It’s natural to think that selling a house should be a relatively inexpensive exercise. You appoint an agent, pitch a ‘For Sale’ sign and wait for the buyers to come through the door.
But it’s not always that easy, especially if you’re looking to get the most for your property. However, with a little planning and preparation you can make the process less painful on your hip pocket.
Set up for success
You’ve lived in the house for years and never fixed that leaky tap, but it’s a good idea to actually get around to calling the plumber before you put your home on the market. If there are any significant structural problems they will show up in a buyer inspection so think about the costs and the necessary repairs up front. Sometimes you need to spend money to make money. A simple lick of paint or replacing the old bench-top may give your home a modern feel and increase its value. Depending on your financial circumstances, if you really want to wow buyers, you can hire a stylist who’ll help de-clutter and even rent furniture to transform your home for buyers. Budgeting for these sorts of costs early on will help you determine if they will increase the sale price or just drain your wallet. Remember, it’s the little things that make the difference so be conservative with any renovations if you want to be sure you make the money back with the sale.
Even without professional help, it is a good idea to store away any knick-knacks and personal objects so buyers aren't faced with clutter. You could consider hiring storage space for some things while your house is on the market and don’t forget your ‘curb appeal.’ Your garden, entryways and exteriors can all have a lasting impact on prospective buyers.
Pitching the ‘for sale’ sign
It’s common to use an agent to sell your house and you may find there’s even competition to win your business. You can use this to your advantage by interviewing a few agents to see what they can do for you. There are two main costs associated with an agent selling your house: the commission and the marketing. Fees and charges, including agents’ commission, can be expensive but they’re not set in stone. You can negotiate the rate along with additional charges like marketing and listing fees. So be sure to ask for a discount and perhaps even a ‘no sale, no fee’ deal. After all you’ve only got one property to sell and you want to get the most for it.
Closing the deal
Once the contract has signed or the hammer has fallen you can breathe a sigh of relief, almost. There may still be some costs associated with finalising the deal, including conveyancing/ legal fees and transfer costs. If you have a mortgage on your house, the mortgage will need to be paid out and discharged. There might be some fees associated with the discharge of the mortgage so make sure you check with your lender for these costs. It’s always good to keep these in mind so that there are no nasty surprises when you’re handed your cheque on settlement day.
In the end, selling a home should be an exciting experience. With a little planning, you can hopefully find yourself with the extra cash from your sale to get you happily started in your new home.