Selling your home can be overwhelming and exhausting if you don’t know what to do or where to start but it doesn’t have to be. Being prepared is the best way to help you increase your odds of selling your home quickly and at a great price. Below are some effective tips to help you to efficiently prepare to sell your home:
Hire an Agent
Firstly, make sure you use an agent. A good agent will be able to educate you on the process, make recommendations on what you should or shouldn’t do to prepare your home to sell (which will usually save you time and money as not all upgrades pay off—see below), help you properly price your home, handle marketing your home, coordinate the entire process for you and so much more. People who try the “For Sale by Owner” route fail 85-95% of the time and end up hiring an experienced agent.
But I should mention that not all agents are created equal. A good agent will have your best interest at heart. Be sure to hire an agent that is knowledgeable, experienced and a good match for you. You will be trusting them with a big investment and will spend a fair amount of time interacting with them—its important you like working with them!
Avoid Getting Emotional
It is easy and common for people to get emotional about selling their homes, especially if it is your first one. Many people spend a lot of time picking out the right property, making it their home and making lots of memories there. It is important to not get emotional about the purchase as emotions tend to lead to poor decision making and missed opportunities when it comes to selling your property.
Instead, try to think of the process as a business transaction– start calling your home “the house” or “the property” to help get you into that mindset. Try to focus on positioning your property to ensure the best financial outcome instead of worrying if the buyer like a certain upgrade you chose.
Prepare for the Sale
Seventy six percent of real estate agents say that the number one recommended improvement that should be focused on is curb appeal when prepping a property for sale. (I can attest to having buyers that have driven up to a house and decided to not continue the tour based on a homes exterior appearance). The most important improvements to focus on include basic yard care, power wash the exterior, trim trees and shrubs, plant bright colored flowers and applying a fresh coat of paint to the front door. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
The more clutter and personal items in your house, the harder it is for potential buyers to envision themselves in the space. Worse, buyers tend to get distracted during showings by personal items and photos. They occasionally even spend time discussing and wondering about the people still living there instead of discussing the property itself.
Light up the house
Good lighting can be a game changer during a showing. If your home doesn’t get good natural lighting, take the time to go through to make sure all of your light bulbs are working and strategically place additional lamps throughout to house to help brighten the space. Additionally, prior to showings turn on all the lights and open all the curtains and blinds to really make the place stand out!
Set a Realistic Price
Setting the right price is KEY. Overpriced homes (even beautiful ones) usually don’t sell and certainly don’t sell quickly. It is common for sellers to allow their judgement to be clouded by their emotional attachment to their home and their drive to get the most money out of the sale which leads them to overpricing their property.
It is important to make sure the price you select is defendable and can be backed by comparable properties that have recently sold in your area. Your agent should help you with this and should present you with a comparative market analysis that should help you shape your decision.
Don’t Skimp on Listing Photos
Now that you have taken the time to prepare your home for the market (cleaning, decluttering, staging, etc.) you want to make sure that your home is captured well and reflects your hard work! Hiring a real estate photographer or working with a realtor that hires a photographer is extremely important. This ensures you have great photos that showcase that best parts of your house.
Photos are extremely important as most buyers begin their search online and decide whether they want to see the property in person based solely on the photos. Bad photos can deter a buyer that may have been a perfect match!
If someone wants to view your property you should do your best to accommodate them. I understand how inconvenient it is to clean up, pack up your family and rush out of the house for a showing. I also want to emphasize that you can miss out on a buyer that you don’t accommodate. They could have other showings that same day and may decide to go move forward with that property and forgo seeing yours at all. It is a lot of work but will be worth it when it sells!
Don’t go Overboard with Upgrades
Quick repairs, deep cleaning, and painting are all things that will pay off and help you sell your home quickly– major renovations and expensive projects usually do not. You will never make back what you spend on big projects (i.e. if you spend $10k remodeling your bathroom, you won’t be able to add $10k to your asking price). Not only will it not appraise, buyer likely won’t pay what you’re asking for.
Instead talk to your agent about what you want to do or focus on refreshing your paint, getting your carpets clean, updating your cabinet hardware, etc.
Additionally, it is important to make sure your home is ready for showings. Below are a few quick things you should do before each appointment:
- Plan to be out of the house (that includes your pets)
- Empty your all garbage cans
- Pick up any loose toys or random items
- Empty the sink
- Sweep floors
- Make the beds
- Close all closet doors
- Put away pet paraphernalia
- Remove toiletries from the bathrooms
- Put down all toilet seats
- Wipe down any major surfaces (counters, tables, etc)
Make sure you prepare mentally, emotionally and financially for a home sale by being prepared and having realistic expectations. A trusted realtor can be a great resource when you are considering selling your home. They can help you navigate these tips and give you recommendations on what to do (or not do) to ensure you get the most bang for your buck when selling!
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