Deciding to sell a home is so much more than just getting the right price. Areas that are often overlooked by sellers include: protecting valuables, making the home safe, and creating a clutter-free home. Choosing a professional that can pull all of this together for you while negotiating on your behalf is also essential. These real estate professionals are called listing agents, and they represent the seller. If you are preparing to sell your home, then choose a trustworthy and knowledgeable Real Estate Agent for this representation.
As you will see, there are a lot of areas in which sellers need to protect themselves.
Selling Your Home, Then Lock Up or Remove These Items
Just think about it. A seller is leaving their home so that someone they probably do not know can have free roam. Therefore, sellers need to protect their identity and valuables as well as prevent lawsuits. Below is a list of sample items a seller should make unavailable to buyers who are viewing the home:
- Medical prescriptions
- Personal documents like Bills & credit cards
- Computers & tablets (confidential information)
- House & car keys
- Pets (injury risk)
Remember, hiding items in a drawer is not being safe. Buyers may rummage through your drawers and closets. On this list, some items are obvious, while others are often not considered.
Safety Tips When Selling Your Home
Ok, the top list protects your items and identity. Another area sellers should protect themselves from is the risk of buyer injuries. There are a few tips below to help decrease the chance of an injury or even death while on the seller’s property.
- Remove construction items
- Tripping hazards
- Exposed wiring
- Warning signs by pool plus other safety items
- If an open house, keep a list of visitors (ask for ID)
- Request for buyer agents to lock all doors after leaving
Recently, an appraiser noted that a seller had a live wire laying across the yard that could kill someone if grabbed. Apparently, it had been that way for a while, and it was extremely fortunate no one was injured. If there is a pool and the owners are not present, there is the risk of a child falling into the pool and drowning. So, warnings and protection are critical. Any other items that could cause an injury should be removed or repaired.
Just in case, make sure the homeowner’s insurance covers theft, liability & injuries. This is one of those times to have a thorough review with the insurance agent. Finally, make a big point about locking all doors when finished. Too often, a door is left unlocked after a showing which creates the risk of a robbery.
Sellers Should Declutter Homes
It is pretty much unanimous among REALTORS® that listed homes should be free of clutter. Not only that, but they should also flow as much as possible. While living in a house for a long time, these items may not cross a seller’s mind as they see them every day, but the following is a list of things most commonly recommended to remove before showings:
- Cigarettes & ashtrays
- Too many personal pictures
- Space heaters & fans
- Pet toys & bowls
- Political items
- Smelly items & trash
- Children’s toys
- Small appliances & clutter on kitchen countertops
- Refrigerator magnets
- Bathroom toiletries
- Turn on the lights & open windows
Create checklists so that each time a showing is scheduled, nothing is missed. Sellers should ask their listing agent for suggestions on additional items to remove as well as how to arrange furniture. Sellers should create a home that is decluttered and quickly gives the buyer the ability to imagine their family and possessions in the house.
Hosting an Open House?
It can be argued that an open house could be good or bad. Many Real Estate Agents prefer to pass on them because, in many markets, an open house just doesn’t produce results. If you consider an open house, keep in mind that the security risk increases just based on the amount of traffic freely wandering in and out of your home. Plus, hosting an open house is no small task. If you’re going to have one, make sure you are fully prepared. Check out this article, “Tips and Timeline for a Successful Open House.”
Selling Your Home? Then Consult With an Experienced Mortgage Loan Officer
If selling your home and planning to purchase another home, it is so important to discuss goals and the overall qualification of the seller, soon to be buyer. Planning and preparation will help ensure a smooth transition from one house to the other. Planning includes choosing the right mortgage product, payment, and down payment comfort level, as well as providing supporting documentation for a quality preapproval up-front.
In addition to planning for the purchase of your new home, there are areas which your loan officer may assist in selling your home. An example includes determining available mortgage products that fit the property. For instance, the home may be located within a USDA eligible area. So, this could be mentioned in marketing the home!
What if the seller says, “I’m making enough profit to pay cash for our new home.” Have you discussed this with your financial advisor or CPA? Don’t ever assume to pay cash just because you have it. There are so many potential planning options to consider before spending the cash. Paying cash may still be the answer, but it should be explored just to make sure. Check out this informative article, “Are You Sure You Want to be a Cash Buyer,” requested by an experienced Real Estate Agent that felt too many buyers pay cash without exploring their options. Many realized after the purchase, a mistake was made or an opportunity was missed.