Selling Home / Moving Checklist
3-6 months before sale:
Research and hire a real estate agent or sell the home on your own
Declutter and stage the home for showings
Consider hiring a home inspection to point out any repairs in advance
Make any necessary repairs and updates to the home
2-3 months before sale:
Stage the exterior of the home, including landscaping and exterior cleaning
Begin packing and storing items that are not necessary for daily use
Create a moving plan and timeline
1-2 months before sale:
Finalize details with real estate agent /property disclosures, estimated net sheets, expectations of the active market trends
Begin booking a moving company or arrange for self-move
Start notifying relevant parties of your change of address
1 month before sale:
Start packing items that are not in use, such as seasonal clothing or decorations
Schedule a final cleaning and inspection of the home
Schedule utilities for a end date matching the closing date (Once done, buyers can contact them to switch them over to their names)
Day of sale:
- Complete final walk-through of the home
- Confirm that all utilities are changed our name
Close on the sale and receive payment
Move out of the home and leave all keys & garage door openers / leave any codes for the new owners on the kitchen countertop
Move into your new home and settle in.
First-Time Seller “Setback” #1
You’ll Experience Surprisingly Strong Feelings About Your Home
How to Prepare:
Leave Emotions Out of the Transaction
It’s time to book a therapy appointment, get back in your favorite stress-relieving exercise routine and have your best friend on speed-dial. Even when you’re excited about your new home or have been counting down the days to move out (and away from a neighbor), selling your home is a life change that will stir up emotions you didn’t expect to have.
Whether you’re nostalgic about the memories and question if you really want to sell, or a potential buyer’s comment about renovating the kitchen you loved dearly makes you deeply angry, take a breath, calm down and hold off on sudden decisions. Emotional reactions might make you feel better in the short-term, but the feeling won’t last. Always think of the big picture and your goals before changing course.
First-Time Seller “Setback” #2
Your Home Will Need A Lot of Staging
How to Prepare
Make Sure Your Home Is Impeccable to Begin With
Even if you feel very confident in your taste in decor, anything that fills your home is a potential distraction for buyers. It’s nothing personal, though it feels that way. Your Realtor is going to likely suggest a thorough staging to show your home in the very best light to a buyer, so you can get the best offers.
Any work you can do on your home now will save you the time and cost of what the stager will have to do later. Go ahead and do the big decluttering project you’ve been meaning to do, rent a storage unit for that big sectional that takes up your living room, organize your wardrobe so your closet looks picture-perfect, and start selecting neutral paint colors for every room. Hire cleaners to do the kind of deep-clean you would do if you were moving out of a rental.
First-Time Seller “Setback” #3
The Buyer’s Inspector Will Turn Up Many Issues
How to Prepare
Get a Pre-Inspection
You remember the short novel-length inspection report that you received from your inspector back when you bought your home, right? And how you hired the most thorough inspector you could find? That’s what a potential buyer is going to do with your home.
Acting now to address any issues will save you the headaches that pop up when a potential buyer looks to negotiate based on an inspection report. A pre-listing home inspection will turn up things you should repair, potential problems you might not even know about, and gives you a clear answer on the exact condition of your home. Concerned about cost? Your Realtor will advise on the changes worth the money, and what’s okay to leave as-is.
First-Time Seller “Setback” #4
How to Prepare
Realize That Not Everyone Sees Your Home Like You Do
There’s a difference between an offer that is slightly below asking price and one that’s tens of thousands below that. The latter will trigger a strong emotion (so go to #1 on this list) but will ultimately be rejected outright without thought. However, if you are fixated on low offers, a change in perspective might be in order.
Recognize that low offers are real-life feedback about your home. If there is something about your home that a range of buyers considers an issue, it’s an opportunity to address that. Or, this might be a time to address your expectations. If the offers aren’t far off from your price and you’re disappointed because you envisioned offers far above asking, recognize that fantasy isn’t reality. While you see all the potential value in the home you’ve loved, others see the property as it is: A property.
First-Time Seller “Setback” #5
A Buyer Wants Many Concessions and Contingencies
How to Prepare
Understand That EVERYTHING Is Negotiable
Whether we’re talking about lower offers, a back-and-forth about making changes based on an inspection report or a potential buyer who comes back with multiple contingencies, understand that you have power as a seller (even if your area is a buyer’s market). You can always say no, or you can always counter.
Basically, everything is a negotiation. It might help to think of this as an ordinary transaction — like buying a car — instead of selling your home. Just as you wouldn’t even think about buying a car without negotiating, a buyer is going to do the same on this even-larger-ticket item. And just as an auto dealer wouldn’t accept just any offer, you don’t have to give in on every ask. You also have the advantage of a great Realtor who will advocate on your behalf every step of the way, so don’t hesitate to let them know your comfort level at any time.
In the end, selling your home for the first time is an opportunity to learn about real estate. The more you know before you sell, the bigger the advantage you’ll have in the end. You’ll be calm, focused on decisions that benefit your sale, and even more knowledgable about what concerns you can bring to your Realtor.