What to expect when selling your home

Spring is in the air! Although the spring season isn’t officially in swing yet, I have always been the type of person who loves this particular change of season. I know I am not alone since everything and everyone seems to begin coming alive about this time of year. And, as you might have guessed, that includes the housing market. The warmer temperatures cause the azaleas to bloom and the grass to thicken into green pastures. Curb appeal on most homes in our area will peak between now and the end of May when the summer heat settles in and the Fescue begins to struggle. With the anticipation of all this flurry of activity comes what we in the real estate business often refer to as the “Spring selling season.” I thought this might be a good time to reference some of the expectations you might have when selling your home.

In a perfect world, you might put a sign out and a cash buyer will show up on your doorstep with a briefcase full of money to pay you well over your asking price. No picky home inspectors to worry about, no financing issues, and certainly no low appraisal concerns. But unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and for most of us, our “perfect” scenario won’t play out quite as we would like it to. The good news is that help is right around the corner in the form of your friendly REALTOR, who is licensed and educated to guide you every step of the way.

As a homeowner, the average person will fall into habits you get used to while living in your home. Typically, concerns about keeping everything so neat or leaving clutter here or there is no big deal. With a family, those things become even more magnified when concerns of the children’s activities tend to take priority over the everyday mundane chores of keeping the house up to par. For this reason, when you get ready to put your home up for sale the focus will shift. If you want your home to show it’s best while on the market, two of the more important tasks to accomplish prior to letting the first buyer through the front door are a thorough cleaning and decluttering of that comfortable palace you call home. Sometimes it can help to have a third party’s perspective. I also like to encourage my sellers to put on their buyer’s cap and take a walk through their home with a different perspective in mind. What features do you see that the average buyer might be concerned about? Having a fresh set of eyes can always help point out problem areas in a constructive way. 

Cleaning your home is fairly obvious but decluttering your home can mean something different for everyone. Some homes require very little attention while others require much more. The average person tends to accumulate things over time and those things end up as random clutter in our homes. Unfortunately, when it comes time to put the house up for sale, many of those things need to be either moved away, given away, or stored in a separate location until you reach your next destination. Once you have taken this step, it will make a huge difference in how your home shows.

Another factor to consider is deferred maintenance on your home. If you have been putting off making some of those minor repairs and, especially exterior, upkeep around the house, addressing those issues prior to marketing your home for sale is certainly a good idea. Items of concern can be anything from freshening the flower beds with mulch to repairing wood rot on the front door surround, but almost anything you work on up front can make a difference in the monetary returns when you sell.

Once your home is under contract, one of the first steps will be that home inspection I referred to earlier. This is the purchaser’s responsibility and, while not mandatory, will almost always be the first step in proceeding towards closing. Discoveries from inspections can include such things as elevated moisture, termite damage, or items related to the systems and structure of the home, including heating and air conditioning, roofing, and appliances to be conveyed with the sale. While some homeowners might prefer their home be inspected prior to going on the market so that they might uncover and remedy any necessary repairs, it is more common to wait until the buyer is secured and the inspection period begins. 

The other main contingencies that will come into play, unless a cash sale is obtained, include the financial aspects of a home purchase. This will also include the lender ordered appraisal of the property. The lender will also order a title search be performed by the closing attorney/title company. Providing a clear title to the purchaser will be necessary for the transaction to proceed to close. These final steps can take anywhere from as little as ten days to as many as 60 or more depending on the lender, but the average number of days from contract to closing will typically run around 30-45 days.

All of that being said, the one point I cannot emphasize more is to speak with a licensed professional before you start to do anything. A REALTOR can give you the guidance you need to tackle the more important tasks and avoid spending time and energy on those items that might not make a difference. Imagine spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars getting your home updated or in top selling condition only to find out that what you chose to do was not what appeals to today’s average buyer. Also, something to consider is whether you want to do very little prep work at all and try to sell the home in “as is” condition. All these decisions will affect the length of time it will take your home to sell and the potential sales price as a result.     

The National Association of REALTORS® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Greater Greenville Association of REALTORS® represents over 2,900 members in all aspects of the real estate industry.  Please visit the Greater Greenville Association of REALTORS® web site at www.ggar.com for real estate and consumer information.

“Every market is different, call a REALTOR® today.”