With the market picking up in many areas of the country, many homeowners are hoping for a quick, lucrative sale. By doing a little bit of research, making a few minor upgrades and keeping your home clean and orderly for potential buyers, you can vastly improve your chances for selling your home in a timely and profitable manner.
Pick the Right Broker
Your first step will be picking a broker, and it’s wise to do a bit of research beyond simply soliciting names from friends and acquaintances. In today’s tech-savvy world, many potential customers are conducting their own internet real estate searches at home, and it’s been shown that these people are likely going to schedule a walk-through after seeing a promising home on-line. Therefore, it’s vital to find a realtor who is able to set up extensive internet-based advertising, from flattering digital photographs to a virtual walk-throughs and dedicated web pages. Another important consideration is picking an agent familiar with your area and committed to a quick sale; these brokers will know the strengths and weakness of a particular area and will impress potential buyers as knowledgeable and helpful.
Set the Price
Setting the initial price is an important step, as you don’t want to scare away buyers, but you also don’t want to essentially give your home away. If you’ve chosen your broker well, he or she should be able to help you set a competitive price. Another way to figure out the best asking price is to check what comparable houses in your neighborhood are selling for, and then, if possible, cut 5 to 10 percent off your own price to make your house appear to be a great deal.
Highlight the Selling Points
Make a list of selling points you think will attract buyers and go over it with your broker. Features that make a house desirable include recent renovations from roofs to wiring, good school districts, energy-saving windows, extra insulation, new appliances and professional landscaping. Buyers are also interested in such life-style perks as proximity to parks, churches, recreational facilities, shops, gyms and libraries. Know your homes key selling points and be sure to mention them whenever you talk to people about your home.
Timing is Everything
Although a home can sell at any time of year, generally warm weather signals an upswing in real estate sales. The brighter days of April and May bring people outdoors – and to open houses and real estate viewings. Also, many families prefer to move in warm weather and have their children settled in by the time school starts in September. Try to get your home on the market in early spring and keep trying through the summer; then if it hasn’t sold by late fall, think about taking it off the market and starting afresh when spring rolls around again.
Set the Stage
One of the latest and most productive ways to move a house is by staging the home, and the right agent should be able to lend a hand, whether this includes doing it herself, finding a professional home staging professional or consulting an interior designer. If you choose to stage your home yourself, concentrate on clearing clutter, removing or stowing personal items and thoroughly cleaning from attic to basement. Little touches like opening a window, turning the heat up or lighting a fire help create a welcoming ambience.
The first glimpse potential buyers have of your house is an important one, and you’ll want to create a tidy, inviting first impression, making them feel your house is one they’d love to come home to. Trim shrubs and hedges that may have grown a bit wild, keep the lawn mowed and the flower beds tended. IF you have a pool, be sure it’s sparkling clean and the area around it free of clutter; a comfy patio set and a few potted shrubs or flowers will create a relaxing ambience.
One of the easiest ways to make your home inviting to potential buyers is to make sure it smells good. Doing something simple like lighting a scented candle or putting a few drops of vanilla on a baking sheet and letting it heat up in the oven can help create a cozy, welcoming ambience. Unpleasant odors, whether mildew or pet related, can be a deal-breaker, so be sure to take action against any mold in damp areas like the basement. Pets should be shampooed regularly and preferably absent during showings. Some buyers may be intimidated by or allergic to dogs and others may be reluctant to buy a house where animals have lived.
These days, buyers tend to expect hardwood floors, even in less expensive homes. If you’re lucky enough to have hardwood, spiff it up with a coat of polyurethane. Wall-to-wall carpeting, particularly in less than pristine shape, is not a selling point, so if there’s hardwood under your carpet, expose it, have a quick refinishing done if necessary, and add value and appeal to your home. You may even check on the price of installing it just in a major downstairs living area.
Lighter and Brighter
Lighting makes all the difference, making even small, dark spaces appear bright and airy. Replace all bulbs with a higher wattage and set a few more lamps around where overhead lighting is minimal. Offbeat room colors like scarlet and forest green are interesting, but generally not considered a bonus by buyers. A quick coat of off-white, taupe or cream paint can do wonders for creating a fresh, inviting atmosphere and has the added bonus of covering lingering household odors. Painted woodwork should be coated in white for a clean, smart look.
Take Care of Repairs
Chipped paint and leaky faucets can send the message to potential buyers that you haven’t been maintaining your house well in other ways as well, so it’s important to take care of minor and visible repairs. Put on a coat of paint on that scuffed up stair-well, fix the cracked window in the basement and make sure all fixtures and outlets work.
Out with the Old
House hunters want to feel like they’re buying a fresh, modern home, so try to make a few less pricey updates to your home. No, you don’t need to replace old appliances, especially since often new owners will want to choose their own kitchen appliances. However, painting walls in neutral hues can both brighten and modernize rooms. Old-style, heavy drapes and dated curtains should come down, allowing in more light and giving a more airy, spacious appearance, and dated light fixtures can be replaced with more contemporary styles.
Article contribution by Natalia Morgan.