It's 2014. Is selling your house on your list of New Year's Resolutions? If so, read on.
Sold before hitting the market, sold in the first week, sold within 3 months after 3 years on the market with another realtor. These were all real accomplishments in my real estate practice in 2013. What was the secret sauce that led to these results?
Ten of my top strategies for positioning, preparing and introducing your house to the market in the strongest way possible are given below.
1. Price It Right: No way around this. Analyze the heck out of the market (or rather, have your realtor do that), understand exactly what the competition is, what sales of similar properties were in the last 6 months and objectively look at the findings. We understand that you think your house is worth "X". But all that matters-- if you really want to sell it-- is what the market thinks it is worth.
2. Tackle the Differed Maintenance Projects: Have you been putting off having the exterior of the house painted or getting the HVAC system serviced? Put on your inspector's hat (or better yet, have your handyman or contractor walk through the house and around the outside with you) and determine what items really should be in working condition or in better shape than they are.
These things will come up in the building inspection most likely and you will be asked for a credit to get them in shape. Might as well avoid the haggling and get them taken care of before the house is listed. Besides, buyers are much more comfortable looking at homes that appear to be well maintained and cared for.
3. Clean Out the Clutter: Closets, drawers, things in corners of rooms and in bookshelves. It's mentally exhausting to have to look through and around clutter.
4. Is The Furniture Adding or Detracting?: No matter what a buyer says, like "I can see past the decorating", they are still impacted by what they see. Have your realtor or a friend with good taste go through each room and move the furniture around to it's best advantage or take it out. Are the shelves and closets organized?
The house I sold in 3 months after it had been on the market for three years I had the owner remove all furniture, art and rugs and leave just the master bedroom and family room (with some rejiggering) with furnishings.
5. Is Your Home Looking Dated? I always take a good look at the wall colors of homes I am representing. More than 5 years old and they can make a house look dated. It doesn't cost much to repaint walls and lighten things up.
Are the carpets looking old or are they worn? If so, think about removing them and just showing the bare wood (if you have it underneath).
6. Curb Appeal Counts: Is the landscaping looking manicured? The driveway and curbing in good condition? Is the front door peeling or worn? From the driveway to the front door and all around the house, be sure the first impression is a good one.
7. Lighten Up: Look at the curtains or blinds in every room. Are they keeping out light? If so, consider pulling them back, raising them as high as possible or removing them so that the natural light is maximized.
8. No pests nor pets: Not everyone loves pets as much as you do. Be sure they are removed for every showing. And while we are talking about four or more legged creatures. Are there any bugs, bees or other pests that you should have taken care of?
9. Showtime is Anytime: Have the house in ready to show condition at all times. That means beds made, bathrooms picked up and the kitchen cleaned.
10. Pick the Right Agent: No this is not self-serving, it is practical and logical. An agent that is active in the market, has strong relationships with the realtor community (so she/he can negotiate their way through a deal) and knows the right way to market your house will get the job done.