3 Essential Moves to Make Before Selling a Home Today

by Maurie Backman | Published on Sept. 16, 2021

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Couple sits on porch steps holding a house Sold sign.

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It may be a seller's market, but you'll still need to proceed with caution when listing your home.

Today's real estate market is a challenging one to navigate from a buyer perspective. But from a seller standpoint, there's perhaps never been a better time to list a property.

Home values have soared on a national level as low inventory and competitive mortgage rates have fueled buyer demand. If you decide to sell your home today, you'll benefit from limited competition, and you might snag a sale price you're very happy with. But before you list your home, make sure to check these important tasks off your list.

1. Research comparable home sales

You might think you'll get a certain price for your home only to realize that property values in your neighborhood may not have risen as much as you assumed. Before you officially put your home up for sale, take a little time to do your research. Go online and use sites like Zillow to see what comparable homes in your neighborhood have recently sold for. That should give you an idea as to how much you might get for your property.

2. Find the right real estate agent

The right real estate agent can help you sell your home faster, while also making sure you command top dollar for your property. Before hiring one, talk to different agents first and get recommendations from friends and neighbors who have recently sold their homes.

On top of that, you'll want to pay attention to an agent's experience level, familiarity with your specific neighborhood, and commission rate. Agents generally charge between 4% and 6% of a home's sale price as a commission. Finding an agent who leans toward the low end of that range may seem like the obvious choice, but in some cases, it could be worth hiring an agent with a slightly higher fee. If that agent is able to help you fetch a much higher sale price for your home, that alone could more than make up for that higher fee.

3. Make sure you're in a good position to get a mortgage on your next home

Once you sell your home, you'll need someplace else to live. Unless you're planning on renting for a while, you'll need to make sure you're in a solid position to qualify for a mortgage so you can purchase another home.

You're likely to qualify if you have a good credit score, a low level of existing debt relative to your income, and a steady job. You'll also need to bring funds for a down payment to the table. Since sellers today are generally getting more for their homes, that may not be a difficult thing, since you can use the proceeds from the sale of your property to put money down on a new one.

Selling a home today could mean walking away with a sizable profit. And that could open the door to many buying opportunities. Just make sure to tackle these moves before moving forward with your listing.

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