When it’s time to sell your home, the main objectives are very simple: Achieve the highest possible price for your property, and sell it in the least amount of time, to minimize your inconvenience, carrying costs and maintenance. Part of my job is to help you prepare for this process, from start to finish. Here are some tips to give you the edge and take the stress out of selling and moving:
1) Whenever possible, start planning and preparing at least a couple months before you think you will want to put your home on the market. This is a great time to allow me to stop by and take a preliminary tour of your home and discuss your objectives. I will always offer suggestions on improvements and changes that will make your home more desirable to the buyers, and some of these changes may take a little time to accomplish. I will also provide you with a Market Analysis to determine exactly what your asking price should be, and the range of value that you should expect it to sell in.
2) Keep an open mind to preparation suggestions. Buyers will gravitate toward the homes that look the best, inside and out, so the closer you can come to standing out from your competition, the better your chances of scoring top dollar quickly will be. I will be very honest with you, with both the positives and negatives. Our goal should be to minimize or eliminate the negatives whenever possible.
3) A fresh coat of paint provides the best “bang for the buck”, so if you’re on the fence as whether to paint or not, go ahead and grab your roller. Fresh paint can bring a tired room back to life, and will make your potential buyers see your home as closer to “move-in ready”. If you have rooms that you previously chose to paint colors that were a bit adventurous, now is the time to neutralize.
4) I’ve heard people say, “If they don’t like it, they can change it”. This is true, but they won’t want to pay you top dollar if they feel that the home needs immediate attention. Don’t let your ego get in the way of maximizing your bottom line. Your home should appeal to as many potential buyers as possible, so target safe zones when making preparations to sell.
5) One of the biggest challenges that we all face, is that we have accumulated too much stuff! Your buyers don’t want to see all of that stuff, nor do you want to send the negative message that there’s not enough room in this house for all of their stuff. Take the time to organize and minimize everywhere you can, including closets, kitchen/bathroom cabinets, drawers and counter tops, basement, attic, garage and yard. Maybe you have a few too many pieces of furniture, like that old console TV in the basement from 1973 that has such a lovely cabinet that you just couldn’t throw it out. You might want to consider renting a storage unit for a short period of time. Getting all of the unnecessary stuff out of sight will make you home show larger and much more comfortable.
6) Clean, Clean, Clean! Did I say Clean? If you do nothing else that I recommend, please take this advice. Buyers are turned off by a dirty house, so it’s time to step up your game. Pay special attention to window frames and glass (inside & out), showers, sinks, toilets, tile and grout, carpeting/flooring and cobwebs, especially in the basement ceiling, laundry area, etc. Some of my clients have hired professional companies to come in to do a one-time “deep cleaning”. This may cost a couple hundred dollars or more, but boy, what a difference it makes. Maybe you’re already on top of that, and your home is spic an span. If you are, congratulations, you’re in the minority!
7) On the outside, keep in mind that tired old expression “curb appeal”. One of the best ways to do this is to stop in front of your home, when leaving or returning, and sit in your car and try to be objective. Does the lawn look healthy? How about the landscaping? Perhaps some fresh mulch in the beds would spruce things up. If you have a deck or patio, consider cleaning and re-staining (for decks), and staging an outdoor living area. A seating arrangement, grill, fire pit, etc., will send a positive message that this would be a great place to invite family and friends.
8) Take a good look at your front entry, foyer, front door and porch area. This is where the famous “first impression” takes place. The buyers will walk up and stand on your porch, waiting for either someone to answer the door, or for their agent to access the lockbox and unlock the door. That extra few moments will be spent by the buyers taking a good look around, analyzing the environment. Once inside, it’s the “Honey, I’m home” moment. What do they see? What do they smell? Does it look inviting, and can they see themselves and their guests feeling welcome there? Often times a fresh coat of paint on the front door and/or a new lockset will make a huge difference. Maybe the porch light could stand to be replaced or a new doormat to spruce up the area.
9) This one can be difficult for some people, but it’s out of love that I recommend this. Once inside, the buyers should not be looking at family photos all over the walls and counters. It’s very important that the potential buyer sees your home not as your home, but rather as their next home. Some might say, “If they can’t visualize the house without those photos, then that’s their problem.” I get it, I love my family too, but selling a home involves appealing to the emotions of the buyers, and allowing them to mentally move in as they walk through your home. Your loved ones won’t be offended if you remove their photos, as long as you unpack them at your new house!
10) Speaking of photos, it’s more important than ever before, that your home be “photo ready” before it gets listed and posted online. I will take photos of as many rooms and features as possible, because that’s what the consumer wants to see. I spend a great deal of time editing photos, to make sure that we are looking polished and ready to sell, because once the switch is flipped, and your listing goes live on thousands of websites, it’s crucial that we have an entire photo gallery accessible to the consumer immediately. Anything less will cost you an opportunity to catch the eye of the buyers and get the proper attention as a “new listing”.
11) Each home is different, as are the needs of my clients. We’ll work out the details regarding scheduling showing appointments that are specific to your family’s needs. Perhaps you have pets, a night shift worker/day sleeper or special circumstances. You will always know in advance, and have the opportunity to confirm all showing appointments. Our ultimate goal will always be to get as many people through as possible, to insure that we attract interest as soon as possible, and minimize your inconvenience that comes along with having your home on the market.
12) When the moment that you have been waiting for finally arrives, and we receive an offer (or two, or three, or…), we will discuss all of the details to make sure that you are 100% clear on every clause and condition, so that you can make an informed decision. I’ve been negotiating contracts for over 28 years, so rest assured that you are in good hands. My job is to get you the best deal possible, and I won’t be satisfied with the outcome until you are! I’ll be happy to discuss your specific situation whenever you would like to start planning your move. There’s no charge or obligation for me to stop by and help you put a plan in motion, so feel free to contact me today!