When should you contact your Realtor if you are thinking ahead about buying or selling?

empty nesters – looking at computer

If you are thinking about it, it’s probably time… even if you aren’t sure when or even if you would actually make the move. Sellers should call earlier than buyers, sometimes even a year or more before possibly making the actual move.

I met with a couple last week who thinks they will make a move in the not so distant future… not sure when, but we talked about getting their current home ready to sell so they are ready when the time comes. And I set up a search for them to start looking at options for where they would move to… knowing where you want to go next is often the first step.

The bottom line is, contact your agent whenever you have a question or need some help… that is what we are here for!

SELLERS

Contact us before doing any improvements to sell your home… focus on decluttering, cleaning and basic repairs first, then call your agent before doing anything else. Your Realtor knows your market and can advise you on what changes will have a positive impact for your specific home… what is and isn’t recommended may surprise you. Also start looking online at houses in your area to get an idea of how your competition is preparing, staging and pricing their homes.

Some things you should discuss with your Realtor when you get together at your home are…

  • Current market, what your house might sell for and your estimated net proceeds… possible variations based on potential impact of improvements you  may be considering
  • If you will be buying after you sell, what is available for you to buy… maybe make a ‘buying’ tour of homes. Does it financially make sense to make the move? Do you have special requirements with limited property choices so it makes more sense to buy first if you can?
  • If you decide to move forward, your Realtor can help you make decisions on what you should do to make your home have greatest appeal… improvements should match the market for your particular home and neighborhood
  • Your Realtor will likely also bring in a stager to help make decisions on things such as paint colors and decor… staging is very different from decorating, and sets the stage so buyers can picture themselves living in your home
  • If where you live requires a city inspection before you sell, be sure to have that completed before hiring anyone to come in and do any work… coordinate required repairs to be done at the same time

Stay in touch with your Realtor as you make progress on your plan. The two most difficult parts of getting ready to sell are often… declutter, then declutter again, then declutter again!… and CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN every nook and cranny including closets, drawers, cupboards, garage, ceilings and light fixtures, and mostly importantly kitchens and bathrooms.

The good news is, the tough parts of getting ready to sell also get you ready to make the move!

BUYERS

  • Not surprisingly, 93% of Minnesota buyers start looking for homes on the Internet. A good way to initiate the shift from dream to reality is driving by properties of interest in different neighborhoods to start defining location. Location is so important because that is something you can’t change and it can have a profound impact on how happy you are with your new home.
  • After your initial digging, it’s a good idea to contact your Realtor even if you aren’t ready to buy yet. Have them set up an automated MLS search for you of different neighborhoods of interest to get a sense of what kinds of properties are available at what price. Start going to open houses to actually get inside the homes.
  • It is a good idea to also contact a lender at this point to help you focus in on price range… and also find out if there are things you can do to assure you get the best interest rate, such as tips to improve your credit score or correct errors on your credit report.
  • Once you are about 4-6 months from your target closing date it is time to meet with your agent, more clearly define what you are looking for and start actively looking… also get your financing pre-approval. Average time to find a home is about 3 months, plus another 1-2 months from purchase agreement to closing.

Finding the right home is a process, which I find usually starts fairly broad and narrows focus as we start actually looking at properties. Contact us whenever you have any questions about a property or a neighborhood or find a property you simply must see… I usually recommend seeing at least one other property in the neighborhood for comparison with properties in serious consideration.

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results Realtor – Email – Minneapolis-St. Paul Buyer’s & Seller’s Agent

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I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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