How to Sell Your Home in 2013

If 2013 might be your year to sell, start planning, engaging professionals and doing as much of the legwork as soon as possible. You only have one chance to be “Just Listed” in this new market. More than ever, you’ve got to put your best foot forward when presenting your home to motivated buyers. Here are three things to do now to become a successful home seller.

1. Know the comps

Start with your real estate agent. They are your “feet on the street” and have their finger on the market’s pulse. They generally pick up on trends or shifts in your market before the press or the bloggers.

Get on your agent’s radar as soon as possible. Start going to open houses to see what’s selling and to get a feel for how homes are being presented and priced. Having seen the “comps” yourself puts you in the buyers’ mindset. It enables you to get ahead of the curve or learn from the mistakes of other sellers.

2. Get an inspection

Imagine if you list your home and receive a great offer from a solid buyer. But the buyer discovers through the inspection that the roof needs replacement and the deck has dry rot. That offer may not seem so great if you have to negotiate thousands of dollars in credits with the buyer.

If you can identify problems upfront, you can fix them for a lot less money than those repairs would get negotiated for down the road. Or, you can price your home factoring in the needed repairs. Plus, a home with a clean bill of health can be advertised as such.

3. Hire a designer or stager

Your real estate agent should have a good designer or stager they like to work with — someone who can help you start to view your home as a product to be marketed. Get a designer or stage after you have the place inspected and know the property’s condition.

Many people think a designer means big money or a wasted expense, but this isn’t always the case. Many designers charge by the hour. It could be as easy as hiring a designer for two hours to help you decide on colors to paint a room or two; a stager to help you declutter or decide which furniture to move out to make some rooms show better.

You’ll save money in the long run

If you’re a homeowner, transitioning to a seller mindset isn’t necessarily easy. The sooner you start that transition, however, the easier the process will be. But be aware there can be an unexpected, if ironic, outcome: Some would-be sellers do the fix-it work to their homes, clean up some rooms, or paint and update the entire place — only to fall in love with their home all over again and decide to stay.

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