It takes effort and preparation to get the best selling price for your home – as well as some wise decisions along the way. Consider these ten tips that will maximize your return.
- Choose your Agent Wisely – Unless you have sufficient experience yourself, you are better off hiring a good real estate broker or agent. You need someone with an excellent understanding of the market in your neighborhood, with the proper blend of experience and availability (experience is irrelevant if they cannot pay attention to your needs) to match. Shop around and check references. Look over their current listings. Have they represented those houses well?
- Price it Properly – An overpriced house is hard to sell. Do some research on proper houses for comparison, check them out to the extent possible, and realistically assess the condition of your house as you adjust from the value of the comp houses. A good agent should be able to advise you on the best list price. If you are selling your own home, consider getting an appraisal prior to listing.
- Organize – Eliminate any clutter by “pre-packing” for your eventual move. Leave only the essentials in the home while you are selling, store anything that will be moving to the new home (preferably offsite), and get rid of the rest.
Keep your essential items hidden in closets, pantries, drawers, and kitchen cabinets – and keep them organized within those areas. Neat closets or cabinets can give disproportionately good impressions.
- Keep it Clean – Keep the house as immaculate as possible because you may have to show the house on short notice. Floors, walls, and windows should be cleaned daily during the selling period. Clean or replace dirty grout or caulking and polish furniture or metallic fixtures. Even simple things like hanging clean bathroom towels matter.
- Control Odors – Nothing will turn off a buyer faster than bad smells. Don’t attempt to cover them up with air fresheners – clean or remove whatever is causing them. Pets need to be relocated during the sale period to avoid smells (and confrontations).
- Handle Minor Repairs – Deal with any off-putting annoyances such as leaky faucets, stains, holes in the walls, chipped tiles, sticking doors, and loose doorknobs. Anything that gives the appearance of poor maintenance will be hard to overcome.
- Keep Upgrades Simple – You probably won’t get your money back with major renovations, but you probably will with simple ones. A fresh coat of paint in neutral colors gives a great impression for minimal feedback.
One exception to this rule is the kitchen. Buyers place disproportionate value on the kitchen, even if they could save enough money on the purchase of the home to refurbish it themselves. It may be worth refinishing cabinets, as well as replacing countertops and at least one of the appliances. Stainless steel appliances are popular now and often bring an excellent return.
Seek your agent’s advice on what renovations you plan to make, and whether the return you get will be worth the expense.
- De-Personalize – Remove family pictures and other distinctive family items and place them in storage. Buyers do not want to be reminded that somebody already lives in the home.
- Keep the Outside Neat – Keeping the inside of the house clean may not matter if the outside is a mess. Keep the yard and landscaping tidy – grass mowed and edged, weeds pulled, leaves raked, snow removed from walkways. Clean the outside of the home and make sure that gutters and drains are cleaned and functional. Rent a power washer if you need it to clean sidewalks and other concrete or brick surfaces.
- Spread the Word – Why let your agent do all the work? Let your neighbors, friends, and co-workers know that you are selling. They may know someone who is interested. You can even consider posting your sale status on Facebook or other social media sites – but be careful what you reveal.
We can’t guarantee that following these tips will get you the price you want. However, we believe that ignoring them will cost you.