Our Top 26 Tips for Sellers
1. Price Your Property Competitively
The price of your property will determine how many and what types of buyers decided to tour it. Price your property too high, and potential buyers get the impression you aren’t serious about selling or are unwilling to negotiate. Price your home just below market value and potential buyers show up excited and ready to compete with their best possible offers.
2. Price Your Property Right The First Time
It’s important to come onto the market at the right price because a property attracts the most interest when it first hits the market. The number of showings is greatest during this critical entrance period if the property is priced competitively. Starting too high and dropping the price later causes you to miss out on this initial excitement and fails to generate strong activity. Many homes that are overpriced when they first hit the market ultimately sell for below market value.
3. Attend Nearby Open Houses
All potential buyers will compare your property to similarly priced homes in the area. Go to nearby open houses to see how the properties are staged and what kind of condition they are in. Does your property show as well as similarly priced homes in your neighborhood? If not, you might consider doing some sprucing.
4. Order Inspections Before Going to Market
Providing potential buyers with inspection reports upfront saves you from wasting time with a buyer who ultimately backs out or asks for a price reduction after having their own inspections done. Be sure to attend the home inspection, so the inspector can explain any issues that come up in person and answer any questions you may have.
5. Make Sure You Have A Clear Title
Before going to market, have your agent order a preliminary title report from a title company to review for issues. Common title issues include liens the owner is not aware of, missing heirs, and errors in public record. It is best to address any such clouds-on-title before finding a buyer so that their discovery does not affect your closing timeline.
6. Don’t Ignore The Small Details
While one little ding in the wall might go unnoticed, it’s the little things that add up and create the impression buyers get as they tour your home. Now is the time to go through your property in detail to get it looking its best. A fresh coat of paint can go a long way!
7. Tackle Big-Ticket Fixes
If your roof or electrical system is on its last leg, you might seriously want to consider replacement. Not only will deferred maintenance scare many buyers away, it can affect a buyer’s ability to obtain financing or insurance. To keep your buyer-pool large, invest in big-ticket structural and mechanical fixes before putting your property on the market.
8. Maximize Your Curb Appeal
First impressions mean a lot, especially in the world of real estate. Many buyers associate the exterior appearance of a home with the condition of its interior, and often the home’s integrity as a whole. Some buyers won’t even bother touring a home if the exterior isn’t perfect. Taking steps to increase your curb appeal can help widen your buyer-pool and ensure you get the best possible price for your property. To start, do some basic landscaping, address anything that needs obvious repair, and make sure everything looks tidy and well maintained. For more ideas on increasing curb appeal read Six Quick Ways To Increase Your Curb Appeal.
9. Upgrade Hardware and Fixtures
Installing new hardware and fixtures is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways you can breathe new life into your kitchen and bathrooms. If you want to go the extra mile, paint or refinish the cabinets as well.
10. Be Legible
Hang easy-to-read house numbers so potential buyers can find and remember your address.
11. Get It Power Washed
Give your home that extra sparkle by power washing driveways, patios, and decks. Removing years of dirt and build-up lets potential buyers see your property at its best.
12. Improve Lighting
Good interior and exterior lighting gives your home the welcoming feel and convenience potential buyers are looking for. Brighten up every room in your home by opening up drapes, trimming foliage, cleaning windows, and installing high-lumen light bulbs. Install exterior lighting along footpaths to highlight the landscaping.
13. Clean Out Built-Ins
When potential buyers tour your home, they are going to snoop. Buyers want to check out the quality and condition of built-ins, so be sure they are in show-ready condition! Empty cabinets and drawers and give them a good cleaning if necessary. If you are still living in the home, keep the necessities well organized and put everything else in storage off-property.
14. Keep Your Closets Half Empty
Every buyer is looking for storage space and you can never have enough of it. Removing half the stuff from your closets will make them look more spacious and will help buyers envision all of their belongings fitting comfortably.
15. Hide Pet Paraphernalia
You adore your pets, but potential buyers are not going to look at them with the same love in their eyes. Pets in a home make buyers suspicious of floor damage, odor problems, and other dirty issues. When showing your home, hide any indication that there are pets living there.
16. Eliminate All Odors
Some people are sensitive to odors, and most assume the smell of air freshener is covering something else. If you have pet odors or other odors that may be displeasing to buyers, be sure to get rid of them before going to market. Promote ventilation, have carpets cleaned or replaced, and remove anything that may be causing the problem.
17. Get Rid Of Clutter
Someone else’s clutter distracts buyers from really seeing any property they are touring. It also gives the impression that the home is too small or lacks ample storage space. Clear all surfaces and keep closets and cabinets organized during home tours so that buyers can imagine themselves and their possessions fitting comfortably. A tidy appearance creates the relaxing feel buyers are looking for.
When potential buyers tour your home, they need to be able to imagine themselves building a life there. A buyer’s personal taste is important to them, just like your taste is important to you. Take down family photos and unconventional decor to give buyers a neutral, depersonalized canvas they can easily paint their unique lives on.
19. Create A Lifestyle Look
Home buyers are shopping for much more than a home, they are shopping for a lifestyle. When staging your home for showings, create the lifestyle people are looking for in your area. Set out patio furniture, create inviting table settings, hang a soft robe in the bathroom. Remember, though, you are appealing to the masses, so don’t go too niche.
20. Always Be Ready to Show
Once your home is on the market, keep it in top shape at all times. You never know when your buyer is going to show up for a tour. Stay prepared for last-minute showings by keeping the sink empty, bathrooms sparkling, and floors swept.
21. Let Your Agent Host Showings Alone
Buyers want to tour your property at their leisure, but many feel as if they are intruding when the homeowner is present. When buyers aren’t comfortable voicing their opinions and concerns, they aren’t able to truly consider your property as an option. Give buyers the privacy they need by vacating the property during all showings and open houses.
22. Make It Easy For Buyers To Schedule Showings
Limiting showing times and refusing to be flexible just shows buyers you might be difficult to work with. Some buyers may never consider your property if they aren’t able to schedule a convenient showing. The more flexible you can be with scheduling showings, even last minute ones, the more interest you will have from buyers and the more likely you are to get top dollar for your property.
23. Understand the Closing Process
Signing a purchase contract with a buyer is just the beginning of the sale process. To avoid unwelcome surprises, talk to your agent about what steps need to be taken before possession is transferred and you receive your closing funds. While much of the closing process is standard, every real estate purchase is different and your purchase agreement and escrow timeline will reflect that.
24. Establish A Negotiation Strategy
Talk to your agent about the how much competition there is for properties like yours and determine how competitive you want to be in your negotiations with buyers. Before putting your home on the market, establish a negotiation strategy with your agent that is catered to your goals and your local market.
25. Know What You Need to Disclose
Many sellers feel hesitant to reveal problems that could discourage potential buyers from considering their property. However, failing to disclose certain facts can lead to potential lawsuits. Your agent will help you determine what information buyers need to be made aware of, but when in doubt, disclose.
26. Know Your Bottom Line
Before starting negotiations with a buyer, determine the lowest price you will sell for. It is much easier to keep a level head while negotiating when you already know your absolute bottom line.