I have noticed a pattern in my 14 years of selling real estate, most sellers “love” their homes and that’s great, but, and here is the but, it often makes the selling process a bit tougher for one major reason – objectivity. I love my house too! It’s where I have raised my daughter, played with my dogs, had family meals and don’t forget about all that sweat equity I’ve poured in over the years. However, here’s the deal, buyers don’t care about your memories. Buyers want the same thing time after time, “value vs asking price”. Buyers look at your home very differently than you do.
Here’s a perfect example from when I sold my very first house. I built my first home right after high school in 1990, I loved it. I built most of the home myself (former career) and after the house was up I had hundreds of hours of landscaping, fire-pit, deck and an extra finished garage (with a car hoist in it). I mean the house was “perfect” (in my eyes anyway). OK, it really was a nice house in all sincerity. However, when I sold it in 2001 to move to where I am now, I never really thought of any “negatives” the home might have and I didn’t focus quite where I should have at first and for me that was mainly asking price.
There are many things that affect selling your home for top dollar, let me say that again in an other way, the goal of most home sellers is to get “top dollar” so how do we do that? Here are a few simple steps I recommend you take “before” a sign goes in the yard.
Be Objective & Remember The Goal
It’s probably the toughest part but at the same time one of the most crucial parts. Here’s a good way to do it, go out to your curb and face the neighbors house, turn around now and look at yours with fresh eyes, what do you see? Peeling paint? Roof that’s looking pretty worn? Landscaping that’s seen better days? You get the idea, here’s what a buyer sees……………the same thing. Now before the buyers feet even hit the street they see “work”, not a great first impression. It’s hard to purposely look for negatives or areas to improve on in your own castle, I get it, however it is necessary to get top dollar.
Now walk inside, from the front door opening to a tour of all the rooms. What do you see? If you see a repair needed or something that could easily be improved on, so does the buyer. Now is the time to fix it. You do not want to give buyers any reason that’s easily within your control to start a “repair checklist” as they walk through your home.
Yes, most likely you have heard this part dozens of times but its crucial you do so. Rather than give you all sorts of staging tips here Ill give you a very recent quick story. My team and I were recently showing a home in Excelsior to a buyer, the neighborhood we were in had about 5 homes for sale all built by same builder during the same year so as you can imagine all in all pretty similar homes. The home we were showing was $7,000 more that the other homes on average but offered “basically” the same square footage, beds, baths etc. The other homes at that time had been on the market an average of 30 days with no offers, this particular home priced higher had been on 3 days when we got there and already had 2 offers on it and the listing agent was presenting them that night.
After viewing all the homes what was different, the higher priced home with multiple offers showed like a model home hands down. Driveway was nicely shoveled (it was winter), the walking path was also cleared off very nicely, the entry way was welcoming with a nice large new rug, lights were all on when we arrived, soft music in background, gas fireplace was on, you could still see the vacuum lines in the carpet. The home was cleared of all clutter, beds nicely made, it just looked great all in all. Staging sells, cleanliness sells, curb appeal sells, move in ready “feeling” sells, it just does so please take the time to set your home up like this as you will reap the equity reward at the closing table, you really will.
Oh boy here we go, another Realtor talking price! 🙂 Bare with me, I want you to sell for more not less. After all the staging etc is done here is how you price your home… “objectively”. Lets get more detail on that, remember what we said above, buyers don’t care about how you raised kids there, how you poured all that sweat and busted knuckles over last summer building that shed and retaining walls, they don’t. Let all that go for just a minute and do this, look at the comparable properties.
Most homes, not all will offer a range of comparable homes (homes at least “similar” to yours) that you can look at. The best comparable properties are those which have already sold because then you know buyers will pay it, active homes are just what someone wants, although we do look at them they are not as important as sold properties. Also, don’t forget at the end of the day when it sells the appraiser will also be looking at those very same comps so they must match.
All properties have a buyer and all properties can be sold for top dollar in any market. Selling a home doesn’t need to be painful or over stressful either, we love what we do and have a great time helping sellers. You just need to find that in the agent you choose. Follow the tips above and hire the right professional who can and will expose your home to more than just the MLS and your equity will reward you at closing time.
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