How Much Is
My House Worth?

1. Get Pre-Approved for a Home Loan

Market conditions change rapidly and you do not want to get caught off guard with any unexpected issues involving your credit, so be sure to get pre-approved before you get into the home buying or selling process.

Find a lender you trust and research the housing market in the area where you wish to live so that you have a good idea how much it will take to buy a replacement.

How To Start Researching

Hint: I can show you any property (regardless who the listing agent is) and you can use my website to search the entire MLS and find any property in the area!

Start looking for two types of real estate:

  • Houses that seem to match the one you’d like to buy
  • Houses that are similar to your current home.

2. Check Your Mortgage Payoff

Call your lender to find out the payoff for your current home mortgage. You’ll need the figure to complete Step 6.

3. Determine How Much the House Is Worth

Determine your home’s fair market value. Your realtor can help you by doing an initial Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) report to see what recent home sales have been in your area and then arrange for an appraisal of a property you are interested in.

4. Estimate Your Costs to Sell Your Existing Home

As your real estate agent, I deal with transactions every day and can give you a very close estimate of seller closing costs including the following factors:

  • Real estate commission if you use an agency to sell.
  • Advertising costs, signs, other fees provided by your agent.
  • Attorney, closing agent and other professional fees.
  • Excise tax for the sale.
  • Prorated costs for your share of annual expenses, such as property taxes, home owner association fees, and fuel tank rentals.
  • Any other fees typically paid by the seller in your area (surveys, inspections, etc.).

5. Determine Your Costs to Acquire a New Home

Total all expenses related to buying a new home including:

  • Moving expenses, loan costs, down payment, home inspections, title work and policy, new hazard insurance policy, etc.
  • Your lender should give you a disclosure of estimated costs when you apply for pre-approval.

6. Calculate Your Estimated Proceeds

  • Will your closing proceeds cover your costs to acquire a new home?
  • Will you have cash or other funding to make up the difference?

Calculate your proceeds by:

  • Deduct your mortgage payoff from your home’s fair market value.
  • Deduct your costs to sell from the remainder to get an estimate of the proceeds you will be paid at closing.

7. Make Necessary Repairs

Make all major priority repairs (low to high priority items identified on Home Seller’s Tips page) unless you want the house to be regarded as a fixer-upper. I’m not referring to cosmetic updates, but to items in need of repair. Anything that’s out of line, gives potential buyers a reason to submit a lower offer.

8. Get the House Ready to Show

Most houses need at least a little spiffing up before they are shown to potential buyers. Great curb appeal, fresh paint indoors (and sometimes out), organized closets and cabinets, clean windows and appliances, and a clutter-free atmosphere are essential if you want the house to appeal to buyers.

9. Make Your Home Accessible and Comfortable

That means it’s always ready to show. Many agents won’t bother showing a house that takes 24 hours to get into. Don’t crowd home buyers when they are viewing your home and make every effort possible to make them feel comfortable while in your home.

Top Buyer Turn-Offs

10 Ways to Make Home Buyers Hate Your House

1. Odors

House odors are number one turn off for home seekers, specifically odors from cigarette smoke, pets and mildew. Be sure to get an opinion from someone who does not live in your home (you may be used to and not realize it) and if they feel you have an odor, be sure to get rid of the smell.

2. Animals/Dogs

You’ll have a much better response from showings if you control your pets as they often frighten and/or irritate people.

Asking a potential home buyer to not go into a room because an animal is locked in there also raises a red flag as it does not allow that person to see or inspect that part of the home.

Remove pets during showings if possible to show respect for the feelings of potential buyers.

3. Dirty Bathrooms

Grimy bathrooms are an instant turnoff. Scrub them, paint them, buy a new shower curtain, rugs and towels..

4. Dimly Lit Rooms

Dark homes are a turnoff to most home buyers. Here are some potential fixes:

  • Replace dim light fixtures
  • Install additional light fixtures
  • Install (quality) sun tunnels or skylights
  • Remove heavy drapes to let the light stream in
  • Repaint some rooms with colors that reflect light
  • Trim tree limbs that shadow the house
  • Clean and reseal (if needed) windows

5. A House Full of Busy Wallpaper

This is another critical issue to think about if you’re selling a home, because busy wallpaper in every room turns off most buyers, and even people who love wallpaper rarely like what you’ve chosen. It’s a personal decorative touch that they want to select themselves.

Your home should appeal to the masses and wallpaper is usually a very personal preference and a decorative touch that if buyers want it, they want to pick it themselves.

Decide if it should be removed and replaced with paint. Don’t paint over it, because that usually enhances every seam and looks terrible.

6. Damp Basements

Dampness (or damp smells) in the basement throw up a red flag to buyers. If you have leaks, fix them. No leaks? Look for drainage issues. Maybe water is pooling around the foundation, keeping it damp. Most problems we see are caused by rainwater that’s being diverted towards the foundation instead of away from it.

  • Underground drains might be blocked.
  • Downspouts could be aimed the wrong way.
  • Go outside the next time it rains and take a look.

7. Bugs

Roaches, spiders, any type of insect that shouldn’t be in the house. Get rid of them.

8. Poor Curb Appeal

You must grab their interest from the curb if you want to sell the home for top dollar. Buyers often refuse to go into a house with an unkempt yard, sagging doors or peeling paint.

9. Gutters with Plants Growing in Them

Overrun gutters makes buyers wonder what else hasn’t been handled.

10. Sellers Who Hang Around for Showings

Give potential buyers space. If possible, leave the house during showings. Home buyers feel awkward about opening closet doors and lingering for a really good look at the house if the seller is there.

Parting Words

Most of the Top 10 problems are home selling issues you can correct without spending a lot of money. Do it now, before you put the house on the market, because if your house develops a reputation among agents as the house that smells, the house with the huge barking dog or the house where the owner won’t leave people alone it will be too late. Your house will be last on their list to show potential buyers.

Preparing Your Home For Sale

As your agent, I will do a pre-sale walk-through and provide you with advice and suggestions before we determine when to list the home and for how much we should ask for.Budget enough time and resources for improvements. Keep it simple so that you can keep it up, especially if it’s likely your home will be on the market for a number of weeks. Use a checklist to keep track of what you need to do. Boost Your Sale ProceedsTo get the best possible price for your home, consider the following:

Must Do Might Do Don’t Bother Doing
Keep it clean: If nothing else, a clean home is essential and clutter is at a bare minimum. Store your belongings: Put personal belongings into clearly labeled boxes, and store them neatly on-site or in an off-site storage facility. Install shelves or closet organizers:Don’t invest unless your agent feels it will they will significantly improve its marketability
Freshen a room’s decor: Consider a coat of paint or new floor coverings if a prominent room shows signs of wear or is very outdated, (in that room only). Refinish wood floors: You may want to pull up the rug and refinish the wood floors under old carpeting in one room to show buyers the quality of the floors. Paint and carpet entire house: unless it’s absolutely necessary, it is too big a project that may not result in a significantly higher price.
Make necessary repairs: Make sure outlets work, toilets flush, and windows and doors open and shut smoothly. All heating, air conditioning, and other home systems should work, too. Do extra maintenance: Consider re-staining your deck or cleaning your gutters. Such projects give your property a well-cared-for appearance. Make major improvements: Now is not the time to put on a deck or build a fence. While these projects can add value, you are not likely to boost your home’s value enough to justify the expense
Increase curb appeal: Make your home look as inviting as possible to the drive-by buyer by tidying up landscaping, plant fresh flowers, and up-keeping lawn, etc. Intensify your entryway: Paint your front door and put on new hardware, or replace it altogether if it is old. Buy a new welcome mat. Put in a new driveway or sidewalk: Unless these items are crumbling and will significantly lower your curb appeal, this is a major investment that probably won’t pay off.

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