This is a challenging real estate market if you are a seller. Be prepared as possible before you put your home on the market. Buyers have more choices to select from right now, and things that may not have seemed so important in the distant seller’s market, are now reasons to move on to the next home for buyers today. There are steps sellers can take to optimize their chances for an acceptable offer and smooth escrow.
Start with an experienced Realtor for your neighborhood.
Experience and knowledge count more than ever in this market. Interview 2-3 real estate agents, and then select the one you like. In a buyer’s market, it is better to sell with a local real estate agent then to go it alone! The agent knows the latest selling prices in your area, and knows what the competitive homes currently on the market are listed at, as well as these homes conditions.
Listen to your Agent and set a realistic Asking Price.
Often sellers do not agree with a real estate agents advice on a sales price. Sellers have personal attachments to their homes, which is very understandable. Sellers mat have personally made beautiful improvements of which they are proud, and expect a return on. Listen to the advice from the agents you interview; remember that in this market today, a home that is priced higher than others in the same neighborhood may sit longer. Price reductions made later on your home will only make your home seem less marketable to potential buyers. It is probably better to start off with a realistic asking price, especially if you want to avoid your home sitting on the market for a longer period of time.
Take a good look at the condition of the Home.
There are more homes on the market for buyers to look at today. This means that certain items that may have not mattered so much to buyers previously, may make all the difference now in getting an offer. Buyers have the luxury of being more concerned about the overall condition of the home they are considering purchasing. Some areas of potential deal breakers are more crucial than other areas. When it comes down to an inspection by a certified Home Inspector (which you can almost be certain every buyer will have done at the start of escrow), there are “hot spots” that will stand out.
Mildew Stains/Odors: These can signal moisture in the home. It is a problem that will likely cause buyers to consider withdrawing an offer. Check out this potential issue before you put your home on the market. Have an inspector check out any suspicious areas, and FIX IT right away if mildew/mold is found.
Foundation: Check for leaks that are coming from poor drainage. Make sure gutters are clean and clear so rainwater will flow to the downspouts, and not spill out towards the foundation. Again, if you can have the foundation inspected prior to listing, all the better.
Plumbing: Sellers can be sure that the buyer’s Home Inspector will check all plumbing. The water pressure will be determined, and leaks will be looked for. Once again, try to have a professional check out the plumbing before listing your home. Any leaks that need repair, do now.
Roof: If it is not showing any leakage, that is good. If it is very worn and looks bad, keep in mind one of the first things buyers and inspectors will see is the roof. You may want to consider a roof allowance for the buyers, if the shingles are old and tattered looking. If there are leaks, it will be best to either give an allowance or have the roof replaced/repaired before putting the home on the market. First impressions count!
Electrical: Inspectors will check all circuit boxes and breakers. They will also check for GFI receptacles in kitchens and bathrooms.
Sellers can hire their own Home Inspectors prior to putting their home on the market to have all these areas inspected at the same time. The inspector will give the seller a report that will indicate serious problems that a seller may want to have repaired before listing the home. Buyers will appreciate a home that is in good repair tremendously these days, and will lessen the chance of an acceptable offer being withdrawn.
Clean and declutter
Then clean and declutter some more! Make the interior of your home clean, shiny and inviting. Do not leave personal items out on shelves…. this makes it harder for buyers to visualize themselves living there. Fresh paint will go a long way. Have carpets shampooed. Buyers will most likely check out the closet space. Organize with closet organizers, and get rid of things that are simply cluttering up the closets. Hang fresh towels in bathrooms. Make countertops and floors shiny and clean. All beds should be made, and bedrooms free and clear of odds and ends. Kids’ bedrooms should be tidy as well. Toys need to be in toy boxes, or neatly put away in containers. Clear out cobwebs in corners. Give all the windows a good cleaning. Wash down kitchen cabinets, as well as cabinets in the bathroom. Clean door surfaces and make sure doorknobs are clean.
Fresh and clean are the words to keep in mind as you survey your home’s interior. Make it feel as spacious as possible, not crowded and cluttered. Light and airy is the look you want, not dark and dreary. Fresh flowers, polished tabletops, and clean chandeliers are all visually appealing to buyers as soon as they walk in.
Pay Attention To Curb Appeal.
When buyers drive up to your home, their first impressions may be the most important! Have your lawn green and mowed. All exterior trim should be painted and not chipped or peeling. Flowerbeds should have blooming flowers growing. If you have a mailbox with a post, make sure it is painted as well. Have address numbers easy to see. Try driving up to your house and look at the front through a potential buyer’s eyes. Note any problems you see, and fix them before putting your home on the market.
It is a challenging real estate market for sellers, to be sure. But with the right preparations, a seller should be able to anticipate an acceptable offer on their home, and a successful closing!