by Ryan Hicks – RE/MAX Westside
1.) Prep it Like a Model Home
Have you ever walked into a model home and said “This is it! This is my dream home!” Well you’re not alone. There’s a reason why builders stage their model homes with clean, matching, well-placed, high quality furniture. It’s easier to visualize yourself in the home when it’s clean and balanced. If you still live in the home you are selling and it is fully furnished, allow you agent to advise you on furniture placement, or consider hiring a professional stager. A staged home often brings a higher price, not only offsetting the staging expense, but typically putting more dough in your pocket. Not to mention the savings from selling your home sooner. In addition to staging, don’t forget the obvious like making sure you home is clean, that the walls have fresh paint and aren’t marked with fingerprints from the kiddos, and that you’ve replaced any burnt out light bulbs. In the front, be sure to trim your trees so the front of your home is visible in photographs, trim the bushes, and keep the yard in order during the listing
Just as important as well-placed furniture in your home, is decluttering it. Remove personal family pictures so a buyer doesn’t feel they are invaders of your home. Buyers need to visualize their own family in your home. Also, be sure to simplify display cabinets and display tables by limiting, if not removing collectibles and other items that distract the eye. A lamp and a candle will give the table enough purpose. Put children’s toys away in a toy box, or better yet, box their least favorite toys away until after closing. Organize your closets so they don’t look overcrowded which can give the appearance that your home has limited storage. Put away any medicine, toothpaste, hairbrush, or other items buyers just don’t need to see in a bathroom. Decorate it like a spa with matching towels and candles.
3.) Don’t Decline Showings
We all have bad days once in a while and simply don’t want to leave our home, much less have to clean it before a showing. However, for every declined showing there’s a missed opportunity to bring in that perfect buyer. Homeowners often assume the buyer will just reschedule after declining it. While that’s sometimes the case, those truly motivated buyers may not have the time or patience to return, or they may decide that there’s no need to reschedule since another home just as good as yours down the street that works just fine. Even though a buyer’s agent may schedule a 1 hour time block for your showing, that doesn’t mean you have to be gone the full hour. If you are busy, not feeling chipper, or whatever, just wait for the buyers to arrive, smile, welcome them to your home and step outside for a short walk up and down the street with Fido. Most showings last 10 – 15 minutes. A small sacrifice for allowing a potentially motivated buyer in. If that showing turns into a 30 or 45 minute showing, that’s usually a good sign. You may have a motivated buyer and an incoming offer.
4.) Price it Right
Most agents cringe when they hear those 4 fatal words a seller says when they want to “test the market first” by listing their home too high from the beginning. A home receives the most quality eyeballs and traffic during the first 2 weeks the home is on the market. If a home is overpriced during this time, the chances of receiving an offer are slim or reduced drastically. Buyers and their agents are savvy. They know when a home is overpriced. By the time the seller realizes they aren’t getting any showings, and then decide to reduce the price, it’s more often than not – too late. Be sure to look at recent comparable sales with your agent to determine a reasonable price. Comparable homes are typically within the same square footage range as your home, same overall condition, with similar features, and should have sold no later than 3 – 6 months ago.
5.) Listen to Feedback
Make sure your agent provides you with regular feedback from showings. Feedback is important as it allows you to see your home from the perspective of the buyer. Be sure to make any adjustments to your home that may have caused negative feedback, and do it as soon as possible. Just be sure not to take their comments personally. After all, you and your agent asked for their feedback. Consider it constructive criticism.
6.) Make it a Win-Win
Understand that a buyer interested in your home is not your enemy. They are just like you were when you bought your home. It’s only natural for the buyer to want the home for less and the seller to want to sell it for more. The goal is to meet at a reasonable price that comparable sales in the neighborhood can support. If a buyer seems to ask for too low of a price or if they ask for too many repairs, simply tell them you appreciate their offer, you’d love to see them in your home… but here is our counter. Then top it off by telling them you look forward to working together with them to make this a win-win. Oh, and did I say to keep your emotions out of it? Easier said than done when it’s your personal residence. But do you best to stay cool.
7.) Hire a Professional
An experienced Realtor will keep the process running smooth from beginning to end. Hire an agent who knows the market, has numerous transactions under his/her belt, and who has a solid track record.
Need staging advice or other tips on how to prep your home best to sell quickly and for the highest price? Call Ryan Hicks for a free consultation. Ryan is a Realtor with RE/MAX Westside and has been licensed since 1996 representing hundreds of buyers and sellers. If you are considering selling your home, or know of someone else who does, contact Ryan for a FREE consultation at (832) 524-0398. Ryan Hicks – There for Every Move You Make