Real Estate New Year’s Resolutions for Sellers

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Lose weight. Quit drinking. Get a promotion. Buy (and take care of) a puppy.

New year’s resolutions happen every year, but many are dropped by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around. (I have a resolution this year to buy a houseplant and not let it die. I’m aiming low.) And while you should be making big changes all throughout the year, it’s understandable that January 1 is the time you choose, since everyone else does.

So why not make a resolution this year in real estate?

We’ve already covered real estate resolutions for buyers, but what about decisions for sellers? If you think a move is in order this year, here are a few resolutions just for you.

Clean and pre-stage your house

You live in your home, so it’s easy to overlook what others won’t. Open your closets and other storage areas and start clearing out that stuff well before you plan to put your home up for sale. You’ll be surprised at how long this takes, and how much planning goes into emptying and storing all your stuff.

And don’t just throw everything you find in the basement or garage. Those spaces need to look great at a showing too, so get a storage locker—they’re not too pricey and are 100% worth it, especially if you’re a packrat—and transfer anything you won’t use between now and when you plan to sell.

If you’re already working with an agent, get their opinion on painting and minor remodelling. If rooms are dark or too colourful, a fresh coat (or four) of paint will do the trick. The more you can get done now, the better.

Create a timeline and a game plan

If you’re selling your home, I’m going to assume you’re probably buying a new home as well. Timing your sale and purchase can be stressful, to say the least.

You need to know a few things: Do you need to sell your home first to have equity to purchase your next home? Can you afford to have the new home close before your current home sells? What exactly are you looking for in your new home? Do you have a plan if you need to go into short-term housing between your sell and buy?

Your best idea is to work with an agent to develop a full-on strategy. Know your finances well so you can answer questions freely and can be as organized as possible.

Keep building the relationship with your agent

If you’re selling your home, you likely worked with an agent to buy it. Would you want to work with the same agent to sell it? If so, get on the phone with them, go for coffee, and explain what you’re thinking—upgrading to a new home, downsizing to a condo, etc.

If not, you have to get out there to find a new agent, stat. Ask your friends and family if they have anyone to recommend—they likely do—or go to open houses to chat up prospective agents. You’ll want to start this early, to ensure they can help you with the plan addressed above, and to answer any questions you have leading up to listing your home.

A great agent is the key to selling your home and buying your next one, so building a good rapport and developing a relationship is the best way to get what you want.

Flickr: Klesta

About Jam Michael McDonald

Jam is a content editor based in Toronto. He's been the editor of a community newspaper, a national magazine, and two startups. Although he lives in a tiny condo, he uses every corner, and is an avid cheerleader of the compact home movement. You can find him every day on Twitter @mcjamdonald.

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