So, you’ve decided to sell your house. Now what? There’s so much to do, so much you don’t know. Where do you start? This blog will outline some tips for preparing to sell your house.
Nearly 90% of home sellers hire a real estate agent. A good agent will help analyze the market and set a listing price, market the property, hold open houses, juggle offers, handle contracts and trust funds, and negotiate with the buyer’s agent. That’s a lot of stuff for you to take on alone; best to get some expert help.
Typically, sellers sold for 98% of the listing price and sold homes were on the market for 4 weeks, per the 2016 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Overpriced property is a top reason houses sit on the market or don’t sell at all. Homebuyers in the Internet Age know the fair market price of the type of house they want, and an overpriced house can scare them away.
Your real estate agent will conduct a comparative market analysis, which compares recently sold or listed houses in the neighborhood with your house to determine a fair, competitive asking price. The listing price should not be based on what you paid for it or how much profit you need.
Set the best price from the start. The longer the property is on the market, the lower the sales price.
To make the smart choices, you’ll need to take the emotions out of the process. You may have raised three kids in this house, but now it’s just a property you want to sell. This also helps when preparing for open houses: you de-personalize and declutter so the house looks fresh and neat and ready for someone else to make it their home.
You’ll likely need to make some wise investments in strategic repairs and upgrades to ensure your house looks its best. Your agent can negotiate a better price if she can point to the new roof or the fresh coat of paint. Florida is a competitive market; it’s time to step up your game.
Look at your house the way a stranger would. Search for the wear-and-tear damage you don’t notice anymore that’s accumulated over the years. Fix nail holes, ceiling stains, wall scrapes, loose door jams, damaged screens, and leaky faucets before the first potential buyer steps foot in your house.
Get a head start on the moving process. When staging for open houses, agents will advise minimizing the clutter as much as possible. Old appliances and exercise equipment, off-season clothes and linens, and Grandma’s old rocking chair go into storage or to Goodwill. Artwork, photographs, souvenirs, toys, and other non-essential items should also be stored away.
This is the time for the deep clean. You try to keep to a respectable cleaning schedule, but you don’t have time to get down to the nitty gritty, like the baseboards, inside the kitchen cabinets, shower grout, ceiling corners, kitchen walls, and all the windows. A professional crew will hit all those hard-to-reach places and get your house looking clean and new.
Remember, prospective buyers will be looking at everything, opening all the doors and cabinets, checking closets and storage, touring the garage and basement, and turning on all the lights and faucets.
These two rooms often have an out-sized impact on home sales so make sure they both look great. They’re also two of the dirtiest rooms in the house; deep cleaning is crucial. Get new towels and hide personal grooming products in attractive bins and baskets. Move appliances and dishes you rarely use to storage and make sure the refrigerator, oven, and microwave are thoroughly cleaned inside and out.
An open house is the best chance for your house to shine; take it seriously and commit to the staging tips your agent suggests. Reduce the contents of closets and storage spaces to make them appear larger. Shampoo the carpets, simplify the décor, take out the trash, mow the lawn, and remove pets and litter boxes, valuables, and prescription medicine.
Don’t forget odors. Mildew, pet smells, and food odors can repel prospective buyers from a good -looking house. Find and eliminate the sources and light a scented candle or bake cookies before an open house.
You also need to be ready for pop-in showings when an agent has buyers in the neighborhood. Many houses for sale will have key lock boxes at the front door so agents can show when the owner isn’t home. Do a quick clean-and-straighten sweep every day before you go to work. Have a fast cleanup plan with supplies to get the house ready at a moment’s notice. Stage attractive baskets in several rooms to hide everyday clutter.