Anyone who has bought or sold a house can tell you that it’s a nightmare. An absolute frenzy of stress and paperwork. Even in this case, where we received an offer the first day on the market for our asking price. For those of you lucky renters who are reading (or would like to recall your own personal real estate agony) here’s a few steps on what we’ve done so far to sell our home:
1) Prep the house for listing. This included a bunch of small tasks, like repainting trim, taking loads of furniture and clothing to storage, touching up paint, removing curtains, cleaning carpets, scrubbing toilets, the whole nine. I won’t even bore you with my massive to-DONE list, just know that it took about 3 months to do it.
2) Take awesome photos. If you don’t have a fancy camera and don’t want to borrow someone else’s, perhaps ask a family friend or relative that’s handy with a camera to snap some really eye-catching shots. We browse around and steal listing flyers for fun, and some of the pictures are mind-bogglingly awful. So if you have the time to spare, spend it getting good pics.
3) Hire the Inspector First! This one is huge. We had our 10 day option period float by for the first week. Then the inspector came. Things sounded good, he said no major problems found. Well, then the buyers came back that their bank has all sorts of requirements in order to lend money. So we’re racing to get all these fixes done with enough time to still move out and close. One of our contractors mentioned that seasoned sellers hire their own inspectors PRIOR to listing and setting the price. That way they can take the cost of repairs into consideration. I found that to be very sage advice! It sure would have saved us from a lot of hair-pulling.
4) Get Ready to Hurry Up and Wait. This part sucks too. You have 10 days to come to a settlement on repairs, but they sure can drag on by. Then suddenly with 2 days left you’re hit with a flurry of activity to keep you on the phone all day long. If our sale ends up moving forward, we’ll have less than two weeks to get repairs made, pack, load up and move. It’s enough to stress anybody out! So don’t be like me. Get your ducks in a row before agreeing to a 27 day closing period 😉
5) Know Your Limits. It seems that these days buyers expect perfection. They want a problem-free-move-in-ready home. And most of the time, that just isn’t possible. Our home is over 30 years old and is going to show some of those growing pains. But even newer homes can be subject to the buyer’s white gloves. Know up front exactly what tasks you’re willing to undertake, and what you’re going to put your foot down about. Because you can bet that you’ll get hit with at least half of them during that option period. We decided to extend our home warranty in order to cover potential problems that arose during inspection. If you don’t have one, make sure you’ve got an affordable and FAST! handyman on call to move things along.
So, what do you think? Seasoned sellers, was your experience a stressful one? Or did you have easy buyers with a happy bank that moved things along smoothly? Anybody else in the crazy process of buying or selling a home right now? Share your stories with me so I don’t feel so alone!
Note: Sorry if I’ve been boring you guys lately with real estate stuff. It’s kind of like when HGTV stopped playing Design on a Dime and showed House Hunters on loop all day long 😉 I hate being in limbo, it’s cramping my DIY style! Hopefully we tie up all these loose ends soon and I can get back on the saw 😉