Are you a first time home seller? At first, selling your home seems daunting: You haven’t sold a home before, the market looks complex, and what worked for owners 10 or 20 years ago seems inappropriate today.
Know That You Can Do It. Millions of homes are sold every year. Other owners have done it and so can you.
Define Your Goal. Do you want the highest sales price — or the biggest check at closing? They’re not necessarily the same. Imagine that two homes sell for $300,000, but one owner pays two points and agrees to replace the roof. The owner who sold without such costs got a bigger check at settlement. The bottom line: To have a successful sale you need to look at both price and terms — you must have a strong negotiator in your corner.
Times Have Changed. Today’s real estate marketplace is radically different when compared with 10 years ago. Purchasers now use the Internet, receive seller disclosure forms, get home inspections, and are routinely represented by buyer brokers. The result is that buyers can be better prepared than in the past.
Sparkle And Shine. Imagine going to a supermarket and seeing dusty fruit or aisles filled with old shelving and cans. It doesn’t happen because the grocery store knows how to present its goods. Sellers must do the same. Get rid of things you don’t want to move, organize closets and storage areas, and clean everywhere.
Mechanics Count. Buyers expect everything to work. Home inspections are now entirely common and what buyers miss home inspectors will catch. Fix and paint things now and they won’t be an issue in the future.
Set the stage. When buyers see your home, it’s showtime. They want an environment where they can see themselves. De-clutter and hide knick-knacks that will distract them from their dreams. Given them a show where everything is painted, arranged, and attractive, a home where the only issue is when to move in.
Know the market. Real estate is local. Your broker can explain current market trends in your community, including what’s selling, what isn’t selling, and why. This information is central to getting the optimal price and terms.
Know the competition. Your property will be competing with other homes for buyer attention. Ask your broker how to be competitive — and how to have an edge.
Be realistic. Markets differ by location and time. When interest rates are low and the local job base is growing, it’s great to be a seller. But when times are slack and mortgage rates are rising, homes also sell. The trick is to be realistic, to get as much as market conditions will allow.
Have a plan. Real estate marketing involves far more than a sign in the yard and an ad in the paper. Successful brokers use a variety of methods to attract and qualify prospects, including the latest Internet and communication advances.
Although the buyer is a guest in your home, you want the buyer to imagine owning the home. You don’t want to make the buyer feel like an intruder.
It’s time to get your home ready for the spotlight. Start with a good cleaning, then eliminate any clutter, add a fresh coat of paint and tidy up the yard. Talk to your real estate professional about other tips that can help boost a home’s curb appeal and impress potential buyers once they’re in the door.
Check the Temperature! If weather permits, open the windows — if there is too much noise outside, close them. And if it’s cold enough to wear a sweater to stay warm, turn on the heat. You want the temperature inside to be comfortable and to give the buyer more of a reason to linger, especially on hot or cold days!
Create a Mood Light. A fire in the fireplace, and if you have water fountains, turn them on. They are especially useful for drowning out traffic noise.
Play Up the Visual. Open all the window coverings to let in light. Keep blinds partially closed that otherwise show undesirable outdoor scenery such as a dilapidated fence or a nearby structure that obstructs views. If you have seasonal photographs showcasing flower gardens, leaves bursting in color or a snow-covered lawn twinkling from street lights, then display them in a prominent position.
Keep It Bright. Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights. Brighten dark rooms with few windows by placing spot lights on the floor behind furniture.