Thinking of selling your home?
We specialize in Single Family homes and Horse properties.
You may not be able to tell a book by its cover, but you’ll likely pay more for a book if the cover is charming and attractive.
If your home is for sale, or soon will be, creating a positive first impression is one of the most important things you can do. Thankfully, it’s not hard. Here are 12 steps you can take; most of them fall under simple maintenance and organization, but some of them could possibly help you decide when it’s time to move.
1. Go outside. Mow the law, prune bushes, remove dead tree branches, and get rid of outdoor furniture you don’t plan to take with you.
2. Clean the front door and lintels, or paint them if necessary.
3. Check for leaks throughout the house. A drip may not seem important, but it could suggest poor maintenance elsewhere in the house. Don’t leave room for doubt in a buyer’s mind.
4. Clean out closets and storage areas. Donate old clothes and furniture to local charities. This will create a sense of greater space in the home, and mean fewer items to move.
5. Professionally clean the carpets. This is especially important if the carpeting will remain for the new owners.
6. Flip every switch to make sure the electrical works throughout the house. Prospective home buyers will do this. Fix any switches that need help.
7. Caulk around tubs and sinks. New caulk looks better than old caulk, and you’ll also prevent those tricky leaks.
8. Replace lightbulbs that don’t work and use as much wattage as the fixture will take. Good illumination makes your home seem light and airy.
9. Tour the property from the perspective of a first-time visitor. Is there anything that may seem uncomfortable to visitors? The 30-year-old green shag carpeting can be off-putting and mirrors in poorly lit basements can be dangerous, for example.
10. Clean out medicine cabinets. Remove out-of-date items, and consider removing prescription pills when buyers visit. Buyers might look in every nook and open every door. No one wants to be embarrassed by what they find.
11. If you have a pet, make arrangements to have it elsewhere when your home is being shown. Some people have allergies. No one wants to be barked or pawed at when they enter.
12. Ask your broker to examine the property for specific showing tips to make your home more attractive when compared to others in the area.
Before selling your home, give some careful thought about where you will live next. Planning ahead will save the time and money associated with moving multiple times or trying to get out of a deal after you sign a purchase agreement. Your Realtor can help you locate a new home or rental before you close escrow or negotiate a lease back.
If your plan is to buy another home and finance it, get preapproved for a mortgage. That way, you’ll know what you will be able to afford—and can eliminate surprises.
It’s also getting more common these days—in certain markets—to purchase a home contingent on the sale of your existing one.
If you can afford it, do whatever you can to make your home move-in ready. That means replacing ripped screens, broken baseboards, leaky faucets and making cosmetic repairs, as well as updating landscaping. Your house needs to be in showing condition all the time.
At this point, start looking at your home as a house—stripping all sentimental value from the place, since your buyer won’t care about the tree you planted or the kitchen tile you installed yourself.
Many people choose real-estate agents based on referrals from family and friends, but look beyond that to make sure you’re working with someone who does a lot of business in your particular neighborhood. While sales information for individual agents often isn’t publicly available, you could check with your local Realtor association group for the data, call the local multiple-listing service or ask a brokerage about their top sellers.
Online reviews of real-estate agents can also be helpful. At the very least, get statistics from the agent, asking him or her how many homes they’ve sold recently, where the homes have been located and what the average sales prices have been.
A good real-estate agent will help you price the home right—from the start. Nothing will attract more buyers than making the right choice when pricing your home and nothing will deter buyers more than overpricing.
Overpricing often means a longer stay on the market as well as future price cuts—which often makes a home listing look stale and less desirable.
Quality photography of the home is also important. Those who use professional real-estate photos sell listed homes 32% faster than all other listings, according to VHT Studios, a real-estate photography network for homes and businesses. Take it for what it’s worth, a statistic from a company in the photography industry. But also think about the homes that you spend the most time looking at online; chances are they’re the ones with a variety of clear, quality pictures.
Some sellers create restrictions on when their home can be shown, but being inflexible on this point can hurt you.
Make your home available for all of the daylight hours. Otherwise, within two days, prospective buyers will find another home and forget yours.
Know what you will and won’t give up when it comes to your sale, from price to closing date, repairs to closing costs. Knowing what outcome you want in advance will help you avoid haggling over minor items that could cost you the sale.
Finally, don’t focus as much on the final sales price as on the final net price. Many first-time buyers ask for sellers to help with closing costs, for example, which affects the net cost.
It’s time to move on. You’ve decided to sell your home and embark on a new adventure.
Unfortunately, potential buyers don’t care about how long you obsessed over choosing the perfect bathroom tiles or the number of carpenters you interviewed to make the perfect built-in bookcase. To the buyer, those items may not matter to the value of the home, even if you think they should.
When it’s time to sell, you have to price your home right, using tangible factors. Here are six rules to remember:
1. Price is king
Your asking price determines how long the home will sit on the market. Pricing the home too high may reduce the number of interested buyers, which can cause your home to sit on the market too long. If your house is on the market too long, it may create the perception that there’s something wrong with it. It can also lead a buyer to think that you’re desperate for an offer. You want to avoid these outcomes and not overvalue your home.
On the flip side, pricing the home too low may create some skepticism and raise unwanted questions about the home’s true value. This will hit you in the bank account if multiple offers don’t drive the price up to its true market value.
2. Use comparable sales
The simplest way to figure out the right price for your home is to compare similar homes that have sold in your neighborhood. Instead of skulking in the shadows and casing the neighbor’s house, use our search page to check out nearby stats.
Compare your house with those with the same number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage. If you find comparable homes with similar floor plans and outdoor space, all the better. See how many homes in your area have sold recently and what they went for. You can also work with a real estate agent to help you compare houses.
3. Compare fairly
Make sure your comparison is fair. If there are neighborhoods in your city that are more desirable, consider that in your comparison. Also consider your location and what buyers want. If a similarly sized new-construction townhouse sold for top dollar down the block, you may not get the same amount for your cute ’40s bungalow.
4. Check the market history
To get a more comprehensive picture of the real estate market in your neighborhood, check the listing history of a home. Compare the original asking price with the final sale price, and note the amount of time the house was on the market until it sold. A REALTOR® can help you with this step.
If you’re looking to speed up the process, you may want to price your house a bit lower. However, if profit is your motive, you may need to wait a few months for a sale on the high end of the spectrum.
5. Consider special improvements
Consider whether major improvements you’ve made warrant a higher asking price. If you’ve remodeled the kitchen and put down a new parquet floor, or if you really feel the special woodwork details will clinch the sale, make sure those enhancements are reflected in the price of the home. Be reasonable. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get as much money as you expected—improvements don’t always recoup their cost.
6. Don’t ignore supply and demand
In a buyer’s market, with many homes for sale and sellers competing for attention, you may want to ask a bit less for your home to make it more attractive to potential buyers. In a seller’s market, where there is little home supply and much buyer demand, you may want to ask a bit more and maximize your profit.
When potential buyers drive up to your home, they’re full of hope.
They imagine themselves baking in the kitchen and their kids playing in the yard. Most of all they think: “Could this be my home?”
Then they look closer. They see a mess by the driveway and the peeling paint near the roofline. Very quickly, they decide to keep driving—and keep looking. They don’t want your home. The exterior tells them the interior might have the same negative impact.
They’ve already done research on your neighborhood and know your asking price. Now they’re just driving by to see if your home has that “it” factor—not an “ick” factor.
Where do most sellers go wrong? Here are the main mistakes they make:
How your home appears from the curb is extremely important. It’s the proverbial first impression. If your home looks inviting from the outside—the yard maintained, the garden manicured and the paint fresh—potential buyers will take an interest in it. If not, they might think the interior is likely unkempt, too—and they’ll move on.
When you sell your home, take yourself out of the picture. If you happen to be home, greet any potential buyers and then allow them to walk through your home undisturbed. Give them a chance to picture their couches in the living room or their dining set in the dining room. Let them have space to discuss what they’re seeing.
Some sellers crowd a buyer, thinking that any newcomer will want all the details of every renovation and every nook. Don’t do this. Let the buyer be. You can always provide an info sheet to describe anything you feel should be mentioned.
Prospective buyers don’t want to see your clutter. It’s distracting and makes it hard for them to picture themselves in your home. A mess can often hide aspects of the home that would entice someone else to buy.
When you’re selling, keep a tidy home and tuck away all your family photos and knickknacks. Try to create as many open, clear spaces as you can. Clean off counters and other surfaces. Even the toaster and blender should be stored away when you show your home.
Ideally you will have time to give all the rooms a fresh coat of paint. You don’t need to hire an interior designer, but do look over your home with an unbiased eye. Is it warm and inviting? Pleasing to the eye?
If you smoke or have pets, your home will likely have an odor. Although you might be used to it, others may not appreciate it.
Removing pet urine smells out of carpets takes care; you’ll likely need to use special solutions or a steam cleaner. With rugs, you may just have to buy new ones. Vinegar will work on most flooring. If you have a litter box, change it daily while showing your home.
The Borders Team has a connection for stubborn odor removal. Ask about it.
If you smoke, try to smoke outside as much as possible. Most nonsmokers are sensitive to the smell of smoke. Not only will they want to leave, they may also find the prospect of cleansing a home of smoke odor a turnoff. You may be so used to it that you hardly notice the odor, but others will walk out the door quickly.
If there is a heavy smell in the home from years of smoking indoors, try washing the walls with vinegar. And don’t forget the curtains, shades and anything else that might collect the tar and resin from the smoke.
For any unwanted smells, try baking soda. Sprinkle it around the house, on the furniture and on the carpets. Let it sit for a day so the granules can absorb the odors and then vacuum it all up. You may have to do this a few times.
Think of it as vacuuming your way to a good deal on your home.