CHOOSE THE RIGHT AGENT.
We real estate professionals often talk among ourselves… Word gets around quickly about agents who are difficult to work with. The agent you choose should not only be professional, but also have a good reputation among his or her colleagues. No one likes to work with difficult people, and unfortunately if you have the wrong agent your property showings and offers could suffer. Having a good agent will get you more showings of your home and increase your odds of receiving multiple offers!
THE PRICE IS RIGHT.
We’ve all heard stories about properties that take a month of Sundays to sell. What we don’t hear about is how poor pricing contributed to the delayed sale. Correctly pricing your home will allow it to sell for top dollar. So…put your feelings aside about your home and listen to your agent’s advice on pricing! Look at the numbers. You may just be glad you did when you receive your check at close of escrow!
REPAIR, REPAIR, REPAIR.
Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the dripping water in the bathtub, doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may never get to see the inside.
You want buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green shag, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs, this will be much harder for them to do. Try replacing any bold color choices in your floors and walls with something more neutral—beiges, tans, greys, and whites. Repainting and reflooring will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities.
SET THE STAGE.
Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to play dress up. Home stagers can add small details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels, patio furniture. Home staging can be particularly useful if your home is especially old or if the exterior looks dated. Think of it as a little mascara and blush —if it’s done right, you notice the beauty, not the makeup.
MAKE YOUR PROPERTY EASY TO SHOW.
If your property is difficult to see (no lockbox, weird showing hours or arrangements, etc.), agents are very likely to skip showing it to their clients and focus on other listings that are easier to gain access to. If you’re selling an investment property, be courteous and let your tenants know well in advance that you’re putting the property on the market – it will help with the showing process and they will be prepared (maybe even clean the place!). If you’re selling the home that you live in, be prepared to make yourself scarce, especially during the first two weeks of marketing when it will be shown the most.
LET IT GO.
Your home may mean the world to you but once you put it on the market, it becomes a commodity to buyers, just like many other homes on the market. Buyers will definitely measure your property’s value against other competing properties on the market – and they may or may not share your perception of what you think it’s worth. Disconnect your emotional attachment to the home when you put it up for sale. It will make the sale go that much easier.
AND THE WINNER IS…
In the past, the first offer was often the best offer a property received. Not so true in the current market. However, beware of holding out for something better – the offers that come in later could be substantially below the one you received early in the marketing period. Review all offers, look at the pros and cons of each offer, and also look at the terms – which are just as important as the offer itself.