Tips for preparing your home for the market
- Get mentally prepared. Selling your home requires flexibility and mental stamina especially when you have a hot property on the market. Your home has to be accessible and ready to show on a daily basis. People will be walking through your home, looking in your closets, pulling back shower curtains, critiquing your choice of paint colors and decor, and much more. The process is intrusive. Buyers and their agents typically provide feedback. So be ready. If need be, watch a few house hunting shows and imagine the buyers going through your home or ask several honest friends to come by for a walk through and have them provide feedback. You can do it in an open forum or anonymously. Either way, preparing yourself for what’s to come will make the process a lot easier once it starts.
- Renovate vs. Not Renovating… that is the question. There are cases when renovations are necessary but the truth is it’s not required 100% of the time. Many people think it’s a requirement to update the bathroom, kitchen, flooring, etc. before putting their home on the market without asking if the market requires them to make these adjustments. If you live in a neighborhood where the homes are selling with few to no renovations, why spend the time making the changes, especially if you can’t afford them or don’t have the time. Sometimes fresh paint, decluttering/staging, removing the family photos, a good cleaning and the right lighting can go a long way.
- Price it right from the start. It makes perfect sense for you to want every bit of equity out of your home when you sell it. However, be mindful when you’re determining your asking price to take sentimental value out of the equation. Your memories are your memories. There’s no price tag that could every compare with the memory of your children growing in the home, the DIY renovations, the hard times and/or joyous occasions you may have experienced while living in the home. If the market calls for $350,000, asking for $400,000 is a sure way to either get no offers OR offers that will make you highly upset. Do yourself a favor and price your home competitively. When it’s all said and done, you’ll be happy you did.
Marketing your home
- Open House. Not all homes require an open house. Open houses are typically held for homes that aren’t tucked away in the back of a community or difficult to find. It’s okay to request an open house to showcase your home specifically to other real estate agents instead of opening your home to the general public. Overall, you want the marketing and foot traffic to be meaningful and worthwhile.
- Making your home accessible. Don’t be too rigid with your showing schedule. The average buyer views homes on the weekend and after work. Agents understand you may have small children or odd working hours, but if a buyer can’t see your home then they aren’t likely to buy it. There are alternatives to making your home available to your interested buyers. One way great to accommodate your family schedule and the late day shopper is to request a 24 hour notice for evening appointments. This way all parties needs are met.
- Signage and advertisement. Pictures help. Signs in yards help. Listing your home in the MLS helps. Today’s buyer shops online and drives around neighborhoods to see what’s on the market. Failure of doing one or all three can impact the home's visibility and chance to sell.
Finding your Buyer
- Consider the offer you’re willing to take in advance. Some sellers have a firm asking price, meaning no room for negotiation. However, if you are willing to accept an offer lower than your asking price identify that number in advance by working with your Realtor.
- Negotiate based on the market not on sentimental value. No one wants to give money away when they are selling their home. However, if you purchased your home a year ago, decide you want to move again and expect to get the money you put into it back in one year; let me be the first to tell you… it’s not happening. If you raised your children in your home and can’t help to think about all the wonderful memories you’re leaving behind, that’s fine, BUT don’t charge the buyer for your memories, charge them for the value of the home. Nothing more. Nothing less. Failure to remove emotion out of the deal may result in you losing your best and highest offer.
- Consider your personal contingencies. If the buyer is firm on closing in 30 days but you can’t move until your new construction is ready in 90 days you may have to request a rent back, rent elsewhere and prepare to move in 30 days, or find another buyer. Although each offer won’t be the same, it’s always a good idea to start thinking about how you may want to handle these situations in advance to decrease stress if/when they arise.