When planning to sell your home, certain important tasks must be completed well before it’s time to list the property.
Drawing from our many years of experience helping home sellers in the local real estate markets, we’ve developed this Home Sellers’ Countdown Calendar to make it easier for you to address the most important tasks at the right time in the months and weeks leading up to listing their homes for sale.
A whole year is ideal to complete these tasks, but the timeframe can be shortened. The important part is to make a schedule and get started.
Contact me for more information, to help make the process smoother, and with any questions.
CEO & Principal Broker
Choose a Real Estate Agent
An agent will be your trusted partner from getting your house ready to sell through closing. Talk to us about how our extensive local experience will not only get the best price for your home, but make the process much smoother.
Donate, Divest and Dispose
Start now clearing things that you want out of the house. Donate, sell, or have family members claim clothes and furniture you won’t be taking with you. If you have good storage space for sports equipment, seasonal items and bulk kitchen stuff, highlight it, don’t leave it cramped. Ask us about reputable estate and antique agencies, as well good local organizations accepting donations. For anything particularly noxious, Essex County conducts a hazardous waste drop twice a year.
Address Any Underground Oil Tanks
Did you do an oil tank sweep when you moved in? If so, you should be OK. If you know you have a decommissioned tank, it will need to be removed. Tanks that passed the decommissioning process often prove to be “leakers” when pulled.
Capture Optimal Seasonal Pictures
Do you have outdoor spaces that really shine? Like trees in autumn, or gardens that are great the summer? Take pictures when they are at their best, and be patient to get the best natural light you can, before sunset is usually excellent. (Be sure there are no pets, people or cars in your picture.)
Maintain Clean Gutters
If rain water isn’t being directed away from your foundation, then it’s trying to get in your house.
Plan a Pest Inspection
Termites are very common around here, especially in detached garages. They are easy to detect and easy to remediate.
Locate Important Documents
Find the core paperwork that goes with your property and central systems in it, including the survey, deed, and manuals for appliances.
Check Your Permits
Go to the building department and see if you have open permits. Schedule to have them closed out. Often work was done, but no one got the town inspector in for the final sign-off.
Set up a Home Inspection
Some sellers elect to have a preemptive inspection on their homes, which can eliminate surprises that can delay the closing process. Items you, as a homeowner, wouldn’t necessarily notice, but would affect your ability to get the best price, e.g. slow roof leak around chimney in recesses of attic, double tapped circuit breakers, reverse polarity/ungrounded outlets, a section of asbestos pipe wrap behind a finished basement wall. We can suggest three options for inspectors.
Complete a Handyman Checkup and Address Most Valuable Projects
Plumbers, electricians and carpenters are busy around here, so book early for those projects you’ve been meaning to address or discovered in your inspection. Pulling carpet and refinishing floors (provided they are in decent shape underneath) and pulling wallpaper (contemporary designs excepted as wallpaper is starting to regain popularity) and painting are always a good investment. Re-glazing tubs that are stained or an odd color is a good idea too. We can offer you more tips on showing your home at its best.
Strategize the Sale
Discuss strategy with your agent, focusing on pricing, timing and expectations. Pricing is a critical part of selling, and we use every bit of information we can. Pricing is a collaborative effort at Stanton Company; agents with active buyers and sellers of similar houses are a great resource. The timing of when to put a property on the market and hold open houses depends on buyer and seller volume, weather and season, the preparedness of the house, etc. We’ve sold homes during every season of the year, and we can advise you on your best approach too. Expectations should be reasonably set early. Our agents will outline a general time line for the sales process and help you manage your routine to get the most buyers through the property.
Review the Sellers Disclosure
Start reviewing the Sellers disclosure and gather necessary information, like the age of mechanicals, roof, etc.
Get a Credit Report
Whether renting or buying at your next destination, you will need a credit report unless you are paying cash for a new home. There may be surprises on there with unknown collection items or inaccuracies. Also, you can tweak your credit balances to improve your score with a few months of planning.
Clear Your Space
Pack up stuff you won’t use in 6 months to free up closet space and give a roomier appearance to your home.
Choose a Real Estate Attorney
Choose a New Jersey attorney with real estate experience to help the transaction go smoothly and make sure your interests are protected. We can suggest three experienced attorneys from which to choose if you don’t already have one.
Have the Windows Cleaned
Don’t underestimate the details that can make a big difference.
For the final time and based on the current market, work with your agent to set your asking price.
We hope that this Home Sellers’ Countdown Calendar has been helpful to set you up for success.
Find more information about selling here, and feel free to reach out to me with any questions.