Here are some practical guidelines to get your home looking right and ready to sell quick!
1. Get rid of the pet odor and unpleasant smells. We all know how hard it is to understand the smell other people encounter when they walk through our door. We live with pet smells and other odors everyday. We become immune to smells that might otherwise turn off an interested buyer. If you haven’t already, get the help of a friend who doesn’t own a pet. Have them give you a real perspective of what your home smells like to a potential buyer. When listing your home, keep your litter boxes clean every day, be sure to do extra cleaning to get up any pet hair off furniture, carpet and counter tops, have scented plug-ins running to mask any smells and even bake something enticing to get the buyer’s sense of smell going in the right direction. Cooking bacon or fresh cookies doesn’t hurt.
2. Put away family pictures and other personalized items. Why do I say this? Easy. If you went to Lowe’s and bought a new grill for the backyard, would you want a picture of the previous owner on the front? A potential buyer has to feel like your place could be their new home. It’s a much harder hurdle when you see pictures of the current owner everywhere. One of the hardest obstacles you will face, as a seller, is separating yourself from your property. What this means is that selling your property is a hard process when you can’t turn off your emotional attachment. If you are selling, it means you must have the new mindset you are going somewhere else. I’ve been through it, many times, and much easier said than done. The goal is to get it sold and sold quick. The sooner you take away the family pictures, it gives the new buyer a greater sense of ownership.
3. Price it right the first time!!!!!!!!! What is the #1 reason a property doesn’t sell? It’s overpriced. Selling is already an emotional and highly stressful time for most. Don’t compound and prolong the situation by overpricing your property. When meeting with a Realtor to list your home, pay attention to the CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). This is the report that shows what other homes, in your area/subdivision, are selling for. A very good rule of thumb is to look at the average market value and price your home at or below that price. Pricing your property 10% below the average price is an aggressive strategy and usually pays off quickly. The first 3-4 weeks of listing your property is the most critical so get the traffic coming in and keep your property in the running to get sold fast.
4. Clean the clutter. When I see a property that is easy to walk through and no piles of “stuff” everywhere, it makes for a much easier sale. Getting rid of the clutter can make the rooms and home look larger and way more appealing. Homes that are well-organized and kept clean have a much higher chance of selling quickly. The majority of people have a perception that a well-kept home is a home that has a less likely chance of having other problems or flaws. If I see a home with too much clutter or unclean, I automatically assume that there is going to be problems in many other areas of the property. Why do I think that way? One simple rule is called “pride of ownership.” People who have manicured yards, closets organized, kitchens/bathrooms cleaned are viewed as ensuring their entire property is maintained. Find a friend, relative or storage unit to put your excess clutter into until the property is sold.
5. Staging is more important than you think. We all hear of staging a home but the national stats of success are impressive. It clearly shows that a vacant home staged or existing home well-staged sells faster and for more money. There are so many levels of staging and it really boils down to personal preference. Staging gives the buyer’s a feel of what their furniture will look like throughout the property. We are visual creatures and a well-staged home sits very well with buyer’s. Vacant properties really benefit from staging. Look online for examples of staging a room or hire someone to come in and provide input and even fill your rooms with eye-catching decor. The inside of your home is just as important as the outside appeal.
6. Curb appeal and why you need it. The power of curb appeal is beyond words. I remember remodeling a home early on and didn’t spend much on the landscaping and curb appeal. The house was stellar inside and had many upgrades but hardly any showings. I remember my broker saying that the people who did show said it wasn’t very appealing outside. It wasn’t a few. It was all. Had I spent some of my remodel budget out front, I would have had twice as many showings. Do you see where I’m going with this? Not only does the wrong curb appeal turn off potential buyer’s but can lead to more time on the market and a lower sale price. Let’s say you are going to put your home on the market and contemplating whether to put in a new tile floor or landscaping. Go for the landscaping, every time! You have to give buyer’s a reason to want to come inside and want to write an offer. Curb appeal can also be small things such as pressure washing the outside and driveway, planting new sod in bare areas, having front landscaping trimmed with fresh mulch and even down to putting up a nicer mailbox. Look at homes around you also for sale and even one’s that have sold recently. Take pictures of the front and yards to get ideas on how to improve yours and get it sold quicker.
7. Why would I want to buy your home vs all the others for sale? Give buyer’s every reason as to why they would want to buy your home. Is it close to a park? Are you close to schools, shopping, hospital, medical clinics, restaurants and so on. Is your property convenient to major highways and interstates? How about area attractions and things that the new buyer can do in the community. Does your home have an HOA (Home Owner’s Association) and what do they provide? Does your home have historical value? When creating your MLS (Multiple Listing Service) give your Realtor your input as well. Details are a very important part of the sales process. If I’m shopping 3 homes and yours is closer to an area attraction, then chances are good I’m writing an offer on yours. There are so many factors that go into why someone writes an offer on a property. I asked couple, after closing, what made them buy. I had made major renovations to almost every room and put a lot of time into the home remodeling. Their answer was simply this. “We wanted a 70’s style house with large bedrooms.” It didn’t matter that I had made all those improvements, to some degree. What mattered to them was that my remodel was the only home available, that met their criteria. Their offer was more than all the others I received. You just never know what motivates a buyer. All we can do as sellers and as Realtor’s is prepare a home best we can to sell.
8. Good communication between you and your Realtor is key. This one might strike some as odd but I felt it important. When I first started in the investment property arena, I was exposed to having to hire Realtor’s for different areas. As a project manager, I had my fair share of shoddy and great contractors. I started to notice things that my Realtor’s did that impressed me and other things they didn’t do to make the process easier. Good communication is critical to any relationship. Let me say that again. Good communication is the “lifeblood” of a successful transaction. You and your Realtor are allies in selling your property! Your Realtor should be asking for feedback, after every showing. Keep in mind Realtor’s have multiple listings and try to balance their time accordingly. I want to find a buyer for your property. I want to be at closing to ensure the sale goes smoothly. I want to be the agent that get’s your referral and repeat business. Establishing lasting and professional partnerships starts with great communication and care for each client.
9. Make sure to address repairs that could turn buyer’s off. Repairs are difficult and cost money. Yep! You’re right and not gonna dispute it. The trick with repairs is that they are addressed as part of the sales process. Consider offering the buyer a seller’s home warranty. This covers major mechanical and system issues and can give any buyer a good piece of mind when purchasing your property. Buyer’s don’t like surprises and a home that needs a bunch of repairs. Some repairs can be minor like patching holes in drywall or paint touch-ups for floor moldings. You have to remember a buyer is concerned about the age of all appliances, condition of heating and A/C, age of the roof, condition of the exterior, age of the home, is all the plumbing working as it should, does the electrical system have any issues, is the foundation in good shape and about a 100 other items. Remember that if you don’t address repair items up front, you may have one or all of your buyer’s asking for enormous repair concessions on the offer. It might actually be more cost-effective to have those repairs fixed vs the amount the buyer will ask for in repairs.
10. Keep your emotions in check! As a seller, your emotions can be all over the place and levels of frustration can reach all new heights. As a seller, prepare yourself to possibly receive a low-ball or otherwise very insulting offer. Keep your composure because buyer’s can really test the boundaries of your sanity. Everyone wants a deal or the best deal they can get for what they want. I’ve seen very clean offers where the buyer didn’t want to jeopardize losing the home. I’ve also seen offers where there are so many contingencies that it seems the buyer didn’t want the home at all. There are many trying factors and stages to every sale. Remember that adhering to many of the 9 steps above is to alleviate a lot of the emotional stress that goes with selling your home or property. A great Realtor can empathize with you and offer suggestions to ensure that you both don’t lose your sanity through the process. Just realize that Realtor’s can’t control the market. Selling a home involves effective marketing, good word of mouth, lots of showings and a variety of other factors. Keep calm and understand that there will be trying times and a few hiccups along the way to closing. Spend the extra time cleaning and preparing for every showing! This could be the buyer. I remember so many times getting frustrated and not caring how the house looked. Have processes in place for you and your family if you get a call for a showing to get the house ready quick. Some people drive by a home, with their agent, and want to see the property right away. Expect the unexpected and remind yourself that the end goal is to sell your property and move on with your life.
Thanks for reading and hope this article provided some good tips to selling your property faster. Comments are appreciated and feel free to call (901) 444-2884 or email me. Thanks John