In today’s market, most Sellers rush online before even calling in a real estate professional. The ease of instant gratification from a website is just too good to pass up, regardless of the margin of error in these estimates! After the Seller, the Realtor is the other person cheering the sale on to its highest value. Nothing is more frustrating when a Seller thinks their house is inaccurately priced and the agent’s calculation is off. If the house could sell for another $100,000, who would want to leave money on the table? Certainly not the Seller or the Realtor.
The best way to price a property is by looking at recent sales. Sometimes, it’s worth the time to visit a few of the active listings, with which your home will compete. Market conditions set the accurate value, not the agent, not the Seller, and certainly not the websites! In an era when even cash buyers may include an appraisal clause that dictates the house must appraise at or above sales price or buyer reserves the right to renegotiate the sales price, pricing must be spot on. No one wants to receive the phone call that the house didn’t appraise.
Enough of the doom and gloom! The best way to sell your house for top dollar is to follow some simple steps:
- Price accurately! Often when the list price is competitive and in-line with recent comparable sales, the days on market will be fewer and the property will sell closer to asking price. However, if you can’t resist the urge to shoot for the stars, remember to drop the price in two weeks if you don’t have an offer by then.
- Clean! Society encourages us to simplify and this is the opportunity to embrace that mantra. You’re preparing for a move and no one wants to move things that could be donated or discarded.
- Curb appeal! Stand across the street and look at your house as though you were coming to buy it. What needs to be done? Add some seasonal plants that still allow room for folks to easily access the front door. Does the front door need any décor or to be repainted?
- List of Improvements? Have you made improvements to the home that should be brought to the attention of the Buyer? Create a list! Did you save every appliance manual or service contracts for home services? Buyers love purchasing a home from a well-organized Seller who is prepared to turn over a list of who to call for things like the alarm, the HVAC or anything along those lines.
- Remove personal belongings! If photos are present, Buyers will look to see if they know you, if their children know you or just a general distraction of what a great vacation you took. Too many knick-knacks can also deter a buyer. Just today, clients said to me, “are we in a Cracker Barrel Restaurant or is this a house?” Yes, Buyers should be looking beyond furniture, curtains, décor, photographs, but in reality the majority do not.
- Make certain the flow throughout the house will allow for 2 to 4 people to walk easily throughout the room and sufficient to make it to the windows, open the closets.
- Closets! Key phrase is “room for more!” Even if you’ve packed away out of season clothes in preparation for the move, the Buyer will think they could fit even more.
- Light! Make sure blinds are dust free and open. Turn on the lights before you leave for a showing so everything is light and bright when the potential Buyers arrive.
- Pets? If so, make sure the yard is clean. Smells inside the house are another consideration. I, too, am a pet owner and understand they don’t always smell like roses, but a quick bag of popcorn in the microwave is an easy fix. I feel your pain on this, but take them out of the house for a showing. At one showing, the Buyer was terrified of the Golden Retriever that the Seller had secured in the screened porch, so after getting permission, I put the pup in my car (of course, windows open and A/C on) so I could show the house. On the bright side, the pets will feel really special!
- Potential buyers may use your bathroom, especially if they have children or are on a long tour – don’t be surprised, but do be prepared and make sure your prescriptions are safely secured.
- Appliances! Buyers tend to open one appliance – usually either the refrigerator or the oven, so be certain everything is clean and for some reason, they also tend to open one drawer and one cabinet. It’s impossible to predict which one it will be, so if there’s that “plastic ware” cabinet where the lids don’t match the bottoms and things fall out, add that to the priority list!
Pricing and appearance are the main two components necessary to sell your home quickly and for top dollar. Speaking from personal and business experience, it’s a stressful experience! Realtors will do everything possible to reduce the stress for their client. Preparation will help you to be ready when the buyers, the brokers, the inspectors and the appraiser come! The right strategy will minimize your days on the market and minimize the number of times you have to load the pets into the car and keep the house spotless!