This past weekend I called my nephew in Houston, Texas to wish him a happy birthday only to learn that he and his wife had decided to sell their relatively new home. "Am I going to be a Great Uncle," I asked? "No...lol" he said, they were only wanting to increase their living space so selling was the solution. Knowing these two are extremely busy young adults (Brett designs the electronics for the space suits @ NASA and Megan trains the NASA Astronauts). Anyhow, they were getting the house ready to put on the market and wanted some advise.
So to help them and help you, let me offer up some suggestions for marketing the most important investment of your life. Remember, the overall goal is to sell your home and sell BIG!
Things To Do Before You Sell:
(A) Realtor vs. By Owner: If selling with a realtor, then get your house in tip top shape prior to any realtor coming to see your home (see details below). Remember, you want top dollar and don't want the first look at your place to be an embarrassing one. Know that having a realtor offers you greater marketing tools than if you try to sell on your own.
(B) Pricing: Go on line and check out local real estate listings in your neighborhood to get a heads up on what’s for sale and what the homes are selling for. Compare similar square footage, bedrooms and bathrooms.
(C) Agent: Pick your real estate agent wisely! Agents that have signs up all over your neighborhood may be a great "listing agent" but are they a great "selling agent?" Interview at least 3-5 agents to get a feel of how they will market your home?
(D) Your Bottom Line: Have a general idea of what you think your home is worth, yet know it will be evaluated by the "comp sales" in your area. Price your home to SELL, not to sell your ego!
Getting Your Home Prepared: As I mentioned above, prepare and stage your home before any agent steps foot in it! Some of the best "A" list Realtors in Midtown have told me horror stories of what they have walked into when preparing to list a home. Realtors as well as future buyers want your place to be "move in ready." That's what gets you top dollar.
(A) Streamline: Remove at least 15 to 20 percent of furniture and un-needed clutter. This will give it a larger appearance and make the general look and feel of the home "open and airy." Either segment a section of your garage for storage or rent a storage space close to your home. The future homeowner wants to feel their getting more for their money.
(B) Clean: Your main priority should be cleaning your home from top to bottom, and I don't mean just dusting! Your kitchen and bathroom should be so clean you can see the money reflection from the overall shine you have given these rooms. In the kitchen, remove all small electrics and un-needed decor from counter tops. Buyers will open refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers and microwaves to see the shape they are in thus make them sparkle. Also, scale down the clutter in cabinets and pantry so they look spacious. Scrub and wax the kitchen floor. All bathrooms should be spotless and rid of un-needed things. Clean off sink vanities of all personal items. Buy a new clean shower curtain, or if you have a glass enclosed shower then scrub the glass till it's crystal clear. Also, purchase a new (inexpensive) set of bath and hand towels. Stage the room as if your mother-in-law is coming over for the weekend. What that means is, make it spit shine clean.
(C) Painting: The best money spent in preparing your home to sell is updating the paint throughout your house. Neutralize the overall wall color, this again will give the home a bigger look as well as help the buyer feel they wont have to repaint. If you’re in a house or townhome, give your front door a coat of paint. Also wash down and clean entry porch floors and patio furniture. Add fresh potted plants and flowers to the entry for impact.
(D) De-Personalize: Remove all personal photos and any decor items that could raise an eyebrow. Note, that cool coffee table book of political reform or art form nudes may just cost you the sale of your home... replace it with an Architectural Digest magazine. lol
(E) Scent and Smell: Place clean smelling (plug in) room deodorizers throughout your home so as to give each room a clean and inviting feel. If you have pets, maintain the litter box and Febreze drapes, carpet and furniture.
(G) Curb Appeal: You have heard this term many times before yet it is an important item on your "to do" list. Stand out on your street and look at the overall appearance of your home. What sets your house apart from the neighbor next door that is also selling? It's common knowledge that most home sales are purchased based on emotional appeal. The new homebuyer will size your place up immediately... so make it memorable!
(F) Outdoor Upkeep: Clean and update the outside of your home (patio, deck, yard). Clearing away the clutter will give this area more space and appeal. Go to your local home improvement store and buy a couple $12.00 flats of flowers to add color to your yard and garden. If your driveway looks dirty or stained, buy concrete cleaner (or even inexpensive Clorox) and scrub the stains away.
So there you have it! By preparing your home in advance prior to a Realtor knocking on your door will immediately increase the value of the place you intend to sell. Trust me, I have bought and sold a ton of homes in my lifetime and I know how to turn a profit. You can either make a goldmine by a little hard work or, see your profit and sale go down the drain. Which do you prefer to do? Now go sell your HOME!
Patch readers that are looking for some free "pre-sale" advice can contact me through the comment section or directly to me at: Robertfabianhome@firstname.lastname@example.org.