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How to sell your house for top dollar

Charlestown moving expert Vera Ballard shares her time-tested tips

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July 31st, 2017

Vera Ballard, Charlestown's personal moving consultant, has helped hundreds of people move to the Catonsville community.

If you are thinking about selling your house but worried you missed the peak selling season, don’t worry. There’s still time to take advantage of this summer’s hot seller’s market. 

A shrinking inventory and low interest rates have helped keep the housing market going. 

According to Attom Data Solutions, a leading provider of real estate and property data, in the first three months of 2017 homeowners saw an average profit of $44,000 over their original purchase, the highest gain in a decade. The nationwide median home price was also up 13% from last year.  

Vera Ballard, a personal moving consultant who helps retirees sell their houses and move to Charlestown, the Erickson Living community in Catonsville, Md., sat down with the Tribune to answer some important questions for homeowners who are hoping to move before another winter sets in.

Q: Is this a good time to sell?

A: I always say the best time to sell your house is when you are ready to move. Houses that are priced appropriately sell no matter what the season. Interest rates remain low, and many buyers are out shopping and eager to move while they can get a good rate. 

With cold months ahead, listing your house now will put you in your new maintenance-free home at Charlestown before you have to spend another isolating winter in your house.

Q: What can I do now to get my house ready to sell?

A: Start organizing and decluttering. Remove knickknacks and personal possessions like photos and awards. Prospective buyers want to imagine your home as if it were their own. Less clutter makes this easier to accomplish and makes the space feel bigger. 

Lighting is just as important. Remove dark draperies, and pull open blinds or shades to let the light in. And don’t forget to have your windows cleaned. Set the thermostat to a nice, cool temperature so that potential buyers are comfortable during their visit. 

Don’t forget the outside. A green lawn, neatly trimmed shrubs, new mulch, and colorful annuals will add to your curb appeal and make a good first impression. Your patio and deck are an extension of your home and offer an outdoor retreat, so be sure they are as welcoming as your interior. Freshen up by power washing your siding and deck. Have your patio furniture out, clean, and ready for buyers to sit and enjoy your outdoor space.  

Q: If my house isn’t ready for sale before summer ends, how could that affect my chances of selling and/or the sale price? 

A: Low inventory has helped push up home prices and made for a competitive housing market. Certainly, the possibility of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve this fall could impact this. Time will tell. 

Buyers are constantly entering the market, and August is the start of the fall selling season. By listing your house now, you’re ahead of many sellers who wait.

Q: How much might I save by using Erickson Living-preferred vendors? 

A: People moving to Charlestown who take advantage of our Move On Us program can receive a moving services credit of up to $2,000 in their resident account for eligible moving-related expenses. 

Q: What if the apartment I want becomes available, but my house hasn’t sold yet? 

A: It may seem counterintuitive, but moving before you sell your house could be your best option. Living in your house while it’s on the market can be inconvenient. Keeping the house spotless at all times and leaving at a moment’s notice when your agent calls with a buyer who wants to tour your house in an hour can be stressful. 

It is also more difficult and costly to have updates and repairs like painting or carpet cleaning or replacement performed while you’re still living there. Contractors charge extra for moving and protecting furniture. 

Lastly, by vacating the property, your house is a clean slate where buyers can envision their family and furniture without the distractions of your personal belongings and style. 

Q: What is the most important thing I can do to aid in a quick and successful home sale? 

A: Price your house correctly! Together, your real estate agent and I can provide you with the research and facts you need to price your house both competitively and realistically. By using neighborhood comparables, appraisal services, and experience we’ll be able to maximize your profits while selling your home in a reasonable time period.  

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