Selling your home doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, there are three phases to the process that are essential for a successful sale. Use this collection of tips in each phase to move your home from “For Sale” to “Sold!”
The preparation phase
Know your market value.
Visit open houses, and compare sale prices. Better yet, ask a real estate professional for a comparative market analysis for your home. Here’s what you can gain:
- A list of upgrades to help your home keep up with others on the market
- A strategy for featuring details that already make your home stand out
- A better perspective on your home’s worth and your finances
Invest in an inspection.
Catch the problem areas that a shiny exterior is hiding before potential buyers do. Early inspection equals more time to fix repairs, and ultimately provides insight into your home’s top needs. A house with less issues will sell a lot faster. This doesn’t mean it needs to be perfect, but make sure everything is up to code. Hiring an inspector will get an accurate value of the home and leaves less room for potential buyers to negotiate since your home is in tip-top shape and fairly priced.
Consult your real estate agent on the inspection process, because it can be stressful but they have thorough knowledge on how to get this done efficiently and correctly. It’s one of the biggest hurdles for sure. However, when this is over, you can at least feel relief in knowing your real estate agent can get a better handle on how to sell the house in its inspected condition!
Start with the must-haves that solve problems, and then choose wisely. Change your mind-set from home to product when ranking projects.
Based off the inspection, there will be definite problems or improvements that need to be made immediately. Cosmetic improvements are good for staging, but buyers need peace of mind that the improvements will affect them in the long run. Any significant structural improvements or remodels should be listed with the house. This will make it more eye-catching. Your real estate agent will know how to do this well!
Do your homework before hiring.
Don’t rush to hire a contractor and purchase materials. Compare at least three bids, and ask for references. Don’t offer buyer credits against the purchase price, either—you’ll be better off investing the money to get the work done before listing.
The listing phase
Plan your pricing strategy.
Start the pricing conversation early, and get more detailed as you get closer to listing. Decide on reductions and if-this-then-that scenarios. Write them down to use as a foundation when at a crossroads. Pausing to decide during the process may lead to lost interest or money.
Real estate agents are equipped to make good judgements on this, so trust that they have your best interest in mind when talking about price. They deploy a few tools to get accurate numbers, and if you feel it’s too high or low let them know and they’d be happy to discuss further. You’ll likely feel weird seeing your house listed with a number, because you can’t value the memories you’ve made there. Put aside feelings and think business.
Set the stage.
Staging is very different from decorating. In fact, it’s the opposite. Decorating makes a home your own. Staging gives it a broad appeal so that potential buyers can envision it as their own. The top staging priorities are listed as follows:
- Doing a thorough, deep cleaning
- Removing personal and quirky decor
Check out this blog on how to stage perfectly!
Take high-quality photos.
A picture is worth a thousand words (and scheduling a showing). Showcase the preparation phase—your hard work and investments—with high-quality photos, which are a must for the era of the online search.
Think about lighting, angles, and spots. Review the photos: would I like this and find this helpful when looking for a home?
Virtual tours are also a great consideration nowadays. Here is how to stage for a virtual tour!
Your real estate agent will be able to help you with this because a lot of agencies have high quality cameras to use for just this purpose and inside knowledge on what works best.
Stage for online and mobile devices.
Today’s buyers are busy. So over 90 percent of buyers start their home search online, and many first impressions are from a computer screen, smartphone, or tablet. Make sure that all of the listing details are at their fingertips, including high-resolution photos that are optimized for web and mobile devices.
The showing phase
Be flexible with open house showings.
The Sunday open house might seem disruptive to you, but research says that it is the number one successful showing day. Evenings are equally as important. Remember: buyers have jobs and busy schedules, and they could be traveling from a distance.
Highlight low-cost living.
Energy efficiency, shade-baring trees, and a low-maintenance garden are examples of major selling points to highlight.
Keep up with curb appeal.
Be prepared for eager buyers driving by your home before an open house, and maintain curb appeal throughout the entire showing process.
Pay attention to smells.
Pet odors are the number one offender, but watch out for food smells and scents that are musty or allergenic, too. Don’t use scented candles or aerosol sprays that simply mask the odor; eliminate it with a deep clean and fresh air.
Be mindful of flow.
Have a friend do a walk-through of your home. Look for odd breaks from one room to the next, and group furniture into arrangements that inspire conversation.
When you’re ready to dive into phase one on this list, make sure to download our home seller’s checklist to help identify areas of the home and ways to prepare them for a sale.