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How to Prepare to Sell Your Home Within the Next 12 Months

What You'll Learn: If You’re Planning Ahead for a Home Sale Next Year, Here’s How You Can Get Your Home and Your Family Ready for the Process.

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How to Prepare to Sell Your Home Within the Next 12 Months

You may have heard the saying “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” If your goal is to sell your home next year, you need a plan to make it happen – and to ensure that all of your other goals for the sale are part of the equation. Here’s how to prepare to sell your home within the next 12 months for more money and on a timeline that works for you.

Selling a Home Within the Next 12 Months 

Often, a home sale is the result of a major life change or job change, resulting in a quick turnaround from everyday living to the local real estate market. When there’s little or no time to get a home ready for buyers and their agents, you may end up leaving money on the table and bringing added complexity to the negotiation process. That’s because there are inevitably buyer demands, needed repairs, and other factors that go unaddressed in advance.

By contrast, when you have a year of lead time to get your home ready for sale, you can ensure that it is ready for the market when it goes on the MLS (multiple listing service). Having a plan in place early on can help you to exercise more control over the process and terms of the sale itself. That is an advantage at the negotiating stage and as you make plans for your move.

Your Home Sale To-Do List

As you prepare for your home sale, you’ll want to do the following:

  • Pre-inspection to identify needed repairs
  • Consultation regarding updates and upgrades that add value
  • Financial planning regarding the tax implications of your sale and financing needs for your subsequent purchase
  • Pre-packing and decluttering to ensure your home shows its best
  • Exploring relocation options for a streamlined moving process

With a year to plan, you experience the luxury of time and a variety of options for your home sale. That means that you have time to make decisions instead of being driven by the pressure of time constraints. It also means that you have choices at every stage of the process so that you can do what’s best for you and your family.

Talk with Your Trusted Real Estate Professional 

The first step in preparing for a home sale within the next 12 months is to find a real estate agent or broker to handle your listing. You may want to talk to a few different people before you find someone with whom you are comfortable working with. Meet with them in your home so that they can see the space and the neighborhood, which will give them a better understanding of your home’s potential value.

Here are some of the things you need to discuss at the listing presentation:

  1. The amount of money you need to clear from the home sale in order to purchase a subsequent home
  2. The amount of money you have upfront for repairs, renovation, and improvements that add value to your home at sale time
  3. The timeline for your sale, especially if you have a firm exit date for which you need to prepare
  4. A plan for your subsequent purchase, including buyer representation, financing, and logistics
  5. Comparable properties in your area and trends that could affect your home’s valuation next year.

Add Value to Your Home Now 

Your real estate professional can help provide guidance regarding value-added improvements. These may include landscaping and curb appeal upgrades, a major kitchen or bathroom remodel, or smaller updates like smart home appliances, light fixtures and other finishes. In addition, they can help you identify smaller issues that you may have overlooked or introduce you to a home inspector who can provide a preliminary inspection to help you get a handle on needed repairs.

Create a Strategy for Your Subsequent Purchase 

While you have plenty of time ahead of you, you need to think about your plan for after the sale. Will you be moving to a new city or state? If so, your real estate agent can provide a referral to an agent there. Will you need a bridge loan for a simultaneous purchase, or will you include a purchase contingency in the home sale negotiation? Creating a plan now will pay dividends down the road.

Get Ready for the Logistical Demands of a Home Sale 

Finally, talk to your family about the requirements of a home sale. Your kids will need to keep their rooms picked up throughout the process. You may need to declutter and put away family photos and other personal belongings for a month or two. You may have to board your pets during open houses or showings. 

In addition, there will no doubt be emotional ties to the home that you’ll need to process. Begin early communicating about the process so that it is easier for everyone next year.

Preparing to sell your home within the next 12 months gives you the opportunity to create a more manageable, streamlined, and satisfying process.

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