Jim Valentine: Preparing to sell
Residential buyers usually have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish. Their vision is usually created with a budget in mind, preferred location, style of home, features of home, size of lot and condition of the home. Those desired characteristics can be quantified and a property qualified for meeting them rather handily. On the other hand, sellers’ ideal circumstances can be more difficult to identify.
Sellers must first identify their motivation. Why are they considering selling? Do they need the cash out of the house? Are they protecting their equity for some reason? Are they moving out of the area or up/down in the same area? Did they out grow the home or is it now too big? Is the maintenance too much these days or do they have a new hobby that needs more room? Identifying motivation is an essential first step for it will establish the direction the planning will go in.
What are the tax consequences of a sale? If you are selling property held for investment, i.e. a rental, vacant land, etc., you will be taxed on your profit unless you do a 1031 exchange. Additionally, you will have to recapture the depreciation that you took. If you are selling your primary residence, you won’t pay taxes on up to $250,000 as a single person, $500,000 as a married couple. Above that, however, you will have taxes to pay. It is important that you identify your potential tax liability before you get a sales contract in place for that information could cause a need for you to adjust your contract for pricing and timing.
At this point, you are ready to prepare for marketing. What is the condition of the home? Is it a longterm rental that has been “ridden hard” or do you just need a few touches here and there to achieve the maximum price within the time parameters that you have set for completing the sale? Are you going to put money into the property to prepare it for sale? If so, will you get it, or more, back from the sale? Sometimes just weeding and grooming the landscaping can make a huge difference in a buyer’s first impression, causing the home to sell faster even without replacing the tired carpet. Don’t overthink what a buyer will think — each buyer is unique and you just can’t anticipate the preference of every potential buyer.
When you are finally ready to sign the listing agreement and have your home photographed, be sure to put it forward in the best light. Pick up the clutter, clean the counters, get things shiny and open. Buyers look on the Internet for a long time before they go look at property. They will rely on the quality of the pictures — not just the picture quality but the content. Make sure your place is standing tall on picture day.
Make sure everybody in the household is ready for the marketing of your home. Garbage has to be taken out regularly, beds made every day, clutter removed, etc. Every day you must anticipate a buyer walking through making a big decision — to buy your home or not to buy your home. You and your family can help them answer that question by creating a great atmosphere for a first impression every day. Keep it open, clean and bright … every day. You never know when the right buyer will be walking through the door.
Our advice: Work with your agent to identify your selling wants and needs and to consider the value of your home, condition of your home, what you should do to prepare for market and how to best present the home to a buyer, i.e. kennel or remove the dogs, clean the cat box, etc. Time invested up front working on the above will allow you to build a good foundation for your decisions that will be based on knowledge and made with confidence because of your thorough action plan.
There are a lot of components to the sale of a home these days. Be sure to get a good understanding of the process upfront so you understand what will be coming and can identify it when you get to that part.
When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704. email@example.com