5 Tips on how to get top dollar for your home

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams North Atlanta GA RE # 274067

Selling your home takes more than just putting a sign in the front yard and listing it in the local MLS. It takes you the owner and your REALTOR looking at your home with a critical objective eye about what needs to be updated, fix or improve. This is hard to do for some people. It’s almost like looking at your beloved child and seeing all their faults. That is a little hard to do, right?

Being emotionally attached to your home is normal and being objective about your home can be downright difficult. You have so many great memories and feelings about your home. Those feelings can interfere with your vision. It’s time to take off those Rosy glasses.  This is where a good REALTOR can help you see and know your competition, the current market and where you stand in that market.  You may choose not to invest any money in improvement or updates and leave that to the next owner. And you and your REALTOR may price your home to fit the needed/expected improvements. There is nothing wrong with this as long as you are willing to take less and wait for someone to come along who doesn’t mind doing updates. A good REALTOR will know your local market and know the competition and get you to a price point that will move your property fast.

For those of you who want top dollar for your home, here are some ideas and tips on how to get it.

  1. Curb appeal. I cannot say enough about it. That is your first impression to prospective buyers. Most buyers make an opinion about your home within 15 seconds. Think about that. You could scare them off before they even get in the front door.  I have been with my buyers who have asked me to keep driving by a scheduled showing because we drove up and the yard was over gown or the house needed pressure cleaning and painting or the worst case a bright Blue tarp with cement blocks on the roof.  Take a walk to the curb of your home. Look at it with a clear vision of what your prospective buyer will see. Do your bushes need trimming? Look at your gutters are they over flowing with leaves and growing new plants? (I have actually seen plants and small pines growing out of gutters.)  Does your driveway and sidewalk need pressure washing?  I read that Yellow evokes the buying emotion. Think about planting Yellow flowers in your landscape and putting potted plants by your front door. Take the time to do these small improvements and maintenance chores will help get that buyer past the front door.
  2. Smell and odors. I know that seems obvious. But I can’t tell you how many times I have walked into a home and been hit with an offensive odor.  It is sometimes hard for you the homeowner to smell these odors because you have become accustom to them.  Tobacco and pets (Cat urine, dog smell) are the biggest offenders along with Mold/musty odors. I have had clients fall in love with a home via photos and video tours for us only to walk through the door and walk right out because of these offensive odors. There are many fixes for these odors.  You can rent an ozone machine to remove the odor. You may have to replace carpet/pad and repaint from floor to ceiling. Have the vents and ducks professionally cleaned. There are companies who specialize in odor removal.  If your odor involves mold you may have to find a professional to handle that. It is better to handle these things before you list.
  3. Updates/Dated interior and keeping up with the Jones.  What I am talking about is interior faux pas that can turn off a potential buyer or have the buyer lowball you to correct these interior design flaws.  Popcorn ceilings, drop ceilings in the kitchen along with paneled walls in the family room. I love the colors Purple and Orange but just not on walls or floors. Those Minnie and Mickey Mouse themed murals and faux paper bag finish on the dining room walls seemed like a great idea at the time but dare I say they will not get you top dollar in today’s market.  Repaint/re-carpet and stay as neutral as you can with updates. It doesn’t take a lot of money to update.  New Carpet/pad installed can be as low as 13 dollars a square yard.  Paint as low as 10 dollars a gallon.  Removing popcorn ceilings is easier than you think. Messy yes but very doable. There are several videos on the internet to help you out. Don’t feel like doing it yourself. Hire it out.  Most fixes will comeback in higher offers.  If your neighbors have granite. You should have granite. I have listed homes where the owner said. “I am not spending one dime on granite. If they want granite I will give a credit and let them buy granite.” This only puts you in the position that you most likely will get a lowball offer along with the buyer asking/requiring the granite to get the deal closed. I have seen it so many times. Spend the money to update now so you can get top dollar NOW!
  4. Clean and De-Clutter. Your home is on the market to SELL, right? As the saying goes, make it sparkle and shine. Hire a cleaning crew if you feel overwhelmed. Thinking of your home as YOUR home will only mentally block you in your de-cluttering and cleaning efforts.  Consider selling or donating Items that haven’t been used in 6 Months. Family photos are wonderful just not now. Pack them up. The buyer needs to see themselves living in your home and that is hard to do when everywhere they look they see you and your happy family. Funky art, dirty area rugs (I personally think area rugs make a room seem smaller and visually take up space and always suggest removing them to my Sellers) and too large furniture, excessive kid paraphernalia all need to go into storage.  Buyers love to poke around and can be downright nosey. That means looking in your closets and cabinets, even your refrigerator.  So anything you can do to make yourself look like Martha Stewart. Do it! You are moving right? So start packing it up!
  5. You love it/hide it.  This is not really a help you sell item but you will thank me for putting it down. If you love something in your house and don’t want it becoming fodder for negotiations take it down and replace it or store it! I cannot tell you this enough.  I had a buyer ask for the China cabinet.  My owners didn’t want to part with the cabinet. It became a point of contention in the negotiations. Buyers have no trouble getting personal about what they want in the sale. If you absolutely love your 10 thousand dollar chandelier. Take it down and replace it with something acceptable. I don’t care if your listing agent said that you can omit it in the disclosures.  If you love your brand new refrigerator and washer and dryer put a SOLD sign on it.  If a buyer sees it they are going to want it. Remove anything you can that you don’t want in the negotiations. With this past “buyers” Market the buyers have been trained to ask for everything even the lawn mower. So hide that if it is not up for negotiations.  If an item is not easily removed ex: a huge leaning mirror or grandma’s China cabinet. Put that SOLD sign on it. Another thing to think about is hiding items of value like prescriptions, jewelry and guns and portable electronic items.  I personally and happily can say I have never had to deal with my clients missing items. But I have heard the stories from my fellow REALTORS.  I would just use common sense and be prudent in what you leave out for everyone to see.

In closing there is a lot of information on how to get top dollar for your house.  It can feel over whelming and stressful. But with careful planning and organization you can have your house ready for market before you know it.  Be careful not to over improve or spend too much money on things that won’t help you sell your home. It is important to find a great REALTOR with experience in your local market to help you make those decisions that will move your home to the Sold list on MLS.  Thank you for reading and if you have any questions on how I can help you sell your home please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Shelley Sellars

Keller Williams North Atlanta





Comments (6)

Trisha Bush-LeFore
Preferred Properties Land & Homes - Walla Walla, WA
Providing Realtor Services in the Walla Walla Area

Hi Shelley,

Thank you for blogging. I totally agree on your 5 tips. Keep up the good work!

Have a great holiday season,

Trisha Bush

Oct 18, 2013 05:56 AM
Pat Champion
John Roberts Realty - Eustis, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

Great post for the home owner to read you are right it really is all about making the first impression a lasting one. Thanks for sharing.

Oct 18, 2013 05:57 AM
Jimmy Faulkner
Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage - Wantagh, NY
The Best Of St. Augustine

I am glad you used curb appeal as your # 1 aspect of selling a home. People drive through areas and wirte down homes they like totally based on curb appeal. Yes it takes all of 15 seconds to like or not like a home. Great post.

Oct 18, 2013 09:46 AM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Good post on 5 tips for home sellers looking to selling homes for top dollar-especially curb appeal, reducing clutter/collections and removing smells.

Oct 18, 2013 01:04 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Curb appeal is surely the most important aspect - and then comes de-clutter. Invite by curb appeal and impress with clean home! Simple - and still not many sellers get it!

Oct 18, 2013 02:59 PM
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services
Excellent article that provides information on 5 Tips on how to get top dollar for your home. Continue on what what you are doing and  Keep up the good work!
Oct 19, 2013 10:42 AM

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