Ask any local real estate professional – from sales agents to lenders, appraisers, inspectors, title processors and even builders (people who buy new construction often have a home to sell before they can seal the deal) – homes that are priced right are selling, and they are often selling very quickly with multiple offers in many areas.
Since it’s well known that January and February are typically the “slower” months for real estate, this is certainly a good sign for spring.
If you’re looking forward to making a move sooner rather than later - while mortgage rates remain near all-time lows - there’s one key factor to keep in mind when you list your home. It must be priced right.
No matter what the condition, there’s a virtual sweet spot when it comes to pricing that will draw buyers in to take a look. From there, it’s all about how your home stacks up against the competition.
Since most buyers today are pre-approved and ready to go, they are often looking for a home they can back up the moving truck, unload their stuff and settle right in without a whole lot of hassle.
When you plan ahead and ensure that your house offers buyers that opportunity, you’ll also find that offers will be near, and in some cases above, your asking price. If a bidding war ensues, buyers who have their heart set on a property are typically willing to pay a little more. Especially when they’ve seen enough comparable homes and know yours is the one for them.
So, consider these five ways to make your house ready to impress buyers from day one. Then consult a professional REALTOR®, who can help you price it right and get it sold.
#1: Start packing. You’re hoping to move soon anyway, so get some boxes, packing tape and a Sharpie. De-cluttering your house makes it look bigger and cleaner. Put some of your stuff in storage if necessary. By making your house more attractive to buyers, you’re getting a head start on moving.
#2: Use some elbow grease. Once the clutter is tamed, you can clean your house like you’ve never cleaned it before, or at least since you started acquiring so much stuff. Windows should sparkle, and you especially want to be sure your house always smells nice and fresh. Most sellers can deep clean themselves, while others may want to consider hiring a professional to get the job done well - from top to bottom and corner to corner.
#3: Address bigger issues. No matter what the condition of your home, this does not need to be expensive. Remember, if it’s priced right, it will sell. With that in mind, if your house is in serious need of a coat of paint and a new roof, you will either need to deal with those issues yourself, or adjust the price accordingly and wait for a buyer willing to take care of these issue themselves.
Consider a couple of recent examples from our local real estate market:
“My neighbors did it right, they moved first, had their house re-carpeted and re-painted. The guy who bought their townhouse had looked at ours and said the neighbors felt and showed like a new home. But we had to live in ours with multiple young children while my neighbors did not, yet we also heard him.
So two months into showings we got a storage unit, moved some stuff out, put in new carpeting in the most traveled areas, painted the main living area a neutral color and made the extra effort to de-clutter because folks do open closets and cupboards to look at space. Our showings were much more positive, and we got a solid offer on the house for asking price in a month. I think it cost us another $500.”
“Prepping your house properly makes a huge difference. When we sold our house, we also rented a storage unit to reduce clutter. We also went through and touched up the paint, cleaned the carpets, etc. I also did some simple cosmetic things, like repainting the mailbox, replacing the light fixtures on the front of the garage, etc. It sold very, very quickly and for very close to our asking price.”
#4: Make a good first impression. When a buyer pulls up to your house, you have five seconds for it to sell itself from the curb. An inviting front yard sets the stage for what’s inside and vice versa. So, no matter what’s happening in your landscape at the moment, always take care of the obvious and be sure your front entrance is fresh and clean.
#5: Plan your daily sweep strategy. Steaming carpets and dusting ceiling fans is important, but all will be lost if your bathroom counter is cluttered with products from your daily routine or there are dishes from last night’s supper in the sink. Prior to every showing, clear counters to make them look as big as possible, which is especially important in smaller spaces. Kitchens and bathrooms are key, but also have a plan to go room by room (including closets) to make sure your house always looks its best.