In the realm of buying and selling homes there are many differences of opinion of what works best, what you need to not forget, and things that you should never do. Navigating through all this can be stressful and chaotic, but it doesn’t have to be!
I was able to talk to several professionals in the industry and get their expert advice on what you should be paying attention to when preparing to sell your home. Below are some of the main points that stood out to me, and some things that I would never have thought of.
Heather Mosier of Realty Executives made a great point when you are in the beginning stages of selling your home; “I think one of the most important things for a seller is for us to kinda change the way they are thinking. Instead of them thinking, ‘this is my home’ we want them to think ‘it’s my goal for this not to be my home’.”
When you change your mindset from this being your home and make your goal for this to not be your home, you can better assess what would make someone not want to make this their home and better find solutions to turn it into a desirable home for buyers.
“Being Educated means being prepared!”, Amanda Lewis, a realtor with Vicky Crocker Realty, shared with me when I asked what tips she could offer. Educate yourself by every means possible!
Amanda went on to share, “This may mean a variety of things: educate yourself about what, (if anything) you owe on your home so when you meet with a Realtor and discuss their fees and other costs related to the selling process you will know what you need/want to net, thus allowing to price the home correctly and be prepared when you receive an offer.”
When looking for a realtor to list with, keep this in mind also; you need a realtor that is open and honest and willing to educate you on the process and requirements. Be open to learning from them and willing to heed their advice to work together as a team to get the best outcome for both of your efforts.
Heather gave a great example of the practicality of this, “It’s also important to remember not to take suggestions personal. Sometimes it can be hard for a buyer to picture how their own furnishings will fit in a space if that space is full of a different design aesthetic or the seller’s personal items, such as pictures. If an agent makes a suggestion to remove an item or change a paint color, it’s no criticism against the seller’s personal style, but simply a way for us to reach that goal of selling the home.”
Amanda shared more things to be aware of when choosing your realtor. “It is a must to work with a Realtor who wants to educate you/prepare you. Realtors should be able to discuss not only their fees but walk you through the process of what selling your home looks like and should educate you on what to expect depending if the buyer has cash or is purchasing with a loan as well as what roles/fees a title company will play in your transaction. Realtors can also provide important feedback when touring your home about specific things that would help in the appearance of your home.”
This may seem obvious to most, but making sure your home is in good condition is one of the first things to tackle when preparing to list your home.
“Some buyers may choose to hire a local home inspector to ensure their home doesn’t have a hidden or underlying defect that could affect the value or a buyer”, Amanda Lewis mentioned. With that in mind, it would benefit you to already know if there were any hidden or underlying problems and need to have them repaired, or at least be prepared with the knowledge that those problems could devalue the home to some degree.
“It’s important to just tidy up a bit. Touch up the paint if there’s a scuff mark on the wall or door, fix that broken piece of trim, replace the burned out light bulbs, dust the ceiling fan, have the carpets cleaned. I don’t always think a seller needs to do a major remodel when they want to sell.” shared Heather Mosier.
Creating an instant, lasting impression begins with curb appeal. Step back and look at your home with eyes of a buyer. What appeals to you? What detracts from the overall appeal? Not sure?
Take a look at this checklist from Pamela Inman of Buck Realty, and then see if there are areas that need to be improved in your yard.
Remove any garden, building supplies or clutter from the yard.
Clean, sweep and remove clutter from porches, patios, and decks.
Clean and polish your front door. Buy a new doormat if needed.
Remove any oil stains from the driveway and garage.
Repair or replace any broken windows, fences, gates, latches and torn screens.
Maintain plants and lawns. Trim shrubs, trees, and any broken branches.
Clean gutters and shutters.
Power wash siding or repaint if needed. Make sure you check around windows and doors.
Once you’ve listed your home for sale, you will not want to forget this important advice from Pamela Inman, to place all medication and valuables (money, jewelry, guns, other) OUT OF SIGHT AND SECURE! You will have many people coming through your home, and want to make sure your valuables are safe.
Beyond that, it is always a good idea to downsize on furniture and stuff. The old saying, “less is more” is most true when showing homes, as the less full the rooms are, the more space there seems to be. In this spirit, Pamela Inman recommended the following, “remove all unnecessary objects from furniture throughout the house. Remove small appliances and clutter from counter tops. Clean and polish appliances. Remove messages and magnet collections from the refrigerator.” The less clutter the better!
As to decorations, Pamela suggests restricting decorative objects to groups of one, three or five items. “Take down family pictures. A wall gallery of family photos frequently distracts buyers and takes the focus away from the home.”
Creating an inviting atmosphere for buyers when they enter your home comes in many facets. Make sure the home looks and smells clean. Be aware though that strong scented candles can bother some people, Pamela Inman wisely noted, as well as cigarette smoke. “Do a deep cleaning and keep your home clean for short notice showings,” Pamela added.
Don’t forget the bathrooms! Clean showers, bathtubs, and sinks. Remove any extra items like excess shampoo bottles or unused cleaning products in bathroom storage areas. Small things like coordinate bath towel in two colors and keeping the toilet lid closed can make a difference in presentation and make an overall good impression.
“You, as the homeowner, have complete control over how buyers perceive your property”, shared Staci DeNoyer Another Opinion LLC. Paying attention to details that homeowners subconsciously overlook is Staci’s area of expertise.
You begin creating the buyer’s experience these days online with the photos for your listing. Go the extra mile for staging your home for the photos. Even if you rearrange furniture just for the day pictures are taken to make sure that rooms look the most spacious and inviting for the photos, it could spark more interest to potential buyers. “If buyers aren’t moved when they view the photos, they won’t come see your home”, Staci said, matter-of-factly.
Pay attention to the details. Staci, specializing in preparing individuals to sell their occupied homes, purging and organizing, and interior design, has honed her senses for creating that ‘moving’ experience for the buyer. She suggests making a daily checklist to complete before you leave for a day knowing the property could be viewed.
Go the extra mile to make your home feel like a place that could be the buyer’s next dream home. “Clean the toothpaste boogers out of the sink, remove your personal toiletries out of the shower; does your bathroom feel like a spa? Or like someone just took a shower there that morning?” Staci suggested. Use this detailed checklist for every space in your home and property being aware of the experience you are creating for the buyer.
“Clean, clean, clean! And then clean again!” exclaimed Staci.
Although your loving pets may be a close-knit part of the family, they may not take well to the commotion of strangers coming through the house at unsuspecting times and days. Pamela Inman suggests putting dogs outdoors in the yard or removing them completely from the property during showings. Some individuals are uneasy around animals or have allergic sensitivities and it may distract from the home. If you have cats, make sure their litter box is outside during the showing, so no offending smells are present.
Cleaning is important, and so is organizing. If you have a house over-full and unorganized, buyers will feel overwhelmed and not able to see past the stuff to the potential of the space.
Don’t just throw everything in the closet, either. As Pamela Inman knowingly recommends, “Clean and organize closets and cabinets (because buyers WILL look).” That goes for the garage, too!
But before you purge, double check to see if something you already have could be helpful in utilizing space better, or making the home more appealing. “That’s your shopping store! Don’t just throw it all out before I get a chance to look at it!” Staci DeNoyer exclaimed when mentioning helping people declutter.
Staci went on to share that most buyers are looking for move-in ready homes. “Clean, clean, clean, and then clean again.” Taking advantage of dictating the experience that buyers will have is crucial to having your home on the market for the least amount of time. “It’s okay to live uncomfortably for a little bit,” Staci expressed if that means getting you closer to your goals of selling, faster.
In efforts of reorganizing and rearranging your home; the goal is no longer “how will this best suit the needs of my family”, but rather, “how will this best suit the needs of any general person who may come to view this home”. Suggestions to rearrange your living space might not be practical for you and your family, but it just might make it more appealing to the masses and get you to your families goals faster.
Other areas that could get overlooked that are pertinent, mentioned by Pamela Inman: Replace burned out light bulbs. Clean fireplaces and hearths. Have any warranty information available. Leave key lights on during the day.
Remember the importance of finding a realtor you can trust, and in the same token, being able to take their suggestions without taking it personally. Letting go of your home is the first step in reaching your goal of selling this home.
Educate yourself on all the options and ins-and-outs of the home buying/selling transaction so you are prepared for whatever may come up during the process, and so you will already have all the tools you need to get from point A to B.
2017 marks the eighth year for the annual Home Grown Farm Tour. On August 26th, enjoy the self-guided tour featuring eight venues highlighting the diversity of local farms and nearly 250 years of history in Washington County.
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The Fancy Crow is a unique gift shop located in Bonne Terre. The shop features primitive, country, Americana home decor items and handmade gifts made by local artisans.