When buying or selling a home, there are a few things to keep in mind which will ease your experience and potentially speed up the process. It is important to remember in either situation that this can be a stressful time, but there are things you can do to alleviate anxiety.
Tips for Selling a Home
Selling a home can be a busy time, and uncertainty can become stressful if you don’t know what to expect. Here are some simple things you can do before putting your house on the market that can help increase value and appeal.
- View your current home as a house. Refer to it as a house, rather than your home. Get rid of emotional ties. You house is a marketable commodity, and will sell faster if treated as such.
- Clean out the clutter in your house. Start with the kitchen and bathroom(s). Clear off all countertops and cabinets to create empty space. This will create the appearance of plenty of storage to potential buyers. This is a good time to get rid of anything excess or unnecessary in your home. Put these items in storage elsewhere if they can’t be thrown away. Leave only essentials in your house, until you move to your new home.
- Depersonalize your home. Take all photographs and personalizing items, such as family name plaques, etc. from your house. This enables potential buyers to envision themselves in your home, without the distracting reality that someone else is currently living in their future home. If possible, try to stay out of your home when potential buyers come to look at it. This allows them to feel more comfortable looking through the house and asking important questions.
- Make simple repairs to the inside of the house and replace old and worn fixtures and plumbing. Clean off stains or hire a one-time cleaning crew to remove tough stains from carpeting and ceramic surfaces or shower/tubs. Fix any leaks you might find. Make sure to alleviate any pet odors by getting them out, rather than masking them. Keep pets outside if possible to reduce additional odors, and stop smoking indoors if you have been doing so. Check all windows and doors to make sure they open and close easily. Squeaky doors are easily fixed with WD-40. Repair broken window panes. Paint the walls an off-white or light neutral color. These colors attract buyers and make spaces feel larger and more open. Small, inexpensive repairs can do a lot to attract potential buyers.
- Give the house curb appeal. Look at the other homes in the neighborhood and compare yours to them. Cut your grass, fix up the landscaping. Repair old roofing to avoid having to completely replace a roof, which can be costly. Paint the exterior of your house, if it needs new paint.
- Get a home inspection to ensure the foundation, plumbing, electrical wiring and heating/air conditioning are all in good condition. Fix any major problems as soon as possible, or tell your realtor about them to avoid later legal issues.
- Work with your realtor to set the best price for your home according to current local market conditions.
- Set good lighting to highlight the space and flatter its best assets. Make your home look warm, welcoming and appealing to most people.
- Market the house. Advertise and host an open house to attract potential buyers.
- Understand the current market conditions to anticipate realistic goals on when your house will sell and how much it might sell for.
Tips for Buying a Home
Buying a home is a fun experience. Buying a home at the best value, though, can be tricky if you are a first time home buyer, or don’t know what to look for. Once you find a home that feels comfortable, take a few extra steps to ensure that you are getting the best deal on your home.
- Personally inspect the home carefully, testing the fixtures, lighting, windows and doors. Hire a professional home inspector to ensure that roofing, plumbing, electrical wiring and the foundation are all sound. Any problems should be addressed with your realtor so they can be fixed, or the price of the house can be adjusted accordingly.
- Keep track of how long your potential home has been on the market. Compare it to the other homes in the neighborhood, to possibly negotiate a better price.
- Know the current local market conditions. This will ensure that everyone can be comfortable with the final price of the home.
- Improve your credit score by paying off any existing debt you can, and stay on top of current credit. This can help you pay less for your new home in the long run by getting a better interest rate on your mortgage.
- Negotiate a price everyone is happy with. Be comfortable with your decision before signing the paperwork. Living in your dream home is worth some debt, but not buyer’s remorse.