Selling your house can be a very stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be if you just follow a few easy steps that have been proven to attract more buyers and get your home sold faster.
1) Clear the Clutter
Once you’ve decided to sell your home, start getting rid of stuff. You likely have lots of non-essential stuff all over your house. But, all that stuff will make your house look smaller to potential buyers, and it makes them wonder if the house is lacking storage space. Clear off your kitchen and bathroom countertops to make them look bigger. Take down excess wall décor (but don’t take down all of it). Remove large pieces of furniture that may be making a space look smaller. Rent a storage unit for a month of two, if needed. Just get rid of all that stuff!
2) Make a To-Do List
Walk around your house as if you were a buyer. What would you want fixed? Fix dings and dents in the walls, clean or replace stained carpets, make sure your systems and appliances are functioning properly. This will help buyers know that you’ve taken good care of the property, and will make them feel like they can move in without having to do a lot of work first.
3) Add Curb Appeal
The front of your house is the first thing buyers will see when they look at your listing or drive up for their first showing. Make sure your house makes a good first impression! Trim bushes and tree branches, rake the leaves, wash the windows, give your front door a fresh coat of paint, plant some bright flowers, mow your lawn, and rent a power washer and give your house a good scrub down. One day of work in the yard can go a long way in making your home look desirable.
4) Stage Your Home
Staging your home helps to show off your its best characteristics. Position furniture so that it makes rooms feel bigger and more functional. Use your furniture to define and highlight each space’s use. If you have rooms that are being used for more than one purpose–an office/guest room combo, for example–take out some of the furniture so that the room just has one purpose. Having multi-purpose rooms just highlights to buyers that there aren’t enough rooms in the house to have separate spaces for both purposes. If you need staging help, visit a few model homes in the area to see how the pros do it. This may spark a few ideas for your house. Make sure your house is neat, clean, and smells nice.
Also, let’s have a hard conversation for a minute about pets. Pet hair, dander, poop in the yard, or kitty litter in the house are all turnoffs to many buyers. Some buyers are allergic to pets, and may have a reaction just walking into your house if a pet has been there. When listing your home, it’s best to have your pet live somewhere else temporarily. If that’s not possible, at least make sure your pet is not home during showings.
5) Hire a Professional
Many sellers, especially in a hot selling market, decide they can sell their house on their own. And, that’s totally fine. But, your home is likely the biggest investment you’ve ever made in your life. Why not have a professional help you figure out what it’s really worth, so you can get the most out of it? Many sellers have left tens of thousands of dollars on the table because they undervalued their house in order to avoid paying a commission—when in all reality, they would have made more (even after paying a commission) and sold faster by using a Realtor. There are many complexities and nuances that come with a real estate deal, and having a trusted advisor who is skilled, motivated and knowledgeable looking out for your best interest is a must.
6) Price Your Home Competitively Right from the Start
Sometimes, especially in a good selling market, sellers think they can price their home at a value higher than it’s really worth. But, what they don’t understand is that their home will sell much faster, and could even sell for more when it is priced competitively. Most showings happen in the first 2-3 weeks that your home is on the market. If your home is priced too high, you may not get many showings during this time frame, and you’ll ultimately have to drop your price in order to get any interest in it. It’s best to use the recent sales prices of other comparable homes in the area to determine the listing price for your home, and price it right from the very start. Your Realtor can help you do this. If you list it competitively from the beginning, you’ll have a lot more showings, and likely an offer in hand much sooner. You may even find yourself with multiple offers that can drive the price up a little. Beware of Realtors who tell you that you can list your home for a significantly higher price than other homes in the area. Even if you do get an offer for the higher amount, chances are high that it won’t appraise for that price, and you’ll end up having to bring the price down anyway just to close the deal.
7) Throw in Some Extras That are Hard to Move Anyway
There are probably a lot of big ticket items you’ve accumulated while living in your home. Maybe you invested in a gas dryer, or bought a nice swing set for the backyard, or wall-mounted several TVs. These things are hard to move to a new house, and may sweeten the deal for buyers. If a buyer’s children fall in love with the swing set, including it with the home may help you to get a full price offer, plus you don’t have to deal with trying to disassemble it and then reassemble it at your new home.
8) Lighten Up
Make sure you open your blinds and curtains when buyers are looking at your house. Homes always show better when there is lots of natural light, so let that sun shine in! It will make your house seem light and airy, and bigger too. Closed blinds and curtains not only make your house seem darker, but they make it feel smaller too.
9) Detach Yourself
This is your home, and you’ve made lots of good memories there. But, don’t let those sentimental feelings get in the way of making smart, logical decisions as you go through the process of listing your home, and responding to offers on it. Your home isn’t worth more to a buyer because you and your family made many great memories there. It’s just a house to them—one in which they hope to make lots of their own memories. So, detach yourself from your emotions and think decisions through logically.
10) Have an Open Mind
When you get an offer on your home, be open minded about it. If it’s not an offer you’re happy with, you can consider a counteroffer. But, remember, when you counteroffer, the initial offer is off the table for good. The buyer could reject your counteroffer and walk away, leaving you with no offer at all. So, consider what’s important to you. If you need the home to sell quickly and just be done with it, it might be worth considering accepting the offer—as long as it is a reasonable one. If you aren’t in a rush, you may want to counter with a reasonable counteroffer and hope the buyer accepts it, or responds with a different counteroffer. Your Realtor can help you evaluate and negotiate different offers that come in on your house.
Selling your home—a place that’s very special to you—can be a stressful experience. But, if you follow these 10 tried and true tips, the process will go much smoother and you’ll have a SOLD sign on your home before you know it.
For more information, or to ask questions, contact Lindsay Storrs at (385) 269-9720.