10 TIPS FOR SELLING YOUR HOUSE
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1. The first impression is the only impression
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entryways are also important. You use it as a utility space for your coat, shoes and keys. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming.
2. Price it right
Today’s buyers are very educated about the comparable sales in the area, which heavily influence the fair market value of your home. And they also know that they’re in the driver’s seat. To make your home competitive, have your broker or agent get you the sales prices of the three most similar homes that have sold in your area in the last month or so. The homes that look like a great deal are the ones that get the most visits from buyers and, on occasion even receive multiple offers. (Bidding wars do still exist!)
3. Audit your agent
A secret sale killer is hiring the wrong broker. Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to get your house sold. Make sure your agent allows your home to be listed on ALL available real estate websites that participate in sharing listings. In real estate, compelling means pictures! Pictures should be professional in quality and at least 10 (most sites allow up to 25) that showcase your home.
4. The kitchen comes first
You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.
5. Take the home out of your house
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.
6. Beat the competition with condition.
In many markets, much of the competition is low-priced foreclosures and short sales. As an individual homeowner, the way you can compete is on condition. Consider having a termite inspection in advance of listing your home, and get as many of the repairs done as you can – it’s a major selling point to be able to advertise a very low or non-existent pest repair bill. Also, make sure that the little nicks and scratches, doorknobs that don’t work, and wonky handles are all repaired before you start showing your home.
7. Access is essential. Always be ready to show.
Homes that don’t get shown don’t get sold. And many foreclosures and short sale listings are vacant, so they can be shown anytime. Don’t make it difficult for agents to get their clients into your home – if they have to make appointments way in advance, or can only show it during a very restrictive time frame, they will likely just cross your place off the list and go show the places that are easy to get into.
Your house needs to be "show-ready" at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.
8. Light it up Maximize the light in your home.
After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.
9. Conceal the critters
The Chicago area is very pet friendly, but keep in mind some people have allergies. It's best to always have your home clean and if you have cats, keep the litter box clean too. If you're planning an Open House, consider taking your pets out for that time .
10. Half-empty closets
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.
The real estate brokerage industry is evolving to accommodate consumer demands. You Have Options! There are different Listing Agreements available to you when selling your home.
Traditional Full Service - The real estate broker, working with the seller, handles all aspects of the process, including valuation assistance, marketing, negotiating, contract management and showing accompaniment. A full commission rate is negotiated with seller.
Blended Service – this option would include some traditional full service such as valuation assistance, marketing, negotiating and contract management. In turn, seller would handle showing appointments or allow lock box usage for realtor showing access. There are a variety of ways an agreement can be structured in order to achieve savings in commission rate.
Flat Fee - generally refers to a seller entering into an "à la carte service agreement" with a real estate broker who accepts a flat fee rather than a percentage of the sale price for the listing side of the transaction.
Listing Agreement Length – this is negotiable, there is no need to go with a 1 year “default” that many companies ask/require you to do.
Marketing Fee – some companies for an up-front fee of up to $500 to help with items such as photos and flyers/brochures – WHY? You are already paying a significant amount in commissions.
Administrative Fees – most brokerages also ask/require an “administrative fee” of $550 - $895 to be paid at closing. WHY? You are already paying a significant amount in commissions.