It would be great if buying and selling a home was as easy as hiring a great agent and sitting back while they do the work. But to be competitive in the local market, buyers and sellers need to take an active role in their real estate transaction. If not, your house could stay on the market for longer than you bargained for.

In NYC, the average home stays on the market for approximately 88 days, which can feel like a long time when you’re maintaining a home in show-ready condition. Selling your home faster not only relieves pressure, it also helps you get the highest possible price for your home.

If you want a fast home sale, you have to be prepared. Let’s break that down:

  • Researching agents: A good listing agent aims to sell your home fast and for the highest possible price. Follow The Balance’s advice and seek a realtor who knows the ins and outs of real estate marketing in your region.
  • Assessing mortgage payoff: Your mortgage balance influences the capital gains you’ll see upon selling your home. If the payoff is higher than your home’s current value but you need to sell, you’re facing a short sale.
  • Understanding HOAs: Buyers want to know what HOA rules they’ll be subjected to before buying a home. Nolo gives you tips on which HOA documents to gather.
  • Improving the home: Making minor repairs around the home is an easy way to maximize its value. Fix loose faucets, stained carpets, and other issues that might distract buyers, but delay major renovations until after you’ve spoken to an agent.

Most sellers are shopping for a new home at the same time that they sell their current home. It’s a lot to have on your plate, but again, preparation is the key to a successful homebuying experience. Before contacting a real estate agent, research possible agents to partner with, get pre-approved, and have realistic expectations about the area and what you can afford.

  • Researching agents: A good buyer’s agent actively helps you find a home that meets your needs, connects you with trusted inspectors, mortgage brokers, and other professionals, and negotiates a contract that puts your interests first.
  • Getting pre-qualified: Mortgage pre-qualification gives you a general idea of how much mortgage you can get approved for based on your credit. Proactive buyers can take it a step further and get pre-approved for a mortgage.
  • Setting expectations: If moving to a new area or selling after many years of owning a home, you may not have a strong feel for the local real estate market. Do your research to see what kind of home you can purchase based on your mortgage pre-qualification.

After you’ve found your real estate team, you can start looking for your next home and showing your current home to prospective buyers. There are a few things savvy buyers and sellers can do to not only make their agent’s job easier, but also to help them make the right choice for their future home. Buyers should be able to define must-haves and deal breakers, and sellers should have realistic expectations about their home’s value. Even when you have a knowledgeable and experienced real estate agent by your side, you’re the person who knows the most about your current home and what your dream home looks like.

If you want a successful real estate experience, you can’t afford to sit on the sidelines. As a seller, you must be prepared with the information buyers need in order to make an informed purchase. As a buyer, you need to know what you want from your future home and ensure those desires are compatible with the market. When you handle these jobs, your agent can dedicate their time to negotiating a great deal on your behalf.  

Photo by Nathan Fertig on Unsplash

By Justin Bennett.