Ready to List Your Home?

1. Know why you’re selling

Look closely at why you want to sell. Your motivation plays an important role in the process. It will affect everything from setting a price to deciding how much time and money you’ll invest in getting your home ready for selling.

2. Once you know, keep it to yourself

Your reasons for moving will affect how you negotiate the sale of your home, but they shouldn’t be given as ammunition to the person who wants to buy it. For example, a prospective buyer who knows you must move quickly has you at their mercy in the negotiation process. When asked, simply say that your housing needs have changed. Your reasons are nobody’s but your own, and I understand the importance of protecting your position in negotiations.

3. Do your homework before setting a price

Many people live in older neighborhoods that have changed quite a bit over the years. Every home in your neighborhood may be different in minor or substantial ways. The house next door may have added another bedroom, for example, or the one across the street might have been built recently to fill a vacant lot. As a neighborhood evolves over the years, you may find that there aren’t any homes that are truly comparable to your own. The most common way to set a value is to look at homes that have sold in your neighborhood within the past 6 to 12 months, as well as those currently on the market. I can provide to you a detailed list of these homes and discuss with you how they compare to yours. In the industry, this report is called a Comparable Market Analysis(CMA) and when completed by an expert local agent, this analysis is perhaps more accurate than an appraisal.

4. Find a good Realtor

For nearly two-thirds of the people who sell their own home say they wouldn’t do it themselves again, according to research by the National Association of Realtors. Sellers surveyed point to difficulties in setting a price, marketing handicaps and liability concerns as being among the primary reasons they would turn to a Realtor next time. Plus, selling a home yourself usually eats up more time and effort than you might initially expect. Additionally, when a buyer knows there is not an agent involved, the buyer almost always wants to take advantage of the same commission that the seller thought they were saving. Same holds true when a seller attempts to sell their home with a discount brokerage; the buyer wants the benefit of any commission saving. A good Realtor knows the market and your neighborhood in particular. They will supply you with the information on their own background, and references from past clients. Take the time to carefully evaluate candidates on the basis of their experience, qualifications, enthusiasm, and personality.

5. Rely on other people’s judgement as well as your own

The key to effective marketing; know your home’s good and bad points. Accentuating the good can mean a faster sale for more money; failing to deal with the bad can mean months on the market and a lower-than-desired sales price. The biggest mistake a home-seller can make is to rely solely on their own opinion of their home. Remember this is your home, a place of fond memories, so you may have a bias opinion.

6. Clean like you have never cleaned before

Pick up, straighten, declutter, scrub, scour, dust... well, you get the idea. If your living room feels crowded, take out every piece of furniture you can get away with. If your home still isn’t ready to appear “House Beautiful”, then clean some more. Remember, you’re not just competing with other people’s homes, you’re competing against new construction as well.

7 Fix everything, no matter how insignificant it may be

The step that squeaks, the light switch that doesn’t work, the hairline crack in the bathroom mirror – they might be minor annoyances to you, but they can also be deal-killers for a buy. The problem is that you never know what will turn a buyer off. Something minor that’s gone u attended can suggest that perhaps there are bigger, less visible problems as well.

8. Little touches make a difference

While personal items can detract, other small touches can help make your house a home to buyers. A well-placed vase of flowers, small accents, potpourri in the bathroom, these all enhance the attractiveness of your home in a soft-spoken way.

9. Remove all traces of you from the home

When you toured other people’s homes, you have felt some discomfort. This probably occurs because you saw, heard, or otherwise sensed something that made you feel as if you were in someone’s life. The last thing you want someone to feel when visiting your home is that same discomfort. Avoid this by making your home as neutral as possible. Anything that interferes with prospective buyer’s ability to see themselves in your home must be eliminated. A few carefully chosen knick knacks and family portraits may add warmth and character to the home, but too many can be a distraction. Avoid trendy color schemes and try to keep carpet in neutral shades of white or beige. More importantly, you should not be at the home while it is being shown, otherwise your buyer will only feel like a guest, and not like the potential new owner.

10. Don’t let a smell be your downfall

Old smells kill deals quickly. All traces of strong food and smoking odors must be eliminated. Even if you’re sure they’re gone, don’t encourage pre buyers to imagine things. If they know you have a dog, they’ll start smelling or seeing stains that may not even exist. Be safe, don’t leave any clues.

11. Disclose everything

Smart sellers proactively go above and beyond the law to disclose all known defects to their buyer in writing. If the buyer isn’t aware of a problem, they can’t come back with a lawsuit later. A trained and experienced Realtor can help with these matters.

12. The more prospects, the better

By maximizing your homes marketability, you’ll increase your chances of attracting more than one prospective buyer. Why is this better? Because several buyers compete with each other: a single buyer ends up competing with you. Ask about my proven marketing system to get a home sold with the most amount of interest and for the highest price.

13. Don't get emotional during negotiations

For most people, the art of negotiation begins and ends at their local auto dealership, and few of us have pleasant memories of haggling with car salesmen. If you can, just let go of the emotion you’ve invested in your home and approach negotiations in a detached, businesslike manner. You will find the process to be a lot less painful. In fact, you might even enjoy it. Either way, you’ll definitely have an advantage over prospective buyers who get caught up in the emotion of the situation.

14. Know your buyer

In the negotiation process, your objective is to control the pace, and the better you know your buyer, the more easily you can maintain control. As a rule, buyers want the best property they can afford for the least amount of money; but knowing specifically what motivates your buyer enables you to negotiate more effectively. Maybe your buyer needs to move quickly, or the maximum amount they can spend is just a little below your asking price. Knowing this information puts you in a better bargaining position. This is perhaps the most important role of your Realtor.

15. Don’t give yourself a deadline

Forcing yourself to sell by a certain date adds unnecessary pressure and puts you at a serious disadvantage in negotiations.

16. Find out what the buyer can pay

As soon as possible, try to find out the mortgage amount the buyer is qualified to carry and the size of their down payment. If they make a low offer, question their Realtor about their client’s ability to really pay what your home is worth. This is when your Realtor's role is critical.

17. If possible, do not move out before you sell

Studies have shown that it is more difficult to sell a home that is vacant, because it looks forlorn, forgotten, and simply not appealing. It could even cost you thousands. If you move, you’re also telling buyers that you have a new home and are probably motivated to sell.

18. Know when your buyer wants to close

When your buyer would “like” to close is often when they “need” to close. Knowing this gives you their deadline for completing negotiations – again, a possible advantage.

19. Don’t take a “low offer” personally

The first offer is invariably below what the buyer will end up paying for your home. Don’t feel insulted; evaluate the offer objectively. Make sure it spells out the offering price, amount of down payment, mortgage amount, a closing date, and any special requests. Now you have a point from which you can negotiate.

20. Make sure the contract is complete

The best way to avoid problems is to make sure that all terms, costs, and responsibilities are spelled out in the agreement of sale. Among other things, a contract should include any contingencies that remain to be settled and whether there’s any personal property included (or not) in the sale.