As you may know the real estate market is in the beginning of a change that will culminate in a buyer’s market. Prices have stopped rising in crazy spades as they did over the last few years, inventory is picking up slightly, and it is a great time to be a buyer and a seller…BUT if you are a seller you should heed this advice to get the best price and sell your home as quickly as possible:
1. Unbiased home analysis. The fist step after finding a local area experience real estate agent, is to make a non-biased assessment of your home. As the owner this can be difficult, but if you walk through your home, from the curb, with your agent, you should try to see it from a buyer’s viewpoint, not as your home but as a product you are going to sell (I know this doesn’t sound appealing to many, but you will thank me).
Make particular note of anything that is blocking space or light, anything that is not shining – by this I mean are the windows clean, large pieces of furniture in the way of pass-through areas, etc. (see number 3 below). Make a list of all items that may be seen as hindering the natural light, shrinking space, or cutting off full access to rooms.
2. Look at comparable homes for sale in your area. This is always a great idea, because it will alert you to your competition. All of the things that are mentioned above in number 1 will become more apparent if you can look at other homes for sale in your area to see how they show. Ask your agent to take you to any comps for sale.
3. Get your home ready! Declutter, clean, make space. Roll up your sleeves and get your home sale ready! Box up knick-knacks, books and personal photographs. Walls should be clean and should not have pictures or art on any but a few key places. Buyers need to see the SPACE. Furniture that is too big should be removed, as should any pieces that block a room’s entrance or make the room feel smaller. Window treatments that block natural light should be removed or opened. The goal is to make the space feel as large and open as possible. Your real estate agent will be able to assist you in seeing the home through buyers’ eyes.
4. Repairs/improvements. Making needed repairs or improvements is key to preventing buyer “negatives.” This means that you want the buyer to see your home in the best light – most buyers want to buy a home that is move-in ready and if they see broken items or those that need attention or upgrading, many will not make an offer or will make a low offer.
Paint is the cheapest improvement possible. If your home needs touch-ups or even a new coat of paint, it is a great investment. The color is also important. It should be light enough to keep the room as bright as possible, and not too personal a color choice. You may love deep purple, but a neutral color would be better to showcase your home to buyers and also will make rooms look brighter and more open in photographs.
Making sure the front yard and porch/entrance areas look inviting are key points to garnering buyer interest, leading to offers. Make sure the grass is green and mowed, weeds removed, plant fresh flowers and include potted plants and a nice welcome mat. The front door should be freshly painted. Most buyers make up their mind about a home before they even walk inside – you want to wow them when they pull up to the curb, so don’t kill the first impression buyers will make of your home.
Make sure to get the advice of your agent – experienced agents understand how to wow buyers and know the pulse of the local market.
5. Staging. I have written many articles on the benefits of staging, but some sellers still balk at spending money to do so – staging is not cheap. For vacant homes it is a must – at least for the main living areas and entrance rooms of the home. If you are living in your home it may be possible to use the furniture you already have and add some pieces or art. Whether or not staging is needed will be determined by your agent and the competition. Be open to it, as staging sells homes faster. Remember, you want the buyer to walk in and feel that your house is a “home” they can see themselves living in.
6. Pricing. Pricing a home correctly for sale is always important, but in our current changing market it is even more so. There are still sellers today who want to price their homes over comparable sold home values. The market is not rising so this may be a poor idea that can leave your home sitting on the market accruing market time – not a positive situation. Pricing the property appropriately will lead to showings, and if your home looks its best that will lead to offer. The goal is not to “see how much you can get,” but rather is to wow buyers and get lots of interest in your property.
The bottom line is that selling a home involves more than just listing it and waiting. You need to be proactive and prepared. Listing should take place after the proper steps (above) have been taken and the home properly prepared. If you have any questions about home sales please feel free to contact us.