Homeowners choose to sell their homes for a variety of reasons and for many, it can be an emotional experience. Selecting a reputable real estate agent to guide you through the process of selling your home is a great start, but there are also steps that you can take on your own to ensure your home sells for a good price. From cleaning, photography, to staging and curb appeal, here is a helpful guide on how to get your house ready to sell.
How can owners get their house ready to sell?
Determine if it is a good time to sell your house
The best time to sell your house largely depends on fluctuating market conditions in your area. Homes generally move faster during certain times of the year so it’s good to research market conditions to determine when to sell your house. A good starting point is to find a few local, comparable homes that have sold recently to get an idea of what is happening in your neighborhood. This is a good time to start interviewing and selecting a real estate agent because he or she will also be able to help you with this process.
Find a listing agent
We highly recommend that you interview several real estate agents before selecting one to help sell your house. When interviewing agents, be sure to ask about their experience, connections to buyers, and marketing expertise. A real estate agent should be able to give you a well thought out plan on how they are going to sell your home including their marketing strategy. Lastly, be sure to ask real estate agents about their commission structure because real estate agents are still selling homes for 6% of the final sale price. Many people believe that a 6% commission is no longer a fair price to sell a home for several reasons:
- Homes are much more expensive now: In the 80’s and 90’s, homes were selling for a fraction of the price they are now, a real estate agent earned much less then.
- The internet has made things easier: Real estate agents have much less work to do now that the internet is making buying and selling homes easier.
- Alternatives to a 6% commission structure exist: There are several high quality companies out there now that will sell your house for either a flat-fee or a much lower percentage which will help you get top dollar for your home; Trelora being one of them.
One of the most important steps to getting your house ready to sell is decluttering and organizing all of your stuff. Rooms look a lot bigger and open if there is less stuff (like family photos) in them so consider renting a storage unit to store some of your items temporarily. Decluttering goes a long way when selling your home because it helps a potential buyer focus on the actual home rather than your belongings. With that said, it’s important to leave a few of the items in place because it helps buyers visualize their items in the space when they are determining if your home is a good fit for them.
Just like anything, first impressions are very important when selling your home. Be sure to deep clean your home to get rid of pet odors, dusty surfaces, and dirty floors so that you don’t make a bad first impression on a potential buyer. Also, be sure to clean toilets, rugs, curtains, and scrub all of your bathrooms. In our opinion, it’s worth it to call a professional maid service to come give your home a deep clean.
Renovations Before Selling
Oftentimes, many major home renovations may not be necessary when selling your home because they have a low return on investment. With that said, minor upgrades may not seem as glamorous as a brand new kitchen or bathroom but can go a long way. Some minor upgrades you can make to get your house ready to sell are as follows:
- Refinish flooring
- Paint walls with neutral colors
- Replace worn out carpet
- Add insulation to an attic
- Fix leaky faucets, cracks in the walls, clean grout, running toilets, squeaky doors, etc.
- Magic erasers are your friend
- Change light bulbs
As mentioned before, buyers will have already judged your home before they walk through the doors, so first impressions really do matter. It’s important to make people feel comfortable and safe as they approach the house you are selling. You should enhance your home’s exterior features with some minor landscaping improvements which typically nets sellers a high return on investment.
- Add a flower bed and some brightly colored flowers
- Keep your lawn mowed
- Replace that damaged mailbox
- Paint or replace your front door
- Add a black storm door
- Keep your bushes trimmed
- Door knobs
- Cheerful door mat
- Front door wreath
Depending on how long it takes for your home to sell, you may need to swing by your home every week or so to do some basic maintenance to your curb appeal enhancements.
Stage your home
By staging your home, you are making it appear as inviting and appealing as possible to all potential home buyers which will help market the home better. Fortunately, staging your home to sell is a proven and easy way to help it sell faster and for more money. You can take some basic steps to stage home your home:
- Put away personal photos: Pictures can be distracting for potential buyers and remove their ability to imagine themselves living in your home.
- Add new furniture: If your furniture is a bit outdated, it will help to rent some furniture and add it to your space so that it appears more modern.
- Add fresh flowers to the room: Flowers make a home more inviting and should be incorporated in the living room, bedroom and kitchen.
- Make your house smell fresh and clean: As mentioned above, clean your home from top to bottom and make it smell nice.
Hire a professional photographer
Once you have completed all of the above ideas, it’s time to hire a professional photographer to show off your home listing. Hiring a professional photographer is one of the most important steps to selling your home because almost all potential buyers start their home search online. It’s crucial to include professional photos in your online listings because many people will simply overlook your home if your photography is sub-par. Any of the real estate agents you are interviewing should have connections to photographers that can showcase your home the way it is meant to be.
How long does each step in the selling process usually take?
After all the effort you have put into bringing your home to market and showcasing it properly, you might be wondering how long it will take to sell your home. There are several steps involved so we have built a useful infographic that demonstrates the standard timeframe it takes to sell your home, assuming you have incorporated our above advice before meeting with an agent to price your home. This is simply an estimate based on our own historical data from the thousands of homes we have sold in the past.