Home sellers are always looking for ways to make their homes stand out from the pack. With so many potential buyers in today’s market, it can be difficult to set yourself apart. However, there are a few simple tips that every homeowner should know about before listing your property on the market.
Do Your Homework
The first thing you should do is understand the market conditions for your neighborhood. Once you’ve decided to sell your property there are three options to consider.
- Sell the Home Yourself • For Sale by Owner (FSBO)
- List with a Discount/Flat Fee Broker
- Use a Full-Service Real Estate Agent/Brokerage
The Skipped Step To Help Get More Money Out Of Your Property
Regardless of how you decide to sell your property, there is one step that is normally skipped. Unfortunately, it’s only skipped because most people don’t think about it.
This step is the home inspection. I won’t go deep into this because you can get more information on home inspections throughout our website.
The one thing you should consider is with a pre-listing home inspection, you have the information you need to fix any major issues, allowing you to get more money out of your home. It also will help speed up the negotiation process when the home buyer gets their own inspection.
For Sale by Owner
When you decide to sell your home yourself, it’s important that not only are the right real estate documents in order but also legal disclosures and inspections. You must be comfortable with these tasks – otherwise, any mistakes could lead to problems down the line. So please think about all of your options.
You can also choose to use a discount or flat fee broker, who will assist you to sell your property. Depending on the broker you select, you may be able to get some assistance with marketing, open houses, disclosures, title/escrow, etc.
Make sure that you understand exactly what services you are willing to pay. Make sure you understand what services are covered under each pricing plan. Find out if your listing will be posted on the website, what signage will be available to you; find out if you are posting the home to the respective MLS (multiple listings service) in your area. Each broker is different, so make sure to get references from former clients.
Full-Service Real Estate Agent/Brokerage
If you want to market your property to the largest pool of possible buyers, list your property with a full-service real estate broker/firm. Now, before you pick the first agent you found on Google or check that postcard you received in the mail, make sure to take the time to interview more than one agent/agency, and don’t be scared to ask your friends on social media for recommendations.
Find out if they are a REALTOR® — a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, a trade organization of nearly 1 million members nationwide. Members of NAR subscribe to a stringent code of ethics to guarantee the highest level of service and integrity.
You may also want to know if they have any special REALTOR® designations, such as GRI and CRS, which require that real estate professionals take additional specialized real estate training.
In addition to qualifications, you should check the references of the agent. Make sure to speak with former clients to see if the agent is responsive and is available to keep you up-to-date with progress.
You need to have direct contact with your agent, so you will need to be as comfortable as possible.
A good listing agent should:
- Have a detailed marketing plan for your house, including online and offline marketing
- Prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) of properties in your area that have sold, as well as properties currently listed
- Help you merge the knowledge obtained inside of the home inspection report & the current local market conditions to determine the best selling price for your house.
- Give basic advice on suggested home improvements & staging
During the time that your house is on the market, potential buyers will make appointments to view your home, along with the planned open-houses that you or your agent may schedule.
Before you do start showing, try to evaluate the house as if you are seeing it for the first time. Buyers need to envision themselves living in the home, so be sure to present the property in its best light.
Put yourself in the position of a potential buyer and view the property starting at the front (curbside) to see the “curb appeal”, through the property and then itemizing the most cost-effective enhancements to make.
Be Clean & Stay Clean
You may want to paint walls (neutral colors are best) or spruce up wallpaper. Replace old flooring and worn carpets. Check and repair damaged or unsightly caulking in the tubs and showers.
If possible, hire a cleaning service. Display your best linens, towels, and shower curtains. Make the beds, and put fresh flower arrangements on the table. Make sure that there are no offensive odors in the house. Odor is the first thing buyers notice, and often a permanent turnoff.
Additional “Side Note”: Candles, room sprays, and other options can cause some people to have allergic reactions. A safer option would be to bake some sugar cookies. Keep it simple and don’t forget to keep all surfaces clean and any potentially harmful items put up in their proper locations.
Make Your House Their New Home
Put away or pack small appliances and other items that might be sitting on countertops or tables throughout the house. You want buyers to visualize the space in each room, so it is best to remove as many smaller items as possible.
Remove personal items, pictures, and items to present clear shelves, bookcases, and walls. Move excess furniture to make rooms more spacious. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Clean and organize the closets. If you must, store boxes in an out-of-the-way location. You may also want to rent a temporary storage unit, to allow you to de-clutter every part of the house.
Don't Forget the Exterior of Your Property
The right landscaping can enhance the curb appeal of a home. Eliminate weeds, patch bare spots, fertilize, and water. Take a good look at the shrubbery. Bushes that have grown to cover windows should be pruned to let sun and light into the home.
Fill in bare spots with small shrubs and colorful, fast-growing annuals, such as impatiens and petunias. A few well-placed flower pots by the front door can be very inviting. Today’s buyers want low maintenance. Your goal should be a beautifully maintained yard that looks easy to care for.
Allow Your Agent/Representative to Show Your Property
Buyers don’t want to offend current owners, so they may be more hesitant to consider your home if you are present for open-house events. Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show on the spur of the moment, but the more often someone can see your home, the sooner you’ll find a buyer.
I hope this has been helpful! If you have any questions about these tips or would like to discuss a pre-listing home inspection, contact us today so we can help you get things off on the right foot.
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