Smart Choices to Make when Selling Your Home
Choose the right Realtor.
Interview several realtors before selecting one. A good listing agent will do more than just take your listing and wait for a buyer’s agent to find your home. They will be proactive, with a thoughtful marketing plan and the financial capacity to follow through on it. Be sure to ask for their strategy to be spelled out in writing: with actual timelines, measurable objectives, specific performance guarantees on their part, and advertising your home on social media, magazines, open houses, just-listed mailers, a ‘for sale’ sign, and so on. Get the specifics in writing!
When you find a realtor, remember that you are not obligated to lock yourself into a lengthy listing contract with no way out. Instead, you can require a 30-day listing contract, after which you can evaluate their performance and consider whether you’d like to extend/renew the contract.
Remember, the commission you will be paying should buy you a confident, strategic realtor.
Resist over-inflating the price or perceived value of your home.
While it’s tempting to try to get the maximum price you envision for your home, overpricing it will alienate buyers, cause your home to stagnate on the market, and damage your listing. Some agents do use overpricing as a strategy, but within a week or two they may be asking for a price reduction from you, and this is time you will have lost. A properly-priced home should sell within 30 days.
If you receive a low-ball offer, don’t let your ego get in the way of making a counter-offer. Egos can destroy deals and ultimately cost you money. Just remember that a buyer will typically pay what they perceive as the true value of the home.
Before listing: Take care of all necessary repairs.
Most buyers are selective and aren’t looking for a fix-it project. You’ll actually save yourself money in the long run by taking care of repairs before your house goes on the market.
While some of these necessary repairs may be costly, it’s usually more expensive NOT to fix them. Because if buyers get the impression that your house in a state of neglect and disrepair, they will start mentally calculating worst-case scenarios, time, energy, inconvenience, etc…. and deduct that from their offer. In the end, you will have been better off to do the repairs first.
Before listing: Polish up your “curb appeal.”
Prepare your home to get top dollar. The first impression will impact how quickly it sells and the price you will receive for it -- because a failure to prepare your home properly will result in extended time on the market and lower offers. With that in mind, stand in front of your home and take a realistic and objective view of it. Consult your realtor’s opinion about what buyers are looking for in curb appeal.
Pressure-wash your home’s exterior, driveway, walkways, and patio -- taking care not to damage anything. Clean and repair rain gutters and downspouts, tend to lawns and plants, lay down a fresh layer of bark, and make sure your irrigation system is working properly.
A quality first impression will help your home start out on a positive footing with any potential buyer.
Before listing: Declutter interior spaces and take care of any necessary repairs.
It is critical to avoid clutter on floors, shelves, kitchen and bathroom counters. Clutter such as personal affects can be a turnoff to potential buyers and can make your home feel smaller, not to mention allowing people to envision the home as their own. Store away any personal items -- if you’re moving soon, take the extra step of packing up as much as possible and storing it in the garage or in storage off-site.
Clean the carpets and flooring (professionally if possible), and vacuum it regularly. Have tile and grout professionally steam-cleaned. Take steps to neutralize unappealing odors. Keep the beds made and the shutters open to allow light into the house. If your interior needs painting, then choose a neutral color to appeal to the broadest spectrum of buyers.
Take the advice of your realtor when it comes to staging and preparing your home for showing.
One of a realtor’s jobs is to reduce your stress. They should be happy to give you advice in regard to improving the appeal of your home. An experienced agent has an in-depth understanding of your neighborhood and what buyers are typically looking for.
A realtor can only provide you with sound advice and it is up to you to make the final decisions.
Don’t remain in the house while it’s being shown to a prospective buyer.
You’re far better off allowing the realtor to show your home without your presence. Buyers need to envision themselves in the home, as well as feeling free to discuss the property freely with their agent.
Choose a realtor who will hire a professional photographer to showcase your home.
Photos are the first impression for potential buyers and their agents, and are a vital necessity. They will be linked to your online listing, on paid social media, and in ads and other marketing. Quality photos are a necessity and are a measurable performance you must expect from your realtor.
Expect that your realtor will hire a professional photographer at the agent’s expense. If the realtor wants to use cell phone photographs, this is a demonstration of their complacency and lack of their commitment to selling your home. Never pay these fees yourself -- they are to be paid by the listing Realtor.
It goes without saying that you should be sure that your home is clean, decluttered and well organized before you allow the photoshoot.