on your behalf and perform the property transaction, finalizing the sale. If you’re going through a property agent, it may be worthwhile discussing this with them to see if they can recommend a reputable attorney they’ve used in the past.
Selling your home is, in many cases, the biggest investment decision you’ll make in a lifetime outside of buying it in the first place. Make sure you’ve covered all possible bases after you list your home, and ensure you’re able to maximize your profit through a combination of tidiness, readiness, and good old fashioned hospitality. Remember, you only get one shot to impress, so make it count.