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Selling Your Home? Do These Things Before You List.

Ahhh, summer. The time of year when our thoughts turn to swimming, frozen treats, and … moving? Reports indicate that summer is the most popular time to relocate, with 48 percent of moves happening between May and August.

In May, the National Association of Realtors announced existing-home sales are forecasted to jump 3.5 percent in 2017, to its highest level in a decade. This increase is expected despite the probability of rising mortgage rates; the Mortgage Bankers Association is projecting that the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will be 4.7 percent by the fourth quarter of this year, up from 4.32 percent at the end of 2016.

Are you considering making a move this year? If you have a house to sell, here are some things you might want to do before your listing goes live.

  • Write down your projects. Your house is likely to sell more quickly if it looks fresh and clean to potential buyers. Go into each area (be sure to include the garage and yard!) and make a list of projects that need to be done there. Do the carpets need to be cleaned? Could the walls use a fresh coat of paint? Make a checklist of all the projects, and assign a target completion date for each.
  • Declutter. A full house looks like a smaller house. To make yours look bigger, start clearing out anything that’s not crucial to daily living. Sell unwanted items at a garage sale or donate to charity. If you have items you want to keep for your next place, consider renting a storage unit to house your stuff temporarily.
  • Get a CLUE. There’s a free tool out there called the “Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange,” or CLUE. This is a database that contains information about insurance claims made, going back seven years. Only the owner of a property may access its CLUE report. Not only can you examine what’s in the report and get ahead of any inaccuracies, but you can also make copies of a report for potential home buyers.
  • Interview Realtors. If you’ll be listing your house with an agent, it’s OK to ask for an initial interview. This is a great time to ask your potential Realtor about their marketing strategies and determine if your expectations and personalities are a good match.

The Bottom Line on Your Home Sale

You’ve listed your home for sale, and you’ve already done the math to see how much you’ll be making if your house sells for full asking price. But hold on — that number isn’t the actual amount you’ll be seeing in the end. Here’s a look at some expenses you might incur to get your home sold.

  1. Realtor commission. Listing agents typically make about 6 percent commission on the sale of a home. For example, if you’re selling your home for $200,000, a 6 percent commission equals $12,000.
  2. Closing costs. Both parties — buyer and seller — have closing costs. A seller should anticipate closing costs of around 2 percent of the final selling price, but they could be higher.
  3. Credits to the buyer. Maybe you’ve agreed to a credit to the buyer for something like the carpet or the siding. That credit will come directly off your bottom line.
  4. Home projects. Remember those projects you completed before you put the house on the market? A can of paint here, a carpet cleaner there — all of those expenses can add up, but they can be well worth the investment.
  5. Moving costs. Hiring professional movers can be worth it, but it can be expensive. Remember to include the cost of movers in your projected expenses.

Getting the Word Out on Your New Address

No matter if you’ve lived in a place six months or 60 years, a lot of companies have your address. It’s a good idea to sit down and make a list of all the places and people you need to contact to update your information. Lifehacker.com gives some great suggestions to get you started:

  • Post office
  • Employer
  • Financial institutions — banks, loan companies, financial advisor, credit card issuers
  • Insurance companies — life, health, car, home
  • Utilities
  • Service providers — doctors, dentists, lawn care, housekeeper, etc.
  • Subscriptions and memberships
  • Government — Social Security, motor vehicle department, etc.
  • Online Services — Amazon, Netflix, etc.

To save yourself some time, check the organization’s website first to see if you can make address changes online. Many companies allow you to update all of your information through their websites, letting you avoid long hold times on the phone. Even the U.S. Postal Service will let you change your address online for a $1 fee.

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