When you make a decision to sell your home, of course you want to get the best price possible and have the house on the market for the least possible time. Selling your home can be stressful so it is important to have a knowledgeable realtor who will guide you through the process.
Ask your family and friends for references. You will be working closely with this person and relying on their advice as far as marketing your home to the public is concerned. Your agent should be very familiar with what is happening in the real estate market. Agents see the homes that have been listed, what has sold and what has not and should be able to help you decide on a selling price that is realistic in the current market.
Working with a local agent is best because he or she will be more familiar with the market conditions in your area. Your agent should advertise your home in the newspapers, have it listed in the Multiple Listing Services (MLS) and be willing to have an open house showing if needed.
In order to determine how much you are going to ask for your house, spend some time looking at other houses for sale in your area that are similar in age, size and amenities. You want your asking price to be realistic in comparison with others of its type.
If you need to sell your home quickly because of personal issues, you will want to sell to a buyer who can close quickly. Consequently, you may have to drop your price a bit to accommodate a buyer who cannot quite afford to pay what you want but who is pre-approved and can close the deal in a timely manner.
You should communicate your needs regarding time frames and limitations to your agent so that she can help you set and meet your goals realistically. You should also know what your absolute lowest selling price is and keep it in mind when you are reviewing offers from various potential buyers.
You Cannot Make a Second First Impression
Before showing your home to any interested parties, do a walk-thru with a friend you can trust to be candid with you. Both of you should critique your home from the point of view of a potential buyer. You can then make a list of the cosmetic changes that need to be done before you allow your house to be shown.
Check out the "curb appeal" of your property. How does it appear when the agent drives up to your house with a buyer? If applicable, the lawn should be mowed and shrubs trimmed into a pleasing, natural shape. Remove any dead limbs from trees. The sidewalk should, of course, be swept clean. Consider adding spots of color by placing pots of flowers in strategic places.
All windows and glass patio doors should sparkle. If the weather permits, open some windows and let the fresh air in. Otherwise, depending on the temperature, air conditioning or heat to make your home comfortable and inviting.
Air fresheners or incense should NOT be used to add fragrance to your home. What you may consider a pleasant aroma may be offensive to your potential buyers. Additionally, since allergies have increased over the years, your visitors may respond to the fragrance of gardenias or sandalwood with an attack of sneezing. If you must add an aroma to your home, consider the smell of fresh brewed coffee or fresh baked bread.
Getting rid of clutter is crucial! You want to give the impression that there is storage room for everything the buyer wants to put in the closets and cabinets. Clean out your closets and stack the cans neatly in your kitchen cabinets. Wipe up any spills in the refrigerator because you can bet it will be opened. Likewise the microwave and oven!
Many people use their garages to store junk. Throw away what you no longer need. If there are boxes of "stuff" you insist upon keeping, consider either prevailing upon a family member or friend to store it for you until you make the sale. Otherwise, you can rent a storage unit for small monthly fee.
Two rooms that should be especially neat and clean are the kitchen and bathrooms. If needed, add a coat of neutral paint to these rooms. No dishes should be left in the sink; some sellers use paper plates on days when they expect a lot of activity.
Be sure not to cook foods that leave lingering odors like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or the like. I recall visiting a house that was in a good location and that looked great from the outside. For some reason, the older lady who was the owner's mother was cooking chicken parts in water. The odor was so unpleasant that I could hardly wait to get out of the house and have no recollection of the interior.
Check your hardwood floors to see if they need to be polished. If you have light colored carpeting, you may need to call in the cleaners.
Keep your lights on even if it is daytime so there are no dark corners in your home. Consider fresh flowers on the table with very soft background music.
If you can avoid being home when the house is shown, all the better! However, if this is not possible, a pleasant, friendly smile is all that should pass between you and the potential buyers. Let the real estate agent answer any and all questions about the property. They are knowledgeable and trained to say the right thing. Read a book or watch tv but be unobtrusive and stay out of the way.
Set The Price
In order to determine how much you should ask for your house, you need a Comparative Market Analysis from your agent which will set forth the following factors:
Houses in your price range and area sold within the last six months.
Asking and selling prices of houses.
Current inventory of houses on the market.
Features of each house on the market.
The CMA, along with your real estate agent, will help you set a realistic price for your home.
Insist upon a home inspection
Have your home inspected by a licensed professional. You will then be informed if there are any serious defects in your property which will protect both you and the buyer. A home inspection covers the following:
Structural - Are there any problems with the foundations of your home?
Roofing - Are there any leaks in your roof? Is there any deterioration?
Electrical - Are there any potential fire hazards? Any faulty wiring?
Plumbing - Are there are pipes that leak or are clogged?
If you receive a clean inspection, you do not need to be concerned about the buyer coming back to you after taking possession of the property to claim faults or flaws that existed before the sale. You will have wisely covered any possible problems in that area.