Selling your house can be a daunting endeavor. From clogged gutters to dead lightbulbs, your home-selling checklist can feel overwhelming. Because there are many factors to consider when getting your house ready to sell, the selling process is often fraught with difficulty. But home selling does not have to be complicated.
This checklist contains everything you need to know to navigate your home sale comfortably and efficiently.
Getting Ready To Sell Your House
You can take several measures as you prepare your home to sell.
Assess the Value of Your Home
If you already know your home’s worth, you’ve taken the first step toward selling!
If you don’t, you can begin to inquire into the value of your home. In general, obtaining as many assessments as possible is a good idea.
There are several ways of doing this. You can:
- Use a home value estimator
- Access data on your county or municipal auditor’s website
- Use the Federal Housing Agency’s House Price Index (HPI) calculator
- Hire a professional appraiser
- Hire a real estate agent
Contact a Real Estate Professional
Start the selling process by contacting a local real estate professional. Cash home buyers in Fort Worth can benefit from a real estate agent’s expertise.
Your local experts will likely be able to provide a comparative market analysis (CMA) to give you additional insight into the value of your home.
Additionally, having an agent who knows the market well often determines how quickly and effectively you can sell your house.
Some homeowners may attempt to sell their homes without a real estate agent, listing the house as “for sale, by owner” (FSBO). However, remember that real estate experts are experienced and skilled in promoting your best interest and will often “earn back” their cost.
If you live in Texas and are seeking to sell your house now, we buy houses Texas homeowners are preparing to sell.
Pre-Listing Home Inspections
Pre-listing home inspections allow you to determine which repairs to make. Most sellers conduct inspections after they have already done repairs. However, an early inspection can prevent you from making unnecessary repairs. Your real estate agent or home buying professional will be able to advise you further on conducting home inspections.
Legalities To Consider
As you prepare for your home sale, you will want to consider several legal issues.
Preparing for legal considerations ahead of time will allow you to focus on more important things as your sale approaches.
In every state, sellers are required to report their knowledge of damages or issues within the home. Failure to do so can result in complex legal issues. Disclosure regulations may vary, so contact your real estate professionals if you’re seeking to sell a house fast in Arlington.
A property title indicates the rightful owner of the home. Be prepared to conduct a title search and provide evidence of your ownership and any debts or liens on the property to a prospective buyer. Your real estate agent will help you conduct a title search and inform you of any outstanding issues with your homeownership.
Resolve Property Disputes
If you have ever had a dispute with a neighbor, it is in your best interest to resolve it before selling your home. The law requires you to disclose any property disputes to buyers, which can lead to legal issues with prospective buyers.
Fixes To Be Made Before Selling
Before placing your home on the real estate market, you want to know what to fix up before selling your house. It’s essential to identify which repairs are necessary and which are not. It’s important that you don’t fix these things when selling a house. A real estate professional can help you to identify essential repairs.
Home Exterior Repairs
To make a favorable first impression on prospective buyers, enhance your curb appeal and fix any obvious outdoor issues.
Garage and Exterior Doors
Doors should have functioning handles and intact weatherstripping. Sliding doors must also function smoothly and fit onto their tracks. Ensure that your garage doors work smoothly.
Roof and Eaves
Your roof should be leak-proof—water damage is a big problem for homeowners. Fix broken or missing tiles, ridge caps, soffits, or shingles. Caulking is an easy and quick fix for leaks, though your roof may require more extensive repair.
Drainage and Gutters
Gutters should be clear, free of damage, and working smoothly. Your yard drainage system should slope away from the foundation of your house.
Look for any vertical or horizontal cracks in your foundation and identify any evidence of sagging floors. Cracked foundations may need caulking.
Home Interior Repairs
Home interior repairs are often quick and easy.
Replace any dead or dying light bulbs. Mend or replace broken light fixtures. If your house has curtains, ensure they are in satisfactory condition for your prospective buyers.
Walls and Ceilings
Check your drywall for any damage or discoloration. Repair any dents or holes.
Ensure that your floors are not damaged or dented. Repair any chipped tiles or loose or scratched hardwood boards. If you have carpeted floors, replace, clean, or steam carpets.
HVAC and Water Heater
All heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems should be functioning correctly. You can easily hire an HVAC expert to examine and adjust your devices.
Ensure that all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
Electricity and Circuit Breakers
Check your local codes and make sure your circuits are functioning correctly. Have your system checked by a professional to ensure everything is working.
Kitchen and Bathroom Repairs
Because kitchens and bathrooms have many different mechanical systems, it’s essential to ensure that all are in working order. As a rule, you should have a plumber and electrician check significant appliances.
Ensure all your appliances are working correctly, especially stoves, refrigerators, and dishwashers.
Sinks and Faucets
Check for leaks and clogs in all sinks throughout your house. Ensure that the overflow drains in your sink and bathtub work correctly. Check the temperature knobs on all appliances and ensure they align correctly with the temperature of the water.
Showers and Bathtubs
Check for leaks and clogs in showers and bathtubs. Replace the acrylic on your bathtub if necessary and ensure that your exhaust vent clears the steam from your bathroom. Replace any broken tiles or wall dents in your bathroom.
Repairs To Avoid
Some repairs will not add value to your house. When preparing to put your house on the market, forego fixing minor cosmetic flaws (like driveway cracks) or repairing anything you do not intend to sell with the house.
Do not undertake large remodel projects unless your real estate agent recommends doing so. Lastly, do not waste time and money on minor electrical issues, such as loose outlet plugs. You also do not need to replace old appliances or change old light bulbs unless they are broken or dangerous.
Once again, a real estate agent can advise you on whether or not you should fix up your home or sell it as is.
Renovations To Be Made
While repairs are generally necessary to ensure a successful sale, renovations are typically not required but increase a house’s value.
Minor upgrades can have a significant impact.
Repaint Your Walls
A fresh coat of paint can dramatically improve your home’s appearance. Neutral color schemes work better for potential buyers, so repaint any bright walls to neutralize the look of your home. Tear down wallpaper and repaint the exterior of your house if necessary.
Make Your Bathroom Sparkle
Deep clean your bathroom with a pressurized steam cleaner or professional cleaning service. Gaps in caulking can be a turnoff to buyers, so recaulk any damaged edges.
Using energy-efficient windows can add value to your asking price and upgrade your home’s look. If possible, add additional windows or replace small windows with larger ones to increase natural lighting.
Upgrade Your Doors
An upgraded garage door can add to your curb appeal and enhance the sense of security your buyers feel. A sturdy and secure front door also ensures a solid first impression.
Kitchen renovations can make or break a sale. Upgrade countertops if possible, replace old or mismatched cabinets, and repaint or switch out the old backsplash.
The exterior of your home will determine home buyers’ first impressions. Enhance your curb appeal using the following tips.
Remember to mow your lawn, remove weeds or debris, and minimize or eliminate eyesores (such as gopher holes or animal excrement). Remove any clutter from your yard. Power wash your driveway and the walkways around your home.
Decks and Yards
A deck can add tremendous market value to your home. Consider adding a deck or barbecue pit to your yard. Remove any idiosyncrasies or personal items from your yard.
Once you have finished significant repairs and renovations, consider the following home improvements to prepare for your first walkthroughs.
Declutter and Depersonalize
Clutter can be a turnoff to potential buyers. Remove any debris, miscellaneous objects, or personal knick-knacks around your home. Put family photographs away and remove any distinctive or unusual features like colorful curtains, art, and decorations.
Dust and clean your entire house from top to bottom. Don’t forget to wash your windows and appliances, clear all available spaces, and organize your kitchen and pantry.
Your real estate agent will help you stage your home for walkthroughs. Rearrange furniture as necessary. Ensure there is sufficient and soft lighting. Consider lighting a candle or using natural oils to eliminate any stray smells.
Documents for Selling a House
Selling your home on the real estate market requires substantial paperwork. Your real estate professional will assist you in acquiring and completing these documents.
Mortgage Loan Documentation
If you have a mortgage, you must supply paperwork with details on your account and the amount you owe. Simply contact your mortgage lender and request selling documents.
As discussed above, the law requires you to disclose any health or safety hazards. These vary by state, but most states require lead-based paint disclosures, asbestos disclosures, and disclosure of violent crimes on the property.
Original Sale Contract
You will need to provide the contract you signed to acquire the home. This offers proof of your ownership and disclosures.
Homeowners Insurance Records
Provide evidence of your homeowner’s insurance to help your buyers make final decisions.
Property Tax Documentation
You will need to show buyers your most recent property tax statement to consider these figures as they contemplate purchasing your home.
You will need to provide the deed to your home. If you do not have it, contact your locality’s recorder’s office to request another copy. You may also request one from your original title company.
Purchase and Sales Agreement
Your real estate agent will provide the final paperwork you need to sell your home officially.
This comprehensive document covers all legal elements of your home sale and ensures transparency and accountability for all.
Costs and Fees To Resolve
There are several costs and fees associated with the home sale. These will vary depending on your situation and geographic location.
Should you decide to repair features of your home, you will be responsible for the bills. Some repairs will generate a high return on your investment—so you will earn that money back.
You will need to cover the payoff amount on your mortgage statement and a prorated accrued interest. Contact your lender to learn more.
Capital Gains Taxes
When you sell your home for more than you paid, you will have to pay a capital gains tax. Some qualify for tax breaks. Contact a tax professional to learn more.
You may need to pay closing costs, which include HOA fees and taxes. However, this responsibility increasingly falls on buyers.
If you choose to get a home inspection, you must pay for it yourself. You may also want to pay to have your home professionally staged to entice prospective buyers.
Although selling your home can be a stressful experience, this home selling checklist will allow you to identify and methodically resolve any outstanding issues throughout the process. Contact your local real estate experts today if you are ready to initiate your first home sale.