Selling your home can be an emotionally challenging and time-consuming process, which requires a lot of deliberation. Since lots of financial concerns are also involved in the selling process, it can often drain you mentally and emotionally. However, if you follow the simple steps outlined below, it is possible to make this an exceptionally rewarding experience. Following are some of the important tips to remember before putting the house on the market:
Pricing the Property
When selling a house, it is important to consult the recent selling prices of homes in your neighborhood. You can get a pretty accurate picture of the market by looking at the selling price of homes in the last 3-months. The data should be available either at Zillow.com or with the local sales agent.
It is also important to remember that you should only compare the selling price of property that is nearly identical to your home. In fact, a three-bedroom house at the corner of the street, which seems identical, may sell at a very different price from you; therefore it is often better to consult a real estate agent for better price estimation.
Tame the Landscape
Trees and shrubs in your garden should not hide the façade. Instead, properly trimmed trees and pruned shrubs can add immense value to your home, if the next buyer is a nature-lover. There are plenty of websites on the Internet that can offer guidance on landscaping the garden. If you have large number of dead trees or diseased plants, it is better to hire a professional who will properly cut hanging branches and outer growth. With a little patience and eye for improvement, the cost to improve landscape will deliver many times over.
Signage and Decorations
Most sellers often forget that they will be showing their house to a lot of different people. As every potential buyer will have a different mindset, it is better to take down any sign or symbol that reflects a particular religious, cultural, or ethnic belief. Usually, such signs will put off many people for no particular reason, even if you have displayed such signs in good faith. While it is understandable to display the United States flag in the front porch, it does not make sense to showcase other types of flags, which may get a mixed response. Accordingly, it is often better to showcase the property without any visible affiliations.
The Curb Appeal
Before selling the property, it is wise to expand the curb appeal by planting some colorful seasonal flower, manicuring the lawn and using a quality real estate sign. All of these three elements are cost-effective, and guaranteed to improve the image of your home. Fresh mulch to the flower bed will go a long way in creating the perfect ambiance. As for the signage, a high quality wooden post indicates a fresh, clean, and proud house. Similarly, properly trimmed lawn before the weekend showing will also add to the charm.
In a competitive market, nearly every other house owner tries to stage the house. Staging also means that you want the interior of the house look like a perfect place to live. Nowadays, people also rent furniture for staging their homes. They do it because recent survey by National Association of Realtors suggests that staging improves the value of the house anywhere from one to five percent.
Renting furniture is not the only option. You can easily make your house look desirable by cleaning the clutter. For instance, it is often better to remove excess belonging from the home so that buyers will find the interior clean and tidy. It also helps removing clothing from the closets to make them roomier.
In fact, less furniture makes the house look brighter and bigger than usual. Therefore, try to get rid of the excess furniture before selling the property because you don’t want shabby furniture to ruin your staging. You may even put additional furniture in the garage if you cannot sell it at a descent price. Sometimes, rearranging the furniture is also a great idea. Even if you have wall-to-wall carpet, putting a rug in the middle will make the room attractive, cozy, and intimate.
Your home should be easily viewable by the potential clients, which means that you have to provide everyone the maximum chance of seeing your property when they want to see it. A good example is the “lock box” used for MLS listings where property agents can access your house anytime if they can’t reach you on the phone. The key is provided using a lock box that only the property agent can access. This ensures that your agent can show your house to clients as much as possible.
It may also help if you can split the viewing time between you and the agent. It means that you can arrange with the agent to show your property until you get back from the office. Afterwards, you can show the house even without an agent. Similarly, you can arrange an open house on weekends when you are at home to maximize the viewing time.
The Paint Job
Often, it is a big decision to paint the house or leave it as it is. If you ask an expert, it is always better to paint the job because it will fetch you anywhere from 50% to 500% of the investment you will make painting the house. From a buyer’s perspective, panting your home will give it a psychological boost because a well-painted house provides a feeling of order and maintenance.
Just make sure that the paint job is without any smears and scratches because a freshly painted home is likely to dent its image if there are drops and markings on the floor. As a rule of thumb, you don’t want the buyers to think that the house is painted solely for the purpose of selling it. Another tip to ensure smooth transition is using the natural color such as off-white, beige, cream and white. These colors will allow potential buyers to picture the home with the color scheme of their choice.
In today’s digital age, neighborhood information sells. It is very common for buyers to get as much details about the area where they will move to. As such, it is a good idea to hand your buyers a brochure, which will describe the positive side of the neighborhood. While some information can be found on the Internet, buyers will always love to listen about your first-hand experience. The information will also act as an ice-breaker to make buyers comfortable so that they may ask general questions. Often such dialogues are the first step to a successful house sale.
There are a lot of marketing channels that you can use to sell the house. However, some of these marketing tactics will always pay off better than the other due to their intuitive style. Virtual tour of the house on the Internet is a great way to publicize the home. Most real estate websites offer such an option.
Also make sure that you have professional quality pictures to post on the Internet and brochures. Good pictures are the first step to attracting a potential buyer, who will always judge the property based on the picture alone. Detailed information should accompany any listings, irrespective of the marketing channel. Featured listing on Zillow and your agent’s website is yet another great option to work with.
For many home owners, professional cleaning is a practical choice before the open house. If you think your house needs a major uplift because there are too many bad spots, you should always opt for professional cleaning. Don’t ignore the fact that dust from many nook and crannies can only be cleaned with the professional equipment.
You can spend a lot of time scrubbing your bathrooms and cleaning your appliances, but many damp and dry places cannot be cleaned without powerful detergents that are tailor-made to remove spots, smudges, and finger prints from hard to reach areas. Overall, you may still be under budget because professional cleaning will also take care of some of the other areas of the home such as kitchen and washrooms.
Repair or not to repair a home before selling it is a big question for most home owners. It is a tricky prospect because fixing any home will require a lot of cash. In such circumstances, it is better to evaluate how much you want to fix.
If your house is in deteriorating condition, where electricity system does not work or the faucet keeps on leaking, it is better to sell the home as it is because fixing the entire electrical and sanitation system will cost you a lot more than you desire. Perhaps, you need to prioritize what and how much you should fix, if you really want to repair the house. If there is a problem with only one room, then it is better to let buyers know that the buyer will just need to repair only that particular room. On the other hand, if there are multiple renovations, your best bet is to lower the asking price to attract buyers.
Usually, buyers will not bother with small renovations, but they will quit if the house needs a total revamp, and it is selling at the market price without any visible price decrease. In the end, it pays off to calculate the repair cost and potential benefits of repair, if any.
It may be surprising to know that smells and odor in your home can make or break the deal. No matter how hard we try, every house seems to have a smell. Someone can just walk in and pick the pungent small from last night’s cooking. It feels even worse when your guests can tell that there is still a lot of garbage left in the dust bin.
To avoid these smells, home owners usually buy a scented spray or a strong perfume. There are many individuals who will want their house to smell like a chocolate or a freshly baked cookie. Unfortunately, research suggests that it will discourage potential buyers because our mind tries too hard to figure the smell.
In fact, there is nothing better than the smell of a freshly cleaned house. Just make sure that the house is not reeking of ammonia or bleach. If you really want some kind of scent, then opt for natural odor such as lemon, orange, pine, vanilla, and cinnamon.
Finding the Right Agent
Regardless of the effort you put into marketing your home, you are likely to fall short of your objectives if your agent is clueless about your requirements. It is often better to approach the real estate agent after the cleaning work because the agent will likely evaluate the property based on its existing condition.
Remember, your agent is your advocate who will hold your hand if it’s the first time you are selling a home. Accordingly, you are likely to get in-depth information and specific details of the local area if your agent also knows the area thoroughly. The best thing to do is to interview your real estate agent to check their knowledge. If your agent seems good, it doesn’t hurt to offer the agent a fair split of the commission. It means that paying little more to an experienced agent will go a long way in getting a good deal because real estate is usually the costliest asset that anyone can sell.
You can go with your gut when choosing a real estate agent because most people are good at deciding if someone has patience to listen to their concerns. Usually, anyone pressurizing you into taking action or using excessive sales pitch may not be the best choice. Still, you should not ignore a good advice even if it conflicts with your viewpoint.