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So you are ready to sell your house. Maybe it’s not even the house you live in but one you inherited or a rental property you just don’t want to deal with anymore. It takes more than shoving a FOR SALE sign in the yard if you want to get people interested enough to make you a good offer. If you are selling on the traditional market you will have to find a listing agent and set up the deal with them, but your own responsibilities for getting the property in shape to entice a buyer go much further.

Here is a list of 15 areas you will want to see-to if you want to sell your house fast and for a good price. I’ve broken them down into three sections.

Gather Your Paperwork

You can make the process of selling your house a smoother one by gathering information and documents that a potential buyer might ask for beforehand. Make sure you have the pertinent documents relating to the sale of your house as well as any paperwork on the appliances you are selling with it.

Some documents you might want to gather:

  • The deed or title to the property
  • The closing package from when you purchased the property
  • Any owners manuals or warranties for the hot water heater, HVAC and other appliances
  • 12-24 months of utility bills
  • Any estimates for repairing or replacing things that may be on their last legs

Make copies of these papers for your records and put the owners manuals and warranties into a “New Homeowner” binder for the buyer.

Fix What Needs Fixing

It can be difficult to spend time and money on a house you’re ready to leave behind, but you will save a lot of aggravation and conditions on the closing contract if you take care of problems before you the buyer even gets involved. Not just the big things. Little things that you have been tolerating for years can really put a new buyer off. The roof and foundation are the number one thing that new buyers want to know about. Make sure everything is in ship shape or be prepared to take a big his on your sales price

Things That You Want To Repair

  • Faulty Electrical
  • Frayed, exposed wiring
  • Damaged Junction boxes
  • Faulty Switches and outlets
  • Poor Grading and Drainage: How well is water drained away from your house?
  • Check and repair gutters and downspouts
  • Pay attention to where water pools and spongy soil near the house
  • Roof Issues
  • Water damage from clogged gutters
  • Roof leaks
  • Bad shingles
  • The Foundation: Most foundation issues are caused by a simple settling of the house, but some can be the symptoms of a larger problem like improper drainage. Things to look for (and the buyer will be looking for these as well) are
  • Slanted floors
  • Doors that won’t close
  • Cracks in interior walls
  • Gaps above cabinets
  • Visible cracks in the exterior foundation
  • HVAC and Plumbing
  • Service the HVAC and keep any warranties for the new homeowner binder
  • Check for water damage, leaky faucets or toilets, or any mold or rot caused by leaks.

Making a Good Impression

The basic strategy here is to make the buyer as comfortable as possible when they see the house. You want them to immediately see themselves living there and you certainly don’t want them to worry about how well the house has been maintained in the past.

Some Things You Can Do To Put Buyers At Ease And In Your House.

  • Take great photos. The home buying journey nearly always starts online now. The photos will be the first thing buyers see.
  • Curb appeal.
  • Straighten up your mailbox
  • Keep the bins off the street
  • Trim trees and hedges
  • Keep the yard cut
  • Replace or remove any dead plants
  • Keep the yard free of clutter.
  • Declutter the interior. As a rule of thumb you want to reduce your “stuff” by 30-50% to make the place more spacious and so that buyers can imagine their own things in the house.
  • Depersonalize and De-Pet. You want the buyer to see this as their home and that is hard to do if they are seeing a lot of photos of you and your family. Keep your pet out of sight as well. Take care of any hair or smell and keep the pet out of sight when showing the house. Pets can cause a lot of damage to a house and you don’t want that on the buyers minds.
  • Give it a Face lift.
  • Paint the rooms
  • Replace the carpets
  • New fixtures and cabinet pulls for the Kitchen and bath
  • Some new lighting fixtures

Of course every house is different and there are probably dozens of things to take care of specific to your own property. If you are in doubt about what needs to be done or if something needs to be repaired or replaced you should ask your real estate agent. They have plenty of experience and can let you know right away.

The most important thing to remember is to be honest.

If you can’t afford the time or money to fix the roof, let the buyer know exactly what condition it is in. It will probably take some money off your asking price and take longer to sell the house, but you will save potential liability down the line. DO NOT cover up these repairs and try to skate by.

If you can’t see yourself putting in money in a house you just want to be rid of, then you might consider selling to an investor. They buy houses in all states of repairs, from bad roofs to totally fire damaged because they have the resources and processes in place to rehab even the worst property more efficiently than you can imagine. They will most likely make you an offer that is below what you think it’s worth but you are saving the time and money in making the repairs and often the closing costs and you won’t even have to pay an agents commission.

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