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What to know before selling your home according to an expert

Selling a home is the biggest investment most people make, so it’s important to get the right advice. We asked a leading real estate agent, Tammy Laverty Hall, what you need to know before selling a home. 

What’s the first thing sellers need to consider?

TLH: My first question in our first meeting is always the same: why are you selling? It may be a next chapter, life circumstances or a change of scenery. The next thing I ask is, what can you afford in the area you want to live in? So, let’s do a market analysis to determine what the prospective house will sell for in today’s market. 

When is the best time to put your house on the market?

TLH: That’s such a loaded question because the immediate response is spring or the end of summer. Spring is a good time because the snow is melting and people are shedding the winter gloom, but the negative aspect of that is there’ll be a surplus of inventory, and a lot of people taking a peek and kicking the tires, so to speak. Late summer is another popular time to sell when families who want to get a child into a new school district tend to move. Interestingly, some people list at Christmas because that’s when the serious buyers are active. They’re not just looking speculatively.

What prep should we do to put a house on the market?

TLH: Think ahead about how to make your home showcase ready. That means painting walls that need a refresh (or a more neutral palette), renting a storage locker so you can declutter, doing a deep clean, and fixing up neglected things.  

You’ll want to paint baseboards, fix leaks, replace cracked tiles, patch holes in drywall, and clean your sills. You should also work with a realtor or stager to edit rooms, so they appear to their best advantage. Don’t get hung up on your personal style being edited in your home. I get it, it’s your personal belongings, but bigger furniture can make it look smaller and seem very busy in photos. Some people base their decision on whether even to see a property from photos and videos, so clutter can mean you lose a potential sale. 

Family with two children moving house
Ridofranz | iStock

It’s move-out day! Should you leave anything behind?

TLH: Yes! A great parting gift to your buyer would be a manual or folder with all the appliance manuals and warranties for things like air conditioning, the furnace, surround sound, security, roof, and any renovations. Include when the septic was last pumped if the home is rural. Older homes have a lot of little quirks. For example, I had a client who wrote out four pages of instructions to the new owner of her 1893 Victorian home. It contained things she knew, but the new owner would only discover by trial and error. A lot of people unintentionally forget about the little things that are good to know. 

CAA Members selling their homes can also save with deals on Dulux Paints, home decor from Bouclair, Think Kitchen, and Stokes, and home repair supplies from Home Hardware. Need to store your stuff or a deal on moving? CAA Members save on AMJ Campbell moving company, Penske Truck Rentals and PODS storage. 

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