Local realtor James Long shares his column this week on what to do before you sell a home.
Selling your home can be an emotional process, so prepare yourself before listing your property. Begin viewing your house not as a home but as an investment and a business transaction. Try not to take suggestions from your realtor personally and it will make the process much easier. Be sure to hire a Realtor. Some people may have the right property that will sell as a “For Sell By Owner”, but by doing a FSBO you are limiting your buying pool. Hiring a real estate agent is one of the more important decisions you will make when selling your home, so take your time. I recommend interviewing a few agents, asking about past sales, what type of advertising they would do and where they would market your property. And don’t be shy about asking friends, family and neighbors for recommendations as well. A good friend of mine recommended using a home buying company such as We Buy Houses instead of a real estate agent. This may be the way you want to go about selling, but make sure that whatever method you choose is right for YOU.
Price it right
No matter how well your home is advertised, it it’s not priced right, it won’t sell. Pricing depends on the type of market and strategy your agent uses, but I recommend listing your home just above the market to leave room for negotiation, but not too high that you miss your buyer pool. Another popular strategy is to list your home just under market value, creating a sense of urgency. Whichever you do keep in mind the condition of your home. When pricing, it is imperative you understand that just because your home is 1800 square feet it may or may not be listed the same as another 1800 square foot home down the street. If you haven’t maintained and you don’t have upgrades, don’t expect top dollar.
You are selling your home, not yourself, so put away photos of your family or children’s artwork so that they don’t become distracting to any potential buyers. Showcase how much space is in your closets and cabinets by clearing out old clothes, toys, pots and pans. If it doesn’t have a purpose get rid of it. They need to visualize themselves living in the home, not you.
First impressions are the only impressions
The first impressions will either make or break a buyer’s opinion of your home, so make sure you put your best foot forward. Take the time to make the home bright, clean and smelling great. Not everyone likes pets, and even if they do they don’t want to smell yours. Clean your home from top to bottom, people want to see clean bathrooms and kitchens, if those areas are not fresh, buyers are likely to turn up their nose and may not want to give you a second look. And during all your cleaning make sure the pet odor is gone.
Don’t over upgrade
That custom-built pizza oven or over sized jetted tub may sound fun, but extreme upgrades are unlikely to return in value. Kitchens sell, so do consider putting money in your kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of any home, so it’s worth it to spend some money on upgrades if necessary. I recommend adding stainless steel and granite or other hard surface countertops, adding that buyers typically get the money back that they spent on these types of kitchen upgrades. Flooring and bathrooms are other possible upgrades, but make sure the finishes are comparable to other homes in the area.
Light it up
Turn those lights on, bust open the blinds and drapes and, if you’re up for it, paint the walls a light neutral color to make your home as light and bright as possible. Even the smallest room in your house can appear roomy with enough light.
Always be ready to show
Selling a house is a full-time job as a potential buyer might be wanting to walk through at any time, so do your best to keep your home in showing condition. Turning down showings means you could be turning down your buyer.