Selling a home can be a complex and confusing task, complicated by a variety of practical, emotional and legal matters. Allowing adequate preparation time before selling a house will help simplify the process and ensure a positive outcome. Some of the issues that should be addressed include evaluation of your local real estate market, home value, condition and selection of a real estate professional.
Investigate the Market
Understanding your local real estate market is a key step in preparing to place your house on the market. Take time to check local listings, recent sales records, comparable sales data and other pertinent real estate data. Much of this information can be found in the public records section of your local tax or property assessor's office. Some real estate professionals can provide a market analysis of your home for a fee or as part of a marketing agreement.
Evaluate Your House
Compare and evaluate your house using the local real estate information you obtained. Consider details such as size, age, condition, layout, design and features to help determine the marketability and possible value of your house. Outstanding repair issues should be completed before selling or considered when determining value. Consider purchasing a professional home inspection and valuation to help with this process.
Selling a house can be handled by the owner or a real estate professional. If you are comfortable with the sales process, eliminating the need for a real estate agent can save money. For most people, hiring a real estate professional is a more practical solution. Take time to interview and compare local real estate agents to find one that you like and trust.
Prepare the House
Before placing a house on the market, take time to prepare it for sale. Start with big projects such as painting, structural or cosmetic repairs and landscaping. Follow up by eliminating clutter and junk, organizing closets, cleaning carpets or floors, washing windows, and cleaning other parts of the house. A clean house is more inviting and will increase sales potential. Consider hiring a weekly or bi-weekly cleaning crew to help keep the house clean during the sales process.
Jeff O'Kelley is a professional photographer and writer, currently based in the Tampa, Florida area. His images and words have been featured by websites and publications such as CNN, Creative Loafing and Tampa Bay Times. O'Kelley holds associate degrees in telecommunications and website design from St. Petersburg College.