Real Estate Knowledge Base for Sellers – 1st in series
You might be surprised that there are preparations to make before you even think about calling a real estate agent to list your home. This is the first in a series about what to do when preparing to sell your home in Hingham, or in any other South Shore town. I am a South Shore real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Hingham who believes strongly in educating my customers so that real estate transactions can proceed more smoothly.
This is the first in a series about what to do when preparing to sell your home in Hingham, or in any other South Shore town.
Before You Meet Your Hingham Realtor
Although you have probably gone through the home buying process, selling your house involves many different tasks and considerations. Educating buyers and sellers about all aspects of real estate allows me to do the best job I can to ensure smooth transactions along the way. Rather than offer you a general outline of what happens when you list and sell your home, my goal is to explore all of the possible steps in detail.
Real estate is a constantly changing field, and what was true two years ago, frequently has a different twist or turn today. Based on 13 years experience working as a Realtor, I can offer my time, knowledge and research towards the end result of listing your home for the best selling price and seeing it through to a final sale.
Stay tuned for more real estate education articles, and current updates to real estate market trends by checking my real estate blog regularly.
Before you develop a professional relationship with a real estate agent… get your notebook ready!
No matter how long you have lived in your Hingham home, there are things you can do before you even call a Realtor to list your house on the active real estate market. One of the first things is to consider the timing of your upcoming home sale relative to your housing needs. There isn’t a magic formula to predict how long your house will actively be on the market and for sale before the closing, but preparing for the shortest amount of time possible is the way to start.
Imagine yourselves moving into a new house 30 to 45 days after you first list your home. This sounds unlikely, but it does happen. Preparing for your next living situation is critically important on the short and long end of all the possibilities. Many real estate transactions speed up or slow down due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control. Preparation can help you avoid many of these changes in the home-selling trajectory, and knowing where you will live at any stage in the process will help you be more at ease with any potential surprises.
Many real estate customers need to sell their existing house before they are able to purchase their next home. If this is the case, make a plan for the transaction timelines. Think carefully about what life will look like in one or two months if your house sells quickly, and what life will look life if your home remains actively on the market for a longer period of time. Sometimes a home seller is able to purchase their next home before their current house sells. If this is the case, and if it is your preference, then it is time to start looking!
I suggest designating a notebook for real estate to both buyers and sellers. When you are moving things out of their usual places in preparation to move, it is all to easy to lose that one important sticky note or document that you need. To remedy these potential frustrations, purchase a real estate notebook, and at the same time buy an accordion file folder that stands out so you know where it is at all times. You can file your loose papers inside of this, even when you have packed up your file cabinets at home.
Real Estate Lists for Sellers
The purpose of making several lists in your notebook is to give your listing real estate agent as much information as possible from the start. Start with the possible timing scenarios. I like to you use the format of, “If this… then that…” Sometimes there are unavoidable gaps in moving schedules and it is always good to have some back up plans for these gaps. Maybe you could stay with relatives, or if you have a vacation home, plan to stay there.
Open Houses and Home Showings
While you are primed to think about timing, write down some schedule considerations for house showings and open houses. I generally like to hold some open houses which are almost always on Sundays. Broker’s open houses usually happen on Fridays. These are times set aside for Realtors to “tour” new home listings. This generates excitement and a solid representation of your home to my real estate colleagues. Because many Realtors are actively working with prospective buyers, I like to make it easy for my real estate colleagues to see your home to tap into buyer audiences.
Real estate knows no schedule! A buyer can contact us at any time and want to see your home, at any time. I make myself fully accessible, and realize that other people might have some schedule limitations. The more open you can be about home showings, the better, but we all understand and respect the needs you have. To this end, write down some of the possible hitches including nap schedules (your children’s!), having a home business, etc. Certainly, when sudden needs arise like illnesses, surprise visitors or any other spontaneous circumstances, these can always be worked around.
Get a jump start on filling out the home disclosures for your real estate agent by making a list of things that buyers need to know about your house. This is a checklist of past situations regarding your home that any home inspection will turn up. The disclosure form is helpful because it will jog your memory to house events you may forget, but starting with your own list serves a similar purpose. You want the disclosures to be as comprehensive as your memory allows.
Include things like leaky windows, an active construction site nearby, a bathroom leak since fixed etc. You want to include anything that might affect your home value, utility or present an obstacle to a buyer fully enjoying your property. It is nothing to be anxious about since every house has its quirks, and needs maintenance. I will have a full article about seller disclosure forms in a future Hingham real estate article.
Once you make the disclosure list, you might be tempted to jump into making repairs and improvements, but I suggest holding off until after we have met.
What you can also do is list any upgrades you have made to your property. This is always a good way to present the care you have given your home over the years to potential buyers. Upgrades are not necessarily repairs, although they might arise from a repair. Upgrades are situations where you spend money and time to make your home better, just because you love your house and want it to be the best it can be.
Some examples are adding skylights, installing power-rise shades and blinds, adding granite curbs for your driveway, expanding room space, closing in a porch for all seasons, building custom closets etc.
The last thing on the list for this phase of preparation is to think about personal items that are affixed or installed. The most common example used is the chandelier, if you have one. Other, less luxurious items can include outdoor hose racks (yes), drapes, carpets, rooftop antennas, window coverings, outdoor plants and above-ground swimming pools.
The basic guideline is that when an item is nailed, bolted, screwed, plastered, cemented, built into the structure or land, or otherwise installed, it becomes a fixture and part of the property. Free-standing things like stoves, and refrigerators are not considered home fixtures, however, they can become negotiable in the sale of your home.
If there are perennials in your garden that your great-great-grandmother passed down, do not lose hope for continuing the tradition in your next home. You can make an exclusion for them in your agreement that will allow you to take some plantings while leaving most of the plant material there. This holds true for any fixture in your house.
Sometimes it is best to remove the item in question before listing your house. This is suggested when it is something large, or a focal point of your home. A lighting fixture like a chandelier can be eye-catching. In this case, removing it and sealing the hole with a cap, or installing a simple fixture can sidestep any potential confusion.
Below is a short list of first steps to take when planning to sell your Hingham home. Of course, I am available to meet with you at any time and look forward to writing more details about all aspects of the home selling process.
1) Possible home selling timelines
2) Open houses on Sundays
3) Broker’s open houses on Fridays
4) Home showings and schedules
5) Jump start on the disclosure form
6) Upgrades since owning your home
7) Personal items and fixtures