Homeowner’s motto: Be prepared (to sell or buy a home)

Cleaning a home before putting it on the market can be drudgery.

Cleaning a home before putting it on the market can be drudgery.

By Jason Boone

In a lot of instances, a homeowner might not be able to control when he sells his house. A change in jobs, a development affecting a family member who resides in a different town or a sudden alteration in one’s lifestyle choice can result in the need to sell a home now.

And as nearly anyone who has sold a home would attest, selling a home is among the most stressful things we can experience. There never seems to be enough time to tie up loose ends, and the need to keep the home in a welcoming yet mint-condition state adds to the angst.

But even though we might not be able to control when we sell a home, we can take small but significant steps to ensure we’re always prepared to sell a home. The other side of the transaction is similar — buying a home can be time-consuming and stress-inducing — and, likewise, we can be as prepared as possible to buy a home, even if we have no idea when we might do so.

Selling a home involves a lot of paperwork — and that’s well before the sales documents need to be signed. Know where all of the important documentation about your house is. Have the latest annual statement from your mortgage company handy, so you know your payoff amount. It will also help to have your latest property tax statement and your most recent invoice for homeowner’s insurance, as your Realtor and prospective buyers might want to know their cost.

Documentation includes information on appliances and other durable components of your home. In this matter, a seller should think like a buyer. You will want to know how old the water heater is, when the furnace and/or air conditioner was last inspected, the estimated age of the roof. Consulting the home inspection report from when you bought your home could yield valuable information.

As for the home itself, calling the process of getting it into an open house-ready state a nightmare would be unfair to nightmares. Even regular cleaning and maintenance almost certainly won’t be enough to give it that “Buy me!” look that can be crucial in selling a home. To ease the burden when the time comes to sell your home, you might want to consider performing more frequent but smaller-scale cleaning routines.

Anyone can call to mind any number of unpleasant but necessary chores that contribute to making a house market-ready: cleaning window runners of dirt, grime and dead flies; sweeping and mopping behind large appliances; cleaning the inside of kitchen cabinets and the refrigerator. Instead of attacking them all at once — when your time is already stretched thin with other tasks involved in selling your home — why not tackle them one, two or three at a time according to a regular schedule? The time investment on each scheduled day of such work won’t be as intimidating as with an all-in-one approach that might otherwise be necessary.

As mentioned, the flip side of selling a home for many people is buying a new one. Assuming you will need a loan to purchase a new home, you’ll need what seems like a terabyte of financial information. Documents your loan officer might want include your most recent pay stubs, the most recent two months of statements from any bank and investment accounts you have, copies of the previous year’s federal tax return and recent statements from your current mortgage.

Many of these documents are available digitally. Rather than spending time every two weeks or every month updating your store of personal financial documents, you might want to just make sure you know how to quickly access digital versions of these documents.

Other personal data — such as previous addresses if you’ve moved recently, the name and address of previous employers and contact information for previous work supervisors — can also be valuable when applying for a loan. Better to collect this information when you’re not under stress as opposed to when you’re having to scamper out the door for your latest showing.

I know how stressful selling and buying a home can be. With my knowledge of the Bend, Oregon, market, you can be confident that I’ll make your real estate transaction as smooth as possible. To learn more about Bend home options, get started with listing your Bend home, or to view area homes, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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