When contemplating a move, there are many variables to consider prior to listing your home for sale. You definitely want the best outcome from the sale, so it's best to prepare properly to ensure the maximum return on your property investment.
Hire An Agent
Hiring the right agent can dramatically impact the outcome for the sale of your home. This decision should be considered carefully, and some energy will be required to find the right person for the job. Everybody knows a real estate agent. You will have a lot of people tell you to hire their sister, brother, friend, neighbor etc. The relationship of the agent to your acquaintance isn't nearly as important as what the agent CAN and WILL do to get the house SOLD... I can not stress this enough, even by bolding and using capital letters.
When you get a referral for an agent from a friend/family member, it's important to ask if that agent was representing them as a buyer or a seller. Many people have had wonderful experiences with their agent on the buy side of a transaction. Selling a property is an entirely different process than buying, and it requires specific skills, experience, and strategies. When selling a home, your agent should be able to provide a thorough marketing plan utilizing many forms of media to attract as many qualified buyers as possible. Your agent should also be able to provide hard data to support any recommendation on pricing. You and your agent should be able to work together on the strategy of pricing, marketing, and negotiating to secure the best possible outcome for you. It is in your best interest for you to meet with several different agents before deciding to hire anyone.
There are numerous websites and "short cuts" that can lead you through a sale by owner transaction, but t is still in your best interest to hire a qualified, experienced agent. In the situation where the seller is upside down on the mortgage, or for whatever reason can not afford to pay an agent, it is still in the seller's best interest to consult with a professional on some level. Many agents make themselves available as transaction coordinators for a flat fee, or provide a menu of services that the seller can choose for a much more affordable price. I can refer you to a number of agents that I would trust to do this for you.
Life events can sometimes spark a move, but should always be considered in deciding when to list your home. If your number of household occupants is going to increase or decrease, if your number of vehicles will increase or decrease, any potential for job transfers, or any potential that income might change are all examples of events that can help determine timing. When you sell a home, it means you will need to move to a different home. Nobody wants to have to move twice, so be sure that your circumstances will be right to sell your house.
Your agent should gather all the information about your home and others like it that are listed and have sold in the last 180 days. An often overlooked gem of information is the average days on market. Check out how long homes like yours in your neighborhood and surrounding areas spend on the market. It will help to determine the appropriate time to list. Also talk to your agent about the seasonal pros and cons and weigh your timing options accordingly.
Once you have hired an agent and you have determined the appropriate time frame, you are well on your way. It's time to prepare your property for the sale.
Read all about it in my Seller Series #2-Sale Preparation.