Tuesday, March 4, 2014

4 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Home

Homeowners thinking about selling occasionally wrestle with two competing mindsets: the financial, by-the-book steps in pricing, marketing and closing; and the emotional aspects of putting a cherished piece of one's life up for assessment by strangers.

The financial aspects are fairly straightforward if you answer these key questions before listing your home.

Do you know your credit score? Chances are you'll be buying another home, so before kick-starting your own sales efforts, take time to obtain and scrutinize your credit history. If there's anything in your credit report that's inaccurate or otherwise could impair your ability to be approved for a new mortgage, deal with it now.

How quickly do you need the money from selling your home? Your personal timeline may affect your pricing strategy. Obtaining a quick sale usually means listing your home for a lower asking price than comparable homes on the market.

Are your property survey and mortgage documents in order? Problems with any of these could slow your sale or even derail it entirely. Research state and local requirements covering separate inspections for roofs, pests, mold or other structural issues. It’s also important to make sure there are no liens attached to your property.

Is your homeowners insurance up to date? With your mind focused on the future, it’s easy to forget the present. You’ll be bringing people into your home and want to ensure that if they claim to have suffered any injuries, you’re protected. While you’re thinking about homeowners insurance, also consider asking your underwriter for a copy of your property’s Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange report. The CLUE report is like Carfax for your home and will show an extensive history of claims relating to your home. You might find some surprises there.

With your financial assessment out of the way, it's time for a gut check.

Feeling emotionally ready to sell a home is equally important, says Eddie Tyner, general manager of ForSaleByOwner.com, especially if you'll be living in the house as it's being shown. The attachment homeowners feel toward their house becomes a priceless asset when selling "for sale by owner" (also known as FSBO). "When working with a real estate agent, sellers have to rely on that individual to represent their interests," Tyner says. "The truth is, no one knows what makes your house a great place to live better than you do."

According to Tyner, homeowners who leverage online services to access the same resources as agents empower themselves to become by-owner sellers.

Having the right support team in place also boosts a seller's confidence. As Tyner points out, there are home sale professionals every seller hires regardless of how they sell their home. "For sale by owner sellers aren't going it alone," Tyner says. "A home seller will have to hire an appraiser, attorney or title company whether they are selling by owner or with an agent."

Selling a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you'll ever make, and it pays to be prepared. Experts recommend addressing all these issues at least two months before listing your home. To stay on track, create a start-to-finish timeline for selling your home.

We want to know: What questions do you have about selling your home? 

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