The harsh winter weather is making way for the much-anticipated signs of spring, a season many agree is ideal for selling homes.
That’s great news if you are ready to put your house on the market. But is your house really ready to be in the spotlight?
Timing is everything, but not without preparation. In fact, it’s your responsibility to position yourself and your house to get the best price possible.
And it might just pay to consider these potential pitfalls so the offers do, in fact, roll in.
#1: Not pairing with the right realtor
Your real-estate agent will take you through the stages of the home-selling process — listing, showing, negotiating and closing.
Be sure to choose a full-service firm that is established, respected and professional. Your agent should be knowledgeable of your market so he or she can, well, successfully market your property.
Also make sure the agency is technically savvy and has a track record of posting full and accurate listings, complete with flattering property photos.
#2: Not facing facts
Speaking of photos, have you looked closely at your home lately?
It’s crucial that you take a fresh look at your property, outside and inside. Be brutally honest, but don’t take it personally. Simply gather–and face–the facts regarding its strengths and weaknesses. Only then can you make a plan to maximize your offering.
Start with appointed, calculated walk-throughs/walkabouts … perhaps with the help of family, friends, neighbors, or professionals. Maybe begin with a formal inspection.
Essentially, note any structural, functional and aesthetic flaws. Then figure out what needs fixing, distracted from, refreshed, updated, added and/or removed.
Curl appeal is important because neglected or outdated designs and features on the outside can suggest the same on the inside. And anything a potential buyer sees and doesn’t like during a drive-by or an online viewing could eliminate your property from further consideration, such as:
- poor conditions of shrubs/trees/plants, potted plants
- out-of-season or abundance of yard/door decorations
- damaged or insufficient lighting
- insufficient, inappropriate window coverings as seen from the outside
- poor conditions of gutters/roofs
- cluttered porches/patios/play areas/driveways
- unsanitary garbage areas
Once you get potential buyers inside your home, you want to keep the focus on the potential of the spaces to meet their needs. You do not want to make it easy for them to get stuck on things that likely aren’t deal breakers, like:
- simple yet needed repairs
- poor flow of space due to arrangement or abundance of furniture
- not showcasing natural lighting features of home
- too much personalization
- unpleasant odors
#3: Not doing — or hiring out — the work
Now that you know what you’re working with, flaws and all, it’s time to do the work. Again, ask for help if you need it, from painters, plumbers, electricians, designers, even landscapers.
Fix what can be fixed within reason (i.e. your budget and time constraints) and play to the strengths of all else.
When you think you’re finished, remember to maintain the home’s condition for showings and open houses. Also work with your agent at being flexible and available so as to accommodate the schedules of potential buyers.
#4: Not seriously considering first offers
A major mistake of sellers regarding pricing is to initially focus on what they need to net from their home versus what the home is worth.
However, if you and your realtor have priced your house right as well as positioned and showcased your house appropriately, all offers should be reasonable and therefore taken into consideration. Especially the first ones, according to many in the industry.
Serious buyers, sometimes called Real Dealers, are pre-approved, continually scanning the local listings, and possibly in touch with agents who are on the lookout just for them. So if your house is priced right and meets a buyer’s criteria, that early –if not first — offer may be worth a second look.