Whether it’s your first or your fifth time, selling your home can be a stressful time. That’s why we are here to simplify the process.
‘Inexpensive Experience’ is the best kind of experience, and we would like to offer real life insight to what really goes on during the home selling process, and how you, the seller, can help make it smoother. Below is an overview of topics every seller should be aware of…
- The View from Your Buyer’s Shoes
- Inconvenience Happens
- The Cost of Not Fixing Repairs
- Avoid Overpricing
- Post-Inspection Negotiations are Common
- Selling For Less Stinks
- Cash is King
- Packaging is a Good Idea
- Be Wise, Compromise
- It’s Closing Time
- Better Leads = Less Headaches
- Work with Someone You Trust
Once you’ve made the decision to sell your home, chances are you’ve already begun the process of removing your attachment to it. Now is a great time to start de-cluttering and packing away memories and personal items. The less “you” is present in your home, the more a potential buyer will be able to envision their family making memories there. Here are a few practical suggestions:
- Pack away all of the old Christmas cards and artwork that have taken up residence on the fridge. The less clutter the better!
- Go through all of your belongings and decide what you are willing to spend the time packing up and taking with you to the next place, then donate the rest.
- Not every buyer that views your home is going to have the same attachment to that lime green accent wall you fell so hard for, so paint it! Neutral / less drastic colors help sell homes faster.
- Find a home in the closet or garage storage for the hats, shoes, or coats that usually clog up the entryway. Remember, first impressions matter!
You Will be Inconvenienced During the Selling Process
Setting realistic expectations when it comes to selling your home will make the process much more bearable. Here are a few things you should anticipate:
- You may need to spend some money or put in a little time + elbow grease to get your home in tip-top selling shape. A good agent will be able to point out what needs done to present the home in the best light.
- Be ready and willing to clear your schedule or vacate your home at a moments notice to accommodate prospective buyers. Ease of showing can make or break a sale – it just takes one!
- Make sure the house is show-ready. If the demands of everyday life with children and pets are making it difficult and stressful for you to keep a clean home, consider hiring professional cleaners on a weekly basis until your home is sold. This may cost a little up front, but a well presented home is almost guaranteed to get you a better offer.
Neglecting Certain Repairs Will Cost You in the Long Run
Life is busy and sometimes things just get away from us. Don’t let this be the case with home repairs. Not only do issues with the home give the buyer more power to negotiate, but it can affect the buyer’s confidence in the condition of the home. Here are a few things that will help you avoid this costly mistake:
- Have a pre-listing inspection done and resolve any issues up front – before a buyer sees them. This will save time, money, and headache.
- Address problems with the home as soon as they happen. If you have a pest problem or even just a burnt out light bulb – deal with it promptly. Your home needs to be as close to perfect as possible to avoid setbacks during negotiations.
Avoid Overpricing like the Plague
It may be tempting to test the market and see the max amount of money you could get for your home in this “seller’s market”, but proceed with caution. Overpricing your home can have a damaging effect on your listing. Here are just a few things that can happen if your home is not priced correctly:
- You could end up pushing potential buyers away from your listing and straight into the path of more affordable homes in the neighborhood.
- Your home may sit on the market for a lengthy amount of time. This not only impacts the “buzz” around your listing, but actually prompts buyers and agents to ask, “What’s wrong with this home?”
- You could hurt your chances of even being seen. Most buyers have a specific budget in mind and, if your home is overpriced, it likely isn’t getting seen by the right audience.
Be Ready for Post-Inspection Negotiations
Home inspections usually turn up pages upon pages of little issues – hopefully nothing major that you weren’t previously aware of. There’s nothing like discovering a major issue with the home right in the middle of negotiations to jeopardize the sale. Here are a few ways to avoid major post-inspection mishaps:
- As previously stated, have an inspection done before receiving offers.
Talk to your realtor about any repairs your home needs and ask which ones are crucial to the sale of your home.
- After the inspection comes another round of negotiation – this is where having an experienced and trusted Realtor is crucial. There are some issues, like code violations, that should almost always be handled by the seller, and others that just need to be added to the “honey-do list” of the new buyer.
Homes with Unpleasant Odor Sell for Less
Few things turn a buyer off more than walking into a smelly home. From pets to smoking to funky foods (like broccoli or seafood), these odors can deter potential buyers from even considering your home. Here are a few ways to keep your home smelling fresh + clean:
- Get a professional cleaner and have them go over everything! Pay special attention to areas that can trap odor like carpets, refrigerator, and the bathroom. If you notice even a slightly unpleasant smell, ask your cleaner what they can do to remedy it.
- Many people experience scent sensitivity, so if you have pungent food items in your cabinets/fridge, you might consider tossing them out of your home until you are completely closed and moved out – and maybe save that end-of-summer seafood buffet you’ve been planning on hosting until you get into your new place 😉
- Sometimes a deep clean is all it takes, but in areas that have been heavily damaged, you may need to replace your carpet if there have been any major accidents from pets or spills to ensure the odor is completely eliminated.
Cash is King…Most of the Time
Cash does not always mean better when selling/buying a home. Don’t get me wrong, price is extremely important and cash is a good thing, but take time to consider the whole offer. Look for things like:
- Do they have a pre-approval letter, are they putting a large amount of money down, and what does their lender say about them? (Yes, have your agent call the buyer’s lender.) Many financing-buyers are rock solid financially, they just might not have the cash on hand.
- Cash buyers might think they are king, so they may ask for the moon when it comes to negotiations after the inspection.
- Check all the terms, like closing date, possession after closing, additional contingencies, and (if you can) get a feel for the type of people you are working with. An investor with cash is not going to get emotionally involved, but a young couple might be willing to go the extra-mile in order to get something they feel is “perfect”
“Packaging” is Key When Selling a Home
We can’t stress enough how crucial good marketing is in generating interest for your home. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. If the pictures you see first or the curb appeal as you drive by is not looking good, are you going to stop and keep looking or call to see inside? Probably not. Setting a great first impression is key and in real estate – just like everywhere else – you do not get a second chance at a first impression. Here are a few suggestions:
- Ask your agent what rooms may need a little work. Is there a hole in the sheet rock that is worth repairing? Is there a room with too much furniture that would open up the space better if removed? Is there anything you could be doing differently to make your home more marketable?
- Pay attention to the exterior of the home, it is mostly the first thing potential buyers will see, both online and when they pull up to your home. Does the trim need touching up? Could your door use a fresh coat of pain?
- Trim up those overgrown trees and shrubs and make sure your lawn is freshly cut.
- Once you have your best foot forward, insist that your agent use professional photography, video, and anything else “outside-of-the-box” that your property needs to be packaged properly. Could you really benefit from a drone photo to show off your view, or a 3D tour to help buyers across the country get a better feel for the flow of your home? A custom plan is key, especially if your property is not your typical 3bed 2bath starter home.
Pro Tip: Adding a video walk through to your listing can better show buyers the layout of your home and help them visualize walking the halls.
Be Ready to Compromise
When negotiations start taking place, cooperation with your buyers can make a huge difference in your selling experience and often lead to a more favorable outcome. Here are a few things to keep in mind during negotiations:
- Don’t fight your buyer over every little thing– pick your spots, give a little here (on an issue that is not so important to you) so you can take a little there (on an issue that is more important).
- Don’t throw walls up – don’t immediately put your boxing gloves on; listen first and try to understand the needs of the other side. There is a time for walls and gloves, but first take the stance of listener. Your chances of a pleasant transaction increase tremendously that way.
- There are many ways to skin a cat. Okay, that’s a little odd of a saying, but when it comes to negotiating, sometimes it pays to get creative. If a buyer asks for a few repairs and you don’t have the time, money, or desire – offer them a small credit to make the repairs after closing, or maybe they would love to get in a week earlier and you can offer that instead.
Be Out of the House by Closing
This should go without saying, but just in case you’re a newbie to the home selling process, here are some crucial tips for a smooth closing date:
- First, ask your agent BEFORE setting your moving plans and well before you spend any money on a moving truck. Your agent will know when it is safe to get moving, and that is not as soon as you get an offer, although you may be tempted to do so.
- Make sure any personal property and items not negotiated in the contract are out of the home by the date of closing.
- Leave the home clean and fresh for it’s new owners. The home should be move-in-ready for buyers as soon as they’re given the keys at closing. Even if they did not specifically ask you to have the home cleaned, the contract makes it clear the home should be generally clean and ready to move in at closing.
Better Vetting Leads to Better Deals
Real estate agents should never be showing a home to a buyer before they know if they can qualify. This information can come in the form of a pre-approval letter, proof of funds if paying cash or, at the very least, a quick conversation between both buyer and agents. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and some agents still show homes to prospective buyers without knowing this important piece of information. This can be a big area of frustration and a real time waster for everyone involved. Here is a very simple way to avoid these hangups:
- Make sure your agents asks before they bother you with a showing request…yep, that’s it.
Hire Someone You Believe You Can Trust
It’s as simple as that. It can’t be stressed enough how crucial it is that you trust your real estate agent. They will guide you through the process and be your greatest resource during this (often) emotional time. Plus – with their skills and experience, they are likely to get your home sold quickly and for the max amount of money, which is every home sellers dream, right? Look for these things:
- Do they have experience in your area or with your type of home?
- How long have they been in the business?
- How many offices have they worked for during their career?
- Do they have any client references they can share with you?