The Ten Commandments of Home Selling
Success-driven Home Selling
Most people have two primary goals when they sell their home. These are to sell quickly at the best price possible. Both are attainable and if your location is TheTwin Cities metro and your home value is under $500,000, the market favors you in a big way.
However, please do not think that you will achieve these goals if you ignore the basic rules of how to prepare to sell your home. If you want multiple offers and you want them in the first few days of listing you need to accept the fact that preparation is necessary. If your home’s list price is in the higher tiers, it becomes even more critical.
Convinced? Fabulous! Here are my ten commandments of home selling. Follow these, and you will present your home at its finest.
Clutter is not aesthetically appealing. It makes your home look messy and lacking in storage space. The goal is to go through every closet, cabinet, drawer and storage space from basement to attic. Don’t forget the garage and any outbuildings as well. Everything you decide you do not need should be for sale, consignment, donation or disposal.
For some, this step is no big deal, and for others, this is the most difficult. It helps to think of this process as serving the dual purpose of preparing to sell and beginning to pack for your upcoming move. Every item you decide to keep that you need for the short term should return to the closet or cabinet. Pack the remainder. You also want to make your living space less personal. A buyer needs to make an emotional connection to your home, and that is harder when your family photos and artifacts are everywhere. Pack these now too.
Success-driven suggestions: Unless you have been practicing minimalism, don’t attempt this all in one day. Rent a storage unit for the boxes and extra furniture that will be going to your new home. Get the entire family on board with the process.
Place everything you have decided you need to keep and use until you sell your home neatly in closets, cabinets, and drawers. The goal is to have these no more than three-quarters full. If an interested buyer opens a closet door and a shower of items rains down on her, she will lose interest pretty quickly. Enough said right?
Success-driven suggestions: In the closets, clothing arranged by item and color; all hangers should be the same; other items organized in bins or containers; shoes should be in boxes or on an organizer. Arrange kitchen cabinets with like items together. Pantry items in matching food storage containers or bins.
An impeccably clean home makes an outstanding first impression. Nothing says house-love more than crystal clear windows, glistening woodwork, shiny appliances, sparkling bath fixtures, and clean countertops and floors. Every inch of wall, floor, and ceiling should be clean. Buyers are very fussy. If they think you have neglected to clean, they will assume you didn’t maintain the mechanicals as well.
Success-driven suggestions: Wash glass shades from light fixtures in the dishwasher. Have the carpets and windows professionally cleaned. Recaulk the tub, clean the grout.
This commandment may be the most important. An experienced agent will be an invaluable resource that can guide you through all the other nine commandments. He can make recommendations if you need professional help. Determine the optimum listing price for your home. A real estate professional can make the entire process of selling your home transparent and seamless. He can head off potential issues before they happen.
Success-driven suggestions: Select an agent that is experienced and knows the community. Make sure you feel comfortable talking to your agent about any concerns or questions that may arise. Do not depend on recommendations from friends and family alone. Check out the agent’s social media presence and read reviews online. Ask how the agent will specifically market your home and that he will be everywhere you need him to be when promoting your home.
Do not overlook any small repairs. Leaky faucets, cracked or broken windows pains, sticky drawers, or chipped ceramic tiles. Don’t forget to inspect the outside as well. Any issues with malfunctioning garage doors or damaged roof tiles need addressing. For larger ticket items consult with your listing agent. Don’t spend thousands remodeling a kitchen or bath for instance without his input. You may be spending money that will not give you the expected return on investment. Conversely, there may be mechanicals that if replaced will mean the difference between selling with an offer in hand or languishing for weeks on the market and lowering your ask price.
Success-driven suggestions: Make sure you have an agent and get advice before making pricey updates. Don’t skimp on the small stuff thinking buyers won’t notice. They will and act accordingly.
Do not underestimate the impact staging has on home sales. A National Association of Realtors 2017 study found that 58% of real estate professionals said staging increased the sale price of homes they listed by as much as 20% with 39% saying they also sold faster. Buyers, 77% of them actually, said they could more easily visualize how their furnishings would fit in a staged home.
Success-driven suggestions: If you move out before you sell, consider staging as an option for at least the three main rooms, kitchen, family or living room and dining area. If you stay in the home as you sell, do consider a staging consultation. For a flat fee that is generally between $250-$350, they will go room by room through your home and make suggestions. The economy route is to ask your realtor for ideas and research online for staging information.
Never undervalue the impact of a first impression. Maximise your curb appeal. Make sure both the front and backyard are tidy and well groomed. The lawn should be mown, edged and green. Trim the shrubbery and weed the flower beds. Annuals strategically planted for bursts of color and fresh mulch complete your look. Don’t forget a freshly painted front door, shiny light fixtures, hardware and house numbers are musts. Power wash the siding and clean the gutters. Perfect!
Success-driven suggestions: If you have a front porch, stage it as well. Place a couple of flower pots or a hanging plant at the entrance way.
Setting the asking price for your home is where your agent’s experience is invaluable. Even in a strong sellers’ market, you cannot be unrealistic about your home’s value. Your Realtor will do a market-driven analysis and arrive at a price point based on historical sales data, your home’s size and condition, and the competition in the market then. If you overvalue your home, not only will it take longer to sell, you will probably need to lower your asking price. The result might be a lower selling price than what you would have brought to the table if you priced it right the first time.
Success-driven suggestions: Listen to your listing agent. Selling your home at the optimum price is in his best interest as well as in yours. Don't make the mistake of thinking you can always drop the price if it's too high. Once you do, your home doesn't appear as desirable to buyers.
Dealing with the issue of your pets when selling your home is difficult for many people. I know your pets are your family, your fur babies and fur children, but many people find pets in the house when they tour a turnoff. Many suffer from allergies. Fido or Fifi can be a distraction from actually focusing on the property. Consider having them visit with relatives or friends while you are selling your home. Another option is sending your dog or cat to a resort or hotel.
Success-driven suggestions: If boarding your pets is not an option make sure you remove them from home before any showing. When you have a cat, keep the little box immaculate and consider a total change out before a buyer visits.
You obeyed the first nine commandments and now have a contract on your home. Good for you! You did a great job, and a reward is in order. The last and best commandment is to celebrate your success.
Thanks for reading! Here are two more articles on preparing to sell your home which may prove useful.
As always, Joe and his Minnesota Property Group Team are standing by if you have any questions.