Selling your home can feel like a scary task, but with the right help it can be a pleasant experience. Here are a few important dos and don’ts of selling your home.
Do interview and hire a REALTOR®:
This may seem obvious to some, but there are plenty of people out there who make the mistake of trying to sell their home themselves. Your home may be your biggest asset and you should rely on experienced professionals to make sure that you not only get the best return on your investment, but that the process of selling your home is as efficient and safe as possible. When interviewing potential Realtors be sure to ask a lot of questions including: what kind of marketing of your home will they do, will they take professional photos and what should you expect of the process. A good REALTOR® will walk you through every step of the process and provide you with data on the current market and how your home compares to recent sales in your area.
Don’t hire a non-Realtor or flat fee real estate company:
There are many new flat fee real estate companies in the Denver area and sellers should know that what sounds like a good deal up front might not be the best in the end. First, the majority are not REALTOR®s, only real estate agents/companies and there is a difference. Second, they may advertise a flat fee, but then add on extras like a buyer’s agent commission and additional document and title fees. You are also unlikely to get the same quality of service as you would if you were to hire a REALTOR®. This is because instead of having one dedicated agent who knows your home and can walk you through every step of the process you will instead be assigned to several different (often non-licensed) people, each for a different step in the transaction.
Do clean clutter:
Buyers want to be able to imagine calling your house their home, and it won’t feel like it’s their home if you’re still in it. Getting rid of clutter is one of the most important things you can do to make your home look its best, for photos and for showings. If you’re still living in the home when you list it, consider renting a storage unit to store all but the absolute necessities. Put away your personal items, clear surfaces, and do your best to stage your home for sale with a few items that you already have. Ask your REALTOR® for advice on how to make your home look its very best.
Don’t fill closets with that clutter:
Sure it’s more convenient to stuff everything into your closets or garage, but don’t forget that potential buyers will, and do, look in these areas too. A storage unit may sound inconvenient at first, but think about how much faster your home will sell when it looks its very best.
Do fix things that are broken:
Most homeowners have a handful or more of home repairs that need to be done before they sell. This includes small things like filling in and painting over nail holes, or bigger things like replacing a broken step, or furnace. If you think that buyers will look past these items, think again. Any sign of deferred maintenance can make a buyer think that the house hasn’t been well taken care of and that there are likely major defects hiding in the home. The last thing any buyer wants is a money pit, and even the smallest visible problems can spark the fear that something worse is hiding behind the walls. Even if the buyers are not savvy enough to notice that your water heater has been leaking, rest assured that a home inspector will. It’s better to be proactive about repairs so that your home looks like it has been well taken care of.
Don’t assume a buyer will buy your home as-is:
Sure, there are buyers who want a fixer-upper and if they can get it for a good price they are willing to buy it in its current condition, defects and all. But, as a seller you likely want your home to sell for the highest price possible. A home that can boast about a brand new roof in its marketing is likely to be more attractive to buyers than a home that looks like it needs a new roof but didn’t get one.
Do look at the data:
Deciding on what price your home will be listed for can be a science. Consult your REALTOR® and they will likely share with you their recommendation on what your home should be listed for, based on their experience, and they should also back that up with data. This data will include recent (180 days or less) comparable sales, how many days (on average) homes are listed for in your area, and the pros and cons of your specific property. They will also share their opinion and data around pricing strategies. Pricing your home too high can result in the home sitting longer on the market and thus creating negative stigma that can result in your home selling for thousands less than it would have if priced slightly lower.
Don’t trust what you find on the Internet:
There are many real estate sites where you can browse homes for sale, and many also include estimates of your home’s approximate value. These estimates are made in broad strokes and do not take into account any specific home. These estimates can also be skewed by listings that never made it to the market but were sold by the owner to someone they know and therefore are not accurate examples of market value. I’ve frequently seen estimates that were incorrect by +/- $10,000 – $30,000.
Do make your home easily accessible for showings:
There may be a variety of different people with different work schedules that would like to see your home. They are unlikely to make an offer unless they can see the home in person, which means that you need to try to accommodate as many potential buyers as possible. I know it might be disappointing and frustrating to leave home every time a buyer wants to see it, but the faster the largest amount of people are able to see your home the faster it will sell. If you have pets this might be extra difficult to accommodate. Consider placing your pets in day care or boarding them in anticipation of agents showing your home while you are at work. If you work from home, make sure to step out during the scheduled showing and give the buyers an opportunity to imagine the home as their own.
Don’t get emotionally involved:
This can be difficult, but it’s best to try and separate your emotions from the process of selling your home. No one can know your home the way that you do and that can lead to misunderstandings or defensive behavior. Try to remember what it was like when you bought your home and the many apprehensions and emotions that you faced in the process. In the end this is a business transaction and your goal is to make someone fall in love with your home. Don’t let your emotions get in the way.