Time to Sell a Home?
As the old cliché goes, “location, location, location”… this is a decisive factor when selling a home. Buyers are looking for the best house in the best location for the lowest possible price in their price-range. One ideal general location would be homes near a blend of good schools, safe neighborhoods, attractive surroundings, nearby shopping, restaurants, services, and quiet streets without heavy traffic.
Many buyers search for areas based mostly on school districts. Other buyers search for homes in newer, attractive, quiet neighborhoods with great access to shopping etc. These specific details are part of a home’s neighborhood location. Within that neighborhood, the home may be located at the top of the hill or maybe it sits on a corner lot or perhaps near the fairway of a golf course.
In contrast, it could be next to a busy street. This location is the home’s exact location. Since the exact location of each house is fixed, sellers must choose the best strategy to help them compete with the other homes that are for sale in their area. The key, is to offer the best overall package of location, condition, features & price.
There are other fish in the sea! Your home won’t be the only one for sale in the area. Buyers will compare your home’s location, condition, features and price with other available homes. The best overall “package”, as they see it, will win an offer. The overall market picture will also change day by day.
Some homes will sell … others will come onto the market. As your agent, I’ll keep you informed of this activity and make suggestions on adjustments you might want to consider as needed. The asking prices of other similar homes in the area, will effect the price you can get for your home.
When selling a home, you’ll have to decide on the price you’re going to ask. This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make and it will effect your outcome considerably! This is the main area where you can adjust to compete with the other available houses. Buyers are more informed now than ever before.
They’re almost ALWAYS working with a real estate agent who KNOWS if your house is properly priced. Buyers themselves also do comparison-shopping. They will not pay more for a house than it’s worth. Your home will need a fair market price in order for it to sell. I can help you determine the “fair market value” of your home and still help you receive the most money for your property. Consider this when choosing your asking price:
- What have similar homes in the area sold for?
- What is the age and condition of your home?
- Does it need updating, new carpet or repairs?
- Are there a lot of homes for sale in your area?
- Have homes in the area been increasing in value?
How Do We Sell It?
Marketing the Home
You probably realize it’s unlikely that the right buyer will walk through your door on his own. The home must be marketed to the buyer, and that’s where choosing a professional realty company comes into play. You’ll want a company that makes good use of advertising, reach, the MLS system and the Internet.
As your realty company, we’ll design a marketing program to bring you a ready, willing and able buyer in the shortest possible time. Your home has just one chance to make a great “first impression” with each potential buyer, so you’ll want to show it at it’s very best. Homebuyers aren’t coming over just for a quick look … they’re going to make a very careful inspection.
You will ask why we’re your best choice to market your house so it will sell fast and for higher dollars? Well, first of all we have partnered up with the leading web marketing company that specializes in promoting real estate properties, Real Estate Bees. They our secret weapon when it comes to marketing your home online.
Secondly, when it comes to urgent matters when you need to sell your house really fast and a Realtor’s service is not an option, we got you covered too. We formed a relationships with Dallas cash home buyers who buy residential properties within 3 to 30 days. So regardless what your situation is, we can help you sell your house.
Making it Look Its Best
Your house is going to be judged heavily by its “curb appeal”. Let me stress this point. The exterior MUST look great! If it doesn’t, you have to make it look great! Be sure the paint and visible caulking are in good condition. The yard has to be detailed… green grass (in season) neatly mowed and edged… shrubs trimmed… you may even want to plant a few flowers.
Inside, you’ll want to brighten-up any dark areas and maybe add some fresh paint. Clear out all unattractive “stuff” and put the clutter away to give the rooms an open and airy feeling. Either clean or replace the carpeting and make sure there are no “stale” odors in the house. This is especially important in closets and bathrooms. Consider adding some houseplants or some fresh flowers. These things will help to sell your home more quickly.
Showing the Home
Your house should always be available for showings, even though it may occasionally be inconvenient for you. Usually agents working with buyers will give at least a couple of hours notice before showing your property. If you refuse to allow a showing at that time, they will take their buyers elsewhere.
Let your listing broker put a lock box in a convenient place to make it easy for other agents to show the home to their buyers. Since almost every other house does have a lockbox, if yours doesn’t, most agents will simply not show your property. You’ll miss out on a lot of potential buyers.
Without a lockbox, agents will have to tightly schedule their appointments and most of them will just skip your home and show another one with easy access. Even if they come back at another time, it will probably be with different buyers… you may have lost an important chance to sell your home!
When it’s Time to Show
- Open all draperies and shades, turn on all lights
- Pick up toys and other clutter
- Check to make sure beds are made and clothes are put away
- Give the carpets a quick vacuuming if possible
- Add some of those strategically placed fresh flowers
- Open bathroom windows just a little for some fresh air
- Turn off the television and turn on some soft music
- Make a fire in the fireplace if appropriate
- Put pets in the backyard or arrange for a friend to keep them
- Make sure all pet areas are clean and odor-free
- Dispose of any trash in tightly covered containers
You Should Not be Home
Homebuyers will feel like intruders if you’re at home when they visit, and they might not be as receptive to viewing your home. Use this time to drop by the local coffeehouse, or take the kids out to the park. If you absolutely cannot leave, try to remain in an “out-of-the-way” area of the house and don’t move around from room to room. Also, don’t volunteer any information; simply answer any questions that the real estate agent may ask you.
What’s the House Worth?
Any house ultimately is worth, what someone will pay for it. Everything else is an estimate of value. To determine a property’s value, most people turn to either a professional appraisal or a “comparative market analysis”. An appraisal is a certified appraiser’s estimate of the value of a home at a certain point in time.
Appraisers consider square footage, lot size, quality, design, features and recent sales in the neighborhood. They also take into account your landscaping. Most appraisals cost around $300. A comparative market analysis is a real estate broker’s or agent’s less formal estimate of a home’s market value, based on sales of comparable homes in a neighborhood.
Most agents will give you a comparative market analysis for free. You can also do your own cost comparison by looking at recent sales of comparable properties in the public records. These records are available at the local Recorder, County Assessor, or through private real estate information companies.
Be Careful Please
If you start out with a price that’s too high, you may open a “Pandora’s Box” in your marketing plans. Listing agents market and promote your home to hundreds of other local agents who are currently working with homebuyers. This dramatically increases your personal sales force. During the first couple of weeks on the market, your home should have a lot of activity with buyer’s agents coming to preview your home so they can sell it to their clients.
If you and your agent have overpriced the house, fewer buyer’s agents will preview your home. After all, many of them are Realtors®, and it’s their job to know local market conditions and home values. If your house is priced above the market, they won’t waste their time looking at it. They’ll just work with the homes that are priced very fairly.
Later, when you drop your price, the house is “old news” – it can be tough to recapture the activity you would have had with a realistic price. What if you do successfully sell it above the current market price? The buyer will need a mortgage and the mortgage lender requires an appraisal. If comparable sales within the last six months and current market conditions don’t support your sales price, the house won’t appraise … the deal falls apart.
Remember, the appraiser works for the lender. He/she won’t appraise the house for one dollar higher than the market justifies! You can always attempt to renegotiate the price… if the buyer is willing… but he’s now in the “driver’s seat”. Your house could go back on the market… not good news!
Once your house has “fallen out of escrow” or sits on the market awhile, it’s harder to get a good offer because potential buyers will think you may be desperate, so they’ll make lower offers. By overpricing the home in the beginning, you could end up selling it for a lower price than you would have normally received and it may take much longer to sell than it should have.
Checklist for Faster Sales
- Keep the lawn mowed and weeded
- Edge gardens and walkways
- Sweep walkways and driveway; remove branches, hoses or toys
- Add color and fill in bare spots with plantings
- Remove mildew or moss from walls or walks with bleach or other cleaner
- Take stains off your driveway with cleanser or kitty litter
- Neatly stack any firewood
- Clean and repair the patio and deck areas
- Remove any outdoor furniture which is in poor repair
- Make sure the pool and spa are fresh and clean
- Check for flat-fitting roof shingles
- Replace broken windows or torn screens; check for good solid caulking
- Hose off exterior wood and trim, replace damaged bricks or wood
- Touch up exterior paint, repair gutters and eaves
- Paint the front door and mailbox
- Add a new front door mat; consider a seasonal door decoration
- Polish brass hardware on the front door, outside light fixtures, etc
- Make sure the doorbell is in good working order
- Add a fresh coat of interior paint in a light, neutral color
- Shampoo carpeting, replace if necessary
- Clean and wax hardwood floors, refinish if necessary
- Clean and shine kitchen and bathroom floors
- Wash all windows, vacuum blinds, wash windowsills
- Clean out the fireplace
- Organize closets; pack-away clothes and items you don’t need now
- Remove extra furniture, worn rugs, and items you don’t use
- Keep papers, toys, etc. picked up – especially on stairways
- Repair loose door knobs, cracked molding and leaking taps and toilets
- Check for squeaky doors and closet or screen doors that are off the tracks
- Secure all medications, jewelry, cash and other valuables
Make it cozy and inviting, remove worn furniture, rugs or accessories
- Polish any displayed silver and crystal
- Set the table for a formal dinner to show-off this area
- Make sure appliances are spotless inside and out
- All appliances should be in perfect working order
- Clean the top of the refrigerator and the under-sink areas
- Wax or sponge-coat floor for bright shine, clean baseboards
- Unclutter all counter space, remove countertop appliances
- Organize items inside cabinets; pre-pack things you won’t need before moving
- Make sure tile, fixtures and shower doors are clean and shining
- Replace any loose caulking or grout
- Make sure lighting is bright, but not harsh
- Organize furnishings to create a spacious look
- Present well-defined sitting, sleeping, and dressing areas
- Remove any un-needed furniture… make it look big
- Sell, give away, or throw out unnecessary items
- Consider renting a storage area if necessary
- Clean oil or stains from cement floors
- Provide good overhead lighting
- Organize, and tidy-up storage or work areas
- Change the furnace filter(s)
- Discard or pre-pack un-needed items
- Make sure air vents are in working order
- Provide good overhead lighting
- Sweep if needed