Selling a home in a no agent property set-up has its perks but it can be a bittersweet affair. Even though deciding to sell a house in Australia is the crucial part of the process, note that you also have to go through a rundown of tasks to ensure your property’s new owner doesn’t regret the investment. This is especially true in a for sale by owner real estate deal.
Prepare a thorough list that includes fixing all the quirks you think buyers wouldn’t notice, or wouldn’t mind. Here’s a checklist to get you through the ordeal.
1. Clean The House Like Crazy. Once you accept the house isn’t yours to keep, it’s time to clean every nook and cranny of the property. You have to sort through all your stuff–most of these end up at your new place, many have to be discarded.
Make sure you also set aside the items that ease the transition for the house’s new owners:
- Keys to every door in the house, as well as keys to the gate and mailbox
- Remote controls for the garage, security system, lights, ceiling fans, and air conditioning unit
- Manuals, purchase receipts, and warranties for the air conditioning, security and sprinkler systems
- Copies of receipts to recent repair and maintenance service.
It’s understandable if you’re leaving heirlooms as a treat to the next owner, but you’re better off taking these out or tucked in boxes. The garden gnomes and cacti collection on your front yard aren’t essential fixtures (these may even turn off potential buyers), so spare them the anxiety.
2. Shut Off The Valves. So you’ve reached the goal of “sell my house fast”, what’s next? Once the house is stripped to the bare necessities (and ready for occupancy), it will have to hibernate until the new owner moves in. Turn off the gas and water supply at the main valves. Leave a note for the new owner so they’re aware you’ve shut down the utilities.
3. Be There for the Final Walkthrough. You may not have to be present every time a potential buyer decides to visit, but you should assist in the last walkthrough of the property. The buyer wants you to confide quirks that make the house tick:
- How are the light switches assigned?
- Where are the main valves to utilities located?
- How long does it take to achieve optimal indoor temperature?
- What are the settings of security alarms and timers?
- Are there any tweaks you’ve made to improve on creature comforts?
- Are there any quirks in the plumbing, air conditioning and heating, etc., that the buyer needs to know?
4. Sever Ties, Starting With The Insurance. It’s time to claim your refund for the policy when you’ve ensured the sale is final and the title has transferred. Ideally you should have everything settled before the new owner moves into the property.
5. Cancel Subscriptions, Transfer Utilities Service. Cancel all of the repeating subscriptions and services you have, or transfer these to your new address when applicable. Note that you have to cancel or transfer your magazine subscription weeks before you move out. The new homeowner isn’t responsible for your mail, so spare them the trouble of picking up your pulp on their doorstep.
6. Leave Keys and Manuals Behind. Don’t forget to leave items the new homeowner will use to get settled. The locks and appliances will likely be replaced, but you should still offer the option to retain everything.
7. Check the House for Sundries Left Behind. It’s not uncommon for anyone to leave personal belongings behind. Did you really scour the entire house for the last marble, the last paper clip?
Forgetting odds and ends may seem harmless, but it’s your responsibility to leave the house in a condition you’d like to find it if you’re the buyer. You should go for one last look-see just the same (here’s where being obsessive-compulsive provides an advantage).
Remember that the new owner isn’t obligated to keep anything they find in the house. Sift through drawers in case stamps in your precious collection slipped through the cracks.
8. Lock down and Lock up. The house will be empty until the new homeowner moves in, but it shouldn’t appear abandoned to outsiders. Draw the shades and curtains, close and fasten the windows, and lock the doors before you leave.
Leave the keys to the front door in your special hiding place and inform the buyer of its location (not under the doormat or anything that sticks out like a sore thumb, such as a garden gnome). Also, consider leaving a lamp on timer for good measure.
The new owner should appreciate what you’ve done with the place when they move in. Aside from updating on repairs and maintenance in a for sale by owner real estate deal, you should also leave the house empty and bare enough to foster a new home.
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