Tuesday, January 24, 2017 / by Katie Arlt
2. Clean EVERYTHING. No house is too clean, and few things increase marketability as much as cleaning. Used car dealers wouldn’t think of selling a car without detailing it first. If you have a showing, make sure all trash cans are emptied, beds are made, mirrors and counters are wiped down, toilets are closed and blinds are opened. Lighting makes a huge difference. If I am showing your property to a buyer, I like to get there early and make sure these things are done. Sometimes buyers know if they will purchase or not before they even walk in the front door. Make sure the lawn is cut and clean. Clean your gutters. Home inspectors and buyers both notice gutters that are overflowing with debris.
3. Replace badly worn or stained carpeting. Replace with inexpensive, neutral-colored carpeting. The worse your existing carpeting is, the better the return you’ll get on this investment. If you cannot afford to replace it, hiring a company to professionally clean it will help. Pro tip: use this opportunity to screw down loose or squeaky flooring.
4. Paint the walls. An investment in cosmetic improvement will bring a greater return than mechanical improvement. Consider painting basement walls, front door, metal railings and trim. This will also remove smells. Use neutral colors. Ask your agent for advice. Hire a professionally. Sloppy paint is worse than not painting at all. Pro tip: it may be a good idea to video the property before painting in the event that you are asked to prove that you were not covering any damage.
4. Lighting is everything. Change the light bulbs to higher wattage soft bulbs. Replace burned out old bulbs.
5. Buy new shower curtains. This is an inexpensive fix that can make a bathroom look new.
6. Have your home professionally inspected before putting it on the market. You can then fix the defects ahead of time instead of a potential buyer using them as a negotiating tool. Small repairs could cost you a lot more if you wait. The home will immediately show better when every little noted crack or defect is repaired. A clean inspection report can be used as a marketing tool. This also gives full disclosure to avoid any potential legal issues.
7. Have a comparative market analysis completed by a licensed real estate agent who has access to both FMLS and GAMLS. Pricing is important. If your home is over priced, even if you get under contract, the deal could fall apart if your appraisal comes in low. Most lenders will not loan more than the appraisal price. To be double sure, you could hire a licensed appraiser to appraise your home ahead so that you know what to expect.
8. Hire an agent who is a master of marketing. No matter how good your house looks after all of your preparation, it will never sell if it is not being marketed to the right buyers. Promotion generates prospects. The more prospects, the more offers. The more offers, the higher the eventual selling price. It is a simple numbers game. If you get enough people to see your home, some of them will want to buy it.
9. Hire an agent who has other listings with great photographer and or video.
10. Ask your neighbors for help. No matter how great your home looks, no one wants to live next to sloppy Joe! Ask your agent for advice on polite ways to get your neighbors to tidy up a bit.
11. Offer a bonus to the buyer's agent. Pro tip: some agents won't even show a house if the buyer's agent commission is less than 3%. Most listings in this market that have not moved are probably listed with a discount brokerage. Offering a broker bonus will definitly give your home more attention, even if it is only $500-1,000. I have seen vacation packages, football tickets, and even a convertible mustang offered!
12. Offer a home warranty from the start. A lot of buyers will try to negotiate a home warranty. If you advertise that you are planning to include one from the beginning, this could attract more buyers. A good warranty these days costs around $615 and can be paid for by the seller's proceeds at closing.
13. Provide access. Believe it or not, if you want to sell your home, you will have to make it available for showings. This will not be convenient. Prepare to have your home ready to show within one hour's notice, every time a buyer asks your agent to see the home. Do not linger. Leave the house before the buyers arrive so that they are not uncomfortable.
14. Remove pets (and their odors).
15. Hire a savvy agent who will save time and money by pre-qualifying prospective buyers - even the buyer's who come with their own realtor. Some agents do not even know if their clients have the money or credit to buy. A good listing agent will ask the right questions before confirming the appointment.
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