Tips on selling
Getting your house ready to sell takes time and careful planning, but the investment will pay dividends by leaving potential buyers with a good impression, and the natural sense that you are someone who takes good care of the property.
If you complete the following 8-steps your success in selling is much more likely, and your stress will be reduced.
1 Disassociate Yourself with Your Home
The time and resource investment in this step may be minimal, but it is the hardest step for many sellers. It sounds easy, but it is difficult to embrace the mental decision to be emotionally detached from the space you have called Home. Try to focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours. Try to think of your house as just another commodity that has pros and cons like any other product a potential buyer will consider. In short: let go.
2 De-Personalize/ De-Clutter
One of the most time consuming steps, but this also may provide the most obvious improvement in how your home is viewed.
Most homes shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that aren’t necessary or in any way block a path or the “flow” or a room. Sell them or put them in storage. If your dining table has leaves or extensions to make it larger, be sure to remove them. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room’s purpose, but make sure there is plenty of space to move around freely.
Get a head-start on packing, you are after all going to move, so start now. Pack personal photographs, family heirlooms, books, collectables or knickknacks. Buyers will get distracted with your items, and you want them to be able to visualize their own belongings in the space. Consider donating, selling or recycling items which you not longer want or use. No sense in packing and moving things which you don’t need.
Clean everything off the kitchen counters. Keep your refrigerator clean and not too packed. Buyers maybe opening cabinets so keep them tidy. Same holds true for closets, and if you have a large walk in closet, be sure a buyer can see the whole thing.
3 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, they won’t want it, but once you tell a buyer they can’t have an item, they will covet it. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary. Remember, it’s the small things that can turn someone off a house and delay a sale.
4 Make Minor Repairs
The key word here is ‘minor.’ Unless you are confident that a remodel cost will be recouped in the sale, or major repairs are necessary for health or safety reasons, it probably does not make sense to invest too heavily.
A few items which are inexpensive and helpful or necessary for an easier sale:
The state of Oregon requires smoke detectors to have silent buttons and 10year batteries, if you have an old smoke detector replace it now since you will have to before it closes anyway.
- 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
- Paint (best bang for your buck)
- Replace burned-out light bulbs
5 Make the House Sparkle
It is expected that your will have your home clean when you go to sell it, but some items are easy to overlook. Consider the following:
- Wash windows inside and out
- Rent or borrow a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior
- Clean out cobwebs
- Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks
- Polish chrome faucets and mirrors
- Vacuum often
- Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures weekly
- Replace worn rugs and regularly wash your bathroom rugs
6 Don’t Smell It
If your house smells the buyer will remember, and it creates an instant negative image.
- Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Buy a dehumidifier for particularly bad areas (remember to empty the water collected daily)
- Clean cats litter box every day
- Do not smoke in the house (if you have smoked in it already, consider asking a trusted friend who doesn’t smoke if the house has a smoke smell, you may need to paint or clean carpets and furniture to help get rid of it).
- Odors may seem fairly innocent, but to many buyers it will turn them off enough not to consider what would otherwise be a good house for them.
7 Check Curb Appeal
Fairly easy stuff here, but first impressions can have a big impact. Pick up any garbage or loose items from your front yard and sidewalk. Mow the lawn and add new bark dust or mulch in your planting areas. Trim bushes and trees to make them attractive and not invade walking spaces. Plant flowers in groups or in flower pots (it has been suggested that the color yellow evokes a buying emotion; might be worth a shot, try Marigolds). Paint faded window trim and make sure your house numbers are clearly visible from the street.
8 Choosing the Right Realtor
There are several ‘right’ ways to do this; but here are some suggestions we think are helpful (and quite frankly make us look good):
- Ask your friends and family for referrals of Realtors that they have used successfully
- Call a few Realtors and ask them to give you a presentation of what the market is like for your property and what their strategy is when they list a property. Be respectful of their schedule, but if they have no availability to meet, they may not be readily available to help you or potential buyers in a timely manner. Do they provide hard data from very recent sales to back up their numbers? Are they using different property types or old data to inflate the potential sales price just to get the listing? Remember, you can always determine what your initial sales price will be, a good Realtor will give you a educated outline of what has been happening in the market so you can make the best decision.
- Are they a full-service Realtor that will handle the marketing, showings, informational calls, negotiations and shoulder the necessary legal processes and risks? Do they have a valid membership to list the property in the MLS (this is important since over 3/4 of all buyers use a Realtor who reviews properties in the MLS)? If they answer no to any of these, you must determine if are you comfortable, and have the time, to handle whatever items they will not.
The commission you pay a Selling Agent is split with a Buyers Agent
- Typically a Buyers agent receives about half for bringing in a buyer; how much do they offer the Buyers agent? Do they offer a discount to you if they find a buyer on their own?
- Are they comfortable representing you as a seller and a potential buyer in the same transaction? If yes; how do they reconcile the fact that a seller and a buyer are hoping for opposite results during the negotiations?
- Will they be handling the process and any communications on their own, or will they have colleagues or assistants handling things once the house is listed?
- Be honest with whichever Realtor you choose. They may offer different marketing strategies and pricing suggestions depending on what your circumstances are. If you can afford to list a property for months things will be done differently than if you have to sell it in a matter of weeks.