This article was last updated on January 4
Government incentives like the new home buyer credit and a weak economy definitely make this a buyer’s market. However thanks in large part to all the home buyer and mortgage assistance programs, people are still buying houses. But the key for any seller is to make their home stand out to prospective buyers, which involves having a good sales strategy before and while selling the house. Here are simple, but often over-looked, tips that make the difference between selling your home at the price you want or taking the only price you can get.
Prior to Listing Your Home : Prepare the Right Way
Hire a real estate agent: It may be tempting to list your home on your own to avoid paying a sales commission, but selling your own home is a full-time job itself. A real estate professional represents the best opportunity to earn the maximum amount from your home’s sale. An agent will recommend the best listing price, market your home effectively and show your home to buyers. An agent also recognizes what buyers are looking for in a new home
Get your home inspected. You are required to disclose any problems with your property to prospective buyers. Failure to do so will lead to further complications, even if you weren’t aware of the flaws ahead of time. Hire a professional inspector to identify and document any problems with your property. Also, make sure your home has a clean bill of health from termites.
Make repairs ahead of time. A long list of necessary repairs is a major put-off for most buyers, who may decide to move on rather than deal with the headache of fixing up the home. Do as many repairs yourself as possible, then hire a contractor to complete the rest. If you decide not to make major repairs beforehand, hire a reputable professional to provide cost estimates that you can show to any interested buyers to put their minds at ease.
Showcase your home. Curb appeal and first impressions are valuable assets when selling your home. Clear unnecessary items from your yard and maintain the landscape to welcome visitors. Keep the interior of your home clutter-free to maximize your home’s livable space.
Price it right. The original asking price of your home has a huge impact on the ultimate sales price. If you price it too high, buyers will look for better values and your home will remain on the market longer. The longer your home is on the market, the less desirable it becomes to buyers—even if you eventually lower your asking price— because most buyers will avoid a home that others are avoiding. Conversely, pricing your home too low may result in a quicker transaction but will yield you less money in the end
While Your Home is Listed : Make It Attractive to Buyers
Clean. Clean. Clean. A tidy home is a loved home. Wipe fingerprints and other smudges from glass, mirrors and other shiny surfaces. Wax and polish your hardwood and tile floors and vacuum your carpets often. Keep your oven, stove and kitchen counters clean and free of clutter.
Clean up the yard. Make sure your landscape is well maintained to increase curb appeal. A more conservative yard is often a better showcase for your home, so be generous with your trimming and pruning. Pare down bushes and trees that block windows. Pull weeds out of your flowerbeds, lawn and sidewalk cracks. Repair minor asphalt and walkway cracks if necessary. If your home has gutters on the roof, clean and clear them frequently.
Let there be light. Natural light is the best light to cast your home in. Replace faded and heavy curtains with sheer ones or install blinds. Opening the shades when showing your house will also make your home seem larger. Temporarily replace energy-efficient fluorescent lights with high-wattage incandescent bulbs to give your home a warmer glow. Make sure darker rooms are well lit. Display lightly scented potpourri or candles to give a fresh and homely aroma around the house.
Add a few little touches. Replace worn or outdated doorknobs, doormats, cabinet handles and light switches. Buy fresh new towels for the bathrooms, but don’t use them (keep the towels you use out of sight in a cabinet). Place flowers in windows that are walked by often. Display a seasonal decoration, such as a wreath or wood ornament. Buy new pillows for sofas and replace torn window screens
This was an edited guest post by Sherri Krohl of McEnearney Associates, Inc. You can contact her for a free consultation @ 703-850-6461. See her previous post – 10 Deadly Mistakes Buyers Make When Purchasing a Home and How to Avoid Them – for more home buying and selling information.
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