Did you know that homes sell faster, and for more, in the spring and summer than other times of the year? When selling your home in the spring and summer, you will usually sell for 4% (sometimes more) than you would during other times of the year! I bet you’ve heard that and are wondering if this is the right time to sell your home. This time of year, many of our clients ask what they should prioritize when preparing their home for sale.
We wanted to share with you some simple things to consider when preparing your home for sale that will not break your bank and gives you the best chance at selling your home at its highest market potential.
Approaching Your Home Like a Buyer
Often, the first thing we all must do is to allow our minds to approach our home like a buyer. This means mainly 2 things: removing all emotion and looking at the positives.
First, remove all emotion from the equation. Recently, my son sold his home in Nashville, TN. Some of his fondest memories from early adulthood have been there. He and his wife had two children in that home. That home is not just brick and mortar to them; it was part of their family. When they put their home on the market, they were not selling their home. When potential buyers entered their home they were not seeing the birthplace of my grandchildren, they were looking for a place to call their own.
Secondly, by the time most of us put our homes on the market we know everything about it; every crack, hole, and flaw. We often approach our own homes believing that those flaws will keep our home from becoming someone else’s. Remember, just like a buyer doesn’t see the memories you made in that home, they too do not see the “to-do” list that you never completed. They do see the care you have given to your home, the upgrades that have been made, and the fact that you paid attention to the most important details throughout your home.
It is these two principles that lay the foundation for step 1.
STEP 1: Walk through your home like you were buying your home.
What did you notice? How did your home make you feel? What were some obvious things that need to be done? Not so bad, huh? I bet your home doesn’t require the amount of “fixing” that you thought it did.
STEP 2: Create a to-do list.
DID HE JUST SAY CREATE A LIST? Sure did. The good news is we thought you might react that way, so we made a list for you. Feel free to print this list off and personalize it for your own home.
Declutter EVERY room in the house.
Depersonalize EVERY room in the house – Remember buyers are not buying your home. They are looking for theirs.
Repaint rooms that need it – We encourage a clean palette and consistent color pattern throughout the home.
Clean windows – Dirty windows affect the overall presentation of your home, along with the professional pictures that will be taken. This will affect the sale price of your home. This is why we suggest hiring a professional to clean the windows.
Deep clean the interior of your home – We encourage all sellers to consider professional deep cleaners. Most professional cleaners do an incredible job for minimal cost.
Change light bulbs to “bright white” or LED – This helps give the appearance of natural sunlight throughout your home.
Make sure all doors, trim, and outlet covers match throughout the home – Small details make a big difference.
Do a curb appeal assessment – Does the front door pop? Are all shutters attached? Should I add in a little color to the landscaping? Is all the landscaping trimmed appropriately?
Other Notes/Suggestions: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________
STEP 3: Staging your home.
The most important thing to understand about staging your home is the purpose of it. The purpose of staging is not to conceal anything, rather to accentuate what is already there.
So, the big question we all ask: Does staging actually entice buyers to purchase your home for more? There are varying opinions on this so let me give you both and then ask some important questions.
Most real estate agents will tell you that their statistics show a 5-17% higher sales price for homes that are staged. Online studies show that staging does not have an effect on potential buyers if the home is empty. So, why the discrepancy? Well, what those online studies don’t tell you is that their studies were all done with virtual tours only. So, those potential buyers NEVER stepped foot in the house. As you know, the large majority of properties are purchased only after seeing the property multiple times. While the first three times someone sees your property will be online, the last 3 times they see your home (which are the times when the decide what they will offer) are IN the home. It is because of this fact that we always recommend some form of staging. For vacant homes, we suggest complete staging and for occupied homes we suggest paying a staging consultant to come in and work with the decor already in the home.
Because there is no guarantee, there is a very important question we like to ask when it comes to staging:
“If staging my home does not result in a higher sales price, would I still be satisfied if it helped my home sell quicker?”
In our experience staging a home will at minimum, result in more showings. This increases the likelihood of receiving an offer, hopefully an offer that reflects the market potential of your property.
Becoming a Good Seller
Selling real estate is a team game. It is not something that can be accomplished alone. Walking through your home like a buyer and preparing a to-do list are great things you can do to prepare your home, now what must you do to sell it?
STEP 4: Trust the process.
Boy, talk about an overused term. So what do we mean when we say trust the process? Well, trusting the process often means inviting the hard conversation. While a lot of the selling process is fun, none of the selling process should be taken personally. The job of your real estate professional is to help you achieve your goals through the purchasing or selling of real estate. In order to do this your agent must be comfortable sharing with you what they believe needs to be done to accomplish your goals. A good seller will invite this conversation.
Inviting the hard conversation is just the beginning though. The most important part of that conversation is the willingness to listen. This is why it is so important to choose the right agent to work with. You need to choose an agent that you can trust and are willing to invite into the hard conversations. Here are a few of the hard conversations that every seller should have with their agent:
What does the market say my home is worth?
Is there anything in our home that could keep it from selling?
What should a typical showing look like? Do I need to be here? Should I remove my pets?(always yes!)
Remember, it is not your real estate professional’s job to sell your home for more than it is worth. It is their job to sell your home for what the market says it is worth. Your willingness to invest into your home and invite the hard conversations will determine how successful your agent can be.
The final step in preparing to sell your home is by far the most important.
STEP 5: “Do unto others…”
“Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31
I do not know a better principle to live by when selling your home than this one. Why should we create lists, stage our home, and invite the hard conversations? Because someone right now is beginning to prepare your future home for you. How would you like them to go about this process? That is exactly how we would suggest going about selling yours.