Thoughts about moving cross the minds of many homeowners every year. Whether a move is being considered for an expanding family or to downsize after a divorce or because grown kids have left the home, the housing market can be overwhelming without the right guidance.
Two years after moving in to their dream home here in SoCal, the Smith family decided on an even bigger change…from California to Texas. Their California home checked off all the boxes on their wish list: a view, downstairs bedroom, good school district, and a great neighborhood with young families. However, they had a death in the family that shifted their priorities and sent them on the hunt to relocate out of state.
As soon as they started to consider the move, they came to me (as their REALTOR®) for guidance because they vacillated on moving without having jobs lined up in the new location. For the Smiths, after various conversations, they decided to wait to sell their home until they had jobs cemented in their new state.
Once the decision had been made, it was a quick process to move to Texas. After applying for two job opportunities, the result was one offer and a relocation opportunity within one month!
With more than 92 percent of buyers starting their home search online, here are seven points to consider when selling a home:
1. Do your research:
With so many forums to guide potential buyers and sellers, it’s hard to know where to start conducting research on selling a home. The best place is to assess your neighborhood. Find out the general price of the homes nearby. Tour open houses in the neighborhood. Talk to neighbors.
2. Hire a REALTOR®:
Contact a local REALTOR® or two and interview them. Ask them how they’ll market your home, how well they know the area, and even for referrals. They will also be able to provide you with real-time sales comparables (aka comps) for your neighborhood. A good agent will give you both active and sold comps that will be a great range for your consideration. Most comps will have similar square footage, bedroom and bathroom count as well as lot size, and be located close in proximity.
3. Determine a reasonable price:
The key here is to set a *reasonable* price. Not a pie-in-the-sky price. After doing your research and assessing the data, you should have a good range on both the low-end and high-end of the spectrum for your home. Keep in mind, especially in Orange County, a lot of people need mortgages to qualify for a home. So the value of the appraisal has to hold firm, otherwise buyers will have to come up with the difference in price. In order to reach the best possible audience and sell within a reasonable time frame, it’s best to have a fair expectation for the list price.
4. Decide when to sell:
How fast do you need to move? In one month? Six months? Should you wait until the school year ends? Only you know what is best for your schedule. In Orange County, due to low inventory, their is high demand for homes right now, and there is no indication of that need slowing down.
Please. No one wants to see your stuff. Potential buyers want to see the house, and more importantly, get an idea of how their stuff will fit into your home. When in doubt, throw it out. Always.
6. Work on curb appeal:
Are there overgrown hedges, broken fence slats, or is the stucco dirty? Buyers will consider this as their first impression of your home. Spending some time and money to trim trees and shrubs, fix broken lights, and power wash the home will help appeal to a more general audience.
7. Pictures are important:
Time and again I come across listings where people have taken home pictures with their cell phones for the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Almost always the lighting or angle is wrong. This could result in people skipping over your listing to go see one down the street. Make sure to have a conversation about hiring a professional photographer with your agent before your home goes on the market.
If you’re anything like the Smiths, a quick escrow is best for all parties involved. The more you do to prepare for the transition, the better off you’ll be to sell your home quickly in an ever-changing market.