One of the great challenges to selling a home can be showing all of its space, decor and natural light potential. For example, every home has crowded closets and dead space. Sellers should be aware that areas such as these are easy to spruce-up with a little elbow grease and old-fashioned innovation.
Begin by evaluating your closet/storage space, determine which areas can cut-down in clutter. Go through old clothes, shoes, etc., and get rid of anything that will not be used and in turn create more space. Consider organizing shelves and other areas to make better use of your storage space, including your garage and basement. Also, try to throw out or give away any old furniture that is no longer of use. All of the discarded items can be given to Good Will, Salvation Army or even sold at a yard sale.
Although most sellers keep their homes clean and well-decorated, it can be difficult to convince a buyer of a home’s potential when clutter is noticeable. As an agent, it’s my responsibility to offer any tips that will expedite the sale and make the experience more enjoyable for the seller.
Once you’ve eliminated the unwanted items and furniture, begin the ‘renovation’ process. For non-storage spaces that could use a little more decor, consider adding a small bookshelf complemented with a cozy reading chair. Always be sure you’re filtering as much light into your property as possible. Open or replace curtains. For example, light from a window overlooking the backyard offers a room more color, a great view and the illusion of more space.
Always maximize the potential of existing decor; wash old curtains, re-stain old wood casings, anything that refreshes and emphasizes all the potential of the space and decor of the home.
Prospective buyers are often more drawn to homes with features that they don’t have, those with clutter-free closets, open sunny rooms, and cozy little corners. To ensure you’ve realized all of the above characteristics the last step should be to bring in a friend and observe their reaction. Make sure it’s an honest friend, who will offer suggestions as well as notice the improvements. Seeing your own home through someone else’s eyes is a great way to make a home optimally attractive and more sellable to prospective buyers.
Be diligent in your efforts and be sure the renovations improve the aesthetic appeal of the home. All the hard work will be worth the reward of a successful sale.
What Is Your Style?:
Styles of houses vary across the country. From the New England Cape Cod to the Victorians of San Francisco, the choices are almost endless.
Following is a quick guide to help you recognize and use the professional terms for many of the most prevalent house styles:
- Cape Cod: This compact story-and-a-half house is small and symmetrical with a central entrance and a steep, gable roof. Brick, wood or aluminum siding are the materials most commonly seen.
- Dutch Colonial: The Dutch Colonial has two or two-and-one-half stories covered by a gambrel roof (having two slopes on each side, with the lower slope steeper than the upper, flatter slope) and eaves that flare outward. This style is traditionally made of brick or shingles.
- Georgian: Popular in New England, the Georgian has a very formal appearance with two or three stories and classic lines. Usually built of red brick, the rectangular house has thin columns alongside the entry, and multi-paned windows above the door and throughout the house. Two large chimneys rise high above the roof at each end.
- New England Colonial: This two-and-one-half story early American style is box-like with a gable roof. The traditional material is narrow clapboard siding with a shingle roof. The small-pane, double-hung windows usually have working wood shutters.
- Pueblo / Santa Fe Style: Popular in the Southwest, these homes are either frame or adobe brick with a stucco exterior. The flat roof has protruding, rounded beams called vigas. One or two story, the homes feature covered/enclosed patios and an abundance of tile.
- Queen Anne / Victorian: Developed from styles originated in Great Britain, these homes are usually two-story frame with large rooms, high ceilings and porches along the front and sometimes sides of the house. Peaked roofs and ornamental wood trim, many times referred to as “gingerbread,” decorate these elaborate homes.
- Ranch: These long, low houses rank among the most popular types in the country. The ranch, which developed from early homes in the West and Southwest, is one-story with a low-pitched roof. The raised ranch, which is also common is the U.S., has two levels, each accessible from the home’s entry foyer, which features staircases to both upper and lower levels.
- Southern Colonial: This large, two-to-three-story frame house is world famous for its large front columns and wide porches.
- Split-levels: Split-level houses have one living level about half a floor above the other living level. When this type of home is built on three different levels, it is called a tri-level.
- Tudor: Modeled after the English country cottage, Tudor styling features trademark dark-wood timbering set against light-colored stucco that highlights the top half of the house and frames the numerous windows. The bottom half of the house is often made of brick.
These are just a few of the many styles of homes available across the country – some are more prominent in different areas than others.
Fully preparing your home for sale can make considerable difference in the time it takes to sell it. You can help eliminate buyer objections before they arise by making necessary repairs and improvements, some of which are suggested below.
__ Spruce up gardens and lawn; trim shrubbery and replace dead plants.
__ Yard and patio should be neat; outdoor furniture should be clean and in good shape.
__ Clean or paint your front door – remember first impressions last longest!
__ Manicure your front yard, driveway and entry – you can’t sell what you can’t see.
__ Check that door numbers, mailbox, and exterior lighting are all in good repair.
__ Touch up with fresh paint as needed.
__ Inspect chimney for cracks or earthquake damage.
__ Repair loose trim, drainpipes and fencing.
__ Clean stains; clean window screens.
__ Remove clutter; tidy up shelves.
__ Wash floor so it looks clean and spacious.
__ Apply fresh paint as needed…brighten your interiors with neutral-toned paint.
__ Clean draperies and carpets.
__ Replace burned out light bulbs.
__ Clean fireplace, remove smoke stains from wall and mantle.
__ Sinks, appliances and counter tops should sparkle without any clutter.
__ Wax the floor.
__ Clean oven, range and other appliances.
__ Clean tile and grout; replace if necessary.
__ Clean mirrors, glass, chrome and porcelain surfaces.
__ Replace shower curtain if necessary.
__ Fix any faucet drips or leaks.
__ Clean tile, grout and caulking; replace if necessary.
__ Doors and drawers should open and close easily.
__ Remove clutter; tidy up shelves and racks.
__ Shoes and clothes should be neatly arranged.
__ Check the basics around the house. It takes just a minute to check all doors, windows and cabinets to make sure they don’t stick, squeak or are too loose.
__ Clean your furnace & water heater, so buyers know they are looking at a house that has been well maintained.
The Challenges Of Pricing Your Home:
Why is it that some homes sit on the market for a year while others sell like hot cakes? Frustrated sellers will blame a bad market, while a good real estate professional will tell you that many times, a slow sale is often attributed to the listing price.If a home is overpriced, buyers will stay away. But, if the price is competitive with similar homes in the area and “shows” better than the competition, it will have a better chance of being sold quickly.The secret is perfecting a technique that’s as American as apple pie: comparative shopping.Although comparing houses with different styles, square-footages and locations is challenging, real estate professionals still feel it’s one of the best methods to use when determining a home’s market value.
A responsible real estate agent will effectively evaluate a home’s worth through a process known as Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). Taking a look at assets, such as a swimming pool, bigger than normal living spaces, a fantastic view, adjacent city parks and other attractions, the agent will begin to compare your home with similar properties, called “comparables,” that have sold in the area within the last six months. Typically, it is a realistic price range that will ensure you top dollar and a reasonably quick sale.
However, factors such as the amount of time needed to sell your home can affect the agent’s price recommendation dramatically.
I can determine the typical duration that listings are on the market and can explain that the marketing “norms” vary with prices and properties. Based on this criteria, we will be able to sell your house for a price that both you and the buyer will be happy with. However, if you’re under time constraints because of unexpected job changes or moving agreements you’ve made on another property, this will narrow your chances of selling the home for top dollar in the market.
Assuming you have sufficient time to market the home, here are a few small steps you and your agent can take to finding the right price for your property.
The best comparisons can be made with similar homes that have been sold within the last 45 days as opposed to the standard six months. Any longer, and other factors, such as the economy, could cloud your view of how much your home is really worth.
Another good benchmark is to review the selling prices of homes that have just been sold and are pending closes. Most MLS services provide information on deals pending that most real estate agents should be able to share with you.
A good rule of thumb before setting a price is to make 20 comparisons of comparable properties within a one-mile radius of your house. Once completed you can feel comfortable that the price you’ve picked is a good gauge of the home’s worth and won’t discourage qualified buyers.
Being open and honest about what you see as the home’s greatest strengths and biggest weaknesses will also help your agent get a better feel for how to best evaluate (or assess) and market your home. Think of your home as if you were the buyer. If your home is listed at the right price, you’re well on your way to a speedy and fruitful sale.
How To Price:
How to price your home – one of the most important issues you will face. Pricing will determine, among other things:
- How quickly your home sells
- How attractive your home will be to buyers
- How you will reach your financial goals regarding the transactions
Unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as your property’s being located in a high-risk, undesirable or unusual area, the listing price of your home will set the tone for your entire transaction.That’s why my expertise and knowledge of your local marketplace is so helpful. I will gather statistics that quantify the prices of comparable homes in your neighborhood:
- That have sold
- That have not sold
- That are pending
- That currently are on the market
I will compare aspects of those homes against the unique features of yours. I will also analyze market conditions, the availability of mortgage funds, neighborhood reputation and characteristics, among other considerations, to create a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). The CMA provides objective information that will enable us to make an educated, informed pricing decision designed to yield a speedy sale for the most advantageous price possible.Philosophically speaking, put yourself in a potential buyer’s shoes when considering pricing. Buyers’ main considerations will be location, age of property, its condition and style and of course, price. Thinking objectively about these matters will help you and me determine a price based on fair market value — what your house is worth in the current market, not the amount you or your buyers would like it to be.
Other key aspects to consider include the following:
How soon do I want to sell my property?
Statistics show the narrower the gap between the asking price and my estimate of value, the sooner an offer will come in.
How does my home compare to others in the area?
As a real estate professional, I have access to details about current listed and sold properties through the Multiple Listing Service. You will be able to see how much competition there is and what effect market conditions have had in your area. You can then determine your price by analyzing homes comparable to yours in age, size, condition and location.
What are buyers willing to offer?
Buyers are interested in your home’s comparable worth, not what you might need to get out of the property. The buyer’s perception of the value of your home will not be altered by the cost of your next home, your need to pay off an existing mortgage, or your hope for a dollar-for-dollar return on home improvements. Remember that sellers and Realtors© are not appraisers…buyers are. In the end, it is the buyer’s evaluation that matters. Buyers make their assessments by comparing your property with others that offer similar features and are in a similar condition to yours.
Is there any harm in overpricing property, then dropping the price if it doesn’t sell?
Yes. To effectively price your home, you must establish a solid correlation between the asking price and the fair market value. A realistic asking price will result in a fast, lucrative sale. If your price is out of sync with the market, you’re likely to turn off a large group of potential buyers. Contrary to popular belief, a buyer usually makes an offer on a fairly priced property before making a lower offer on a listing that is seen as overpriced. Also, overpricing your home often helps sell your neighbor’s home faster than yours.
But my house is worth so much more…
Emotion and pride should have no place in the pricing process. Sellers speak of value, amount invested and what they can afford “to take.” Buyers consider only price, condition and other properties offered.
Should I leave room for negotiating?
Experience has shown that the closer your listing price is to the supporting comparable sales data, the greater your chances for a quick sale at or near your asking price. As a result, we recommend pricing as close to that figure as possible. If you list your home at an unreasonably high price and receive a full-priced offer, the price will be tested during the appraisal and lending process. As a result, it’s important to price your property at something statistics and the experience of the local brokers can justify. In fact, agents will miss showing your property to potentially qualified buyers simply because, at face value, your property is out of their clients’ price range.
What Happens When Your Home Is Listed:
If you list your home with me, be assured that keeping you informed of all client interest and market activity is a high priority of mine. Whether by phone, by e-mail, or by written notification, I will report regularly to you and keep you apprised of all relevant information including:
- Broker feedback from broker tours and open houses
- Client feedback from showing appointments including broker feedback
- Advertising notifications
- Any new market data or trends affecting the sale of your home
- Review of your home’s marketing activities
- Suggested adjustments to your marketing plan or pricing strategy
If you are interested in selling your property but have not listed yet, it would be my pleasure to show you all the ways in which I can effectively market your property through a Listing Presentation.