Top Ten Tips to Sell your Home

Top Ten Tips to Sell Your Home
If you're planning on selling your home, here are some things you can do to make sure you come away with as much money as possible.

If your home is already on the market and languishing, there is a reason. Don't leave money on the table because you neglect one or more of the following details.

Top Ten Reasons Homes Don't Sell and
What You Can Do About It

  1. Price
    It's hard for homeowners to accept that their home may not be worth as much as they think it is. You've spent time, energy and money on this home and you have an idea of what you want to get out of it. But, the market always decides the price.

    How do you determine the correct price?
    Ask up to three realtors who are experts in your area for a "market analysis." They are happy to do this at no charge, because they want to win your listing. They will research recent sales of homes similar to yours to give you a better estimate of what your home is worth.

    Why is this important?
    If you price too high

    • Your home will stay on the market longer
    • Banks won't approve a loan on a home that's over-priced
    • You'll have to reduce the price anyway
    • You'll lose money on house payments, taxes and insurance while you're waiting for a buyer
    • Your listing will grow "stale" and realtors and buyers will stop looking at it

  2. Location
    It's true that homes in the most popular areas sell fastest and for more money. But a home in any location will sell, if the buyer falls in love with it. If your home is in an unfortunate location (close to a highway, or warehouses, or a messy neighbor) do everything in your power to make it the cutest one on the block. It will stand out, and someone will buy it.

    How do you overcome a poor location?

    • Hire the smartest realtor you can find who understands your area and can advise you on how much to invest in improvements
    • Put up an attractive fence if it will make your home worth more than the cost of the fence
    • Plant trees and shrubs to buffer your home from bad views
    • Offer to help your neighbor clean up their yard while your home is on the market

    Why is this important?
    Every house sells, eventually. But the longer a home stays on the market, the more price reductions it will have until it finally becomes a "good deal." You can increase the value of your home and get a quick sale, regardless of the location. See an example in 1945 Cottage Remodel.

  3. Smells
    We buy with our emotions. That's why advertisers invest billions of dollars to appeal to our senses and imagination. Pet odors, cigarettes, fried fish, and stale air will kill your home sale.

    What to do about it?

    • Thoroughly clean your home, including drapes and carpets
    • Move pets (fish tanks, reptiles, litter boxes, etc.) to a less obvious part of the home
    • If you can't get the smells out of carpets, replace them
    • Never smoke in the home
    • Open windows whenever possible. Fresh air is the best air freshener

    Why is this important?
    First impressions are instantaneous and frequently permanent. And smells, good or bad, are the first to greet you when you walk in the door. If everything else is perfect, but your home smells bad, you will lose money on your sale.

  4. Condition
    If the buyer wants a "fixer-upper," they will expect to get it at a very low price. I have seen investors buy a home in poor condition, fix it, paint it, landscape it and turn around and sell it for twice as much money.

    How do you improve the condition of your home?

    • Make sure everything is spotlessly clean
    • Everything is in good repair
    • Yard is neat and clean
    • Paint is fresh and a neutral color

    Why is this important?
    This is a competitive housing market and buyers can afford to be picky. Make sure that your home is the best looking one of its kind. The buyer will reward you with a faster sale and a higher price.

  5. Outdated
    This is what buyers say when you have the same finishes, furniture, colors and decorator items you bought 30 years ago. What they mean is, they can't imagine living in your home.

    How do you update your home?
    If it will increase the value of your home, it might be worth it to invest some money in new finishes. Have a good realtor do a market analysis first to make sure you make money on the project.

  6. Why is this important?
    Repeated feedback from buyers that your home is outdated means you will lose money on your sale unless you improve the appearance of your home.

  7. Crowded
    A home that's crowded with furniture and possessions might feel cozy to you, but it will feel small and cramped to a buyer.

    Is your home crowded?
    When we live in a home for a period of time, we stop noticing things

    Why is this important?
    In real estate, space = money. The bigger and more open your home looks, the more money you will make.

  8. Curb Appeal
    First impressions matter. They are a hint of things to come. Do you have to dodge tree limbs and overgrown shrubs to get to your front door?

    How do you improve curb appeal?

    • Think of trees and shrubs as a picture frame for your house and trim away anything that's unruly
    • Clip dead blooms and trim dry perennials into mounds
    • Choose a neutral exterior paint color that coordinates with your brick and finishes
    • For more ideas, look at the cutest houses in your neighborhood

    Why is this important?
    The first 30 days that a home is on the market are critical. That's when you get the most traffic. Be the house that everyone says "I want to live there!" Those houses frequently have an offer within days.

  9. Wonky Floor Plan
    By wonky, I mean bad. Impossible to arrange furniture, like a front door that opens into the middle of a living room. Or a bedroom that's the walkway to another bedroom. Or a toilet that's inside the master bedroom. This can be one of the hardest (translated expensive) obstacles to overcome.

    How do you overcome a wonky floor plan?
    If the house is impossible to sell because of it, your options are to reduce the price until you get a buyer, or fix it

    Why is this important?
    If the house has been on the market for some time and you've done everything you possibly can, then you have to address this issue. It will cost you money either way; in price reductions or remodeling. Chose the option that will leave you with the greatest profit.

  10. Dark
    Dark homes feel like caves and leave a negative impression. A well-lit home feels cheerful and welcoming. If you have no view, try hanging light-filtering sheers.

    How to brighten your home?

    • Open all the drapes and shades
    • Remove drapes if they're outdated and hiding beautiful woodwork
    • Buyers look in the evening, too. Three sources of light in each room will add enormous charm

    Why is this important?
    Buyers want to see what they're buying. This is one of the easiest ways to make your home look inviting.

  11. Dull
    If you've done everything else on this list and your home still doesn't make people say "wow," then you probably need a little staging. Staging is a way of arranging furnishings to make your home look it's absolute best, so the buyer falls in love with it!

    How do you stage a home?

    Why is this important?
    We are emotional creatures and our emotions determine our decisions to a greater extent than we realize. Frequently a buyer will decide within seconds if they like your home, or not. If they want to live there, or not. If they're willing to make sacrifices to buy it, or not.

    Do everything in your power to make that first impression a great one. Make your house the one they can't bear to lose! Then let the buyer reward you with a quick offer at the very best price the market will allow.

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