Get the most from selling your home!

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX of Nanaimo

Of all the things homeowners control when selling their home, the condition of the property is one of the most important.

A crucial part of marketing any product is the presentation of the product. Corporations and retail businesses understand this concept and pay millions of dollars each year to advertising and marketing consultants to get the best advice possible.

The same is true for real property. In order to compete effectively with other sellers, homeowners must present their homes to the marketplace in an attractive, desirable condition. When you bought your home, you probably comparison shopped. Well, buyers are still doing that today. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average purchaser looks at 10 to 20 properties prior to purchasing a home. Regardless of how many properties are on the market, available buyers will always seek the best-priced property that is in the best condition.

Think Like a Buyer!

You are not just selling a house. You are selling shelter, lifestyle, and dreams. People always want the best for themselves, and your home should represent the buyer's answer to this goal. Put yourself in the buyer's shoes! Remember, they arrive at your front door wanting to find the right home. Don't make them search somewhere else for it. If you have done your homework, every room in your home will create a desire for the buyer to stay.

Start Making a List!

Walk outside and take a look at the property through the critical yes of a buyer. Is there anything that needs repairing, looks worn, or is outdated? Start writing these items down on your list. Walk through the interior and do the same things. Ask for the assistance of everyone in your family. After all, a shorter sales time will benefit everybody in the family.

Do Everything Before Putting Your Home on the Market!

Complete all of your repairs, improvements, and enhancements prior to your first showing. Remember, your best showings come early in the listing period. Be ready!

Comments (2)

Heather Saul
Weichert Realtors Hoey Group - Wildwood, NJ
Great post!!  Those are some very important tips to pass along to sellers.  I could not agree more with your last statement.  So many sellers think put it on the market first and then get the repairs done.  Fix everything first and go from there.
Apr 05, 2007 07:00 AM
Mark Taylor
Certified Home Inspections LLC - Elyria, OH

Here are some tips from a Home Inspector:

Sell your home faster-Tips From A Home Inspector

If anyone would like to pass these tips along to a client or associate, please feel free. 

20 Steps to Help You Sell Your Home

1.       Make the Most of that First Impression
A well-manicured lawn, neatly trimmed shrubs and a clutter-free porch welcome prospects. So does a freshly painted - or at least freshly scrubbed - front door. If it's autumn, rake the leaves. If it's winter, shovel the walkways. The fewer obstacles between prospects and the true appeal of your home, the better.
2.       Invest a Few Hours for Future Dividends
Here's your chance to clean up in real estate. Clean up the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen. If your woodwork is scuffed or the paint is fading, consider some minor redecoration. Fresh wallpaper adds charm and value to your property (BUT KEEP IT NEUTRAL!). Prospects would rather see how great your home really looks than hear how great it COULD look, "with a little work."
3.       Check Faucets and Bulbs
Dripping water rattles the nerves, discolors sinks and suggests faulty or worn-out plumbing. Burned out bulbs leave prospects in the dark. Don't let little problems detract from what's right with your home.
4.       Don't Shut Out a Sale
If cabinets or closet doors stick in your home, you can be sure they will also stick in a prospect's mind. Don't try to explain away sticky situations when you can easily plane them away. A little effort on your part can smooth the way toward a closing.
5.       Think Safety
Homeowners learn to live with all kinds of self-set booby traps: roller skates on the stairs, festooned extension cords, slippery throw rugs and low hanging overhead lights. Make your residence as non-perilous as possible for uninitiated visitors.
6.       Make Room for Space
Remember, potential buyers are looking for more than just comfortable living space. They're looking for storage space too. Make sure your attic and basement are clean and free of unnecessary items.
7.       Consider Your Closets
The better organized a closet, the larger it appears. Now's the time to box up those unwanted clothes and donate them to charity.
8.       Make Your Bathrooms Sparkle
Bathrooms sell homes, so let them shine. Check and repair damaged or unsightly caulking in the tubs and showers. For added allure, display your best towels, mats and shower curtains.
9.       Create Dream Bedrooms
Wake-up prospects to the cozy comforts of your bedrooms. For a spacious look, get rid of excess furniture. Colorful bedspreads and fresh curtains are a must.
10.   Open up in the Daytime
Let the sun shine in! Pull back your curtains and drapes so prospects can see how bright and cheery your home is.
11.   Lighten up at Night
Turn on the excitement by turning on all your lights - both inside and outside - when showing your home in the evening. Lights add color and warmth, and make prospects feel welcome.
12.   Avoid Crowd Scenes
Potential buyers often feel like intruders when they enter a home filled with people. Rather than giving your house the attention it deserves, they're likely to hurry through. Keep the company to a minimum.
13.   Watch Your Pets
Dogs and cats are great companions, but not when you're showing your home. Pets have a talent for getting underfoot. Do everybody a favor: keep Kitty and Spot outside, or at least out of the way.
14.   Think Volume
Rock-and-roll will never die, but it might kill a real estate transaction. When it's time to show your home, it's time to turn down the stereo or TV.
15.   Relax
If you must be present at the time of your showing, be friendly, but don't try to force conversation. Prospects want to view your home with a minimum of distraction.
16.   Don't Apologize
No matter how humble your abode, never apologize for its shortcomings. If a prospect volunteers a derogatory comment about your home's appearance, let your REALTOR handle the situation. Better yet, never be present when buyers are.
17.   Keep a Low Profile
Nobody knows your home as well as you do. But your REALTOR knows buyers - what they need and what they want. Your REALTOR will have an easier time articulating the virtues of your home if you stay in the background.
18.   Don't Turn Your Home Into a Secondhand Store
When prospects come to view your home, don't distract them with offers to sell those furnishings you no longer need. You may lose the biggest sale of all (better yet, don't be present).
19.   Defer to Experience
When prospects want to talk price, terms, or other real estate matters, let them speak to the experts.
20.   Help Your Agent
Your REALTOR will have an easier time selling your home if showings are scheduled through our office. You'll appreciate the results.

Some of my own personal (and seldom mentioned) tips:

  • First impressions mean everything.  Since it is Spring, spend a few dollars and buy some colorful flowers to plant in the front yard area.  Don't over plant!  You could even put some out back and around the sides (the buyers will take a look around).  Put some high nitrogen fertilizer on your lawn and green it up-fast.  Don't skimp-get fertilizer with the highest nitrogen content (the first number ex. 32-19-24) that you can find.  Bring evergreens back to life and give them a rich dark green color by adding some IroniteTM to them.  It will especially help those wilted evergreens out by the street.  In general, make the outside look as much like a "show yard" as you can. 
  • You can't do too much cleaning.  Nothing turns a buyer off more than dirt or grime.  Get those cobwebs with a long duster on a pole and try to make everything sparkle.  Especially kitchens and bathrooms.  Hire a company to come out and clean the carpets.  Put some fresh (neutral) paint on the walls.  A few dollars and some elbow grease could add up to a fast sale and could net you many thousands of dollars more at the end.
  • Odors need to be eliminated.  If you have pets or smokers in the house, people will smell them even if you don't.  Musty smells indicate dampness and possible problems and are generally unappealing.  Invest in some room air fresheners (like Glade® scented fans or FebrezeTM noticables) but don't do too many and try to find a light smell--not one that is overly perfumed or strong.  I like the Glade® Hawaiian Breeze or FebreezeTM Fresh Linen.  These two products cost a little more, but they are well worth the extra cost. 
  • Clean up the clutter.  Do not let people view the "lived in look" in your house.  It makes rooms look much smaller and turns people off.  Throw it away or move it to your brother's house temporarily.  Even if you are still living in the house, try to live with less.  Don't just pack everything up in boxes and move it out to the garage either, rent a storage unit if you have to.
  • Don't let prospective buyers see a completely empty house.  They want to visualize what their furniture would look like in the house and a few pieces of furniture will give them a better idea.  Only put key pieces of furniture in the house, don't clutter it up!  If you have to, rent some furniture from a store for a few weeks. 
  • If it's broke, fix it.  Replace broken items like switch plates, light fixtures, etc.  You don't have to spend a lot of money, an inexpensive new fixture is better than an expensive broken one.  Oil squeaky doors and re-attach anything that is loose.  This is important--If you can't do the job as well as a professional would do it, don't just make an amateur repair job and hope that it will be good enough.  If your buyer hires an Inspector (and they probably will), he will find it and recommend that it be repaired by a professional anyway.  This will probably cost you more than if you had hired a professional in the first place, because he will have to remove your shoddy work before he can fix it the right way. 
  • Invest in upgrades.  By this, I mean, replace old worn out appliances and fixtures with new ones.  It sounds like a pricey investment in a house that you are not going to be living in any more, but, new stuff attracts while old stuff detracts from the final selling price.  Once again, you don't have to buy the best you can find.  Even an inexpensive new stove, dishwasher, washer or other appliance looks 100% better than an old beat up one.  Concentrate your efforts in kitchens and bathrooms, they are the real selling points of a house.  Old flooring in kitchens and bathrooms are another major distraction for buyers.  Replacing them is a very good investment (go with something neutral and easy on the eyes, no bold colors or patterns).  I know it sounds like a lot of money, but every dollar that you invest, will mean ten dollars in your pocket at the end.  If someone told me that I could invest $100.00 in something and get back $1,000.00 within a couple of months, I'd jump on it!
  • Finally, the number one thing that you can do to help you sell your house faster and for more money, Get A Pre-Listing Home Inspection.
    • It allows you to see your home through the eyes of a critical third-party.
    • It helps you to price your home realistically.
    • It permits you to make repairs ahead of time so that ...
        a.  Defects won't become negotiating stumbling blocks later.
        b.  There is no delay in obtaining the Use and Occupancy permit.
        c.  You have the time to get reasonably priced contractors or make the repairs yourself, if qualified.
    • It may encourage the buyer to waive the inspection contingency.
    • It may alert you of items of immediate personal concern, such as radon gas or active termite infestation.
    • It may relieve prospect's concerns and suspicions.
    • It reduces your liability by adding professional supporting documentation to your disclosure statement.
    • It may alert you to immediate safety issues before agents and visitors tour your home.
Apr 05, 2007 10:13 AM