Eight New Year’s Resolutions for Serious Home Sellers

If you are thinking of listing your home for sale this year, here are some tips you may want to consider before putting your house on the market in 2016:

• List your home in January. Traditionally sellers have timed the marketing of their homes to coincide with the spring months of March and April. However, sellers should consider listing even earlier. For starters, your house will stand out as a fresh new listing amongst the older ones from the previous year. This allows you to catch some early bird buyers and beat the spring rush. January listings also attract attention from serious buyers who have already sold their homes, or transferees who have to buy quickly. Those who are out house hunting early in the year are generally qualified, serious buyers able to move quickly.

• Prepare your house for the market. Now is the time to de-clutter your home, do some early spring-cleaning, and make any needed repairs and touch-ups. Clean, sleek, updated homes will show well in online photos and at open houses. Buyers who see visible signs of wear and tear to a home will often assume the rest of the house has hidden problems as well. You may want to consider hiring a professional stager to help get your home looking its best.

• Get important documents ready. Buyers will ask to see floor plans, surveys, utility bills, repair receipts, and appliance and systems manuals. Plus, attorneys will need title and insurance information on your home. Start to collect these items early on to be ready for a quick closing.

• Get a pre-listing home engineering inspection. This will reassure buyers that there are no hidden problems with your home, and will put you in a good position to address any significant issues before they become deal-breakers.

• Begin to research which Realtor with whom you want to work. Visit his/her Web page, check current listings and past sales, and get references. Plan to interview two or three agents as that will help you decide which one will best represent you and successfully market and sell your home.

• Ask your Realtor for a comprehensive market analysis in order to realistically price your home. Houses that are overpriced can languish on the market as competing homes are snapped up at lower prices. Then they end up selling for less than they would have had pricing been more accurate. The hard truth is if your home is not competitively priced, it won’t sell.

• Be physically prepared to sell. You may receive and accept an early offer, then move to contract quickly, so be sure you have a new home or rental ready to move into.

• Be emotionally prepared to sell. Remember, selling a home is primarily a business transaction and needs to be treated as such. Sellers should detach emotionally from their homes, and be prepared to hear buyers' criticisms. It's important to be able to negotiate rationally and clearly to avoid hasty decisions made in the heat of the moment.

Fiona Dogan is a Licensed Realtor® in the Rye office of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty. She is a Westchester Five Star Real Estate Agent, Platinum Award winner, and an Accredited Buyer Representative. For more information, please contact Fiona Dogan at: fiona.dogan@juliabfee.com or visit her website at www.fionadogan.com.

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