1. Get Rid Of The Mess
Getting rid of the mess will help you keep your home ready to show at all times which is a huge part of the process.
If you have been in your home for more than a few years, much of this step is getting rid of all the stuff you have accumulated. It might be impossible to really get your home ready to show if you do not pack away some of your things.
Rent a storage locker and pack away all of those things that you will not be using for several months. This is also a good time to de-personalize your home. After all, you want buyers to see themselves in your home, not to see you in it.
A good idea is to have a pre listing garage sale which will help you de-clutter and could make you an easy 500 bucks or so. Anything that does not sell can be packed away or, perhaps even better, donated to charity.
2. Keep It Clean
Now that you have decluttered, it is time to do a thorough deep cleaning of your home. If you are not a cleaner, hire this part out. It might cost a few hundred dollars to get a maid in but it will be well worth it.
While you are at it, also have the carpet cleaned and perhaps even the windows.
Once you have the place deep down clean, it will be easy to maintain this level with just a few minutes a day of touchup work. This is important because, as you will soon see, showings can happen at any time and with little notice.
You need to keep your home show ready, or close to it, at all times. This is the hardest part of the process and leads us to the next tip.
3. Move Out Completely
If this is an option, it will eliminate a ton of stress for you.
Moving out of your home while it is being shown will allow you to clean and prep it once and be done. It will also eliminate you being kicked out of your home dozens of times when you get the text saying somebody wants to see your home.
If you are in a hot market, where you expect your home to sell in a week, this could be as simple as taking a vacation.
If you have the funds to pay for the potential double mortgage, maybe it would make sense to move to the new place first and then sell your home.
Trust me, I have sold homes both ways and it is so much less stressful not having to live in the home you are trying to sell.
4. Board Your Animals
If you have pets, either board them or find somebody that they can stay with. There are a lot of reasons for this.
One, pets are messy. You will have to keep your home ready to show at all times and pets make it very hard to do this. If you have a cat, you would have to be constantly tending the box and looking out for all the little fur balls they produce. If you have dogs, they produce a whole different problem in the backyard. And, no matter what kind of pet you have, you have the problem of pet hair.
In addition to the cleaning nightmare that pets produce, you also have the fact that many people just do not like pets. There are those that are so sensitive to pet dander that they will not even buy a home if they suspect a pet has lived there. So if possible, keep your pet away until the sale is made.
5. Be Optimistic But Realistic
In a perfect world, you will get a full price offer the very first day that your home goes on the market. This could be the case but likely it will not be.
Every home is different and you could get an offer the first day or nothing for weeks. It could even take three months before you get a first realistic offer, you never know. In addition, when the offers do come in, they might be low ball offers and far from your asking price. Be prepared for anything and know that it will all work out in the end.
Also, be prepared for criticisms and use them to improve your listing. After an agent shows a home, they usually provide some feedback to your agent. Most of these comments will be based on personal tastes and useless but some might be things that you should take to heart.
6. Prepare For Hidden Costs
You are expecting to take the hit on the Realtors commission already but be prepared for some other costs.
First, you will have whatever shows up on the inspection. This could result in some hefty repair bills if something major is found. It could also produce some pesky little bills if you get a picky inspector. Keep in mind that you are not obligated to make every repair they ask for. Sure they could back out of a sale but if the problem requires a 300 dollar fix, will they pull out for that? Especially if they have already paid more than that for an inspection and appraisal.
Other expenses that you might not expect will happen at close. There are all kinds of fees that you will be hit with. Be prepared. As an example, here is a little fee that shocked me the first time I saw it. If you live in an HOA neighborhood, they will charge you a transfer fee. This can be several hundred dollars and quite unexpected.