As one of the fastest-growing large cities in the country, it’s no surprise that Atlanta’s real estate market is red hot. Whether you’re a seller or a buyer, things are moving quickly!
If you’re looking for a new home in Atlanta, making the move to another city, or just want to take advantage of a seller’s market, there are some things you should do to get your home ready to sell.
While it may be a seller’s market, you still need to do a few things before putting your home on the market to make the process easier and entice buyers. (As a bonus, you might be able to raise your asking price if you complete some of the items on our list!)
It’s tempting to save some money and forego a listing agent, but it’s not recommended. Most “for sale by owner” sales end up being far more time consuming and stressful than sales with an agent. Your listing agent will take care of marketing your home, showing it, any negotiations that may arise, and closing. Yes, you’ll have to pay their commission, but you’ll find that having someone else handle the bulk of the process is well worth the cost.
To find a listing agent, ask friends and family if they have an agent they have worked with and would recommend. If you come up empty-handed, head to the internet and search for listing agents near you. Take time to interview at least three agents, ask for references, and do some research into their experience before making your decision.
Disclosure laws, or disclosure obligations, set guidelines for what you must disclose about the home’s physical condition in your house listing. These disclosures are typically things that a buyer can’t see and wouldn’t know unless they asked, such as previous flooding or unstable ground conditions.
In the state of Georgia, you’re not legally required to fill out a Seller Property Disclosure Statement, but you must inform the buyer about any known material defects in the home’s condition. Filling out this disclosure is the easiest way to do this and having a legally binding document can eliminate the risk of a buyer saying they weren’t aware of certain problems with the property.
To be completely upfront about your home, you might consider a pre-listing inspection. Similar to the inspection performed before you purchase a home, it will give you an overview of the condition of all areas of your home.
Spending money fixing a home you’re moving out of may seem counterintuitive, but it’s part of getting ready to sell your home! Determine how much you can realistically afford to spend on these repairs. While some fixes are non negotiable, like leaky faucets and broken locks, some aren’t as necessary as you think, like upgrading countertops or appliances.
No one likes to clean and declutter, but everyone loves having fewer things to move! If you haven’t used or worn it in a year and it doesn’t have sentimental value, it’s time to toss it, donate it, or sell it online.
As you declutter, take time to thoroughly clean each closet, bedroom, or cabinet behind you. Getting everything clean while you still have around 60 days to go before listing ensures you’ll have minimal cleaning to do once your home hits the market.
Those repairs you budgeted for? It’s time to do them. If you’re comfortable making necessary repairs yourself, go for it! If not, use a reputable contractor to ensure all repairs are done on time and on budget.
Selling a house requires handing over a lot of paperwork. Gathering it ahead of time will make the process much easier!
Your listing agent will provide you with a comprehensive list of the paperwork they’ll need, but at a minimum, you’ll probably be asked to provide information about past renovations, your home warranty, surveys, property tax bills, and your current mortgage payoff amount.
This is where you’ll really look to your agent for guidance. Real estate proxies have skyrocketed across the country over the past few years, and Atlanta is no exception. The house you paid $300,000 for a decade ago may be worth $400,000 now. (Which is great news for you!) Your agent will be able to pull the values of nearby homes comparable to yours, including prices of homes that have recently sold. These “comps” will help you arrive at a fair listing price.
Painting is never fun, but if you have any non-neutral walls or rooms in your home, it’s practically a requirement before selling your home. Believe it or not, some buyers can be put off by bright or bold wall colors and may even decline to put in an offer if they can’t get past it. Painting your walls a neutral off-white or light gray is a good way to ensure that the accent wall you love doesn’t deter buyers.
Increasing your home’s curb appeal is a basic part of getting your home ready to sell. Before buyers schedule a showing, they’ll likely pore over listing photos online. Ensure the exterior of your house has enough curb appeal to catch their eye on a listing website (and when they come for a showing!) Spend extra time on your lawn, making sure it’s neatly mowed and free of weeds. You might even plant some flowers and lay some fresh mulch. Other ways to add curb appeal: pressure wash your home’s exterior, add a fresh coat of paint, and upgrade your front door or garage door.
When potential buyers attend a showing or open house, they want to be able to envision themselves and their families living there. It’s easier for them to do this if the house is staged and depersonalized. This simply means that you should set up your home to accentuate all the best features, while removing your personal touch.
There are plenty of professional home staging companies and consultants, but you can also do it yourself. After all, who knows the best parts of your home better than you?
If you’ve ever looked at houses online, you know that homes with professional photos stand out. Professional photos can also help your home sell faster and at a higher price. Professional real estate photographers know how to capture your home’s best angles and accentuate its best features to entice potential buyers. Your listing agent may have a photographer they recommend, so start your search by asking them.
The last step before listing your home and scheduling showings is deciding how you’ll handle them. While you’re not legally required to leave during a showing, it is common practice. It is also common for sellers to remove their pets during house showings to eliminate the risk of the pet escaping as people are in and out of your home. Establish a game plan beforehand so that once you have a showing on the calendar, you know exactly where you’ll go.
If your home needs a little more TLC before you put it on the market, make Window World of Atlanta your home improvement partner. From replacement windows to doors, siding, and even gutters, we’ll help you get your home ready to sell. Get started by scheduling your free estimate today!