Information for Home Sellers
How to Get Ready to List Your Property:
Every seller wants their home to sell fast and bring in top dollar. Does that sound good to you? Well, it's not luck that makes that a reality; it's careful planning and choosing the right agent that will make it possible.
Below I've outlined how to prep a house and turn your property into an irresistible and marketable home that will send home buyers running for their checkbooks.
Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can't see past personal artifacts, and you don't want them to be distracted. You want them to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can't do that if yours are there! You want buyers to say, "I can see myself living here."
Consider this: if you haven't used it in over a year, you probably don't need it. If you don't need it, why not donate it or throw it away? Remove all books from bookcases. Pack up those knickknacks. Clean off everything on kitchen counters. Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use. Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway. Rearrange Bedroom Closets and Kitchen Cabinets. Buyers love to snoop and will open closet and cabinet doors. Think of the message it sends if items fall out! Now imagine what a buyer believes about you if she sees everything organized. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well.
Rent a Storage Unit
Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Since your bookcases are now empty, store them. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room's purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don't want buyers scratching their heads and saying, "What is this room used for?"
Remove/Replace Favorite Items.
If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, she won't want it. Once you tell a buyer they can't have an item, they will covet it, and that could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.
Make Minor Repairs.
Replace cracked floor or counter tiles. Patch holes in walls. Fix leaky faucets. Fix doors that don't close properly and kitchen drawers that jam. Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls. (Don't give buyers any reason to remember your home as "the house with the orange bathroom.") Replace burned-out light bulbs. If you've considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now!
Make the House Sparkle!
Wash windows inside and out. Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior. Clean out cobwebs. Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks. Polish chrome faucets and mirrors. Clean out the refrigerator. Vacuum daily. Wax floors. Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures. Bleach dingy grout. Replace worn rugs. Hang up fresh towels. Bathroom towels look great fastened with ribbon and bows. Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no.
Go outside and open your front door. Stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you? Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer. Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense. Make sure window coverings hang level. Tune in to the room's statement and its emotional pull. Does it have impact and pizzazz? Does it look like nobody lives in this house? You're almost finished.
Check Curb Appeal.
If a buyer won't get out of her agent's car because she doesn't like the exterior of your home, you'll never get her inside. Keep the sidewalks cleared. Mow the lawn. Paint faded window trim. Plant yellow flowers or group flower pots together. Yellow evokes a buying emotion. Marigolds are inexpensive. Trim your bushes. Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.
Your home reflects your personality. It fits you, and the way you live. Your home is wonderful and functional to you, so why stage it?
Staging depersonalizes the home. This allows potential buyers to see themselves living in your home. This is a key step buyers must take before decide to buy your home. If a buyer cannot imagine the home as their own, they will not take the purchase to the next step.
In today's market, your home needs to exceed the expectations of buyers. Your home is competing with many others. Give your home an advantage - stage it and set it apart from the competition.
In a slow real estate market where prices may be going down and new competition is coming into the market every day, time is money to you as a home seller.
You can't afford to miss the buying season and have your home sit on the market for 12 months or more. There are costs associated with hanging onto a home longer than you want to.
These costs include the tangible things like mortgage costs, property tax and insurance. But there are intangible costs too; wasting time commuting to your new job that is farther away, not being able to send your kids to a better school until you move to a different neighborhood, trying to keep your house showing-ready when you've got kids and pets and a full-time job, etc.
Step 1: Find Out How Much Your Home is Worth
There are several ways to find out how much a property is worth.
The "in-depth" way to do it is to do an analisys of comparable sales. We have a special, proprietary spreadsheet model that allows us to evaluate the last 100+ sales in an area based on the price per square foot (PSF), tax assessment ratio, and other factors. Here's a screenshot:
A quick way is to look for recent sales in the neighborhood. The Washington Post has a great site for this, available here.
Many of our customers ask how good sites like Zillow.com are. Our answer is, "they're good, some of the time." Our experience (and backed up by a recent WSJ article) is that the estimates can be very accurate, or off by more than 25%, and it's hard to tell when they're wrong. We think Zillow is great to get the feel of a neighborhood, but very dangerous to use when deciding how much to offer or sell for on any one specific property.
Step 2: Schedule a Listing Presentation
A listing presentation is an opportunity for us to better understand your home and your goals in selling, and for you to get to know us and our expertise, and how we can help you.
As a firm, we are very selective in which homes we list. There are many properties on the market that will not sell because either the seller's expectations are out of line, or the property is not in good enough shape to sell.
Remember - Realtors aren't miracle workers. If you're asking $50k or $100k too much for your home, no amount of marketing is going to get it to sell.
What we do is position & brand the property in the marketplace so it has the best chance of getting an offer, and then negotiating that offer to get you the best deal.
Oftentimes the process involves staging the home, doing work to get it ready for sale, putting the home on CraigsList.org, putting the home on the MLS & Realtor.com, sending out JustListed postcards, making a custom URL with the address of the house, among other things.
When we come to your home to do a listing presentation, we will do a custom CMA analysis of the last ~100 similar homes in your area to have been listed, so we can give you macro trends and help you value your property by pricing per square foot (PSF) and the tax assessment ratio. We'll also walk the property to give you suggestions and recommendations on what you can improve to get the house sold quickly. We may also tell you we don't think we're the right company to list your home, if we don't think we can sell it.
To have us visit your home for a complementary listing presentation please submit an inquiry.
We make a URL that is the same as your home's street address, and then put the website on all our marketing material, and even as a rider on the for sale sign. This way, when buyers are driving by the house, they can easily to to a website and see 50+ photos of the interior. You can see more examples in our seller FAQ showcasing how we're different (and better) than other listing agents.
Whether this is your first house, or you've done it all before, DROdio Real Estate, Inc. has the resources and expertise you need to purchase your next home. We provide you with a winning combination: Tools to help you find what you want, and smart, tech-savvy agents to represent your interests and close the deal. Follow the steps below and contact us when you're ready.
We'll be here when you need us.