There are several factors that you should take into account when getting ready to enter the real estate market.
First and foremost, speak to a professional. A good realtor will provide you with invaluable counsel. Ask friends and family for a realtor that will be a good fit for you. Interview realtors and go with your instincts. Make sure that you “click,” as you will have to go through a lot with this person. Walk through the property with the realtor and ask what could be done to prepare your home. Ask about specific comparable properties (also referred to as comps) that recently sold. Develop a strategy with regards to what needs to be done, how to price and when to present your home to buyers. You cannot underprice a property, but you can definitely overprice it. Keep that in mind.
I am of the mindset to not get out of hand with improvements to the property. De-cluttering and a thorough cleaning are essential and will dramatically change the perception of the property. Pick a few projects that would net the most return on investment. You can’t change where your home is located; however you can make it easier for a buyer to make the decision to make an offer. Big ticket items are always a good choice: new appliances, updated cabinets, new bathrooms, landscaping, new heating systems and a new roof. Discuss this with your realtor, too.
Personally, I strongly suggest investing in these two very simple items prior to presenting your home to the real estate market:
1. Hire a professional to service your heating system.
2. Have a licensed electrician “clean up” your electrical panel.
It sounds so simple, but an inspector focuses on these items and these items will most likely put him or her into a better mood during the process.