Selling Your Home

Apr 28, 2014

Maybe you've outgrown your current space…or you want to move into a better neighborhood…or you simply want to move closer to your work. Whatever the reason for moving, there are a few to-do's before the "For Sale" sign goes up:

Determine Affordability

Look at what you owe on your current home (your unpaid principal balance) and what your home is worth today (see below for help estimating). Then factor in other costs associated with selling your home, such as: any needed home improvement costs; closing costs; moving costs, etc. Make sure you are aware of the financial consequences of selling your home (and moving to a new one) before you take the next step.

Review Market Conditions

Analyze your local market, including the current inventory of homes for sale, recent sales, and housing prices. Are homes moving quickly, or are they staying on the market for a long time? Are you prepared for a quick sale or do you need time to find a new home? Websites like Trulia, Zillow and are good starting points for this information as are local real estate agents.

Decide How to List

Select how you'll market and list the home (e.g., with a real estate agent or for sale by owner). There are pros and cons to each, but unless you are experienced at selling homes, it usually makes financial sense to get professional help—homes sold by agents typically sell at a higher price and spend less time on the market. An agent will also help you determine the best pricing for the house, they'll market the home, and they'll be your advocate throughout the process.

Be Prepared

Inspect your home—inside and out—for needed repairs, cosmetic updates, and general maintenance. Don't make the mistake of not thoroughly inspecting your home to look for areas of improvement. Finally, you might consider talking to a staging specialist, or staging the home yourself, to maximize your home's appeal to buyers.