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What to Do Before Listing and Selling Your House

Selling a house is a complex process for many homeowners. It’s tempting to list the home and start marketing it to buyers straight away, but that’s probably not the best way to ensure a fast sale that maximizes your investment.

The truth is successfully selling a house takes some work, and the more work you put in, the higher the profit you’re likely to make. To help you prepare your home for sale, we’ve created this guide with tips to ensure your home sale journey goes as smoothly as possible.

Things to Do Before Listing Your Home

Before you list your home or even begin preparing your house for sale, there are a few decisions you must make.

Decide Whether You Want to Buy or Sell First

The first factor to consider is whether you’re going to buy and sell at the same time or do one before the other.

It’s important to understand if you’re selling your home in a buyer or seller’s market. If you're in a seller's market where homes are in high demand, it may be beneficial to sell first to secure a favorable sale price and be assured how much money you have toward your new home purchase.

If you’re in a buyer's market with plenty of inventory, you might consider buying first to ensure you find your ideal home before selling your current one.

Hire an Agent

A real estate agent is not required to sell or buy a home, but they’re typically a worthwhile investment.

Real estate agents can be incredibly valuable for marketing your home, negotiations, and networking. They can also provide expertise to help you navigate a difficult market and assist with home staging and open house preparations.

Set the Selling Price

A professional home appraiser can help you determine your home’s worth, which will help determine how much you should list it for. To get a general idea, look at recent home sales in your area, use an online home valuation tool, or consult a real estate agent.

You can list your home without getting it professionally appraised, but you should be prepared for negotiations. Many mortgage lenders require buyers to get a home appraisal before loan approval to ensure the listing price accurately reflects the home’s value.

Getting House Ready to Sell Checklist

Once you’ve made the above preparations, it’s time to prepare your home for sale. Here’s a checklist of 6 things you can do to ensure your home is in the best condition to sell.

    Clean, declutter and depersonalize
    Make necessary repairs and fixes
    Improve curb appeal
    Stage your house
    Market your home

1. Clean, Declutter and Depersonalize

Buyers won’t be interested in a house if they cannot fully see its features or if it appears to require extensive cleaning or renovations.

To make sure you’re giving shoppers the blankest, most appealing slate possible, you’ll want to do a solid deep clean and a good decluttering. Empty the cabinets and closets, donate or sell anything you no longer use, and consider removing any items and furniture you don’t immediately need. A storage pod can be helpful here.

Take some time to depersonalize your home, too. That means removing personal photos and artwork and taking down customized or taste-specific decor. Seeing these items in the house can make it hard for buyers to visualize themselves on the property and turn them off from bidding.

2. Repaint (or at least touch it up)

You don’t have to repaint every inch of the wall or ceiling, but you should touch up any visible scuffs and scrapes. If you have super bold or bright colors, you may want to consider repainting those walls entirely. You might be partial to the lime green kitchen, but the chance of other buyers being into it is slim.

For the most part, you want to stick to white, beige, or some other neutral hue on the walls. These look clean and bright, offering buyers a blank slate to decorate and put their personal touch on.

3. Make Any Necessary Repairs and Fixes

Your potential buyer will likely get a home inspection, so you’re better off addressing any known issues upfront – before listing the property. You might even consider a pre-listing inspection to help identify any problems early on.

However, you should keep in mind that not all repairs are worthwhile. So make sure to spend your time and money wisely.

4. Improve Curb Appeal

First impressions matter, so don’t forget to clean up your house’s curb appeal.

Power wash the driveway and siding, repaint your shutters and front door, and plant flowers in the garden. You’ll also want to make sure the lawn is neat and tidy. Consider replacing or painting your address numbers, mailbox, and other exterior elements.

These little touches can make all the difference to a hopeful homebuyer.

5. Stage the House

Your agent should be able to help you with this step, but you can also look at other open-house tips. Go on property listing sites and see how other sellers are staging their homes.

You’ll want to arrange furniture in a way that maximizes the perceived space in each room and avoids overcrowding. Lighting is also important. Maximize natural light by opening curtains and blinds during showings. You can also add lamps or other lighting fixtures to brighten dim areas and help create a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

6. Market the Home

A real estate agent can be great for helping you develop a comprehensive marketing strategy. They can help you create online listings, facilitate open houses and virtual home tours, and use their vast network of agents to get your home sold quickly.

You should also consider hiring a professional photographer, but if you’re confident in your camera quality and ability, you can research listing photography tips like how to get the best lighting and camera angles.

Buy and Sell a Home With Veterans United

Interested in buying a new home and selling your current house at the same time? Veterans United can help!

Receive a lower interest rate and huge savings when you buy and sell with a Veterans United Realty agent and finance with Veterans United Home Loans.* Talk to a Veterans United loan expert today at 1-800-884-5560 to discuss your options.

*Veterans United Home Loans and Veterans United Realty offer "Buy, Sell and Save," a bundled service program for Veterans United Customers. Eligible Customers will receive a lender credit equal to one-hundred (100) basis points of the loan amount, which may be applied to either rate or closing costs or a combination of the two. Depending on market conditions, one hundred (100) basis points is approximate to one-half (.5) of a percentage point. For example, assuming optimal market conditions, an eligible Customer would see their Loan rate lower from 6% to 5.5%.

Eligible Customers must fulfill the following requirements to be eligible for the offer: a) list a home for sale with a real estate agent through Veterans United Realty's referral network, with listing to occur no later than ninety (90) days after the closing of the purchase of the new home, b) purchase a home with a real estate agent through Veterans United Realty's referral network, and c) obtain thirty (30)-year fixed rate financing for the home purchase with Veterans United Home Loans.

Exclusive listing agreement must be provided and must include an expiration date that extends past the closing date of home purchase, and which affirmatively states a listing date of no later than ninety (90) days after the closing of the purchase of the new home.

All real estate agency agreements must be in the name of the Customer and/or co-borrower. If the home listing sale closes prior to purchase of a new home, the Customer may elect to delay the application of the offer to the purchase of a home at a later date, subject to the home purchase closing within twelve (12) months from the closing date of the home listing sale (with any benefit being forfeited if the purchase closing does not occur within such twelve (12)-month period). In the absence of an election by the Customer, the application of the offer will be delayed pending, and subject to, a timely purchase closing, if any, as described above.

This offer is not applicable to USDA loans, second lien loans, down payment assistance, or Bond Programs. Cannot be combined with other offers.

This is not a solicitation if you are already represented by a real estate broker.

**Average savings example is based on 680+ credit score, example 7.5% Interest Rate, and $300,000 loan amount; actual monthly savings will vary according to the Customer’s financial situation.

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