What you need to know: The important first steps when selling your home

Sep 03, 2019
We've compiled a handy checklist of things you need to do when selling a house. Source: Getty

Selling your house – especially if you’ve never done it before – can be overwhelming, not to mention there are a plethora of things to consider, from getting your home prepared to finding out how much your property is worth and choosing a reliable and trusted real estate agent. But don’t worry: we’ve compiled a handy checklist of things you need to do when selling your home.

Making the decision to sell

The first step is making the decision to sell your property. Consider what’s going on with the economy and property market to determine whether it’s the ideal time for you to sell and what is best for your particular situation. It’s important that you also take into account your personal goals and the state of your personal finances. And if you do plan to escape to paradise and settle down beachside or up in the mountains, think carefully how you’ll deal with potential life changes such as having to make new friends and find a new, reliable GP.

Where are you moving to?

After making the decision to sell, start thinking about whether you’d prefer to buy your next home before selling or vice versa. And if you are considering selling up, ask yourself some very important questions like: Where are you moving to? Will you be downsizing? Are you staying in the area?

As you age it can be harder and harder to maintain a large family home as everyday tasks and chores become increasingly difficult, which is why many people choose to downsize. However the idea of downsizing, while appealing on the surface, can also be incredibly daunting and it can be hard to find a suitable new home, close to your loved ones, without causing too much upheaval to your current lifestyle.

Two people who downsized for the better are Kath and Jim Garrie, who recently told Starts at 60 that they have never looked back since making the decision to swap their five-bedroom suburban home for a three-bed, two-bath apartment more than three years ago in 2016.

“We had quite a large family home with a big pool and a big garden,” retired headteacher Kath said. “And it got to the stage where we thought, ‘We can’t go on like this forever’. You realise you are going to get older, as much as you try and deny it.”

Choose a real estate agent

Whether you’re downsizing or just looking to move to a different area, choosing a good real estate agent is super important as it can affect your final sale result. You want someone with experience, who knows what they are doing and an agent who is familiar with your local area.

When it comes to picking an agent, do your research. You may consider asking a handful of agents from different firms to assess your home before choosing. It could also be worthwhile heading to a few open house inspections and seeing an agent in action.

Meanwhile, it’s also worth noting that many Aussies are moving away from the traditional estate agent experience and opting to use zero commission companies based primarily online to lower the outgoing costs of their property sale.

How much is your home worth?

The next step is to find out how much your property is worth. Your property’s location, size, date of construction and other features will be assessed.

Additionally, the number of local schools in your area, employment opportunities and proximity to shopping, entertainment and recreational centres will also play a role in determining the price you can get for your property. Meanwhile, renovations and upgrades can also add value to your property, especially in older homes.

Pick a sale method

The next step is figuring out how you want to sell your property. Think about what you feel comfortable with, as there are a few different types of sales, including auctions, which is a popular way to sell a property, expressions of interest and private treaties. You and your agent will also need to work out a plan to list the property as well as showing it.

Get your home prepared

Once you’ve made the decision to sell your property, you’ll need to prepare your home for sale by cleaning and decluttering it and taking care of any maintenance and repairs, such as oiling creaky doors, repairing leaky taps, replacing chipped or cracked tiles, patching up holes and painting over old walls and marks.

Fixing small inexpensive repairs and cleaning the property thoroughly can make a massive difference when it comes to making your house more marketable and appealing. If you’re not sure where to start, talk with your real estate agent.

Prepare the vendor’s statement

Now it’s time for you to prepare a vendor’s statement – also known as a section 32 – for your property. A vendor’s statement explains to potential buyers certain things about the property they should know before signing a contract to purchase, such as mortgages, council zoning, any covenants which would restrict what you can do with it, easements and outgoings (for example, rates).

Go to market

It’s time to tell the world you’re selling and market your property! This generally involves photographing your property, writing up snazzy online ads and drawing up a floor plan. Luckily, when it comes to organising all of the advertising, your real estate agent will most likely do the hard work for you – all you have to worry about is keeping the house in pristine condition.

Are you planning to sell your family home? Will you be downsizing?

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