What Steps Should I Take Before I Sell My House?


Everyone knows you should conduct a great deal of planning and research before you buy a house. Most people, however, don’t really do enough research or thinking when it’s time to sell.

Without research, it’s difficult to make sound financial decisions. Here are 6 ways to ensure that your house sale is financially beneficial.

Decide the least amount of money you can accept.

Knowing your “floor” will be important when it’s time to make decisions. It’s one of several numbers you’ll be evaluating when you take your next steps.

If you’re upside down on your mortgage, then you might not be able to afford below a certain amount unless it’s your last chance to stop foreclosure. If you’ve built a lot of equity then you can afford to be more flexible. Either way, knowing your “rock bottom” number is incredibly helpful.

Evaluate market conditions.

This will help you discover several things. First, you’ll find out how long it’s probably going to take to sell your home. Second, you’ll get a sense of your best case scenario.

Business Insider offers a valuable, step-by-step process for evaluating the current state of the real estate market, both in your city and in your neighborhood.

Decide how quickly you need to sell.

If you’re not on a tight deadline, you may be able to hold out and ask for more. But if you need your house sold “yesterday” your options are more limited.

Consider the financial side of this equation. Houses need upkeep, even if you’re not living in them. If you’re moving out of state (or even to the other side of the state) you’ll need to pay for a lawn service. You’ll have to keep the utilities on for those viewing the home. You’ll need vacant home insurance. And if you have an outstanding mortgage, you’ll continue paying it while you wait for the home to sell.

These expenses can easily wipe out any benefit you may receive, even if you do sell your house for “top dollar” on paper.

Assess necessary repairs.

Many buyers will accept some cosmetic defects, but very few will move into a home that has a sagging roof or leaky plumbing. If your home needs major repairs then a traditional buyer will probably ask you to pay for them out of pocket before they’ll agree to buy.

This can create difficulties if you don’t have the necessary funds. Some will agree to handle the repairs themselves, but only if you lower the price of the home accordingly. Usually, they vastly overestimate the amount of money these repairs will actually take.

Try to get quotes for each repair. That way, you’ll have a firm sense of how much money you stand to lose if you try to sell your home on the open market. At the very least, you’ll be in a stronger position to negotiate when buyers want to lower the price of the home.

Decide how you will sell your house.

You have two options. One is to sell the home through a traditional real estate agent, which can take 2 – 4 months to complete in normal market conditions. Consider your likely open market sale price (which you got from your research), the amount of money you need to put into repairs, and the amount of money that you need to keep the house up and running while you wait for it to sell.

The second option is to sell to a real estate investor who will take the house as is. The process takes 1 – 7 days, depending largely upon your needs. You might even want to call the investors while you’re doing your research, because you can have a no-obligation offer in your hands in as little as 24 hours. This will let you run the math and determine whether you are better off selling as-is or if you’d be better off hiring a traditional real estate agent.

Ask us!

Call us if you’re having trouble making this assessment. We’re happy to answer your questions and help you run the numbers in an unbiased, straightforward way. Calling us doesn’t incur any obligation at all, since we’re more than happy to help you out in any way we can.