Deborah McLaughlin's Blog
Getting your home ready to sell entails quite a lot. Staging, taking photos, stocking the toiletries, and--in the case of an open house--entertaining guests. You want the visitors to your home to feel welcome and like they could live there someday.
To achieve this it takes planning and an eye for what really “works” in your home. To do this you’ll have to let go of everything you’ve made your home into and turn it into a blank slate where others can imagine it fitting their personal taste.
In this article, we’re going to give you some tips on preparing your home for an open house or showing to leave the best possible impression on your visitors.
Remove yourself from the picture
It might be sad to take down your family photos and personal effects, but imagine yourself in a visitor’s shoes. When you enter a home you’re thinking of buying, you don’t want to be distracted by what the previous family did with the home. Rather, you want to look forward and imagine your own family making a life there.
Even the most minimalistic of homeowners tend to accumulate a lot of stuff over the years. However, walking into a home filled with items is distracting from the features of the home. You want to draw people’s eyes toward the best characteristics of your home--whether that’s spaciousness or architectural features.
We suggest packing your belongings by room and renting out a storage facility while you wait to move into your new place.
Working with someone to stage your home is a guaranteed way to make sure your house looks welcoming for your guests and photos. However, if you plan on doing the staging yourself take a look at some similarly styled homes online to find out what looks good in their photos. When we furnish our homes, we do it based on our personal taste, comfort, and utility. Staged homes are about aesthetics and atmosphere.
Once you’ve finished staging, it’s time to clean up after yourself. Wipe down surfaces, polish wood, and clean the windows.
Don’t neglect the exterior
The outside of your home is as important as the inside. It will be visitor’s first impression when they arrive at your driveway. To prepare, make sure your siding and windows are clear of dirt, the lawn mowed, the gutters cleaned, and the doors freshly painted, if necessary. Sweep the driveway and remove any yard tools from sight.
Your real estate agent knows how to run an effective open house. However, here are a few key things to remember on the day your guests will arrive.
First, light a candle and use air fresheners where necessary. A neutral smell is the best option, but an air freshener is better than a bad one if there are parts of your home that are prone to bad smells.
Next, make sure the bathrooms are stocked with toilet paper, tissues, and clean towels. If yours are getting old, it could be a good time to replace hand towels altogether.
Finally, welcome your guests with a new welcome mat at the front door to make a great first impression.
A home selling negotiation may seem like a major hassle, particularly for property sellers who want to find a buyer as soon as possible. Fortunately, a prepared home seller will be able to streamline the property selling cycle as well as get the best price for his or her residence.
What does it take to complete a successful home selling negotiation? Here are three must-haves that will ensure any home seller can finalize a successful negotiation quickly and effortlessly.
1. Housing Market Data
Understanding the ins and outs of the housing market can help an ordinary home seller become an exceptional one. As such, if you allocate the necessary time and resources to collect housing market data, you may be better equipped to enter a negotiation as an informed home seller.
Housing market data is readily available – you just need to know where to look for it.
For example, home sellers can examine the prices of recently sold houses that are similar to their own. By doing so, home sellers can see how their house stacks up against the competition – and whether the price a homebuyer wants for a residence is in line with similar properties.
2. Realistic Expectations
Let's face it – as much as a home seller would like to enjoy a fast, seamless negotiation with a property buyer, many hurdles may delay a home sale. But a home seller who establishes realistic expectations before a negotiation begins may be able to minimize stress.
For home sellers, it is important to understand that a negotiation must meet the needs of both a property buyer and seller. And if you consider the homebuyer's perspective, you may be able to enter a negotiation with an open mind.
Furthermore, a home seller should be unafraid to walk away from a negotiation if necessary. Although exiting a negotiation is far from ideal, it is important to remember that it is always an option. Thus, if a negotiation reaches a point where you start to feel uncomfortable, you can always walk away and relaunch your efforts to sell your house.
3. An Expert Real Estate Agent
No one should be forced to enter a home selling negotiation without expert assistance. Luckily, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals possess the skills and know-how to assist home sellers during negotiations.
An expert real estate agent will serve as a liaison between a home seller and homebuyer. He or she will provide honest, unbiased recommendations throughout each stage of a home selling negotiation, ensuring you can make informed decisions along the way. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any home selling concerns and queries – without exception.
Want to take the guesswork out of negotiating a home sale? Consider the aforementioned factors before you begin a home selling negotiation, and you can improve your chances of securing the best price for your residence.
There is a lot to think about when you know you’re ready to sell your home. The best approach is to take things step-by-step in order to get everything right.
Make Necessary Repairs
Before you even decide to put a “for sale” sign out front, you’ll want to address the problems in your home that you know about. If the roof needs to be replaced, or you know you need a new refrigerator, you should tend to those things as soon as possible. While these items can be an expense for you, completing these things before the sale of the home will increase the value of the home and save you some aggravation when it comes time for the home inspection.
Don’t forget about the small details as you look at what needs to be done on your property. Does the doorbell ring? Are the lightbulbs all working? These small details are just as important as the big stuff.
Find A Real Estate Agent
Finding a real estate agent isn’t a one-size-fits-all job. You want an agent who understands your needs and is an expert in your particular market. You can check with your family and friends to see if they have a particular agent who they recommend. Also, you might check out reviews online to help you discover an agent. Do you have a particular agency in mind? Give them a call and they can set you up with one of their agents. Many agents will be happy to provide a number of references of recent sales if you inquire.
Find Out How Your Home Will Be Marketed
If your home won’t be on social media, there’s something wrong with the marketing plan. You’ll need lots of good photos and maybe even a video tour of your home. You should definitely be sure that your home is being marketed on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to name a few social networks. These networks even offer paid ads to help you reach the right buyers. Talk with your realtor to see what the plan for marketing your home sale is.
Prepare For Home Showings
While you still might need to live in your home while you’re selling it, you want the property to be presentable. Start at the curb of your home and work your way to the inside. The property should look presentable from the moment buyers pull up to the house. The lawn should be mowed, the landscaping should be trimmed, and the inside of the home should be thoroughly cleaned. This will seal the deal on the sale of your property after all of the other hard work has been done.
Creating just the right amount of curb appeal can be a delicate balance, but one thing's for sure: Many real estate agents firmly believe that it is the most important factor affecting how long a property remains on the market. That being the case, it's a phase of preparing your home for sale that you don't want to neglect or put on "the back burner."
If your home and property is in reasonably good condition, it may be possible to give it some extra eye-appeal without going overboard on the cost. Here are a few curb-appeal basics to consider as you get your house ready for the real estate market.
Painting: If it's been more than a few years since the outside of your home has been painted, it may be time to either repaint the entire exterior (which won't be cheap) or do some extensive "touching up." Sometimes, simply repainting window trim, shutters, and the front door can help visibly improve the overall appearance of your property. In general, peeling or fading paint will negatively impact the marketability of your home, so it's an issue worth addressing early on.
Power washing: A professional power-washing service can remove unsightly stains, layers of dirt, and discoloration from concrete surfaces, fences, roofs, garages, garage doors, and your home's exterior. One cautionary note about power washing: Applying too much water pressure can potentially cause damage to materials like loose roof shingles, older painted surfaces, crumbling concrete, old slate flooring, untreated wood, and aging fences. Special instructions may need to be given to workers and their manager, regarding delicate surfaces and the need to adjust water pressure accordingly.
Front porch: There are a lot of nice touches you can add to a front porch to make it look more inviting and visually appealing. In addition to making sure floors, steps, railings, windows, and furniture are immaculate, inexpensive upgrades, such as a new welcome mat, mailbox, and house numbers can also make a noticeable difference in the impression you create. Weather permitting, colorful potted or hanging flower baskets will enhance the aesthetic appeal of your property. As is the case with interior home staging, strategically arranging furniture can help prospective buyers imagine themselves relaxing on your porch and elsewhere in your house. That can be a key step in triggering their interest.
Landscaping: When your house is on the market, it's crucial to keep your lawn and shrubs looking manicured at all times. Any hint of overgrowth, dying trees, or weeds can send the wrong message to potential buyers about the quality and desirability of your home. Edging for lawns, flower beds, and sidewalks can often be a relatively inexpensive way to enhance the eye appeal of your property.
A seasoned real estate agent can provide you with more cost-effective ideas on sprucing up the outside of your house to attract prospective buyers.
If you want to streamline the home selling journey, it usually is a good idea to develop goals. That way, you can identify any potential home selling challenges and address them before you list your residence.
Ultimately, there are many problems that may arise during the home selling journey, and these include:
1. Poor Curb Appeal
How your home looks to buyers is key. If your residence fails to impress buyers when they see it for the first time, these individuals are unlikely to schedule a house showing. As a result, your home may linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time.
Devote time and energy to improve your house's curb appeal – you will be happy you did. By mowing the lawn, removing dirt and debris from exterior walkways and performing other home exterior upgrades, you can make your home an attractive option to buyers. You may even differentiate your residence from the competition – something that may lead to a successful home selling experience.
2. Cluttered Interior
If your home is full of personal belongings, you may want to remove some of these items. By doing so, you can show buyers the full potential of your residence.
For those who want to cut down on clutter, there are many options. Oftentimes, it helps to rent a storage unit that allows you to keep your belongings safe until your residence sells. On the other hand, if you want to get rid of excess items, you can host a yard sale, list your items online or give these items to family members, friends or local charities.
3. Exorbitant Home Price
An exorbitant initial home asking price may be an instant turn-off for buyers. Fortunately, if you analyze the local housing market and your residence, you can establish a competitive initial asking price for your home.
Evaluate the prices of available homes in your area that are similar to your own. Also, you may want to conduct a house appraisal and review an appraisal report. With this information at your disposal, you can price your house competitively.
As you get set to enter the housing market, you may want to employ a real estate agent, too. This housing market professional will help you establish realistic home selling goals, as well as determine the best steps to help you achieve your aspirations.
A real estate agent is committed to a home seller's success, and he or she will do what it takes to help you thrive. If you want to sell your residence as quickly as possible, for instance, a real estate agent can help you do just that. Or, if you want to optimize your house sale earnings, a real estate agent will ensure you can get the best price for your home.
Ready to add your home to the real estate market? Develop home selling goals, and you may be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a fast, profitable house selling experience.