Before hiring a real estate agent, it’s important to take three small steps:

1.   Decide if you’ll be selling the home as-is or if you’ll be making repairs. Be aware that certain lenders and government-backed loan requirements include a caveat that specific repairs be made by the seller. To be safe, decide to fix anything that has to do with the health and safety of the home’s occupants. By the way, selling a home as-is in California, does not absolve you of your duty to disclose.

You may also want to make those small repairs, such as peeling paint, dripping faucets and wiggly banisters. Buyers will notice them and downgrade the home’s perceived value.

We provide our listing clients with FREE handyman services (up to four hours). The service includes minor home improvements such as replacing or installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, minor plumbing repairs, fixing leaky faucets/shower heads, paint touch up and more. (To learn more about what we offer our listing clients, please visit our Seller Services page.)

2.   Dig out your mortgage documents. First, look for an assumable clause. We’ll need to know if your loan is assumable – it’s a good selling point.

Then, check the documents for how title to the home is held. It’s surprising how many homeowners don’t know this. This is important because all parties on the title will need to be present whenever signatures are required throughout the process, including on the listing agreement.

You may also want to check if you have a pre-payment penalty and the amount of the loan balance to get an idea of what you’ll realize at closing.

3.   Make the decisions we’ll need to know about when we list your home. If you’re relocating for a job you probably have a firm date on which you need to be out of your home. The same holds true if you are in escrow on your next home. Otherwise, you’ll want to determine at least a ballpark figure on a date you’d like to close. We’ll need to know this when we structure your response to purchase agreements, so determining the time frame upfront saves time.

Decide if you’ll be including any personal property in the sale. Fixtures (anything attached to the home and land) and fittings (a built-in refrigerator, for instance) are included in the sale but personal property is not. An example of personal property would be a rose bush planted in a pot. Plant it in the garden, however, and it becomes a fixture.

This is a good time to advise you to remove anything that you’ll be taking with you, such as the aforementioned rose bush or that antique chandelier your grandmother handed down (of course you’ll want to buy another to take its place instead of having buyers stare up into a hole in the ceiling during showings).

Once you’ve accomplished these three steps, it’s time to pick up the phone and give us a call.