As the seller, you can control three factors that will affect the sale of your home:
* The home’s condition
* Asking price
* Marketing strategy
The process of selling a home has several components:
- Deciding The Right Time To Sell
- Finding The Right Agent
- Prepping The Home
- Listing The Home
1.) Pricing and Timing Strategies
The best way to figure out the price of your home is to do a comparative market analysis, (CMA) based on a few properties that are on the market now AND many properties that have recently sold.
Thinking of setting a high starting price, and then lowering it? NO!!!!!
Most sellers don’t want to hear that their home isn’t going to bring a higher price than the one down the street that sold 6 months ago. But, they may be unaware that the sold home had a ton of upgrades, and was in far better condition than their home is.
A CMA will flush these facts out. By the way, the best day of the week to actually put your home on the MLS? Thursday.
Most agents list on Friday, but let’s keep it a secret..
Further Reading: “How To Price To Sell and Still Make A Profit”
2.) Locating The Right Agent
I pride my on listening to my clients from the first phone call, to every meeting, to the escrow document signing, and beyond. A good agent knows something about the area, has plenty of marketing resources and savvy, and always keeps the client informed at every milestone along the way.
3.) Preparing Your Home For A Sale:
The way you live in a home versus the way you sell it are two very different things. You basically need to move out, while still living there. Pretend the President will be visiting, with Martha Stewart on his arm.
First, de-clutter counter tops, walls and rooms. Put away the pictures and paintings that personalize your home too much, You want the buyer to be able to picture themselves living in it, not how it has been lived in, in the past. Don’t strip everything completely or it will appear too inhospitable.
Sanitize and spiff up all rooms, including floors, walls and ceilings. It’s crucial that the bathroom and kitchen are spotless, as buyers equate a home’s overall cleanliness from its kitchen appearance. Organize closets, so they show they are capable of storing lots of things. I opened a closet door once, and a pile of stuff came cascading down… The buyer walked out the front door.
Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work and replace old ugly faucets. It is not that expensive, and gives a “halo effect” to the rest of the home.
Make sure the house smells like Martha Stewart just finished baking an apple pie.
(I’m Not Kidding! Homes that smell like garlic fail every time!)
Lose the kitty litter, and add a vase of fresh flowers somewhere in the house. Pleasant, but not elevator music in the background music is also a powerful way of filling the silence that occurs when doing a walk-through. If the home is vacant, it is often tough for buyers to visualize how it will perform once outfitted with furniture. If the budget allows, you should consider staging it.
Outside: This is obviously where the first impression of your house comes from, so it’s more important than the things I listed above. Curb appeal is king! People driving by a property will instantly judge whether or not it warrants a closer look.
We see the following once a month, so the rules below bear repeating:
Last thing, on actual days that your agent wants to show:
Sorry, but it is creepier for EVERYONE if the current owner is even sitting quietly on their couch. Buyers want to be able to speak freely with their agent. Buyers and sellers should really only meet on one day: closing day.
Your agent is obligated to show you all offers that come in on your home. Don’t shoot the messenger. In any market, there might be a low ball offer. My job, as your agent, is to “re-educate” the buyer’s agent and the buyer about your property, pointing out why the property is worth the money. Multiple offer situations are common right now, and secondary things take on importance, such as the credit worthiness and liquid capitol that prospective buyers have.
The main question? Can this buyer close? Many can’t, despite early paperwork suggesting they can. If your home sits on the market for a month without a single offer, you’ve probably priced it 4-6% too high. Don’t hold out for unrealistic expectations, as the market is pretty much always right.
One of my preferred vendors, Pathway Escrow has a great set of FAQ’s for the specifics involved in an escrow.
Don’t just take my suggestions. Here is a feature from the National Association of Realtors that has a round-up of the best real estate advice they heard all year.
Many escrows get delayed by either the buyer or seller not doing something when requested. Trust us when we say that everything is gone over with a fine-tooth comb. This is not the time to mostly fill out a document. Dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ to get through this with the least headaches.
For a visual re-inforcement of these points… an Infographic: