Filing a few key documents can help you sell your house faster and garner a better price.
This year, start a similar for key documents related to your home’s upkeep, operation, and improvements. It’s a smart way to demonstrate your home’s value to potential buyers. It shows that you are organized about caring for your home and any home that’s well cared for will sell faster and possibly for more money.
Save, Save, Save!
The easiest and most effective way to start is to designate a box, drawer in a file cabinet, or accordion file for storing your home-related papers. Items to store there should include:
- Heating and air conditioning bills, copies of which can be especially helpful if they reveal lower-than-average energy costs for your home.
- Receipts for improvements such as a new furnace or range. Buyers often ask how old appliances and mechanicals are, so be prepared to respond.
- Warranty documents. Did your new windows come with a transferable lifetime guarantee? Does your new roof have a 30-year warranty on materials?
- Instructional manuals that came with appliances. If you can’t find the originals, check for downloadable copies on the manufacturer’s Web site.
- Reports and receipts for services such as basement waterproofing and furnace checkups.
- Names and contact information for all contractors who regularly service your home. This can be especially helpful if your buyers are from out of town.
- Historical notes and documents if you live in an old home. Buyers are very interested in the history—who built it, who owned it, what historical significance it has. It’s extremely important that you have all this information.
Out with the old! There’s no need to save every piece of paper forever. Utility bills for last winter are appropriate, but heating bills from five years ago aren’t relevant. Likewise, showing a buyer a 10-year warranty on an appliance that’s nine years old isn’t helpful—in fact, it will merely point out that the appliance may need to be replaced sooner rather than later. Check out personal finance expert Suze Orman’s tips for what to keep, what to toss and when.
Create a summary sheet. Type up a one-page report that summarizes the records. Leave photocopies on a table for potential buyers to review and take home. This extra touch may be just the thing that persuades someone that the home you’ve loved so much should be their new home sweet home.
Automate the process. If you make this process automatic you’ll reap the benefits when you go to sell. As the homeowner, it is in your best interest to provide your agent with information that will help potential buyers make a buying decision. Remember that you can rely on your CENTURY 21® agent to help you decide just which records to keep and display for prospective buyers.