Do’s and Don’t's of Selling Your Home
—People usually decide within minutes whether or not they like your home. These tips will help you stage your home in a fashion to elicit the highest price in the quickest time frame. Remember to view your property as a buyer might see it when you are preparing to sell. Chances are they will be comparing your property to many others.
Please note not all of these suggestions apply to all homes and all sellers. Every home is unique and with my help we can decide what is best for your situation.
- Since the kitchen is considered the most important room in a house to the majority of home buyers, make the room bright and attractive. If the room seems dark or dull, try new paint and/or new window treatments
- Ensure the kitchen is spotless. Check the stove, floor, windows, cabinets ventilation hood, etc
- Replace the kitchen flooring (linoleum, tile, carpet, etc.) if it is badly worn
- Replace loose, cracked, or stained tiles on the counters and walls
- Remove any appliances or nicknacks on the counters. A clean, uncluttered counter will make the kitchen appear larger
- Avoid having dirty dishes on the counter, in the sink, or in the dishwasher
- Repair dripping faucets
- Keep fresh towels in the bathroom
- Remove any stains from toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and showers
- Unclog any sink, bathtub, or shower that drains slowly
- Have all the walls in top shape. Repair all cracks, nail holes, and other blemishes in the drywall. Touch up the repairs with matching paint
- Wash all windows, inside and out, and replace any broken panes or torn screens. Make sure all windows open and lock properly
- Check ceilings for leak stains. Fix the source of the leak, repair the ceiling, and paint
- When painting or redecorating, avoid offbeat colors. Stick to neutral colors such as white, beige, or other light pastels
- If you have a fireplace, clean it out and put in fresh logs
- Professionally clean carpets, buff wood floors if needed, and remove/clean any stained or cracked tiles
- Ensure all light switches work. Replace burned out light bulbs, and consider putting in brighter light bulbs in all fixtures
- Straighten up and remove excess items from all closets
- Remove any unnecessary furniture and avoid clutter in all rooms. This will make each room appear larger
- Keep toys in childrens’ rooms, and put bikes, skates, etc. in an inconspicuous place
- Fix any doors or sliding glass doors that do not latch or that stick
- Dispose of anything you are not going to move. Box up everything else you will not need until you move to your new home
- Make sure the garage door opener is in good working condition, and that all safety devices work properly
- Eliminate all clutter, and make your home look neat. This applies not only to the interior of the home but also the yard. Don’t forget to trim your hedges and prune your trees. This is the cheapest and one of the most successful steps to making your home seem impressive to other Realtors® and their buyers.
When Your Home is Being Shown by Other Real Estate Agents
- Open draperies and shades to let light in. A bright room will appear airy and larger
- Place fragrant candles, or potpourri in multiple locations throughout the house
- Keep radios, stereos and TV’s off or turned to a low volume
- Take pets outside or put them into the garage to allow people access to all areas of your home
- Be courteous but don’t force a conversation with potential buyers. It is best to leave your home and not tag along. This lets the buyers view your home without feeling inhibited to ask their Realtors® questions
- Let the Realtor® show the house. They know their buyers requirements and can better emphasize those features of your home
- Do not discuss price, terms, possession, or other factors affecting the sale directly with the buyer. We will take care of all negotiations for you, with your input of course!
During an open house
- Take your family away for the duration of the open house
- Set the mood by selecting music, lighting, and other staging techniques to highlight the strengths of your home, and give the prospective buyers an enjoyable experience
- DON’T: Buy a replacement home before selling your current home if you need the money from your sale to buy the new home. If your home does not sell before your replacement home closes you will have the financial burden of owning two homes. Start looking for a new home (I can help) so you can get an idea of how much you will need to spend, your new home’s location, and the style and type of home you want. Then, once your home has a solid offer, I can help you get your new home as quickly as possible and will work hard to have that purchase match the closing and possession dates of your sale with those of the new home so that the transition from one to the other is easy and saves you money.
- DON’T: Base the list price of your home on what you would like to get rather than on the market value of the property. Market value, what current buyers are willing to pay, determines the price of your home – not wishful thinking. Overpriced homes take much longer to sell and they tend to sell for less than if they had been priced correctly from the beginning. Why? Properties get the most attention the first few weeks that they are on the market. As properties sit on the market longer and longer, buyers and their real estate representatives tend to turn their attention away from these stale properties and spend more time looking at new property listings. To determine the best price for your property, a comprehensive Competitive Market Analysis (CMA)will be prepared. It will tell you the value of your home based on comparable sales information. Another way to obtain the value of your home is to get an appraisal by a certified appraiser. With this information you can determine an accurate, competitive list price for your home. In addition, a Seller’s Net Sheet will be readied for you that will point out how much cash you will receive from the sale after loans, taxes, and fees are paid. With this information your work with a mortgage or loan broker will be simplified. Combined you will end having a more complete financial picture as you ready to purchase your new home.
- DON’T: Put a home on the market before it is ready. First impressions last and are the most powerful. Many people lack the vision to look beyond the current state of a home and imagine what it will look like fixed up. This will not only affect how fast an offer is presented, but also the amount of the offer. It is best to delay marketing a home until it is de-cluttered and cleaned in preparation for the sale.
- DON’T: Fail to get a home inspection before listing your home for sale. Sellers are often asked to pay for damage and other defects found in the home. If you know the condition of your home, and how much repairs might cost before you list it, you are in a better position to negotiate a firm sale.
- DON’T: List with a contingency to find a replacement home. This basically is telling buyers that your home really isn’t for sale until you find a home of your own. Serious buyers will make offers on homes that are definitely for sale. If you need time to find a replacement home, we suggest you list your home with a provision that you may need to remain in possession and rent back the property for a period of time after the close. This way a buyer knows they can buy the home, even if they can’t move in right away.
- DON’T: Set up complicated showing procedures. A home that discourages showings will remain on the market much longer than a home that is readily available for viewing. The more times a home is viewed, the faster it will sell. Don’t insist on being present when the home is being shown to prospective buyers. One sure way to discourage buyers from buying your home is to be present during the showings. Buyers need to fully inspect the property and discover/discuss any flaws. With your presence they are reluctant to say anything negative about your home. It is best for you to leave your home when it is being shown to prospective buyers.
- DON’T: Refuse to counter a low offer. Buyers will always try to buy low. A low offer from a qualified buyer is much better than a high offer from an unqualified buyer who will eventually pull out of the transaction. The price buyers offer is not the most important part of their offer – if they are willing to negotiate.
- DON’T: Forget to call me when you are ready to sell.