Selling a home is more complicated than buying one. Home sellers need to balance their desire for a quick sale with a wish to get the best price for their home. Logistically, you need to deal with coordinating the purchase of a new home with the sale of the old one. Just when you are busiest with trying to juggle selling and buying and issues involved with moving and perhaps even a new job, you need to keep your home spotlessly clean and uncluttered for showings. The tips below will help you sell your house successfully, minimizing the stress involved and leading to a timely sale at a good price.
To avoid getting overwhelmed and perhaps missing some crucial task or piece of paperwork, you need to keep good records and an up-to-date to-do list on which you write down every task that needs to be done, the time by which it must be finished, and the person responsible for it. Schedule a regular time every evening to review the list with your family and make sure everything is on track.
Pricing to Sell
You’ll be working closely with your agent to set a realistic asking price for your house. Although the key to pricing is looking at previous data on sales of comparable houses, you should also visit nearby open houses to get a sense of the competition. Don’t be fooled by asking prices. Anyone can ask a fortune for a dump, but that doesn’t mean a buyer will pay that much. Price realistically in terms of what buyers have actually paid for houses of roughly the same size in the same neighborhood. You don’t need to price a house under market value either, as that may cause buyers to wonder what is wrong with it. Instead, aim for a price similar to comparable properties.
Prepare to Move
Before you put your house on the market, you should do the groundwork for moving out of it. Some potential buyers want to close quickly and you don’t want to lose a potential sale because you aren’t ready to move out. This means two things. First, you should begin looking for a new house before the listing of your old one goes live. Second, you should start preparing to move by donating things you don’t intend to keep to charity and organizing remaining items to make packing go more smoothly when you need to do it.
Create Curb Appeal
You only have a few seconds to create a good impression with a potential buyer. This means that your house should look great from the outside. Pressure washing will make the exterior of your house and your driveway sparkle. Keep the lawn neatly mowed, leaves raked, or snow shoveled, as buyers may request showings on short notice. Brighten up the front landscaping with colorful flowers in summer or cheerful evergreens with bright berries in winter. If you have a busy schedule, consider hiring a service to keep your yard in pristine condition while it’s on the market.
Repair Minor Issues
If you have been living in a home for several years, it won’t be in pristine condition. There may be stains on the carpet, scuffs on wood floors, scratches on counter tops, or chips in the paint. Although you may not want to invest large amounts of money in a house you will soon be leaving, the more minor issues you can fix, the easier it will be to sell the house. Steam cleaning carpets, polishing floors, touching up minor scuffs and scrapes, and replacing grout and caulking can make a house look newer and “move-in ready”, things that will appeal to buyers.
Cleaning to Sell
Cleanliness takes on a whole new meaning when you are trying to sell a house. It’s no longer just about sanitation. What matters is that things shine and sparkle to create a “new house” feel. Start by having the interiors and exteriors of all your windows cleaned. Next, clean drapes, blinds, and moldings. Carpets should be vacuumed, tile mopped, and wood polished. Mirrors, counter tops, appliance surfaces, door handles, switch and outlet covers, and fixtures should be spotless. Wash all bedding and use cedar blocks to freshen your closets. Many experts recommend hiring a cleaning service to do a one-time deep clean the day before your house goes on the market. If you are really busy, consider scheduling a professional cleaner to come in once a week to keep your house spotless.
Smells Don’t Sell
Smell matters as much as appearance. Pet odors, mildew, or other scents can drive off buyers. Don’t use air fresheners, plug-ins, candles, or scented potpourri as many people may find those objectionable. Clean with baking soda to reduce odors. Run lemon or orange peel through a disposal to reduce odors and consider a colorless bleach tank drop in for toilets. Use cleaning products with a light citrus scent. After cleaning, open up all the doors and windows to air out the house; nothing smells as fresh as real fresh air. Freshen up linen closets with cedar blocks or odor absorbents. For persistent smells, consider buying or renting an ozone machine.
Your final step in getting ready for your first showings is decluttering. The less stuff you have in the house, the more open and spacious it will appear. Removing personal touches will also help buyers imagine how the house will look with their own personal items in place. Clear off counter tops and banish personal collections and mementos to the garage or a storage unit.
You are not alone as a house seller. Your agent is an expert who has helped many home sellers in the past and can provide advice through every step of the selling process. The more closely you work with your agent, the more smoothly the selling process will go.