Selling a house is a very difficult job. You want to sell your home as quickly as possible and at its full value. You must also be aware of state & federal laws and how they affect your sale.
This involves a lot of time, effort, and patience, as well as specialized skills and knowledge. That is why most people turn to a Real Estate Agent for help.
When you sell your home, the Real Estate Agent will work for you as a client. You sign a contract with the agent, called a listing contract. The agent then works for you and receives an agreed commission when the house is sold.
In a seller/client relationship, the agent guides you throughout the real estate transaction, providing information on such issues as pricing your home, which purchase offers are fair, and how to structure a purchase contract to your advantage. It is the business of the Real Estate Agent to help you sell your home with minimum delay and to help you realize every dollar it is worth.
Although the Real Estate Agent works for you and owes you additional services, the Real Estate Agent must also treat his or her buyer customers fairly. The buyer is generally the customer. There is no contract between the buyer and the Real Estate Agent.
Today, however, many home buyers use a buyer's agent – a specialized Real Estate Agent who is the home buyer's client and works for the interests of the buyer. This makes it even more important for you to have an expert on your side looking out for your best interests.
TIPS FOR PREPARING YOUR HOME TO SELL
- Make sure your lawn is mowed and edged. The first impression a buyer will get of your home is from the outside. Curb appeal is very important. If you don’t have the time to keep the lawn mowed and edged, now is the time when hiring a service would benefit you. This way you don’t have to worry about making sure it always is done in time for a buyer to see it or an open house.
- Trim all the trees and shrubs on your property. If you can’t reach some of your tree’s or have the equipment to trim the trees and shrubs, we suggest you hire a landscape company to get it in shape for you. You can also rent the equipment from a rental company if you would prefer to do it yourself.
- Plant some flowers or display large flower pots. This is the best way to brighten up your yard and enhance that curb appeal. You can pick up inexpensive pots at a pottery place, K-Mart, Target, Home Depot, or even at a Garage Sale. These same places carry all types of flowers and shrubs too at good prices.
- Sweep and clean all sidewalks and pathways. If you are in a climate that has snow and ice, make sure you clean the sidewalks and pathways and also the decks and put down salt so it clears and no one falls. Make sure no toys, papers, or outside tools are left in the walk-ways.
- Repair and clean all windows. Replace any cracked or broken windows and make sure they are clean for a well maintained look.
- Clean all eaves and drain spouts. Blocked eaves and drain spouts can lead to damage that will cost more than keeping them clean. A ladder and either your hand or a small broom can clean them out or you can hire a handyman to do it for you.
- Paint exterior areas that need painting. Peeling or chipped paint should be taken care of for a fresh well cared for look to your home.
- Clean or replace door knobs. The entrance to the home should be perfect from the finish on the door to the door knob and locks. If they are dated and can’t be cleaned, then they should be replaced.
- Keep Garage Door closed. First impressions are important and even though the garage is an important space, it should not have the door left open at anytime. You also don’t want people to think they should enter through the garage because it is open.
- Remove all family photos, trophies, personal crafts, etc. Personal items such as pictures, trophies with names, home made crafts, etc. often keep people from being able to visualize the home for themselves and distract from other features of the home.
- Remove all “clutter” (ie: newspapers, boxes, etc.,) it will make your home feel bigger. Make sure the counters in baths and the kitchen are clutter free and papers either put away or in the trash. Dishes should always be done and put away, not left in the sink.
- Clean all your carpets. If the carpet needs to be replaced, do so and make sure it is a neutral color. If it does not need replacing, have it cleaned or do it yourself by renting a carpet cleaning machine.
- Repair or paint any chipped or dirty walls. Remember to choose neutral colors when painting your wall’s, not everyone like the bold colors or blue or red tones. If all that is needed is to wash the walls, do the entire wall, not just spots.
- Make doors and windows open correctly and easily. Just use a little A-1 oil where needed so that everything opens’s and closes easily.
- Repair and minor damages. (ie: plaster, wallpaper, creaking floor boards, ect.) If you have wall-paper and the seams are opening up, a small tube of wall paper paste can be purchased at K-Mart or a wall paper store. Creaking floor boards need to be repaired. You may need to hire a flooring person to lift up the flooring to repair the boards if you don’t want to attempt it yourself. Plaster repairs also may need the attention of an expert.
- Add some indoor plants. Plants add a warm feeling to a home. Green and flowering plants both work well.
Additional Tips if you are going to have an “OPEN HOUSE”:
- If possible, keep all pets out of the house. Pet’s need to either be out of the home or in a crate when the home is shown or an Open House is planned. Even the best Pet can have an off day and bite someone, and many buyers may be afraid of curtain pets.
- Add some fresh flowers in a vase. Colorful fresh flowers add warmth to a room.
- Make all the rooms in your house smell good. If you don’t like to bake fresh cookies, just add a cinnamon stick to water and put it in the oven on low for a nice smell or a scented candle always adds a nice aroma.
- Clean and clear all table tops, desks, shelves, ect. Clutter takes away from the features of the home.
- Create as much light as possible. Open all blinds and curtains. The brighter the home the better. Windows need to be clean, blinds and curtains open, and lights on when needed.
- Add fresh towels to the bathrooms. New fresh towels and even small soaps in a soap dish add a lot to the bathrooms.
- Turn off all TV’s computers, etc. During showings and Open houses, TV’s and computers should be off. They tend to take away the attention of the buyer.
- Add a little music softly in the background. Soft music can add relaxation to the buyers mood as they go through the home.
- Never hold an Open House alone. You are allowing strangers into your home and it is better to have another person with you. This person should be another adult, not a child. Also have a cell phone with you at all times if possible and an auto dial button for 911. When showing the home, always have the buyer enter the room ahead of you so that the exit is never blocked. If there is a basement in the home, have the lights on and have the buyer go ahead of you, again always leaving the exit open for you if needed. Open house’s can be on any day, not just week-ends, but should always be during the day, with hours that end before dark.
THE BENEFITS OF PROPER PRICING
There are several benefits of properly pricing your home. They include:
1) FASTER SALE:
- When your home sells faster, you save carrying costs which include mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, and maintenance.
- A QUICKER SALE CREATES LESS INCONVIENCE TO YOU. If you have moved before, you know the energy it takes to prepare for a showing: keeping the home clean, arranging for pets, children, and altering your lifestyle.
- PROPER PRICING CREATES LESS DEMANDS ON YOU, BY HELPING YOUR HOME SELL FASTER.
- AT MARKET VALUE YOUR HOME WILL GAIN EXPOSURE TO MORE PROSPECTS WHO CAN AFFORD THE PRICE.
- SELLERS WHO LIST AT THAT HIGH PRICE ARE LOOKING FOR THAT ONE BUYER WHO WILL PAY IT. Sellers often do not realize that they have discouraged many potential buyers who could have afforded the home.
- THE FINAL SALES PRICE IS PROBABLY ONE THAT WILL BE AFFORDABLE BY MORE PURCHASERS.
- SELLERS OFFEN ACCEPT A MUCH LOWER PRICE AT A MUCH LATER DATE SINCE THAT ONE BUYER WILLING TO PAY THE HIGHER PRICE NEVER COMES, COSTING YOU MORE IN TIME AND CARRYING COSTS.
- THE THREE MAJOR THINGS THAT AFFECT A SALE ARE LOCATION, CONDITION, AND PRICE. You CAN NOT control the Location, but YOU DO control the CONDITION and the PRICE.
2) INCREASED SALES AGENTS RESPONSE:
- WHEN SALES PEOPLE ARE EXCITED ABOUT A HOME AND ITS PRICE, THEY MAKE SPECIAL EFFORTS TO CONTACT ALL OF THEIR POTENIAL BUYERS. Knowing that it is priced properly for its market, they expect it to sell soon and encourage their prospects to act quickly. Their excitement is contagious!
3) BETTER RESPONSE FROM ADVERTISING AND SIGN CALLS.
- Ad calls and sign calls to Realtors OR By Owners turn into showings when price is not a deterrent.
- SERIOUS PROSECTS ARE WELL EDUCATED ABOUT ASKING PRICES IN THE AREAS THEY ARE SEEKING.
- SERIOUS PROSECTS DO NOT WASTE THERE TIME ON A HOME THEY CONSIDER OVERPRICED.
- BUYERS FEAR they might LOSE OUT on a good home when it is PRICED RIGHT.
- SELLERS are LESS likely to receive “LOW BALL OFFERS.”
- Better pricing ATTRACTS MULIABLE offers, too!
5) MEANS MORE MONEY TO SELLERS:
- If a home is PRICED RIGHT, the excitement of the market produces HIGHER SALE prices.
- SELLERS NET MORE IN TERMS OF ACTUAL SALE PRICE AND BY LESS CARRYING COSTS.
- THE THINGS THAT AFFECT A SALE ARE LOCATION, CONDITION, AND PRICE. You can change two out of the three of these. You cannot change the LOCATION. You can control the CONDITION by how you maintain your home inside and out. Good Maintenance shows Pride of Ownership and gives a possible buyer a comfortable feeling on the condition of the home. PRICE should be determined by recent sales of comparable homes in your immediate area. Pricing a home right at the time you first put it on the market is important since that is when it will get the most attention from buyers. You may think you want to start out higher and test the market but this usually results in you LOSING BUYERS that may have been interested from the 1st day on the market, not 6 weeks down the road. Think of it this way, for every month that your home is not sold due to being priced too high, you have lost money due to another Mortgage payment, taxes, utilities, possible association fee’s, insurance, and maintenance and by not being able to make the move you want to make. A quicker sale can save you thousands so being priced right at the beginning is very important.