Melody Stevens Realty, Real Estate Guides
Selling a property
For whatever reason, there comes a time in nearly every homeowner’s life when they need to sell a home. Whether they are leaving the area, expanding the family, upgrading the home or just want a change of scenery, home sellers can benefit from the following guidelines.
1. Select a Professional
While it is possible to sell a home on your own, it is proven that home sales by owner generally capture the homeowner less money, consume more of their time and can also leave the home seller open to tremendous liability to the new buyer. Working with a Realtor can shield you from legal tangles (in most cases), and save you large amounts of time and money. A Professional Realtor offers knowledge, experience and tremendous negotiation skills. You’ll find yourself depending on your Realtor for MANY things throughout the home preparation and selling process.
It is recommended that you interview at least 3 Realtors to find one you "click" with. Once you have made a decision on a Realtor, let the others who have hopes of working for you know that you have selected another. This is not only professional courtesy, but any one of those Realtors may be back with a buyer for your home. In order to earn the loyalty of your chosen Realtor, commit to them and politely decline solicitations by others. It will go a long way in the selling of your home.
2. What is the right price to ask?
The key to selling your home is to find out what it is worth. There are two procedures that can determine a fair price for your home. The first is by asking a Realtor to perform a market analysis based on what similar homes in your area have been selling for. To do this, a Realtor will use the local tax records, their local Multiple Listing Service Database and experience in real estate transactions. A Realtor can give you an estimate that is unbiased and generally accurate.
The second procedure is to hire an appraiser to appraise your home. This will be a true value of your home and nearly ANY bank will loan money based on that professional appraisal. Since an appraisal costs anywhere from $300-500 (general estimate), not many sellers will take this step. Also keep in mind that as you sell, the banks will require the buyer to have the home appraised anyway. While you are not guaranteed a copy, it is generally acceptable for you to know the final appraisal amount. To find out what is right for your situation, ask your Realtor.
3. Preparation - Inside the home
Once you have established a selling price and selected a Realtor, there will be a few things that you will want to do to make your home show its best:
a. Clean all clutter inside, clear space on shelves and table surfaces, remove excessive wall hangings and/or controversial pictures, art or subject matter. Remember, you want to sell your home, not your points of view. Consider renting a storage space if you do not have room to store items.
b. Make small repairs. Take time to look around for gouges in the wall, nicks in the paint, stains in the carpet, etc. In addition, ask your Realtor or a friend to come to your house and view it for you. You will be surprised how much an objective eye can catch. Fix those items most notable or that you can easily afford.
c. Keep the house smelling nice. Shopping for a home is sometimes uneasy for a home buyer. They find themselves amid a stranger’s home and personal belongings and it can be an uneasy feeling. To keep away from any negative aspects, keep in mind that the sense of smell is powerful and can have a negative impact in the "feel" a buyer can have from a home. Items to watch are: Bathrooms - consider mild plug-in air fresheners, keep surfaces dry and the toilet clean. Kitchens - be sure to keep the sinks clean and the garbage out. Laundry room - do not allow laundry to pile up or "smell up" this area. Bedrooms - No room in the house captures smells like the bedroom, we sleep there for hours at a time. Try to keep linens fresh, if the weather is okay, open window for fresh air every morning. Try not to keep bedrooms sealed off from the rest of the house. It is also not a good idea to make your favorite dish if it has an overpowering aroma, at least not close to a showing. Scented potpourri or candles and air freshener sprays are nice to keep around and can be handy covering up the onion soup smell for that "last minute" visit by a Realtor with a potential client.
4. Preparation - Outside the home
Nothing says "Pride of Ownership" more than a well cared for home. The first impression you give anyone as they arrive is obviously from the outside. Oftentimes potential buyers have already driven by a number of times to “check it out” before calling their Realtor to get inside. This is where that classic phrase "Curb Appeal" can sell your home or keep it on the market, leaving you wondering why nobody is viewing your home. Some of the items you will want to pay attention to:
a. Driveway - Make sure the driveway is always as clear as possible, if you have a garage, use it for your car, not for storage. Check that any noticeable oil stains are cleaned up. Stop by a local building supply or masonry shop for special detergents to clean concrete. Patch any chips or clean any soiled areas in the concrete apron, curb or sidewalks. If you live on a corner, ask the city to clean up the paint on the curb (usually yellow).
b. Lawn - If you have grass, make sure it is watered well. Keep the edges neatly trimmed and the length short. Consider using fertilizer to enrich the greenery, but be sure to ask someone at a nursery or supply store about when and how much to apply. Also be aware that fertilizer makes the grass grow much faster, you may have to mow 2 or 3 times a week to keep the lawn looking sharp.
c. Planters and other areas - Make sure there are no weeds. Consider a nice ground cover to contrast with the grass. Various mulches, bark chips, etc. are available to cover areas and keep them nice.
d. Roofs - Walk to the street and look at your roof. Is there any loose roofing material, debris from trees, leaves or moss? If you can see it, your potential home buyer will too. Clean it up. If you have a moss problem, check again with your local building supply store about moss control. Make sure the gutters are clean and hanging correctly.
e. House in general - Clean all cobwebs and dust from the exterior of the home. A good spraying with a garden hose can take care of this, but be careful around windows if you own an older home. Make sure the paint is not peeling, chipped or discolored in any area.
f. Welcoming Porch area - As a potential buyer walks up to your door, they might be thinking how would it impress their friends and family if they were coming to visit them in their new home. They will notice all the details: a nice well lit, open area, nice door and light fixture. How are the planters are around the entry? Is the door knob and/or window clean? Be sure to check for cobwebs and dead insects inside your light fixture.
5. Easy Does it
The most important step in selling your home once you have cleaned, polished, patched and repaired is to make the home accessible.
a. Pets - If you have pets, make sure they are out of the way. Not many people really care to encounter pets whether hostile or docile. This is not the time for you to show off your dog or cat because you think it is cute. When the home is being shown, remove the animal from the house; either place it in a portable kennel or take it for a walk. Try not to lock the animal in one room that is then inaccessible to the potential buyer.
b. Showing - One surefire way to have your house shown LESS is by demanding an appointment before showing. Keep in mind that other people value their time just as you do. By demanding an appointment you create a difficult to manage scenario for both the would-be buyers and the Realtor involved. This may remove your home from the "possible homes list" of house hunters. While people view homes it is hard to stay on a timeline. Often people will want to see a home on a moment's notice. While it is not necessary you allow them to show up at the door unannounced, if you truly want to sell you'll do your best to accommodate short notice showings. Realtors have a great method for handling showing your home, ask them about the Lock Boxes and access to the home.
While there are many things that can affect the sale of your home, the first impression you give to a potential buyer may be your last. This can be good in that the buyer buys the home or it may be bad in that the buyer does not even see the home. By covering the items in this article you can be sure that if your home is realistically priced and you have an experienced Realtor, you'll sell quickly and satisfactorily.