If you are planning on selling your home in Millburn, Short Hills, Summit, Maplewood, South Orange, Chatham, Livingston, Berkeley Heights or New Providence,
here are 7 tips to help you prepare so that you’re not scrambling last minute.
1. Construction Permits: Go to your town hall and make sure that any construction permits have been closed out. Even if you haven’t taken any out, the previous owners may have.
2. Underground oil tanks are THE hot issue these days, especially when you’re selling an older home. If you don’t have proof that an oil tank has been removed on your property, have a tank sweep done. (I’ve got a list of names if you need recommendations) If you have record of a tank having been decommissioned, be aware that most local buyer’s attorneys are asking for them to come out anyway because there is an arguement that unless the tank is removed, you can’t test the soil beneath it. Now I’m not an expert, but I’m only making you aware of what will most likely come up so, you may want to be proactive and take it out ahead of time. Buyers just don’t want the liability.
3. Pre-home inspections: For homes that haven’t been updated in several years or need alot of work, have a home inspection done by a reputable home inspector prior to putting the house on the market and provide to buyers as an attachment to the seller disclosure. Either fix anything major, and state that in the seller disclosure, or sell the house in as-is condition. This will avoid buyers renegotiating your already discounted price. Even if your house has been updated, but you haven’t had an inspection done in several years, it’s not a bad idea to have a pre-listing home inspection that you attach as part of the seller disclosure. This way you have the option of fixing issues ahead of time, and all other issues will have been disclosed. Surprise free inspections are a good thing!
4. Check your mortgage balances – home equity lines of credit count! If there is a possibility that your home’s value is less than your mortgage balance, and you don’t have the funds to make up the difference, we can guide you through the process and help you with your options. Same if you are behind in your payments. Foreclosure should be your LAST resort. Short Sales are a better way to go!
5. Before you start investing money fixing your house up for sale, consult with a Realtor. For example, last week I was called out on a listing and the homeowner had just spent $8,000 updating her bathroom. However in one minute, I knew that the property was worth more than the house and that it would most likely be a tear down grabbed up by a builder. She basically threw that $8,000 away.
6. Staging: Paint colors matter. Light matters. Furniture matters. Clutter matters. Staging matters more than ever because the first impression today is online, not in person. Just watch some of the staging shows on HGTV or look at the photos of my listings and you’ll see what I mean. Here are some real life home staging examples: I’m happy to offer advice on this. And if necessary, will recommend a professional stager. Whenever I list a home that didn’t successfully sell with another Realtor, 9 times out of 10 the house was not staged properly for the photos. It’s crucial today.
7. Exterior Photography: If there is greenery outside, my photographer will take the exterior pictures of your house in advance if you’re planning on putting your house on the market during the leafless winter months. If it’s already winter ( which it is as I’m writing this post), then don’t worry about it. No one else’s exterior shots have leaves on the trees anyway.
The busy selling season will soon be underway and what you may not be aware of is that my pre-listing consultations are free of charge and no obligation, so if you’re trying to figure it out on your own, that’s just plain silly 🙂