Everyone knows there are three main things that must be considered when selling a house: location, pricing and condition. Let’s take a look at how you can improve your chances of selling in these areas.
The location is usually the first determining factor when buyers are considering a home to buy. As a seller you can’t physically move your home if you aren’t in the most desirable neighborhood, now can you? So what can you do? On an afternoon, when you have nothing to do, ha ha, you can load everyone – yes, I said everyone into the car and take a tour of your neighborhood and the surrounding areas. Why did I say everyone? Sometimes our kids know more good things about the neighborhood than the adults do, like where is the best place to skateboard, play basketball etc.?
Someone can take the responsibility for writing things down as you are touring. The others can shout out all the good places and conveniences they see and know about and why they are an advantage to living where you do. You want to mention things like 1.1 miles to I-64. Greenbrier Mall serves our area and is 3 miles away. The closest golf course is on Volvo Pkwy. Food lion, Farm Fresh, etc. are nearby grocery stores. The Recreation Center is 1 mile away. You get the idea.
Neatly compile your list of advantages on your computer when you get home and add your personal reasons for living where you live. If you love your schools, state why and give the distance to each. Have this ready for buyers to take when they view your home. Just doing this one thing is a great marketing tool in trying to sell your home. It is impossible for Realtors to know all the benefits of each neighborhood and selling your home is a partnership. If you list your home with an agent, they will love this.
Another important factor is the price. No one wants to pay more than a house is worth. Of course, you want as much money as the market will bear, but you have to be realistic too. Prices have fallen sharply since the end of 2006. It’s not the same market. The competition is fierce. You need to be ruthless about the marketing price too.
When pricing your home, the best thing to do is to get an appraisal up front so that you know what market range you should be expecting. Make sure and tell the appraiser that you are getting ready to sell your house and not just refinancing. The appraisal is only good for 6 months, but it still gives you a good starting point and puts you in the ball park. Agents are having a tough time pricing homes now in this falling market. Being as accurate as possible is extremely important and saves precious time. You don’t want to price it too high, but you don’t want to leave money on the table either. Hire an appraiser that is local and experienced in the local market. You also want someone who does residential appraisals. The appraiser should be licensed and /or certified. Certified appraisers require more education. In this market you can’t afford to play around with the listing price. It is essential to price your house correctly the first time. Buyers can’t get much better assurance than knowing that an impartial third party has set the value of the home.
That brings us to condition. This is the item that make or breaks the sale in a majority of cases. With this item alone you can take the initiative and really make your home sparkle and shine. The first thing you can do is start packing. Yes, that’s right. You are going to have to pack anyway so you might as well get a head start and get rid of everything that is cluttering up “home sweet home” and this includes the closets and garage. The idea here is to create space, space and more space. Where do you put all this stuff? You could rent a storage unit. Ask if a friend or family member if they have extra room for a short time. Store it in the attic. Give it away. Put it out to the trash. Sell it.
The next step is to get everything Q-tip clean inside and outside. Don’t let any area evade “Mr. Clean”. Pay special attention to kitchens and baths. The windows are also very important. Remember they will be looking out of the windows to see the view, so they definitely will notice those dirty windows with all the spider webs.
I have to be very blunt here and mention odors and we’re not talking roses. We’re talking stale odors, pet odors, mildew odors and any other odor that is offensive to someone entering your home. You’ll have to find an objective nose of someone you trust and elicit there opinion here. Your home stager can also advise you here.
Now that you have the clutter removed and everything cleaned the next thing to do is to stage your home properly. Look at it this way. Your home as you live in it now is a home. You have made it this way by personalizing and customizing it to fit your families’ desires and needs. When you first bought the house, it was just that – a house – four walls and a roof basically. However, when you are selling it’s not a house or a home; it is a commodity, a product for sale among many other products for sale. You have to de-personalize and market to the masses.
So what do you do about merchandising your product? Tons of books have been written about the art of merchandising and staging is a fairly new buzzword. Home staging is a system that prepares your house for sale by accentuating your home’s advantages and reducing its negatives to generate the highest possible return. Homes Stagers are trained professionals specializing in merchandising your home (product) for sale.
A properly staged home will sell on average 50% faster than an unstaged property and at a sales price 3%-6% higher. In fact, if you don’t stage, you are helping the competition sell their home. The staging fees are usually less than your first price reduction. Call a Home Stager to evaluate your home. Many packages are available. Check to see that the stager has completed some type of training such as an Accredited Staging Professional or ASP.
Remember, improving the condition of your home is the most important thing you yourself can do to sell your home and if you lack the expertise or time, by all means call a Home Stager.
These suggestions may sound simple, but taken together, they go a long way to reaching your selling success.