Home selling tips - oh no, another article about this. Well, yes, but this is my take.
I’ll admit I can be a stickler for certain projects. I did this twice when I sold my homes in Denver because I knew from being a REALTOR® previously in Texas, what I needed to do to get my home sold. So, the tips I’m sharing with you are coming from experience as a REALTOR® and having great feedback and success at selling my own homes - albeit through real estate agents.
Oh right, those accidental fingerprints on the walls need to get cleaned up. Do you need to repaint? What kind of shape are the floors in or the cabinets? Do they need to be cleaned or just touched up lightly? Do the doors need to be cleaned? How about the windows? Are they clean? Examine your house with a critical eye and as if you are visiting it as a buyer - not selling it. Get as much done as you can or hire a handyman or professional to help you. It’s worth doing these things well before you have any visitors. They may not tell you why they didn’t like your house. But if it’s in bad shape, they may not be able to look beyond what they need to fix or redo.
It’s true. The old cliche where people judge a book by its cover prevails but in this case, they judge the inside based on the outside. It’s gotta look good. I’ve had clients not want to go inside a house because of the outside. Don’t do that to yourself. If it’s not a buyer’s market, you really have no excuse. And even if it is, you still want to make sure that you get the most showings as possible.Does your home have trash cans and weeds in the yard? Is it painted and in good shape? Can you plant some flowers? So, get that lawn cut and keep it trimmed, put some flowers in your beds and power wash your driveway. You name it. Do it.
Thinking of selling? Start clearing out your cute knick knacks because someone else is not going to like them and you want to show the house, not your collections.
I wanted to de-clutter because I gathered too much stuff. I started way before I was ready to sell to get rid of things. And after both of my parents died and I helped clean the home, I knew I didn’t want to leave that burden to someone else. I knew my nephews didn’t want all my belongings either. It took a while.
If you feel overwhelmed with having so many items and you know you want to sell eventually or soon, it’s time. It’s a low-stress pressure knowing that you have a lot to do, but I know you can do it. Start with one drawer at a time or one portion of your closet. Read (as if you have time) The Compound Effect. It changed how I tackle projects.
Get rid of things you don’t need or at minimum, pack them away in boxes. Clean up your closets and drawers. People will want to look at the closets and if they are jam packed, they’ll think your closets are small.
You might as well invest in a home inspection (link and I get no referral fees and I know other inspectors as well) and have other professionals (like a roofer) tell you what may be wrong with your home. Once you do sell your home, chances are pretty high that the buyer will have the home inspected. If you don’t do a pre-emptive inspection, you'll be caught off guard as to what was deficient once your home goes under contract and the buyers get an inspection. You’ll have to negotiate again.
So, when you received the offer, you negotiated (or not) the price and you, as the seller, and the buyer agreed. Well now they are asking for additional funds to have repairs done or asking you to do this. In Texas, they will need to be done by a licensed contractor once it’s under contract and it could be a lot more expensive. If you get the repairs done in advance, the process should be smoother.
We all have different standards on cleanliness. I look at the baseboards and am very sensitive to smells. A professional company (again, no referral fee) that cleans houses - especially for move-ins and move-outs - knows what needs to be done to make sure your home shows well.
As far as smells, people have different degrees of sensitivity. We get accustomed to living in our home and get used to the smells. The cleaning will help. You can open your windows or use plug-ins. But some people think you are masking odors when you use them. I prefer a spray I make myself with a combination of essential oils. But if you have pets, I’ve read that they are not good for them. So be careful.
If you prefer, clean the home yourself. Just make sure you show the home to your REALTOR® or someone you trust to tell you the truth and give you feedback.
Your home may look perfect and you have a knack for decorating. But why not get a second opinion? Your real estate agent might be able to give you an opinion. But you can also hire a stager. They’ll help you decorate your home to make sure you attract prospective buyers. When I sold my home, I finally made it look like I should have had it all along. I just purchased pillows, pictures, towels and accessories that would complete the home and I received great feedback from the visitors I happened to run into at the end of the open houses.
We all think our house is worth more because we cared for the home, upgraded it and we know the neighbor’s haven’t done as much, right? Well, it’s the market that determines what your home is worth and it depends on so many factors including supply and demand, conditions of the market and condition of the home.
Hopefully, your agent did a comparative marketing analysis (CMA) and is familiar with what sold recently, is on the market and how it compares to your home. This is when you absolutely don’t want to overprice your home. Decide on a realistic price. You’ll miss potential buyers if you price it too high as they are not looking at your price range. It may get stale and people wonder what could possibly be wrong with your home - why hasn’t it sold? The first few weeks are when you will get the most activity. So, don’t overprice your home.
I’ll never forget the pictures that my agent took when I was selling my home. I mean, they were pathetic - dark and dingy - and my home was bright. She didn’t have a professional camera nor did she have a company take the pictures. I was surprised that it went under contract within 10 days but I didn’t get a lot of showings. The right buyer happened to come along. But I bet I would have had a lot more activity and choices on whom to sell to.
I like to have professional pictures taken by a real estate photography company. Yeah, I’ve taken photography classes and have an SLR, but that is not my expertise. And the pictures look so good online. It’s the book being judged by the cover again especially since so many people look online. People are even purchasing online. So, make sure your agent is planning on using a professional photographer that specializes in real estate.
Open all your window shades and turn on all the lights. This can be a deal-breaker for some people. You want your home to feel welcoming and look bright. On that same note, replace your fluorescent lights, please. Use natural, warm LED lights. The home feels so much more welcome and the interior of your home will shine. If you’re not sure what lights to purchase, go to your local hardware store and look at the lights displayed.
We all have things going on and sometimes you’ll get calls as buyers are in front of your home - because they saw the sign. If at all possible, try to make it convenient for visitors. That’s asking a lot but that could be THE buyer for your home. You can also set up showing instructions as far as giving you a one-hour window or what works for you. But the more accommodating you are the better.
Please don’t stay in the house. It makes visitors uncomfortable and they may rush out of there. Go around the corner, take a walk but make sure you're outta there. Now with our San Antonio showing service, the company can easily inform you via text when a showing is finished. Ask your agent to add this to the showing instructions.
This is so much pressure on any homeowner. You are competing with other people that are motivated to sell their house and consequently keep their home meticulous. Plus your buyers may be looking at new homes and builders really jazz up their models. Put everything away - always. No dishes, no dirty towels or clothes all over the place, no trash out - you get the point. It’s like you don’t live there. I remember years ago showing a beautiful place and I’d never seen so many clothes - I mean all over the house. We walked out of there really fast.
There you go. Heed these home selling tips to have a smoother transaction and you’ll be pleased with the results. I mean, the end goal is to sell your home for the best price at the best terms, right? Here's a wonderful home seller checklist provided by Independence Title. Good luck.
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