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Home Selling

How-To: Prepare for the For Sale Sign

You’ve heard countless times before that you need to prepare for a home sale way before you even think about selling. It’s true! You’ll need to prepare your home, your family (if applicable), and yourself for the selling process.

While it’s important to clean out the clutter and tell the kids “we’re moving to a new home!”, it’s equally important to ask yourself these five questions before putting your home on the market:

  1. What are your selling goals?
  2. What’s your timeline?
  3. Is the home ready?
  4. How motivated are you?
  5. How do you want to sell?

Keep reading for the answers to these questions and five exclusive “How to Prepare” mini-guides!

What are your selling goals?

From “just thinking about selling” to “we needed to sell yesterday,” there are plenty of reasons you're selling your property. It’s important to know what YOUR goals are before exploring the market. Are you trying to get top dollar? Are you trying to sell quick? Both? This is where the mental preparation comes in. Figuring out your home selling goals is one of the most important steps before putting up that for sale sign.

How to Prepare: Fill in the Blanks on These Example Goals

What date do you want to sell by? “I want to sell by _________.”

What’s the lowest offer you’ll consider? “I will accept an offer as low as $_______, but no lower.”

What is your plan? “If I don’t sell by _______, I will ____________.”

How much do you need to make from the sale of your home? “I need to net $______ with the sale of my home.”

What non-realty items are you willing to sell with the home? “I am willing to offer ______, ________, and ________ to the buyers, but not _________, __________, or __________."

What’s your timeline?

In an ideal world, you’d have this all planned out way in advance, but we don’t always live in a perfect world, so things might be a bit rushed for you. If that’s the case, make sure to price your home right and you keep an open mind when buyers offer a different amount. If you have a longer timeline, you can be pickier. However, beware that your home might earn a few bad first impressions for accumulating days on the market. Often, if a home has been on the market for over 30 days, prospective buyers assume the property is overpriced or something is wrong with it. Peak seasonality for home selling can vary by neighborhood-- but, generally speaking, anytime between May and August are hot home buying months. A year before you list your home (yes, a full 365 days!), keep an eye on the market. Take note of a few things, including the following questions: When are homes flying off the shelves? When are they staying on the market longer? Take inventory in advance, as soon as possible, to make sure you’re listing at the ideal time that fits your timeline.

How to Prepare: Follow These 4 Steps to Know Your Market
  • ~365 days before selling your home: analyze market data and decide on the best time to list
  • ~180 days prior to your “SOLD” goal: know the value of your home and understand your neighborhood market activity. Try our free home estimate tool -->
  • 6 months before listing: start preparing your home - take inventory of what needs to be cleaned, fixed, upgraded, etc.
  • 1 month away: research how to list

Is the home ready?

Okay, this is when the scrubbing, decluttering, depersonalizing, and all other “-ing’s” come into play. If you’ve lived on your property for more than a few months, it’s time to give it the ready-to-list shakedown. Instead of trying to do everything at once, create a game-plan and follow your timeline. Give yourself enough wiggle room to make sure your home is looking great for listing day. The to-do list will continue growing, and if you list your home before it’s ready, you run the risk of losing potential buyers. To avoid procrastination, try to upgrade your home and clean up about 6 months before you list. Although this isn’t an option for everyone, it’s definitely a good rule of thumb for those that know in advance that they want to sell.

How to Prepare: A Quick Checklist on How to Get Your Home Ready
  • Clean - If only it was that easy, right? Just make sure you’re giving it the full scrub down! Essential checklist: Clean the grout, baseboards, drawers, cupboards,  fridge, windows and sills, and, yes, even ceiling fans.
  • De-personalize - If there was a “U” in home, this would be the time to remove it. Let potential buyers envision the property as their own!
  • De-clutter - Goes hand in hand with cleaning, but it’s time to get rid of the extra “stuff.”
  • Visualize - Imagine yourself as a prospective buyer viewing the home: what would YOU think?
  • Paint - A fresh coat of paint can do WONDERS for a home!
  • Up the curb appeal - Step outside and take a good look at your property. Powerwash the exterior, add mulch, and plant some flowers to make your property pop from a street view. Lastly, don’t forget to spruce up the mailbox and switch out the house numbers for a fresh new look.
  • Ask for feedback - Invite your friends and neighbors to give their feedback. A fresh set of eyes can help you spot things you overlooked.

How motivated are you?

If you’re motivated to sell, it’s important to set your limits of offer reasonability. This means you’ll need to decide on two offer amounts: the minimum price you’re willing to accept and the price you absolutely will not accept.  If you have more room in your timeline, you can be a little bit pickier, but navigate the waters of offers cautiously.

How to Prepare: Go Back to Your Goals

Ideal List Price: ___________.

Lowest Offer Accepted: ___________.

Items Up For Negotiation:






How do you want to sell?

There’s no shortage of ways to get your home on the market. Everyone you know has an opinion on the BEST way to sell (trust us… everyone). Ultimately, it comes down to which way will best fit YOUR needs.    

How to Prepare: Brainstorm Answers to These Questions
  • What’s your budget for selling your home?
  • Do you know the ins and outs of selling without an agent?
  • Have you thought of all the best ways to save money when you sell?
  • Are you prepared to offer a finder’s fee to an agent?
  • What’s most important to you in an agent (hint: local expertise, affordability, and trust should be at the top of the list)?

Have questions? Get in touch with a Jovio Real Estate Specialist.

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