Selling your home can be a stressful endeavor, particularly if you have lived there for some years. But you have decided that now is the time to move on. Maybe a relocation, down-sizing or moving to a larger home. Regardless of the reason, you most likely want to get the best return on what is probably your biggest investment that you can. I’m going to show you how to do that.
But first you need to get into the right mind set. That means getting inside the head of potential buyers. Most buyers, these days, want to buy a home that they just have to move in to. They have neither the time nor the inclination to make any changes or do any repairs. And they need to be impressed from the minute they walk inside.
So you should aim to make your home appear as much like a model home as possible.
Step 1: Pre-Inspections
Inspections serve a variety of purposes. A major benefit is that they identify any issues that really need to be taken care of. And by knowing about them before your home goes on the market, you can have them attended to in your own time. Far better than discovering serious issues after a sale has been agreed, which could result in having to re-negotiate the price, or even having the sale canceled.
We recommend having a home inspection and a termite inspection. Also a pool inspection, if you have a pool. Inspection costs are based on the size of your home. Some agents, like Michelle and I, may even pay for the cost of inspections out of their own pockets.
Step 2: Staging
Staged homes have been shown to sell faster and for much higher prices than those that are not staged.
At around the same time as the inspections, a Staging Consultation should also be scheduled. While you probably like your home the way it is, you have to accept the fact that this is soon to be somebody else’s home. Staging is designed to give your home the greatest appeal to the widest range of buyers.
This is a two stage process. At the initial consultation, the stager will walk through the home and make suggestions for any changes that will increase it’s appeal to potential buyers. The second stage is for the stager to return just before the home goes on the market, to take care of any final details, add any needed accessories etc., and take delivery of any rented furniture needed.
Typical recommendations include de-personalizing and de-cluttering, with the aim of making your home appear as spacious as possible. Another frequent recommendation is for new paint and/or floor coverings. Paint, carpet, and luxury vinyl plank flooring have been shown to increase a home’s selling price for more than double what they cost.
Then depending on how updated your home is, other items may be replacing kitchen counter-tops or bathroom vanities, new lighting, updating closet doors and more.
Staging can be an expensive process but it has been shown time and time again that a well-staged home will sell faster and for a much higher price than a home that is not professionally staged. A typical stager will charge a minimum of $2,000 and often much more, particularly for larger homes. Furniture rental alone will cost at least $1,500.
A few agents (Michele and I among them) cover the costs of staging out of their own pockets.
Step 3: Photography
Almost all buyers will first see your home on the Internet, so we consider magazine quality photography to be essential. All agents don’t appear to share that viewpoint, as can be seen by a glance at photos of homes for sale on the Internet, but the aim should be to ensure that your home is photographed by a professional real estate photographer who will take an unlimited number of photos including aerial drone photos. Twi-light shots can also be very effective. A photographer who will also shoot a 3-D virtual walkthrough is an added bonus. This standard of photography should be provided by all agents as part of their marketing approach.
Step 4: Finalizing The Price
Assuming you are using a real estate agent to help sell your home, you will already have set a list price when you signed the Listing Agreement, but given the fact that the market is always changing, this figure should be reviewed just prior to any public marketing, then changed if necessary, based on recent activity in the market. If you price too high, you will get few showings and possible no offers. You may then need to reduce it. Setting the price based on the most recent comparable sales should give you the best chance of a fast sale at the best possible sale price.
Step 5: Marketing
Your home is prepared, priced and staged. Now it’s time to show it off. The aim is to make sure that any potential buyer will know about it as quickly as possible.
In 2022 most, if not all the marketing dollars should be spent on the Internet. This is where 99% of potential buyers will look for homes. So in addition to being on the MLS, where it will be circulated to any number of websites, it needs to have it’s own website that will host unlimited full screen size photos, a 3-D virtual walkthrough and more. Social media and email marketing are additional channels to use.
If all these steps are followed carefully, and you are working with an experienced agent who will advise you appropriately, all you should need to do now is wait for the showings to take place and for an acceptable offer to be presented.