FAQs: Selling a Home
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO MAKE MY HOUSE READY TO SELL?
You’ve heard this before from all the experts on television & in the newspapers. Every dollar invested in cosmetic freshening results in a-dollar-for-dollar return. Major renovations to baths & kitchens can return more if done right. One must take into account factors like what homeowners have done in other like homes in your neighborhood. (Check with an accountant to find out what expenses related to the sale of your home can be deducted from your taxes). Remember, it is not always best to be the biggest, fanciest and costliest home in the neighborhood. However, it is important to be the best looking at first sight!
Regardless of how much you love your home & how it looks to you, what is really important is, what do other people see & think about your house?
If you are like most mere mortals, you never seem to be able to keep up with all the maintenance work, regular cleaning and the ‘heavy’ cleaning (like a spring cleaning). Where do you start? What needs to be done?
Getting an objective opinion/evaluation of your home can be very simply accomplished, ASK A FRIEND! Ask them to look at your house as if they were a buyer and ask them to tell you what they like & what they would like to see changed. Ask an experienced REALTOR. They see lots of homes and work with buyers. Ask them what catches the buyer’s attention. Ask them what they think the best features of your home are and how can you make them really stand out.
How much should I do & spend?
It depends upon a number of factors;
When do you want to start selling your house?
When do you want to move out?
How much can be done by me?
How much will the materials cost?
How much time will it take?
How much needs to be done by a professional?
How much will it cost?
How long will it take?
What will it all cost me?
What must I do?
The easiest solution is to do nothing. Let the new buyer do the work. Not a good solution, especially in a Buyers’ market, unless you are pricing your property well below the market. One solution we suggest, with great success for our sellers, is to prioritize what needs to be done. However, here is where you could use some experienced help. Ask a Realtor. They will be happy to help. Remember, if you hire the Realtor to help you sell your property they have a stake in the advice they give you. They have to sell your house in the shortest time and for the most money.
What should I be looking at?
This includes (if applicable) shrubs, trees and flowers. The walkway, the driveway, front door, steps & railing, garage door, side door, back door, windows, exterior lights, utility boxes. Does the house look fresh or tired?
-Fertilize, mow & water your lawns regularly.
-Maintain trees & shrubs. (Trim and get out weeds)
-Mulch, (if needed-fresh mulch is an instant eye catcher).
-Add color with flowers. Don’t overdo it. Add color near entryways, keep it simple.
-Keep bikes, ladders, lawn equipment out of site.
-Paint the Front Door. (Paint other doors too, most people neglect this).
-Paint or power wash (or brush with bio-degradable soap) the garage door.
-Paint stair rail if you have one, wash steps, walkways & driveway (power wash or use brush & bio-degradable soap).
If you live in a condo and the exterior doesn’t look clean & well maintained talk to the Association’s officers and management company (if there is one) and seek their help. Keep the area around your entry neat & clean. If permitted, place a welcome map at your front door. It really makes a difference.
Wow, where do you start. You love your furniture, your decorating touches, your knick-knacks, And, hey the kids live here too! They need their space. It takes tough love, tough decisions. Take the advice of your friends and your Realtor. Start by getting rid of all the clutter. The stacks of magazines, that unfinished 500 piece puzzle, the greeting cards from the past holiday.
-Remove extra furniture that is not always used or needed.
-Replace all light bulbs, up the wattage one level (example; 60 watts to 75 watts).
-light fixtures, c eiling fan blades, b linds
-TILE floors and walls. Remove lime, rust and mildew.
-Carpets. (If too stained or discolored think about replacement).
-Dry clean or wash & iron all drapery & curtains
-Mirrors, don’t forget to wash the windows & window sills.
-Tubs & sinks. Remove all rust, lime & mildew stains.
If it’s broken fix it!
This is where prioritizing becomes very important. Time and money are important factors, however, the key is to address those items that will be most important to potential buyers. We suggest addressing ‘Repair or Replace’ items before you invest in ‘Cosmetic Fixes’. A better maintained house will generally make the ‘short list’ over a ‘cosmetic makeover’ of the discerning buyer. If you had to choose between dealing with water stained ceilings or fixing a leaky faucet, which would you choose? If you were a buyer, would seeing a stained ceiling be more of a concern than a dripping faucet? Here is a list of suggested items to look at. This list is by no means complete, but it is a good starting point.
Repair or replace:
-Leaky faucets, toilets, pipes.
-Toilet seats -Cabinet handles
-Non working appliances
-Floor & wall tiles
-Holes and cracks in walls
-Broken or loose hand rails
There are other, really simple, things you can do to make your house more sellable and appeal to more potential buyers.
The little things mean a lot:
Stop smoking in the house. Air fresheners only mask the odor temporarily. If you have carpeting, have it steam cleaned and deodorized. If that doesn’t fix the problem then replacement may be the only course of action available.
If you have pets, keep their area clean and odor free. Try to vacuum all shed hair daily. Empty litter trays, remove empty food bowls, place water bowls where unfamiliar feet won’t accidentally kick them. Get rid of yesterdays newspapers, empty the trash in ALL rooms, not just the kitchen, every day before you leave your home and before a buyer arrives to see your house. Keep the front entry clean. Sweep daily and brush away cob webs. Remove all clutter, put the video game controllers away, clean the sink out and make it shine. Remove last nights dishes from the counter and other stuff you tend to drop there. De-clutter the refrigerator door, clean the water dispenser stains, put away the dish towels & dish soap. Remove some small appliances you only use occasionally, like the big mixer or electric waffle maker. Get the kids to put away their toys and de-clutter their rooms and play areas.
If you have a laundry room, don’t leave a wash sitting in the washer or dryer and don’t leave the unwashed laundry on the floor. Get an inexpensive hamper or laundry bag to put the laundry in. Clear out or neaten up your closets, they are important to potential buyers and should not be distracting with clutter, shoes on the floor, etc.
When you think your house is ready call your friend and/or a Realtor to take a look. Listen for any suggestions, follow through and get ready to sell your house.
Now that I have prepared my house for sale what’s the next step?
The next decision you make is as important as what you do to prepare your house for sale.
Deciding who will help you sell the house. Will you do it alone? Will you hire a Realtor? Since we are Realtors, of course you know what our choice is. However, if you are determined to sell your house by yourself we want to be helpful, just in case you’re not successful and decide to hire us to do the job.
Some things to consider when selling your house ‘For Sale By Owner’.
Selling a house is time consuming. It is really a 24/7 job, 365 days a year. You have to be available to talk to potential buyers when they call. (Most people don’t want to leave a message, their name and phone number, they have some questions and they’re ready to talk now). If you’re not there, they move on to the next house. Not all calls are from Prospective Buyers. Realtors will call asking for your business, mortgage brokers will call offering to help with financing for the buyer, neighbors will call asking why & where you are moving.
Being available for visits to your home is another key factor to successfully selling your home quickly. Prospective buyers want to see houses on their schedule. That typically can be anytime between 9:00 a.m. 7 p.m. (and sometimes later if they work and only have that time available) Monday through Sunday. So how do you go to work? Run errands? Take the kids to their activities? Get out with your friends? Keep the house neat & clean? And be warm, welcoming & charming to people you don’t know. And what will you say to them when they are in your home? Do they want to hear all about the things you did to your house, all your decorating touches? How well the oven works and dryer dries the clothes? Not really. Most people want to LOOK around and try to imagine how they would relax in the family room or see themselves in the kitchen, see where the kids will play, see how much closet space there is! You get the picture.
At this point, if you still feel you want to sell your house, yourself, are you prepared for the next major step, Marketing your house.
You have to let the world know!
That’s not far from reality, especially if you live in Florida. The world comes to Florida to relax, warm up, retire. Everyone seems to be seeking a piece of paradise. So, lawn signs and an ad in the local classified just doesn’t do it anymore.
With no intent on being redundant, over 80% of potential buyers start their search on the internet according to the latest market research. With the Internet your house is potentially exposed to millions of people around the world. Think about how many people may see your newspaper ad, especially if it’s only in the classified section. A display ad will be seen by more people of course, but not a large enough number to expect quick results. And you have to run newspaper ads on a frequent and regular basis to get the exposure. What you need is a comprehensive marketing plan, one that utilizes many potential points of contact, available to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible on an ongoing cost effective basis. If you choose to work with one of our Realtors you can be assured that you will get as much exposure as is available to the Realtor. This includes;
-Multiple Listing Services,
-Internet search engines,
-Individual Realtor web sites,
-communicating with other Realtors,
-calling previous clients.
Yes, some sellers have been successful selling their own houses; Most have not. Then they turn to a Realtor. By this time they have lost precious time and money. Whether we are in a ‘normal’ market, ‘sellers’ market or a ‘buyers’ market, time and money are still important, but no more so than in a buyers market. Before you decide who will market & sell your house, think about the end result you want. To sell your house quickly for the most money you can net!
What do I do when I get an offer?
Depends on whether you are selling the house yourself or if you hired a Realtor.
What you do next is critical to successfully completing the sale. How do you accept the offer, verbally or in writing? What kind of paperwork do you need to use? Should you have Lawyers prepare the contracts? Who will make certain that every step of the process, through closing, happens on-time & within the terms of the contract?
Perhaps some understanding of the Selling process would be helpful in deciding whether to sell on your own or hire a Realtor.
The Selling Process:
This list is meant to be a guide of what Sellers & Buyers typically deal with, 90% being emotional. We know because we deal with the Selling Process every day, 24/7.
If you hire a experienced Realtor they will guide you through every step, know what paperwork to use, ride the roller coaster of emotions for you and accompany you to the closing table to make certain you receive your proceeds from the sale. Sounds simple! Well that’s what a Coral Shores Realtor does.