pets_homeShopping for your next dream home seems like a blissful idea, until you realize you have to sell your current home first. Here’s what I’ve learned from helping dozens of Nashville folks sell their homes!

How much is your home really worth?

In robust markets like Nashville’s, it’s easy to get excited about your potential listing price, especially if you’re planning to put all that equity into your next home. But the worst thing you can do is have an unrealistic expectation about your home’s value! You’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. So let a qualified Nashville real estate agent research to find out what your home is worth: looking at local comps, considering nearby home sales over the last six months, and then really narrowing it down to properties that most closely resemble your own. If you suspect there’s something wrong with your foundation or that termites might be in the picture — the kind of thing you’ll most likely have to pay to fix later on in the selling process — it might be worth it to get a pre-sale inspection.

Pick an amazing realtor!

Far and away the biggest thing that most home sellers don’t do? Interview more than one real estate agency. Many people just trust the advice of friends or family who say: ‘This is the only agent who really has your best interest at heart, plus he’s only handled the more expensive properties in the area’… but often those agents will focus on selling fast rather than for the best price, and you’ll find out later that and your place sold for easily $25,000 less than it could have.

Once you’ve decided to list your home for sale, the biggest decision you’ll make is choosing a real estate agent. Choosing a listing agent is always challenging, especially if you’ve never hired one before, but working with a recommendation can have its own pitfalls. Interview several real estate agents, and do it before you need to list your place so that you have plenty of time to make a decision. Judge them for their knowledge of the local market rather than their flashy presentations, and be wary of both pie-in-the-sky promises and a lack of enthusiasm for your place.

Does anyone even read listing descriptions?

Always go over the listing description with your agent before allowing it to be posted! Many agents will accidentally put in incorrect information or have a lot of typographical errors, so it’s important to have as many pairs of eyes as possible on it. Same thing for listing photos!

Don’t forget home staging!

To sell a family home to another family, you have to declutter it of anything a family would ever use. Which means every toy, baby bouncy seat, and stroller has to get shoved in the back of your car for every showing. Get the windows professionally cleaned, because it made a world of difference, and consider repainting in neutral colors. It’s a small expense that can dramatically increase your home’s perceived value. When your home is for sale, it should be pristine. Try to achieve gleaming refrigerators, organized closets, sparkling surfaces, and NO clutter.

Make plans for the pets during home showings!

Most people have pets… and often believe that it won’t be hard to hustle them out before a showing. Of course, that was ridiculous — potential buyers stopped by during the workday all the time. In the rush to get your house listing-ready, the pet factor can be easily overlooked. But it’s a big one!

For starters, no matter how clean your place is, pets can often find (creative) ways to undo your hard work. And a smelly litter box is no seller’s friend. Never mind that some potential buyers might be allergic to pets; that would be a terrible way to lose a sale. Your best strategy is to find a place for your fur children to stay while your place is on the market, then shower them with apologetic treats later. On the plus side, this can actually keep pets much less-stressed than having ‘their’ home constantly invaded by strangers!

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