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What to Do Before You Put Your House on the Market

Before you put your Austin home on the market, you have to be prepared for the selling process. Not only that, but you’ll want to ensure that your house is in the most presentable condition so that it attracts more buyers. There are a lot of little details involved in selling a home, but with the right resources it can be quite simple.

For the best chances of success, the very first thing you need to do is hire a qualified Austin real estate agent. A lot of people assume that they can sell their own home and save the expense of paying a realtor, but the fees they charge pale in comparison to the hurdles and complexity of the housing market. A realtor is always a good investment. Plus, they know the Austin market and will be able to help you list your home competitively and tell you what buyers in your area are looking for in a home. That way, you’ll have a much better chance at a quick, easy sale.

Get a Head Start

The first thing a buyer sees is the exterior of your home. If you’re even thinking of selling your house, you should take a minute to spruce up your curb appeal. Make sure the front door is visible and welcoming, and that your landscaping invites people onto the property and doesn’t scare them away. You don’t have to make major changes. Simple things like repainting the front door or adding a little fresh mulch can make a big impact.

While you’re at it, give the inside of your home a quick declutter and clean. Before your home can be listed, the realtor will need to take photos to post with the listing. If your home is ready for picture day, you’ll be a step ahead of the game. Clean off tables, counters, and other visible areas that are cluttered. Take a minute and straighten up closets and drawers, too. Buyers are going to look everywhere, and if they see a cluttered mess, they won’t be able to appreciate what your home has to offer.

If you have time, donate or sell items you no longer need or want. Pack items up for storage, if you can, to free up even more space in your home. Plus, if you do this now, you will have one less step to worry about when it comes time for you to move.

Do Your Homework

Although your realtor will be able to look into the market and dig up “comps”, or comparable listings, you should be doing a little research too. Get on a real estate website and see what homes in the area (similar to yours) are listed, and selling, for. A home is an emotional piece of property, which can cause a lot of sellers to have a skewed idea of what their home is actually worth. By doing a little homework, you can have a clear idea of what to expect and avoid the disappointment of finding out later.

This is also a good time to talk with your realtor about the terms of the sale that you prefer or are capable of meeting. For example, you will need to decide whether you will accept offers from conventional buyers only, or if you will take non-traditional buyers like those who need FHA loans. Your realtor can explain the differences, but ultimately in today’s market, being open to non-traditional buyers is a must if you want to sell reasonably quickly. If you already have an idea of whether or not you are open to certain aspects, such as paying closing costs for the buyers, your realtor can even include some details in the listing to make it more enticing, or at least help weed out those buyers you don’t want to work with.

Get the House Ready for the Big Day

Think like a buyer when you are cleaning and making small repairs around the house. If you have bright paint colors, consider repainting the entire house a neutral color. This gives more buyers the chance to visualize themselves in the space. Here are some more tips to help you spruce up your home for the Austin real estate market:

-Fix the little things. If there are scuffs, broken or missing hardware, or outdated fixtures that are cheap and easy to replace (such as curtain rods and light switches), take care of them. Buyers and inspectors are going to come through with a fine-tooth comb. Plus, the more you take care of now, the less likely it is that the contract process will be drawn out by inspection repairs and other buyer requests.

-Depersonalize the space as much as you can. Buyers need to see themselves in the home. If you have an entire office dedicated to your figurine collection, they aren’t going to be able to see that space as their own. Family photos and other personal items should be packed away and stored so that buyers can see your house and not your belongings. This gives you a head start on the big move, too.

-Hide or relocate valuables. If you are living in your home while you are trying to sell, you should make sure that all jewelry and other valuables are stored securely in a safe, or somewhere off the property. You are going to have dozens of people coming and going, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

-Ask your realtor what the three most important things are that you could do to improve your home’s value and appeal. They will be able to tell you, based specifically on the Austin market, what buyers are looking for and which upgrades will have the biggest impact. It’s usually inexpensive fixes that people overlook on a regular basis, but it matters to a new buyer. This will help you make sure you’re in the best position to sell once your home is listed.

-Make a list of all of the major appliances or home systems (such as heating and cooling) and their installation and service dates. Not only will you need this information at the time of sale, but it can help you see where you might need to upgrade something before you list your home. Consider whether you are leaving appliances behind or taking them with you so that your agent can provide as much detail as possible in the listing.

Selling your house is a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful process. If you take the time to plan ahead and prepare, you will be ready for just about anything that comes your way. A qualified real estate agent is the key to success with any home sale. If you have more questions or want to discuss your potential home sale, call us today for a free home evaluation and more!

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