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FAQ for Sellers

1. How do I prepare my home before I sell it?

When preparing to sell your home, the first thing to do is make it presentable. This means giving the entire house a thorough cleaning and making small repairs.

Mop the floors, scrub the bathrooms, and get rid of all the grime in the kitchen.

Little things like patching holes in the wall, changing burned-out lightbulbs, and repairing broken appliances can make your place stand out in a crowded market.

And don’t forget about paint — returning the walls to a neutral color can help your house sell quicker. White, creams, and grays can make rooms seem bigger and help potential buyers see themselves living there.

If you’re not moving out before listing your home, you’ll also need to depersonalize and declutter.

Put away your family photos, knick-knacks, and other personal items. You may need to rent a storage unit if you don’t have a place to put them all.

2. How long will it take to sell my home?

On average, a house takes between 55 and 70 days to sell. That includes 25 days on the market and 30 to 45 days for closing.

The exact time it takes to sell a home depends on a few things, including:

  • The time of year you’re listing: Homes tend to sell faster in the spring and early fall.
  • Conditions in your local housing market: Homes sell faster in a seller’s market, when there is low inventory and high demand.
  • The condition of your home: Homes in great condition may sell faster than homes that need more work.
  • How the buyer is financing: If a buyer needs to take out a mortgage, this may slow down the process. Financing deals usually take an average of 42 days to close, whereas cash deals take only one to two weeks.

The longer your home is on the market, the more money you lose. You’ll still have to pay your mortgage, taxes, and utilities until the buyer officially closes.

To avoid this, there are some things you can do to help your home sell faster.

You can make impactful repairs, like adding new carpet or painting the interior. However, if it’s a seller’s market and homes are selling quickly, you might not need to make these repairs.

You can also set a competitive price with the help of a top real estate agent.

Clever Real Estate’s partner agents sell homes faster than the national average with lower commission fees.

3. What should the list price of my home be?

The first step in deciding your home’s list price is to get a comparative market analysis (CMA).

You can do this yourself, but most people get their real estate agent to do it.

Here’s how a CMA works. Your agent will find similar homes in your neighborhood that have the same square footage, number of bedrooms, and number of bathrooms.

They’ll see what these homes recently sold for or are listed for, and use this as a starting point for your own list price.

Some agents are willing to perform a CMA without you committing to selling your house through them. However, be prepared for a hard sell.

A great agent will be an expert in their local neighborhoods, so they’ll be able to price your home in the sweet spot.

If you’re just curious and don’t want to spark up a conversation with an agent, you can also use an online valuation calculator.

This might give you a ballpark figure based on cumulative data. Keep in mind, these aren’t always 100% accurate.

If you are definitely not using an agent and are going the for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) route, consider a professional appraisal.

An appraiser is an expert at pricing homes and can use their extensive knowledge to pinpoint an accurate list price.

4. When is the best time to sell a home?

Research shows that home sales in May, June, July, and August account for 40% of total annual sales volume.

Overall, home sales are still pretty good through early fall, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to sell a home during this period, either.

However, home sales drop once winter hits. January is the worst time to sell a home, as market activity is much lower.

Take a look at the number of homes sold per month in 2018 to get a better idea of when to sell your home.

5. What are common bank-required repairs?
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If the buyer is just taking out a conventional loan, you’ll probably only need to fix major structural issues that put the value of the house at risk, such as foundation cracks or a deteriorating roof.

For a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, you’ll need to make a lot more repairs.

These required repairs might include things like:

  • Patching up peeling paint

  • Concealing any exposed wiring

  • Fixing broken gutters

  • Installing missing handrails on stairs

This list is more extensive because an FHA loan is provided to low-income homebuyers who may not have extra money to cover repairs on their own.

States and banks can also set their own requirements, so always check your local regulations.

6.How can a real estate agent help me sell a home?
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A real estate agent has an in-depth knowledge of the area and how your home compares to others on the market.

They’ll have a good idea of how much you can get for your home and ways you can improve its value.

When it’s time to list, they’ll make sure your home’s priced just right, helping to maximize your offers and sell your home faster. They’ll also take care of all the paperwork, market your home, and coordinate open houses.

Real estate agents aren’t just helpful during the listing process, though. They offer a network of professionals throughout the entire selling journey.

You’ll have connections for everyone you need, whether that’s a closing agent or quality listing photographer.