Spring is right around the corner, and we expect to see inventory bump up a bit as more people prepare to list their homes for sale. In a strong sellers’ market, you may wonder what, if anything, you should do to get your home ready to sell. While it’s true that you can sell a home in just about any condition, how well you do and what you end up with depends a lot on what you do up front and how well you prepare your home for the market. I’ve compiled a short list of recommendations based on past experience that will help you get the most out of your investment:
- Choose an agent that knows your area and is experienced with listings.
This may seem like an obvious one, but it really helps to work with a broker that is familiar with the market in your particular neighborhood and who is listing homes on a regular basis. Not all brokers are experts in all areas or in all types of sales. Not pricing correctly in the beginning or understanding the best marketing strategies for your area can really set you back. You will see a return when you invest in an expert!
- First impressions matter.
Look at your home with a critical eye and address any deferred maintenance or touch-up items that are visible when you are standing in front of the home. This is what buyers will see first as they walk up to the home, creating a lasting impression. Pressure wash the moss off the steps and walkways. Repaint the porch and/or front door if it’s peeling or worn. Plant some flowers, and paint the fence. Make it shine!
- Declutter and stage.
Whether you use a professional stager or use your own furniture to stage your home, you will want to simplify and remove any unnecessary or larger items that don’t fit the spaces, and arrange things in such a way that highlight your home’s best features. Research shows that professionally staged homes typically sell faster and for more money.
- Freshen up the interior.
Scuff marks and smudges should be repainted, and worn carpet should be replaced. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A professional deep cleaning will freshen things up.
- Use a professional real estate photographer.
Buyers will likely be seeing your home for the first time online, so the photos should be of excellent quality and high resolution, to show your home in its best light.
- Make your home available for showings.
Once the home is listed, you will want to make your home as accessible as possible for showings, even during inconvenient times like dinner, mornings, or after work. This is your opportunity to get as many buyers in as possible to realize the best price and sell in the shortest amount of time. If a buyer can’t view the home at a time that is convenient to them, they may not circle back later. Some sellers choose to go out of town for a few days after the home is listed to facilitate unrestricted showings.
- Take pets with you or board them.
Your pooch or pet may be sweet as can be and love people, but not all people love pets. A dog barking or whining from a crate, or a cat escaping into the neighborhood, can put a damper on a showing and the focus will not be on your house as it should be. Be mindful of pet odors, as well. If you can smell it, you can’t sell it, as they say.
- Price it right.
It’s important to price the home right in order to attract the most interest, which will in turn translate to better offers. Thinking that you can set a price high and lower it later if it doesn’t sell won’t bring you the best results. You may end up chasing the market, and the buyer will be the one in the driver’s seat when it comes time to submit an offer. When the buyer is in the power position, they will make full use of the contingencies that other buyers typically waive in competitive-offer situations; such as inspection, financing, and title contingencies.
These are just a few expert recommendations that should get you off to a great start with your listing. Feel free to contact me if you would like to know more or to schedule a no-obligation in-person consult of your home. Of course, I always keep a few cards close to my vest when it comes to listings, and those are the ones that I share with clients. This is a great time to be a home seller, so you don’t have to worry so much about timing, but a little work up front will bring you a great return on your investment. Happy house selling!