So you think it may be time to sell your home and either upgrade to more space or downsize for easy living. What should you do first? What should you avoid doing? Read on to find out …
5 Things To Do
Declutter and Depersonalize. When buyers tour your home, they want to be able to imagine themselves living there, not get pulled into your life there. This can be difficult if the rooms are overfilled with furniture and personal items. Go through each room and see what you can remove to make it show more like a model home. You don’t need brand new furniture to do this either, you can work with what you have. Find decorative storage for magazines, catalogs, mail, and remotes. Pack up your collection of framed photographs and opt for more neutral accessories. Store away any small appliances that are usually kept on the kitchen counter. Clear off bathroom counters and store away personal products. Remember, less is more.
Curb Appeal. Pretend you are the buyer and consider what your home looks like from the street. If you were pulling up to your home for the first time, what is your initial impression of the home? Is the front tidy and pleasantly landscaped? Are the front door, windows, and trim in good condition and not damaged with chipping paint? Buyers start making decisions about your home as soon as they arrive so make sure you are putting your best foot forward starting with the front yard and door.
Neutral Paint. One of the easiest updates to make to your home to get it ready for sale is refreshing the paint colors to a neutral palette. Again, buyers are trying to imagine themselves living in your home and it can be hard for them if they are distracted by bold, unusual paint colors or prints in rooms. If your kitchen hasn’t been updated in 20 or more years and is still sporting a wallpaper border, an updated coat of paint can do wonders to refresh the entire space. This was an important tactic I used in getting one of my listings sold quickly when the seller didn’t have the budget for a full kitchen renovation. Read about it here.
Fix That Loose Faucet. Any minor fix around the house that needs to be done should be done. Don’t wait for the inspection report to come back with a laundry list of small items that should have already been taken care of. Remember, we want to put our best foot forward to all prospective buyers. If someone is touring the house and they have to pull and pull and pull to get a closet door open, that is a big turn off. Go through your home with the eyes of the pickiest buyer and make a list of all the small things that can use updating or fixing before a real buyer sees it.
Hire a REALTOR®. As soon as you start thinking about listing your home for sale, I recommend having a chat with a real estate agent. We can provide immense value by helping you understand today’s market (which often is different than what it was 8 months ago when your neighbor’s house sold) and the true value of your home.
What Not to Do
Hiding Significant Problems. Friends, this is not wise. If you know there is a latent defect in your home you must disclose it. Better yet, if you know there is a significant problem, try fixing it before hitting the market. If you don’t, you may turn off prospective buyers. If you don’t want to fix it, price the home under market value or offer the buyer a credit back at closing to make up for the issue. Either way, it is always best to disclose any known issues with the home on the Property Disclosure Statement so that the buyer is aware before agreeing to purchase.
Getting Emotionally Involved. Sometimes it is hard to distance yourself emotionally from your home during negotiations. It’s understandable, you’ve spent many happy years there, but, when it’s time to sell, you should look at your home as a business person and not the homeowner. Get excited about the next step in your life and your new home, selling this home is how you get there!
Not Accommodating Showing Requests. If you are still living in the home while it is on the market, you’ll need to make sure the home is in prime showing condition at all times. As such, buyers will be requesting appointments to see your home, sometimes when it’s not the most convenient time for you, but you should still try your best to accommodate. It can be a lot of work, but keep your eye on your end goal of selling your house.
Asking an Unrealistic Price. Your real estate agent will provide you with a detailed analysis of the market that will include recent sales, under contract, and active homes for sale. The data is important as it will help you understand what the market is like today in your neighborhood and help price your home appropriately for the market. Asking a price that is higher than what the market data dictates will only result in your home not getting showings and sitting for a long period of time with no offers.
Hiring an Agent with No Specific Marketing Plan. Surprisingly, there are still agents who will just put your house on the MLS, do one Open House, and maybe send out one or two eblasts to the agents in their company. Unfortunately, this old-school marketing isn’t going to cut it today. Make sure your agent has an active marketing plan for your home that includes the basics and targeted online marketing. You can take a peek at a few of the things I do to market a home on my seller page.
Do you think you may be interested in entering the market in the next few months? If so, let’s chat about how I can help you start planning to get your home sold!