1. Make the Most of that First Impression… THIS IS STAGING!
A well-manicured lawn, neatly trimmed shrubs and a clutter-free porch welcome prospects. So does a freshly painted – or at least freshly scrubbed – front door. If it’s autumn, rake the leaves. If it’s winter, shovel the walkways. The fewer obstacles between prospects and the true appeal of your home, the better.
2. Invest a Few Hours for Future Dividends
Here’s your chance to clean up in real estate. Clean up the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen. If your woodwork is scuffed or the paint is fading, consider some minor redecoration. Fresh wallpaper adds charm and value to your property. If you’re worried about time, hire professional cleaners or painters to get your house ready. Remember, prospects would rather see how great your home really looks than hear how great it could look “with a little work.”
3. Check Faucets and Bulbs
Dripping water rattles the nerves, discolors sinks, and suggests faulty or worn-out plumbing. Burned out bulbs or faulty wiring leave prospects in the dark. Don’t let little problems detract from what’s right with your home.
4. Don’t Shut Out a Sale
If cabinets or closet doors stick in your home, you can be sure they will also stick in a prospect’s mind. Don’t try to explain away sticky situations when you can easily sand them away. A little effort on your part can smooth the way toward a closing.
5. Think Safety
Homeowners learn to live with all kinds of self-set booby traps: roller skates on the stairs, festooned extension cords, slippery throw rugs and low hanging overhead lights. Make your residence as non-perilous as possible for uninitiated visitors.
6. Make Room for Space
Remember, potential buyers are looking for more than just comfortable living space. They’re looking for storage space, too. Make sure your attic and basement are clean and free of unnecessary items.
7. Consider Your Closets
The better organized a closet, the larger it appears. Now’s the time to box up those unwanted clothes and donate them to charity.
8. Make Your Bathroom Sparkle
Bathrooms sell homes, so let them shine. Check and repair damaged or unsightly caulking in the tubs and showers. For added allure, display your best towels, mats, and shower curtains.
9. Create Dream Bedrooms
Wake up prospects to the cozy comforts of your bedrooms. For a spacious look, get rid of excess furniture. Colorful bedspreads and fresh curtains are a must.
10. Open up in the Daytime
Let the sun shine in! Pull back your curtains and drapes so prospects can see how bright and cheery your home is.
11. Lighten up at Night
Turn on the excitement by turning on all your lights – both inside and outside – when showing your home in the evening. Lights add color and warmth, and make prospects feel welcome.
12. Avoid Crowd Scenes
Potential buyers often feel like intruders when they enter a home filled with people. Rather than giving your house the attention it deserves, they’re likely to hurry through. Keep the company present to a minimum.
13. Watch Your Pets
Dogs and cats are great companions, but not when you’re showing your home. Pets have a talent for getting underfoot. So do everybody a favor: Keep Kitty and Spot outside, or at least out of the way.
14. Think Volume
Rock-and-roll will never die. But it might kill a real estate transaction. When it’s time to show your home, it’s time to turn down the stereo or TV.
Be friendly, but don’t try to force conversation. Prospects want to view your home with a minimum of distraction.
16. Don’t Apologize
No matter how humble your abode, never apologize for its shortcomings. If a prospect volunteers a derogatory comment about your home’s appearance, let your experienced RE/MAX Associate handle the situation.
17. Keep a Low Profile
Nobody knows your home as well as you do. But RE/MAX Sales Associates know buyers – what they need and what they want. Your RE/MAX Associate will have an easier time articulating the virtues of your home if you stay in the background.
18. Don’t Turn Your Home into a Second-Hand Store
When prospects come to view your home, don’t distract them with offers to sell those furnishings you no longer need. You may lose the biggest sale of all.
19. Defer to Experience – It’s the Experience®
When prospects want to talk price, terms, or other real estate matters, let them speak to an expert – your RE/MAX Sales Associate.
20. Help Your Agent
Your RE/MAX Associate will have an easier time selling your home if showings are scheduled through his or her office. You’ll appreciate the results!
Getting the Highest Price in the Shortest Time
In order to get the highest price in the shortest time, you need to know how to market your home. The better you market your home, the more offers you will get. And the more offers you get, the more choices you have to get the price and terms you want.
The most important factor of marketing your home is pricing it right. Your price should be adjusted to reflect the market, and the property’s worth. The key is to get many people checking out your property at a fair price instead of having no buyers because your price is set to high.
Another important factor is the condition of your home. Make sure that your home looks ready to be sold. Fix any defects (peeling or faded paint, cracks, stains, etc.) Condition alone can sometimes prompt fast buying decisions. Not only should you fix any defects, but consider upgrading your home by making major repairs and cosmetic improvements before selling. A nice looking home triggers the emotional response that can lead to a financial response.
Learn how to negotiate the best terms for all parties involved. Terms are another factor which may be adjusted to attract buyers. If you insist on getting your asking price, think of what you can offer to the buyers, for example, improvements you’ve made, or even offering seller financing at a lower than market interest rate on a portion of the sale price. Convince them why they should be paying the price you have set.
Lastly, get the buzz out about your home. List your house with a hot agent that ensures your house is listed on the MLS and on the Internet. On your own, get the word out. It should be visible to passerby’s that your house if for sale, whether it be signs, local advertisements or you telling friends, family, and acquaintances.
Making a Good First Impression
If you want buyers to be interested in your home, you need to show it in its best light. A good first impression can influence a buyer into making an offer; it influences a buyer emotionally and visually. In addition, what the buyer first sees is what they think of when they consider the asking price.
A bad first impression can dissuade a potential buyer. Don’t show your property until it’s all fixed up. You do not want to give buyers the chance to use the negative first impression they have as means of negotiation.
Ask around for the opinions others have of your home. Real estate agents who see houses everyday can give solid advice on what needs to be done. Consider what architects or landscape designers have to say. What you need are objective opinions, and it’s sometimes hard to separate the personal and emotional ties you have for the home from the property itself.
Typically, there are some general fix ups that need to be done both outside and on the inside. As a seller, you should consider the following:
*Landscaping – Has the front yard been maintained? Are areas of the house visible to the street in good condition?
*Cleaning or Redoing the driveway – Is your driveway cluttered with toys, tools, trash etc.?
*Painting – Does both the exterior and the interior look like they have been well taken care of?
*Carpeting – Does the carpet have stains? Or does the carpet look old and dirty?
Know Why You are Selling
If you know exactly why you are selling, then it is easier for you to set the right plan of action to get what it is that you want.
If you are a seller who needs to close a sale as quickly as possible, then you should know that getting the highest price possible is not one of your priorities. It does not mean that you won’t or cannot get the highest price, but it means that the price is not the deciding factor. A buyer who can give you a quick closing time will appeal much more to you than a buyer who can offer you more money but the negotiation and closing time drag on.
It’s always good to know how low you will go, in terms of selling price. This will help to eliminate some of the offers that you find simply offensive or ridiculous. Even though you should consider all offers seriously and take into consideration the terms of each offer, sometimes, if you know the bottom line and are strict about it, you can save yourself time.
Once you know what your limits and reasons are, discuss them with your agent so that they can help you set your goals realistically. If you decide to list your home on your own, make sure you do research on the current market, and you get the proper advice you need in terms of legal issues, etc. The key is to be realistic and to know what your goals are so that they can be met.
Setting the Price
The price is the first thing buyers notice about your property. If you set your price too high, then the chance of alienating buyers is higher. You want your house to be taken seriously, and the asking price reflects how serious you are about selling your home.
Several factors will contribute to your final decision. First, you should compare your house to others that are in the market. If you use an agent, he/she will provide you with a CMA. The CMA will reflect the following:
*houses in your price range and area sold within the last half-year
*asking and selling prices of houses
*current inventory of houses on the market
*features of each house on the market
From the CMA, you will find out the difference between the asking price and selling price for all homes sold, the condition of the market, and other houses comparable to yours.
Also, try to find out what types of houses are selling and see if it applies to your area. Buyers follow trends, and these trends can help you set your price.
Always be realistic. And understand and set your price to reflect the current market situation.
Plan of Action
1) Analyze why you are selling – If you understand your motives, you will be able to better negotiate and to get what it is that you want, whether it be a quick sale, high price, or somewhere in the middle.
2) Prepare you home for the buyer – Maximize the strengths of your property and fix up it’s weaknesses. You want the buyer to walk away from your home with a lasting good impression.
3) Find a good real estate agent that understands your needs – Make sure that your agent is loyal to you, and can negotiate to help you achieve your goals. In addition, they should be assertive and honest with both you and the buyer.
4) Be prepared for negotiation – Learn and understand your buyer’s situation; what are their motives? Can you demand a big deposit from them? Try to lock in the buyer so that the deal goes through.
5) Negotiate for the best price and the best terms – Learn how to counter offer to get more from every offer.
6) Make sure the contract is complete – Be honest with your disclosures; you do not want to lose the deal because you were lying or diminishing your home’s defects. Insist the buyers get a professional inspection. This will protect both you and the buyer.
Finding the Right Agent
Not all agents work the same way. The most important attribute of an agent is that he/she is well connected to the real estate industry. He/she should know the market and provide information on past sales, current listings, his or her marketing plan, and at least 4 solid references. In addition, you also want to look for an agent that is honest, assertive, and one that best understands your needs.
Try to go with a local agent. They can better serve your needs; they are familiar with what the local market condition is, the local prices are, and what’s hot or not in your community.
When reading an offer, keep in mind that you are out to get the best price AND the best terms for you. If you focus solely on the price, you may overlook terms that could be favorable to you as a buyer.
Some terms that may work in your favor:
*higher-than-market-interest in a second mortgage for your home
*the buyer will pay for most or all of the closing costs
*the buyer will take care of any repairs
*quick close – the buyer is pre-approved and ready to close in a time that best suits you
When reading through offers, remember to look at the whole package. Take the time that you need to assess what is being offered and if it meets your needs.
Insist on a Home Inspection
A professional home inspection protects both you and the buyer. It allows both you and the buyer the opportunity to learn about the property’s defects.
A home inspection usually covers the following:
*Plumbing conditions – if there is leakage or clogging
*Roofing conditions – the extent of deterioration, if there is leakage
*Electrical conditions – if there are inadequate circuits or potential fire hazards
*Structural problems – if there are problems with the underlying foundation of your home
As a seller, the home inspection reports protect you because it establishes the actual condition of the property at the time of sale.