Selling a Home
Pricing Your Home
Correctly pricing your property is critical. Price your home too low and you’ll lose money; price it too high and buyers will shy away. Websites like Zillow and Realtor.com can help you determine the value of your property by providing you with the most comparable sales. Also our Market Snap Shot application can help with identifying properties similar to yours that have sold recently.
Promoting Your Property
Effective advertising and marketing are essential when selling your home. The MLS provides exposure to the real estate agents and public real estate websites such as Realtor.cm and Zillow will expose your property to the general public. Open houses can be effective in promoting your property to the local market place. Competition and current interest rates can also affect the success of a promotional campaign.
The presentation of your home will impact the buyer’s first impression. Make sure clutter is cleared and keep the home clean at all times. Remove some of your personal items, too many family photos or collectibles can provide an unwanted distraction. However, some personal items provide a sense of “home”.
Get Ready to Show
It is time now to look objectively and unemotionally at your home. Look at it no longer as your home, but as a product to be marketed. Be aware of what you can and cannot change about your home. This knowledge will allow you to concentrate on those items that will bring the highest rewards.
The first thing a potential buyer sees is your home from the street – the first impression is called “curb appeal.” Take care to:
- Remove any junk or clutter from the yard.
- Have a clean, crisp lawn (a bit of fertilizer makes for a greener lawn).
- Trim shrubbery and hedges.
- Wash decks and porches and make sure they are stained or painted.
- Clean and paint or stain your front door.
- All exterior lights should be operational.
- Exterior windows should be clean and operational.
- Clean out gutters and downspouts.
- Walkways should be swept and free of snow or ice during winter.
- Make sure the garage door is closed.
Through Open Doors
Most buyers do not have a vision – so help them. Present your home dressed in its best! Here are some minor investments which may have some major returns.
Paint – When it comes to preparing a house, fresh paint gives you the best return for money spent.
Flooring – At the very least, all carpeting needs to be steam cleaned. Any worn, stained or foul smelling carpet should be replaced. Any flooring that is cracked or damaged should be replaced, if possible.
Clutter – If something is not necessary for your day-to-day life, box it up and store it or throw it out!
Closets – Closets need to be neat, clean, and organized.
Cleaning – The cleaner, the better. Dusting, washing, waxing, and polishing everything will always make a good impression.
Lights – Clean the fixtures and make sure the bulbs work.
Windows – Replace any cracked windows.
Most of the time you will be given at least a couple of hours notice before showing your home. Before you show your home add these small but important finishing touches. Your home will then put its best foot forward!
Light and Bright – Whether day or night, a lit house gives a “welcome home” impression. So turn on all the lights, indoor and outdoor. Open all curtains, shutters, and blinds to let in maximum light. Your home looks more cheerful and it also prevents harsh shadows.
Out of Sight – Prospective buyers may feel like intruders if you are home during a showing. Allow the REALTOR® the opportunity to speak freely with buyers and emphasize your home’s best features. If possible, take a walk, visit the library, go shopping or take the kids to the park. If you cannot leave, try to remain out of sight and do not accompany the buyers from room to room.
The Scent of Success – Scented sprays are too obvious and may be found offensive. For a pleasing fragrance, add a few drops of vanilla extract on a stove burner or boil water and add some cinnamon. Refrigerator cookies are quick and easy to bake, as well as lighting a scented candle prior to a showing. Both will make your home more attractive.
Waste Not – Empty the trash in the kitchen and any other waste baskets before a showing. Garbage does not send a positive message, even in small amounts.
Comfort Counts– Make sure the thermostat is set such that the house is at a comfortable temperature. Turn off the television and turn soft, melodious music on.
Pets – It is best to try and take your pets with you while your home is being shown. If that is not possible, at least keep them outside. Animals under foot will put a damper on a showing.
A Team Effort
The overwhelming majority of home sellers find it advantageous to team up with a REALTOR®. There are a number of complexities of modern Real Estate transactions that should be considered, not to mention the access to the MLS. Your REALTOR® can help with these complexities.
Today’s buyer is well informed and price sensitive. A property that is priced over the market can often deter buyers who are serious about finding a property. If the property is under-priced, it will most likely sell quickly – to the detriment of your net proceeds. Care and research should be taken when establishing the original listing price.
There are many factors that will affect the selling price. The following should help you determine the price you can expect to receive:
- What are the prices (listing and selling) of similar homes in your area?
- What is the size, layout and condition of your home in comparison to others on the market?
- What is the location of your home, are you in a desirable area that is in demand?
- Does your home have amenities that are currently popular in the marketplace?
- Is it a buyers’ market or a sellers’ market?
Room to Room
- Clean and polish everything.
- Make sure it is well lit.
- Make sure it is clutter free.
- Arrange the furniture for the flow of traffic.
- Make sure they are clutter free.
Living Room/Family Room/Den:
- Arrange the furniture for the flow of traffic and to give the illusion of space.
- Remove ashes from fireplaces and woodstoves.
- Make sure all light switches work.
- Clean the drapes.
- Polish/ mop the floors.
- Basement, Garage, Attic.
- Remove all junk and clutter.
- If the basement is damp or musty, try a dehumidifier.
- Make sure these areas are well lit.
Kitchens are under close scrutiny:
- Clean the exterior of all appliances, including the stove hood filter.
- Clean counter tops and cabinet faces: the shinier, the better.
- Clutter free
- Remove magnets and messages from the front of the refrigerator.
- Clean the floor and consider replacing it if it is worn.
- If you have ceramic tile, make sure the grout is clean and white.
Bathrooms are also extremely important:
- If faucets drip, repair or replace them.
- Remove stains from all fixtures.
- Make sure all lights have the highest wattage that is safe for each fixture.
- Put out fresh, clean towels.
- Check ceramic tile, make sure the grout is clean.
- Remove any mildew.
- Make sure drains are clog free.
- Shower doors should sparkle.
Once an offer is made, if you intend to accept the offer, or make a counter offer, do it as soon as possible. Realize that at any time prior to accepting or countering, a buyer can withdraw their offer.
When you make changes to an offer, they require written approval of all parties for the contract to be enforceable. Know that even minor changes facilitate the opportunity for either the seller or buyer to change their mind.
To put it simply the last part of the home selling process is closing. It is the time between signing the purchase contract (once an agreement on price and terms has been reached) to the day the deed is actually recorded transferring title. Once everything is signed, then escrow closes and your home is sold.
It doesn’t matter if you have moved once or several times, it is never an easy task. There is a lot of emotion associated with selling a home. So on to a new adventure. The following are some tips you may find helpful.
- Notify the post office of a forwarding address.
- Cancel subscriptions that would not be forwarded.
- Arrange for new checking account if needed.
- Arrange for utilities and telephone at your new location.
- Plan for needs of children and pets during the move
- Plan for sufficient cash/travelers checks during the move.
- Are you packing/moving yourself or will a professional mover handle the move?
- Once you are reasonably sure you will be proceeding with the sale, begin weeding out your possessions.
- Pack one room at a time.
- Keep the weight of your boxes reasonable.
- Start packing and marking every box according to contents and room it will go in.
- If bubble wrap is not available, use towels and blankets to wrap fragile items.
- If possible, pack audio-video and computer equipment in their original boxes.
- Do not pack valuables, carry them with you.