Price it Right!
The first mistake home sellers are making is listing their homes for prices that were selling 1, 2, or even 5 years ago. Everyone knows the market has softened, in some areas more significantly than others. Find out what your home is worth and list it for 15-20% less. Although this is a scary thought for home sellers, listing your home for less than what it’s worth has many advantages:
1. Homes with low asking prices often generate multiple offers, which can turn into a bidding frenzy between buyers – often times your home will end up selling for more than what it’s worth.
2. Homes listed for less than market value will sell much quicker than those listed for market value or higher- everyone is looking for a good deal these days.
3. The longer your home is on the market, the less attractive it becomes – stale homes present the fear to buyers of “why isn’t this home selling? There must be something wrong with it.”
De-clutter and Re-organize!
Removing clutter on and around your furniture not only makes the home appear larger, but shows that the home is well kept by the current owner. Seeing a house that is clean and organized makes a potential buyer assume that even the parts of the house that they cannot see are kept clean and organized (e.g. the plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems are probably in good working order, which will save the potential buyer money and headaches in the long run).
De-personalize your home!
Along the same lines as de-cluttering, depersonalizing your home can help a potential buyer better imagine living in the home. Remove photos, memorabilia and anything else that does not serve an apparent purpose from in and around the home (e.g. golf clubs, shoes and kids’ toys have no reason to be on the floor in the kitchen).
Turn on the lights!
A well lit home not only looks larger, but is much more inviting than a dark home. If you have a lot of windows, take advantage of this by opening all shades (unless you live next to some kind of eye sore, then just stick to the lights). Turn on all lights in every room, and make sure every bulb is bright and working.
Revamp without reinventing!
Tackle the small improvements that make a big difference and stay away from major renovations that are likely to cost more in time and money than you will end up getting back in the sale of the house. If you’ve been meaning to re-grout the bathtub for years, NOW IS THE TIME! If that brown spot in the ceiling is still showing from the leak that was fixed a year ago, paint it!
Highlight the Kitchen!
Again, without reinventing, just revamp the kitchen, if necessary. If your kitchen is completely outdated, don’t gut it and start over – try simple fixes like painting, changing cabinet hardware or even changing the countertops or lighting fixtures for a few extra bucks. The kitchen is the number one room in the house, and also the most expensive to remodel. You don’t want potential home buyers to think they have major work to do in the kitchen, so make it appear as flawless as possible.
Remove the pets and children!
You may love them, but potential home buyers don’t want to see other people’s pets and children in their future home. Have someone watch the kids on Open House days and leave the pets outside, if possible. Don’t leave litter boxes and dog food bowls out for potential buyers to see and smell, and again, pick up the kids’ toys!
Have Open Houses!!!!
Whether you’re using a broker or not, the best way to sell your house is by having open houses as often as possible. Of course you should list your home on as many websites as possible, and include pictures and detailed descriptions, but have open houses! In today’s world, potential home buyers are very particular and weary of being “sold”. Most buyers will do the majority of the research at home on the computer. Once they’ve narrowed down the search, they want to slowly approach the house without being attacked by the seller or seller’s agent. Open houses give people the opportunity to stroll in and out without formally showing interest. Of course, you have to watch out for “Serial Open Housers” who spend weekends walking through houses when they have no interest in ever moving.
Pre-Qualify Your Potential Buyers!
Without being too premature, make sure you ask those who show real interest the following questions:
1. What is your price range?
2. Do you have a house to sell? If so, is it on the market and how much are you/do you plan to ask for it? Do you have a mortgage?
This will cover 2 issues: First, is this a serious buyer or a serial open houser; second, you can find out if there will be any obstacles out of your control for the potential buyer – e.g. a house that won’t sell.
3. Where do you live now? Do you have kids and are they still in school?
This is one of the most important pre-qualifying questions if they do have kids – a lot of people don’t want to move their kids from school to school unless it’s for a better school. If they’re in a great school district now and your school district is mediocre, they are not likely to make the move.
Make a great First Impression!
You only get one first impression, so make sure your house is in the best condition possible when you have people come to look at it. Not only should the inside be CLEAN, de-cluttered and inviting, but the outside should be also. If there is a fallen tree in the back yard, get rid of it! If there is a piece of siding falling off the house, get it back on – even if it’s a temporary fix. If your screen door has scratches from the cat, replace it, or just take it off completely. You don’t want anything to appear to be broken or neglected.