Oh no…I’ve Got to Sell my House, Part 3

Oh no…I’ve Got to Sell my House, Part 3

OK…you have decided to sell your house, and you have selected an agent.

Now what?

With the thousands of homes we have seen for sale, there are three things that almost always are “must-do” items. If your house is clean, updated, and de-cluttered, it will most likely sell. If it doesn’t, you probably do not have it priced correctly. Obviously the above two sentences will not replace detailed market analysis (which you will get from one of our network agents), but if you asked us what are three basic things that an owner can do to help their house sell, that’s it:

  • Clean!
  • Update!
  • De-clutter!

The most important time of your property’s “listing life” is the first 10-14 days.

The first thing most every agent in town does each morning is open up the local MLS and hits the button that says “New Listings”. They want to see what new properties are on the market. If it’s a good one, they are going to rush their buyer out to see it before anybody does. First impressions are critical–if your house is not clean, updated, and de-cluttered, those agents will remember that that particular house on “so and so” street isn’t worth looking at. They’ll remember that two weeks later even if you’ve cleaned since then. Don’t list your house until it’s ready.

Clean. My goodness you wouldn’t believe the number of listings we go to where people are honestly expecting to sell the house and it is absolutely filthy! Are you kidding me? Unless the buyer is looking for a “fixer upper” and is going to try and steal the property with a low-ball offer, this is an absolute showstopper. Clean your home. Hire somebody to clean your home. Don’t list your home until it is clean.

Update. OK…got to be a little careful here. It is not absolutely critical that you’ve got granite counter tops, tile or hardwood floors, or custom mirrors installed throughout your home–those are luxury items, and although they will help you get top dollar for your house, not having them will not necessarily prevent your house from selling. We’re more concerned with a house that was obviously built and decorated 20-30 years ago. Wood paneling throughout, orange shag carpet, you know what we’re talking about. When considering updating, consult your real estate professional (read the next Blog!)–in a nutshell, bathrooms and kitchens normally provide the highest return on your investment.

De-clutter. First and foremost, you want potential buyers to be able to picture your home as “their” home. They can’t do that will all of your crap everywhere! Ok…that was a little harsh, but you get my point. There’s an entire industry that popped up specifically for this–the professional home “stager”. A few years ago, I hired a “stager” to help me sell my home on the east coast–I “donated” almost $700 for her to tell me basically what I already knew. Remove as many furniture items from each room that you can without it looking funny or taking away functionality–you’ll be surprised at how much cleaner and bigger the rooms look. Also, remove the personal items and pictures–they want to visualize “their” wedding picture on the wall and it is difficult to do that with an 18”x22” face of some strangers staring at them. We often suggest getting a little storage room or a “Pods” type unit (clients don’t mind seeing that in the driveway because they know it will be leaving.

Any quality agent (all of our network agents) should absolutely tell you the things you need to do to sell your home–you’re hiring them to do just that, not be your friend. Insist that they be critical, anything less will end up costing you more money.