Home Sellers! Do you want to get top dollar when you sell your house? Do you want a quick sale? Do you want an easy transaction with no surprises or delays? Then do the 18 things on this list!
18 Things a Home Seller should do to get Top Dollar
1. Size up your Competition
Visit some Builder's model homes in your area. Visit some Open Houses this weekend. Make note of prices, condition, location, and the "new factor" of model homes. Now take a look at YOUR house. How does it compare?
2. Hire a Licensed Real Estate Broker
Real estate sales can be extremely complicated. Showing appointments. Offers, counter-offers. Home inspections. Appraisals. Deed and document preparation. Payoff of existing mortgage. Pro-ration of property taxes, Homeowners' Association dues, and assessments. You need an experienced Real Estate Broker to guide you through this complex transaction!
3. Consult a Real Estate Attorney before signing any documents.
A typical real estate listing contract is several pages long. A real estate contract for sale and purchase may be 10 or 12 pages long, with another 12 to 20 pages of addenda. These documents are legally binding upon you. See a lawyer before signing anything!
4. Choose your Real Estate Broker carefully
90% of Buyers start their home search on the Internet. Does the Listing Broker you are interviewing have a strong Internet presence? Are their listings on Zillow, Realtor.com, and other prominent real estate websites?
What about the MLS? Does the Broker post high quality listing photos? Do they utilize video? What about drone photography?
5. Price your house correctly
In most subdivisions or neighborhoods, your Listing Broker can run a "CMA" to determine the price. If there are no recent sales of similar houses in your area, you may need to hire a real estate appraiser to determine your asking price.
You should take Zillow "Zestimates" and other online valuations with a grain of salt. By their own admission, Zestimates may be off by 20% or more.
The worst mistake that you can make is to price your house too high!
6. Curb Appeal
What does your house look like from the street? Is the lawn mowed? Are the bushes trimmed? Is the driveway pressure washed? Is the front door freshly painted?
7. Get a Pre-Sale Home Inspection
You especially want to know the condition of the roof, the foundation, the HVAC (heating and cooling system), the wiring, and the plumbing. If you have a septic system, well, swimming pool, or lawn sprinkler system, get those inspected, too.
8. Make Repairs before putting your house on the market.
You do not want the Buyer to back out of the transaction because of problems found by their Home Inspector. Make necessary repairs before you put up the For Sale sign!
9. Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
This saying goes double for the kitchen and bathrooms. Odors must be eliminated, dust and grime must be removed. A fresh, spotlessly clean house will sell itself. And, put the toilet seats down!
10. Get Rid of Your Stuff
Empty out closets, cabinets, and bookcases. Clean out the attic. Get everything out of the garage (park your cars on the street). If necessary, rent a self-storage unit to store your belongings. Buyers need to see your house, not your possessions!
11. Neutralize It
Trendy paint colors and personal decor can be a turn-off to Buyers. If necessary, have the inside of the house painted in neutral colors. Take down any artwork, bric-a-brac, or posters that are political, religious, or sports-oriented. You don't want to send buyers away because of personal beliefs or differences of opinion.
12. Let There Be Light
Open all drapes, curtains, and window blinds. Use light bulbs that are rated 1500 to 1600 lumens. Show your house in its best light!
13. Offer a Free Home Warranty to Buyers
Put the Buyer at ease; give them peace of mind. The cost of a Home Warranty is minimal. Ask your Listing Broker for recommendations.
14. Make Your House Easy to Show
An MLS Lockbox is critical. Don't put up obstacles like, "48 hours notice required, Listing Agent must accompany, alarm system is active". You will turn away potential Buyers (and their agents).
15. Restrain your Pets
Dogs and cats must be caged or restrained during showings. There should be no evidence of pets in the house. Remove cat litter boxes, dog food bowls, and pet toys before showings.
16. Enlist the Neighbors
The Neighbors may know people who are looking to move into your area. Have a Pre-Sale Open House just for the neighbors!
17. Get Out and Stay Out During Showings
Leave the house before the Agent arrives. Do not return until the Buyers and the Showing Agent are gone. Buyers are very uncomfortable when a Seller remains in the house or in the yard during a showing.
18. Insist on Pre-Approval or Proof of Funds
Only show your house to Buyers who have a pre-approval letter from a Lender, or a proof of funds letter if they are paying cash. Especially when offers come in - you must insist that the Buyer provide these letters. Ask your Listing Broker for advice.
You are planning to sell your Tallahassee House. Perhaps you are moving up, or you are downsizing, or maybe you are moving to another city or state. Selling your house requires planning, preparation, and proper marketing.
By following the 18 steps above, you can expect to sell your Tallahassee House for top dollar, with no surprises or delays!