Selling your home can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you don’t have an experienced realtor by your side. I’ve seen so many homes sell for less than they should, simply because the seller or realtor did a poor job of presenting the home. Below is a list of the top five things you can do to get top dollar for your home – aside from hiring me as your realtor….
1) Get Your Home “Show” Ready
When you’re selling something, you want to make it look as good as it possibly can. Your goal is to make it appeal to as many people as you can. You need to de-personalize your home – take down all (maybe not all, but most) the photos of you and your family, pack up all your trinkets and all the amazing “stuff” you’ve collected over the years. You want to disassociate yourself from your home and see it just as a house – not your home.
You also want to make the repairs necessary to create a good first impression. Often times, home owners don’t think the broken light, or loose hand rail, or scratched floor isn’t a big deal. However, if there are a lot of small things that a seller hasn’t fixed, buyers will think that the home has been neglected and not well taken care of. Paint what needs to be painted, get the house thoroughly cleaned and keep it clean.
2) Price it Correctly
One of the biggest problems I see with homes that don’t sell, is that people price them too high. For some reason, people think that if they price their home well (where it should be based on the comps and current market conditions), buyers will still try and get a better deal. In my experience, if you price a home where it should be, it will sell for the list price, or very close to it. Buyers are extremely savvy and they know what homes are worth – they watch the market daily and know every sale around your home. Pricing your home too high will not only discourage buyers from looking at it, but some buyers/agents might not even see it because they set their search parameters too low (even if you might sell for a price in their search range).
Most of the homes I list, sell for the list price, or within a few percent of the list price. I think it’s important for the seller to know what to expect and not to mislead them by taking an overpriced listing. It’s also crucial to price the home well from the start since most of the interest will come in the first few weeks.
3) Get Professional Pictures
Not just good pictures – PROFESSIONAL PICTURES. The best thing you can do to sell your home is to have great photos taken. Too often, agents are too cheap and too lazy to hire a professional photographer. This is a fatal error and can cost the seller thousands of dollars and will undoubtedly take longer to sell your home.
I personally attend every photo shoot to make sure my photographer gets every angle we need to get. I also coordinate the shoot so that the property has the ideal amount of light, to best portray the home. Twilight shots are also a great idea if your home faces the right way and the weather cooperates.
4) Broker Caravan
Once your home is listed, have you realtor hold it open on broker’s caravan. This is basically an open house for realtors so they can see what’s new on the market. It’s a chance to get agents in your home and see what it looks like in person – not just online. This is especially helpful if you have renters in your home and/or it’s difficult to show. Getting realtors into your home will make it stand out when they’re filtering through the dozens of homes for their clients. I like to offer prizes or cash to agents who come by my open houses, just to make sure I get as many agents in there as possible.
**A broker’s open house is very different from a regular open house. A broker’s open is aimed at getting agents (who will ultimately bring your buyer) to see the home. A regular open house is meant for the hosting agent to get new clients – potential home buyers walk in, the agent develops a rapport with them, gets their info and then hopefully starts working with them. Only about 1% of homes are actually sold through an open house – it’s just a lead generation tool (as are ads).
5) Show You Home
Once you’ve put all this effort into making your home look great, you’re going to have people who want to see it. It’s going to be annoying, but keep the place clean and try to allow as many showings as your agent requests. Often times, buyers are in town only for a few days and if they don’t see your home then, they might not make it back for months. You need to leave the house before they arrive (not when they arrive) and you need to have it looking as good as you can – pick up your dirty clothes, make your bed, do your dishes and keep it clean!
Obviously there are more than five things you can do to sell your home, but these are the top five. Having an agent who will tell you what needs to be done and will help you through the process is also key. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen bad agents cost their clients serious amounts of money. Yes it’s easy to become a realtor, but not all good. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about.