Get Ready to Sell
Once you’ve made the decision to sell your home there are a few items to consider. At some point almost every seller has thought, " I can sell this house on my own" and maybe you can but keep in mind that if your buyer uses an agent, you may still have to pay that agent's commission. Although it may appear that you will save some money if you go it alone, the process from putting your house up for sale to shaking hand with the new buyers of your house at settlement can be much more complicated than it appears. An experienced Realtor is knowledgeable about the local real estate market, savvy about negotiations and will market your home to the largest number of qualified buyers available. The broker's settlement department will order tax certs, get your mortgage balance pay off, order title insurance along with many other items all of which is a part of a successful settlement… and is included in the commission you will pay so the Real Estate Broker’s commission will pay for itself.
Sellers want their home to sell fast and bring top dollar. Careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home will give your house the advantage. Consider the following.
The single most important factor to consider when selling a house is the home price tag. You don't want to overprice the house because you will lose the freshness of the home's appeal after the first two to three weeks of showings after which demand and interest wane. Pricing is all about supply and demand. It's part art and part science.
An experienced Listing Agent who is familiar with your area should give a recommended listing price range by use of the following:
- CMA – draws on properties that are similar and that have settled within the past six months. A properly done CMA contributes to a realistic listing price recommendation. It is an in-depth analysis of a home's worth in today's real estate market. A current CMA is important because an Agreement of Sale will most likely contain a “contingency” of appraisal or mortgage - a component of which is an appraisal. The Appraiser, hired by the Buyer or the Buyer’s mortgage co, will use comparable sales such as those in a CMA to determine an “appraised” price. As a listing agent, I always meet appraisers to “share” my CMA if it is in the best interest of the seller.
- A physical inspection of the house/property.
- A list of the physical characteristics of the property as stated in the county tax records
- The present condition, salability, neighborhood, amenities, and architectural style of the house and grounds
- A review of currently listed properties in the area - as they are current competition
All of the above factors result in a recommendation that gives a realistic price range wherein a home will sell at a particular point in time.
SPRUCING AND STAGING
Disassociate Yourself. "This is not my home; it is a house -- a product to be sold."
- Check Curb Appeal. If a buyer won't get out of her agent's car because she doesn't like the exterior of your home, she'll never see how great the inside is.
- Scrutinize - Go outside and open your front door. Stand there. Does the house welcome you?
- Keep the sidewalks cleared.
- Mow the lawn.
- Paint faded or chipped window and door trim.
- Plant brightly colored flowers or group flowerpots together. Trim your bushes.
- Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.
- Make the House Sparkle - Wash windows inside and out. Pressure wash the sidewalks and exterior.
- De-Personalize - remove or limit personal photos and artwork.
- De-Clutter! If you don't need it - donate it, sell it or throw it away. Pack up knick-knacks. Clean off the kitchen counters. This process is a head start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.
- Rearrange Bedroom Closets and Kitchen Cabinets - Buyers love to snoop. Neatly stack dishes. Hang shirts together, buttoned and facing the same direction. Line up shoes.
- Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer.
- Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense.
- Tune in to the room's statement and its emotional pull. Does it have impact and pizzazz?
- Rent a Storage Unit, Donate or Sell - Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper walkways and put them in storage. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room's purpose and plenty of room to move around.
- Remove/Replace Favorite Items - If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances, or fixtures with you, remove them now. The "rule" is that if it's attached, it's part of the house unless it's "excluded". If a buyer never sees it, they won't want it.
- Make Minor Repairs - Patch holes and dings in walls. Fix leaky faucets. Fix doors and drawers that don't open or close properly. Consider painting your walls neutral colors. Replace burned-out light bulbs. Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
- Make the House Sparkle - Wash the inside of the windows. Polish chrome faucets and mirrors. Clean out the refrigerator. Vacuum daily. Wax floors. Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures
- Hang up new bathroom towels.
- Don't forget the attic and basement! Clean and air out any musty smelling areas through out the house.