People sell their homes for dozens of reasons. Although it can be an emotional experience, keep in mind that potential buyers are not buying your home -- they are buying a house they can turn into their home. Try to be as objective as possible. Think of selling your home as a business transaction. It is important to put your personal feelings and attachments to your home completely out of the equation.
Pricing Your Home
The first thing you need to do when you decide to sell your home is to establish a good price. Pricing too high may cause it to sit unsold on the market for longer than the average time and stigmatize it as "shop worn". Pricing too low may mean giving away thousands of dollars in profit. If you list your home with me, I can do a comparative market analysis (CMA) giving you the average price per square foot of like homes sold in your area during the past six months. I can tell you whether we are in a "seller's" or a "buyer's" market. Once I preview your home I will be able to determine whether I can add or subtract value depending on its condition, what upgrades you have, additional outbuildings such as a shop, views, etc.
Getting Your Home Ready to Sell
As a homeowner, you can play an important part in the timely sale of your property. The following steps will help you sell your home faster and at the best possible price.
First, take a notepad and walk around your entire home, inside and out, and jot down everything that needs attention: chipped paint, leaky faucets, damaged window screens. The best way to improve the appearance of your home is to hire a quality home service professional. The right professional can help you get everything in order -- from repainting the kitchen to providing a thorough cleaning. Investing a small amount in the cleanup and repair process could generate more dollars at the end of the sale.
Tidy up the grounds, porches and garage. Keep the lawn trimmed and edged. Make sure that your yard is clean of refuse. Sweep all walkways clear of leaves and debris. Your front door gives a vital impression. Be sure it is scrubbed clean or freshly painted. Set some potted plants out front to welcome prospects.
Clean Up for Future Dividends.
Here's your chance to clean up in real estate. Clean up the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen. If your woodwork is scuffed or the paint is fading, consider some minor redecoration. Fresh wallpaper or paint adds charm and value to your property. Burned out bulbs or faulty wiring leave prospects in the dark. Don't let little problems detract from what's right with your home. If you're worried about time, hire professional cleaners or painters to get your house ready. Remember, prospects would rather see how great your home really looks than hear how great it could look "with a little work." Call me if you need the names of good contractors.
Make Room for Space
Remember, potential buyers are looking for more than just comfortable living space. They're looking for storage space, too. Make sure your attic and basement are clean and free of unnecessary items.
The better organized a closet, the larger it appears. Now's the time to box up those unwanted clothes and donate them to charity. Clutter collects after years of living in a home without the owner even realizing it. Unfortunately, the buyer does notice it and is greatly affected by it. Begin eliminating clutter by boxing it up and putting it into a storage unit or have a yard sale and get rid of those things you haven't used in years. The fewer items you have on shelves and floor, the better the buyer is able to picture their furnishings in the house.
Make Every Room Look its Best
Dripping water in bathrooms and kitchens discolors sinks, suggests faulty or worn-out plumbing and gives the prospective buyer a bad impression. Bathrooms and kitchens sell homes, so let them shine! Check and repair damaged or unsightly caulking in the tubs, showers and sinks. Replace broken tiles. Clear countertops to make them look larger. For added allure, display your best towels, rugs and curtains.
Wake up prospects to the cozy comforts of your bedrooms. For a spacious look, get rid of excess furniture. Colorful bedspreads and fresh curtains are a must.
Lighten up your home. Show prospects how bright and cheery your home is. Let the sunshine in. Pull back your curtains and drapes. When showing your home in the evening, turn on the excitement by turning on all your lights -- inside and outside. Lights add color and warmth and make prospects feel welcome.
Keep a Low Profile
Potential buyers will feel like intruders if you are at home when they visit and will have a difficult time visualizing themelves in it. If at all possible, vacate the home when you know there will be a showing. Take a walk, run an errand, or if you need to be there, stay out of the way of the potential buyer. The agent will have a much easier time articulating the virtues of your home if you stay in the background.
Watch Your Pets
Dogs and cats are great companions, but not when you're showing your home. Pets have a talent for getting underfoot. So, do everybody a favor: Keep Kitty and Spot outside, or at least out of the way.
Music and Fragrance
Before you leave your home, put on some soothing music and try a pot pourri or something natural or put a drop of vanilla on a light bulb before you turn them on.
Keep it Clean
Keep your house tidy. Don't leave anything out of place and vacuum and dust every day. The brighter your home shines, the easier your buyers can see themselves purchasing and moving into your property. Below is a suggested list to help get your home ready to sell. There is also a "quick" list to check every day. Both these lists can be printed for your convenience.
Marketing your Home
I have an extensive marketing plan that targets other brokers, neighbors and potential buyers. I use newspaper, several real estate magazines, four or more Websites, office and MLS tours, e-mail, open houses and "Just Listed" postcards to over 300 homes. Before you list with me, I will sit down and go over my marketing plan and show you examples of how I will market your home.
Negotiating an Offer
There is always some negotiation in buying and selling property. When an offer comes in you have three choices --accept it, counter, or reject it. A counter is really a rejection and the buyer has no obligation to the contract once a change has been made. Price will be the main focal point of the offer but there may be other details that you will want to look at very carefully. These include down payment, earnest money, date of close, date of possession, inspections, closing costs, what personal property is included in the sale, etc.
I will go through the contract with you very carefully and explain all parts of it in detail and help you through any negotiations. Once an offer is accepted, the escrow process begins. You will choose what title company will be handling your escrow. The title company will be sending you and the buyer a Preliminary Title Report on your property for your review. They will also be working closely with the buyer's lender to make sure there are no unnecessary hold ups. You will need to provide the title officer with your mortgage information so that they can order existing loan payoff demands.
Closing the Deal
Once the closing date is set, I will make sure that you receive a final statement from the title company showing all closing costs, taxes, commissions, etc. for your review. This statement will show what your net proceeds will be. "Signing" is when you go to the title company to sign the closing papers. "Closing" is when the title company records the new deed with the courthouse and when you receive your money. "Possession" is when you have given permission to let the buyers move in.
Getting Your Home Ready to Sell