The process of selling your house, your beloved home, begins long before a sign goes up in your yard. When you sign a listing agreement with me, we map out a long but rewarding process that culminates with a check in your pocket.
First, I advise my clients to start moving. This process is slightly different for owner-occupied homes compared to vacation homes. But the instruction applies to both types of sellers. Prepare to call the utility companies. Start packing your boxes. Envision yourself moving to the next place so a buyer can envision themselves in your place. It sounds sort of woo-woo, I concede, but the power of making a commitment to move improves your chances of selling. Buyers can sense when a seller shows no signs of budging. More importantly, their brokers are well-trained to spot a seller who’s not actually ready to sell. In that instance, a buyer’s broker is more inclined to instruct a buyer to pounce on property with an eager seller. Be an eager seller. Or take your property off the market, capeesh? Sometimes a saleslady needs to use tough love. I prefer not to, though, for the record.
Second, my sellers needs to think like buyers. This is another tough one, but it’s really important. Pretend you’re a potential buyer of your own house or condo… would you want to buy it? Do the carpets need to be cleaned? Are there signs of deferred maintenance or an odd ‘fragrance’? Complete those little projects you’ve been delaying. Wash the windows, repair the leaky faucet, plant some eye-catching flowers, re-paint the front door. Your closets are already organized because you’ve started filling moving boxes, so you don’t need to worry about that. See, it’s easy! You’re getting closer to SOLD!
Third, get your ducks in a row with respect to conveying the property. Provide your Trust or LLC documents to your title company, make a list of utilities to be transferred (include account numbers), replace your missing garage door opener (or ‘clicker’ as we called it as children), discuss the sale with your accountant and prepare for any tax implications, inform your homeowners insurance provider, and last-but-not-least, chill a bottle of champagne in anticipation of a successful transfer.
It’s a lot of work, true. But when it’s all over and you’ve moved onto the next chapter of your life, you’ll reflect on the process and rejoice that your trustworthy real estate broker advised your start handling everything right up front. Better to stay ahead of the chaos than let it sit on your heels. And of course, that pre-chilled champagne will taste soooo good.