The Seller

The reasons for the homeowner putting their house on the market, varies they need a larger home, they have an empty nest and need a smaller home. They have retired and are moving to a warmer climate. When they homeowner puts their house on the market, it can be a very emotional time. If the homeowner tries to think of himself as a business person, it is hard to separate from selling the home you love. For this reason, you can end up making some vital mistakes in the sale of your home.

Homes are usually put on the market in the spring and summer. Winter is a hard time to sell a house in the snowy regions. The housing market in around the holiday season is notoriously slow. A home lists on the market an average of four months before it is bought. Listing in the winter could make your house drop off the minds of those interested when the new ones are listed. If you must list in winter, get that tree out. Selling in the winter has its challenges if you have to list, jazz that house up. It is advisable while showing your house to add-on extra insurance, in case of a fall, slip, or mishap. Keep the sidewalk, steps, and driveway clear. Make the house light, airy, and warm. Open the drapes, bake some cookies, and turn up the heat. You want the buyer to feel at home. Keeping the house spotless, take your family pictures down, and clean out your closets. A cluttered house might never sell.

Setting Your Price

Setting the price of your home is one of the most important things you will do during this process. Overpriced homes will not sell. A home priced on the low side, rather than the high, may receive multiple offers driving the price up to or sometimes above market value. It is supply and demand if there is upwards of twenty thousand houses on the market, you may not get an offer you thought. Your house may set on the market longer. To get a fair price set for your house, pull comparable listings. A realtor will do this by going back three months. Look at similar houses in a half mile radius from your home. See what they have sold for. Do not look at houses passed major highways or railroad tracks, as the pricing may drop on the other side. Compare square footage, ages of the homes, and rooms. Compare list price to sold price. Make sure to inquire about days on the market, why the home isn’t selling, and if it has been a pulled listing. Add those days to the current listing to really see how long a house has been on the market. The other homes are your competition, so go look at them and rate your house against theirs. In this seller’s market, you can add ten percent to the last comparable price, if you are in a low inventory state.

The Real Estate Agent

Some things to remember no two Agents will price your house the same. An experienced Agent matters. Interview a few before deciding on one. It is good to learn all you can about the person. Ask for references, call previous clients, it is a good sign if they speak highly of the Agent. Look up their licensing and credentials, find out how long they have been in business, and how many houses they have sold. Ask for a list of homes they have sold with client information. Also, find out how long each house was on the market, the asking price and the sold price. Check with the state to see if there were any disciplinary actions or complaints against the Agent. Once you have settled on the Agent you to will have many papers to sign, so have your pen handy.

Another thing that is a pet peeve of mine, pictures. Ask to look at the picture that were taken of your home. Some Agents, cannot take a picture to save their life. You should be able to see all sides of a room so the buyer can envision what their furniture will look like in that room. In succession, not mixed with backyard pictures. If you have six rooms you should have twenty-four pictures. Plus pictures of the entire front and back yards. It may cost more but I will not even look at a house without pictures. You should nix the pictures of the gnome in the front yard or the grand piano in the music room unless they are staying. To see many pictures of flowers, wildlife, trees in place of the house that I am buying I consider filler. I also know what waterways, beaches, and family fun are in the area I am looking to live, if not, I can look it up. Pictures are there to sell your house and should show it in a good light. Hire a Stager if you cannot get the pictures you are looking for. The first impression is the one they remember.

Preparing the House

Every article has a list of the top ten things to do before selling your house. I am combining all of them and adding a few of my own. Never try to hide defects or damages in the house, it may lead to a lawsuit if found after the purchase. It is always advisable to repair defects and damages before you list the house. Hire an Inspector to come in and look the home over. It may cost a three to eight hundred up front, but you might not have to settle for a lower amount if you let the buyer deal with damages. Things you should repair:

  • Get a storage unit – Remove all of the homey things. Such as knickknacks, family pictures, winter or summer clothing, anything you do not utilize. A potential buyer does not need to see it. Buyers want to imagine their items in the home.

  • If you have the money hire a professional to clean your house. If you don’t then put on the gloves and grab the mop. Besides your normal cleaning, you should start at the ceiling and work your way down. Light fixtures, door frames, windows, and clear all the webs. Chair rails, cabinets, and baseboard should be cleaned. Move and clean all appliances, heavy furniture, and clean under the beds. The bathrooms are of major concern. If you stand back from the toilets you can see under the edge of the bowl, in all the houses I have looked at only a handful have been cleaned. This includes the ones that have been professionally cleaned. Showers, spray it with cleaner thoroughly and let sit for 15 min. You may have to apply some elbow grease but get that mold and soap scum off. Outside, mow, landscape, fix the driveway, clean the lighting and foyer.  Take pride in the home you are trying to sell. While you are there grab some WD-40 and oil those squeaky hinges.

  • Curb appeal is everything. Plant a few hedges and flowers or trim the ones you have. Paint the exterior if it looks old and worn. Give those doors a facelift, new paint, knobs, and locks. Buy a welcome mat, so the buyers don’t track. Nothing says buy me like a well-kept exterior.

  • Inside/outside lighting fixtures – While your house is on the market put brighter lights in the lighting. Make sure they are clean. When you are showing the house turn the lights on and open the drapes so it is bright and cheery.

  • Odors – Buy an odor neutralizer and spray before you leave. Get rid of those pet smells.

Now that all of that is done, it is time to have the house inspected. Be there when he inspects your home. Ask questions and read his notes, he will also take pictures of any defects or damage he finds. This way it will be easy to get estimates for repairs. Your Inspector will look for damage on your roof. Leaks, septic system, and infestations. Repair the items on his list, since the buyer will bring their own inspector.

If you would like to do any upgrades to increase the price of your home you should go ahead and do them. This includes replacing outdated appliances. Stainless Steel is a good choice, as it goes with every color. Adding a new coat of paint will make the rooms look new again. Fix any broken windows, gutters, have the HVAC unit serviced. Just these minor repairs and upgrades will impact the sale of the house.