So you've decided to make a move and sell your house. I’m sure you have a to-do list of minor repairs and updates to get your home ready, and be the “Shiny Penny” on the market. In addition to your to-do list, it's also important to know what not to do. I’ve listed a couple of tips to help you.
1. Don't over-improve.
As you are preparing to put your home on the market, look at it with what I call “Buyer’s Eyes”. What will the buyer see when they drive up, enter the home, and take a look around? Updating the appliances, adding a fresh coat of paint or replacing the worn or dated carpet is always a good idea. However, it's important not to over-improve, or make improvements that are to your taste, but not necessarily to the taste’s of others. A good example would be totally re-finishing a basement when a moderate update would do. Your specific taste may not meet their needs, and may look to them like a huge project to un-do. Make any needed fixes to your space, but don't go overboard. Keep it simple.
2. Don’t over-decorate.
The key word here would be “neutral”. I, personally, love a lot of color and my home is very bright and cheery, however it is certainly not to everyone’s taste. When getting your home ready to sell, the best thing to do is tone down the color scheme and remove some of the decor. Not only will this make it more neutral and photogenic, but it will also help to overcome the objection of buyers having to spend time and money to repaint. Don’t worry that the buyers won’t get to see all of your favorite treasured pieces-they are there to see the home and imagine how their things will fit in the space.
3. Don't hang around.
When you get the call that your home is going to be shown, be sure to make arrangements for you and your pets to leave. I love my two kittens, but not everyone feels the same. Buyers want to imagine themselves in your space, not be followed around by you or the pets. If they have questions, their agent will ask your agent. It's very uncomfortable for the prospective buyers to look around while someone else is there. Leave the house and take your pets with you. If for whatever reason it is impossible for you to leave, stay out of the way and let the buyers and their agent look at their leisure.
4. Don't take things personal.
Real estate is a business, but buying and selling homes is an emotional experience. When selling your home, don’t take it personally or be offended if a buyer makes an offer you don’t like. Buyers often like to make low offers or ask for some improvements to be made. Remember, if they’ve taken the time to sit down and put an offer on paper, they are interested. No matter what the offer, it is best to make a counter offer and not flat out reject it.
5. Don’t presume a buyer can look past the clutter.
You may still be occupying the home, but you need to take some time to prepare your home and put it “in showing” condition. One of the easiest things I have had clients do is keep a tote handy and when they have an appointment they can put all of their everyday items in the tote and take it with them. A couple of other points to remember: empty the trash cans, clean up after the dog and clean out the litter box. If the home is vacant, don’t try to save a few dollars by keeping the heat down, the AC off, leaving the sidewalks and driveway covered in snow or not tending to the lawn.
27 years ago this month, I started my real estate classes. My decision was made…my new career would be in real estate. The big deciding factor was at 37 years old, I really didn’t want to incur that much college debt. I had always loved the idea of teaching, but that amount of debt at that age just plain scared me!! So, I sent in the check to get started in real estate and found out where I needed to report for my first 30 hours. There were no online classes then, so they were all classroom hours. My site was in Village West on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
I look back at this time and realize how unprepared I was! I thought I had asked all of the right questions: I wanted to know how a new agent generated business, what kind of hours I was going to put in, and what was expected of me at the office as part of the team. It never occurred to me to ask about how an agent was paid. Even though I was currently self-employed, it was on a much smaller scale. I didn’t ask about tax ramifications, dues, expenses, self-promotion-all of the things that are an important part of the business. I jumped right in and I suppose that was probably a good thing. If I had known too much I may have just changed my mind!!!
I will never forget my first day of class. The instructor had each of us introduce ourselves and say why we wanted to be in real estate. So many different answers! Some were already investors that wanted to be able to find really good investment properties, some had retired and thought it would be a nice little part time job. Me? I wanted a career and a paycheck! I also wanted to make sure I could continue to work my schedule around my family, something I had gotten used to being in direct sales. I was going to continue with my direct sales business while I was in class and for several months after.
Because I was in the car so much driving to my Home Interior shows, I decided to tape record-on my cassette recorder-my notes after each class and listen to them while I was driving as a study aide. That was extremely helpful in remembering the content of the classes each day. I knew there would be a big test at the end, and I am terrible test taker…I freeze!! I wanted to make sure I passed it the first time…Next month, the classes continue!
When sellers are thinking of making a move, I’m often asked when would be the best time to put their home on the market. I also often hear that they would like to wait until spring because that seems to be when more buyers are looking to buy.
In the world of Real Estate, the spring market starts now. Buyers start looking in
❄️January and February because they want to move in the spring. A well appointed and well priced home 🏡will sell in any season. But if you are waiting until spring for the abundance of buyers that are going to be starting their searches, you may miss them if you wait until April or May. Those buyers are looking now.👀
There are a few key points when getting your home ready to sell this time of year. Make sure exterior maintenance is in place-plowing and shoveling will make your home more attractive and much safer to show. You will want to have the entry well lit so buyers and their agents can see clearly and also so agents can see to open the lockbox.
Once inside, your home should be bright and warm. You want the buyers to feel comfortable so they want to stay and look, not leave quickly because the heat is turned down.
When it’s cold outside you can make your home feel cozy by just adding some décor items such as comforters or throws, and using warm colors for tablecloths, placemats and candles.🕯️
So, when is the best time to put your home on the market? Whenever you want to move, and right now is the best time to attract all of those buyers looking to move soon-and you may even be one of those buyers. Contact me if you would like to know more about preparing your home for the spring market, or how to start your new home search. Happy Spring!!🌳