Recommendations for Sellers
Prepare your home to sell! When on the market, a house is a commodity and must be treated as such. A successful seller usually begins the preparation process by looking at the house through the eyes of buyers rather than as the home they have enjoyed. The following are suggestions that have shown to bring success:
Start at the curb! The house and lot must be appealing to those who drive by. Some local buyers always do this before deciding to go inside a house.
- Landscaping counts! No, not necessarily professional landscaping, but well trimmed bushes and trees, neatly cut grass in the summer, seasonal flowers, raked leaves in the fall, and snow and ice removal in the winter.
- Items in the yard are important. Pink flamingos are an exaggeration of this point, but any ornament that might not have general appeal or too many ornaments, even if they are tasteful may be a turnoff to a buyer.
- If there are children, outside toys should be considered. A cleared driveway and sidewalk are imperative. Out of sight, perhaps in the rear yard, is desirable. Any that are outgrown or not used for any reason should go in the yard sale!
- House numbers that are clearly viewed are important.
- A seller has only one chance to make a good first impression. Check for outside areas that need touch-up paint; windows that are cracked; screens that are torn or have holes; lights that need replacing; cracks in the driveway that can be repaired or any other outside items that you have learned to live with, but which would make a buyer wonder if something else bigger needs attention.
- The front door! Some say that we cannot overemphasize the importance of this one outside feature. If a storm door is a must, and a metal one exists, replace it with a full frame or an attractive white or colored one that harmonizes with the house. The wooden door is considered by most decorators as the focal point of the house. Make sure it is painted an attractive color. Decorate with attractive seasonal wreaths. Say “Welcome” to guests, including buyers!
Then move inside! Again, imagine yourself a buyer. Create a welcoming atmosphere that makes buyers comfortable imagining their furniture and family in this house. The following are ways to make this happen:
- Unclutter. Organize closets and give away or store items currently not being worn. Do the same in kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Organize toys, office materials, electronic items and any other small items that may get strewn. Make some photos of your rooms, then, look at the décor objectively. Photographs don’t lie! Sometimes we get so accustomed to our surroundings that we don’t really see what’s there! Too many unorganized and unrelated accessories can make spaces feel closed in. Ask someone who is skilled at decorating to give you an opinion.
- Clean. Appealing houses smell clean! They don’t need artificial scents to cover odors. Have carpets professionally cleaned. If they are so stained or have strong animal odors that cleaning will not remove, then replace them with a builder’s grade of carpeting. Smelly, dirty carpets are one of the biggest turnoffs to buyers. Make sure that hard surface floors gleam and that windows sparkle. Scrub all surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms until they are squeaky clean.
- Neutralize. Remember, again, your house is a commodity. Make it appeal to the greatest number of buyers. This means use of neutral colors. Notice that I did not say “all white interior.” Even builders are now realizing the appeal of soft neutral colors. If you need help, look at magazines or brochures provided by paint companies. Yes, the room that currently has brightly colored, trendy walls can still look fashionable with neutral walls. Use the bright colors as accents. Buyers can then imagine their favorite color in the room. What about the often stated, “buyers will want to repaint, anyway”? Most buyers do not want to repaint, immediately. Give them something appealing that will work with what they have. They may paint later. You want them to like your house now!
- Update. A relatively small amount spent on some items may bring you a strong return on your investment. Updated kitchens and bathrooms are extremely important in most houses. Replace flooring that is either in bad shape or dated. Take a close look at countertops. Are they unmarked and in a neutral color? What about appliances and fixtures? “Retro” may appeal to some, but “old” is appropriate in very few houses!
Your house is NOW ready to be marketed! When we visit for a pre-marketing interview, expect the following from me:
- A tour of your house during which you point out features to me and I share with you any suggestions for improving marketability. I will measure the interior dimensions of the rooms. This is very important to buyers. They want to know that your house will accommodate their furniture. Most buyers find the absence of room dimensions frustrating. I will also make multiple digital photos to be posted on my web site, Realtor.com web site, and the MLS.
- A discussion concerning the reason you are selling and your plans afterward.
- An in-depth discussion regarding the pricing of your house. I will share with you a detailed analysis of houses of similar size, features, location, and age that have sold within the past six months or which are currently on the market. Using this analysis, I will compare your house to these houses. Since, ultimately, the market determines at what price houses sell, we will uses this market data to determine the anticipated sales price of your house and an appropriate marketing price.
- Sharing what you can expect of me and my company regarding exposure of your home and marketing strategies.
When your house is being shown:
- Remember curb appeal. Be sure the outside makes them want to get inside!
- Make it look bright and cheerful. If possible, leave all the lights on inside. Open draperies and blinds.
- Be clean, neat, organized—the three words that must be remembered when marketing a house!
- Leave the showing to the real estate agent. Being away during the showing is best, even if it’s just down the street in your car! Buyers are inhibited by the presence of the seller and feel if they are intruding in your space. Remember, you want them to imagine it their space!
- Go easy on fragrances! Remember, if it’s clean it doesn’t need other odors. Plus, some buyers and agents are allergic to fragrances.
- Take animals away and make sure there are no odors. The presence of animals can be very negative during a visit to your home. Buyers who like them may spend time with the animals and miss some of the finer points of your house. Buyers who don’t like animals may even refuse to view a house where they are present. And, again, allergies may be a factor, especially with cats.
- Think like a buyer! Then prepare your house so that a buyer will think that this house is the house that should be home for them
We have an offer! Calling a seller to say, “When can we meet to consider this offer?” is one of my greatest pleasures. Following are some of the considerations we’ll address as we strive to make an offer become a contract.
- All persons whose names are on the deed should be present for the meeting unless one person has POA for another. Each owner of the property will need to sign the documents.
- I am required to provide you with copies of each signed document. Also, we may need to take a look at the MLS in the computer as we consider the offer.
- Remember that THE MARKET determines the appropriate sales price. We will consider this as we review the offer.
- Accept, Counter, or Reject, are the options given a seller. We’ll hope for an offer that you can accept outright. If not, we will counter the offer with terms agreeable to you. Almost never is it appropriate to reject an offer, outright.
- I will negotiate for you. This is one of the most important functions that I perform as your agent. Your input regarding your needs will help me to do this with skill and integrity. Our aim will be to obtain a contract meeting your needs.
Between getting a contract and closing:
- Expect professionals to need in. Most buyers will hire someone to do a home inspection. Customarily this is done within two weeks of the binding agreement date. I will arrange an appointment with you for this to be done. The lender will send an appraiser. This time will also be arranged with you.
- Have the wood infestation inspection done The contract specifiesthat the buyer orders this inspection. You will be notified of the time the inspector will be in the house.
- Arrange for your moving after the home inspection has been done and repairs, if needed, have been agreed on according to the terms of the contract.
- Arrange for utilities to be disconnected in your name on either the day of closing or the day after.
- Clean the house after your furniture is out. The buyers will do a walk-thru prior to closing to determine that the house is in as good or better condition than at time of contract.
- Bring keys and garage door openers
- Bring your driver’s license. The Security Act requires positive identification of buyers and sellers.
- Stay in touch with me!
- Refer me to others!