The end of another year is now very much in all our sights and, naturally enough, thoughts are progressively turning to our plans for 2016.
If you're planning to sell your home in the New Year, here are five important things you can be doing right now to make the process go as smoothly as possible when the time comes to list:
Create a timetable - It's really helpful to sit down and decide when is going to be exactly the right time for you to sell your home. There are a number of factors that will figure in the timing and, of course, some may be linked to other plans you may have, such as retirement/job relocation. If, however, you have simply been thinking of upgrading or downsizing, we'd suggest that you shouldn't wait long at all before listing. Mortgage rates remain near historic lows, which means that buyer sentiment is still at incredibly high levels, even in the middle of winter. If expert predictions come true, home loans will become more expensive as next year progresses, so it makes a lot of sense to sell now while buyers are still clamoring for the right home at the right price. There really is no time like the present but, whatever your projected timescale, setting out a clear plan with firm dates will help you to make preparations, including the four following suggestions:
Consider ordering a home inspection - At first this may seem a slightly surprising suggestion but, unless your home is virtually brand new, there could be nasty surprises lurking that you are unaware of. Traditionally, of course, a home inspection is ordered by buyers to check that the property is in acceptable condition. The potential issue here is that, if you haven't covered the bases properly, you could be unaware of a "silver bullet" problem that could either delay the sale or present the buyer with a golden opportunity to make a reduced offer. Even worse, it could cause the whole sale to fall through. Therefore ordering your own inspection with a reputable local professional has the double benefit of enabling you to rectify any problems before selling and also being able to show potential buyers that your home has a clean bill of health - not something they will see very often in their search. If you don't wish to go this far, the least we would suggest is that you carry out a thorough self-assessment to ensure that everything in the home, right down to individual light bulbs, is functioning as it should.
Start to declutter now! - The staging, or presentation, of your home to potential buyers is an absolutely crucial aspect of selling your home. At The Nicoli Group, this is something that we specialize in and can handle for you, but it clearly makes a lot of sense to minimize the need for our help by spring cleaning the home, making any necessary decorative repairs and reducing clutter. Any rooms that are decorated in, shall we say, a challenging color scheme should also be changed. Neutrality is the key here and you need to ensure that the home isn't so full of your stuff that viewers can't imagine how it will look when they move in.
Work on your home's curb appeal - First impressions count for a lot when viewing a home, so take care to have properly maintained lawns and a nicely decorated exterior. Judiciously positioned plants can also do much to set the right tone. Even if your projected home sale is a few months away, working on these aspects now will be one less headache when the time comes to list.
Start the realtor recruitment process - There really isn't such a thing as hiring a real estate professional too early. Your sale may not be happening straight away in 2016, but recruiting the right realtor now will pay so many dividends, by having someone on your side with knowledge and experience to deliver a home to market that's fit for sale in every respect. You'll also get a much more accurate current valuation of the home than can be provided by the various generic home pricing websites, so you'll be far better equipped to know what your home will be likely to sell for and, therefore, what you might reasonably aspire to as you move upscale or, indeed, what equity you might gain if downsizing is your chosen direction. Make sure you ask agents to produce a very recent track record of achievement, look carefully at their detailed marketing plan for your home and study testimonials from previous satisfied clients.
I hope that the above tips help to give you some important pointers as you formulate your plans for 2016. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you would like further detailed advice.
Wishing you health, wealth and happiness throughout 2016.