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Ultimate Guide To Selling Your Home
Selling your home can either be a great experience or a not so great experience. Although it is a simple process, when you think of it there are a lot of complex intricacies that go into properly preparing your home for sale that tend to get overlooked. At the end of the day, sellers all want the same thing: to sell their homes quickly and for the most money possible. As a homeowner I understand all the hard work that goes into buying and maintaining a home over the years. The last thing I would want when selling my home is to do so half heartedly and not be able to get the most value for it. So I have comprised the Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Home Quickly & For Max Value in order to get you a step by step process for exactly what to do when you decide to sell your home. Enjoy!
What To Do First
The most imperative thing to do is hire a licensed and professional Realtor®.
It is absolutely necessary to find the right agent to guide you along in the process and help you every step of the way. When choosing an agent, find one that is knowledgeable, trustworthy, and most important someone that you like. While you may be able to hire the most experienced agent in the area, if your personalities clash he or she may not be the right fit for you. Keep in mind, you will most likely be speaking with this person for many hours to come, discussing personal details of your situation and trusting them with one of the biggest sales of your life. Therefore, before signing a contract it is important to sit down and get to know the agent on a professional and personal level. It is also important that the agent has the right credentials and sales experience in order to get the job done. This is the most vital part of the process as choosing the right agent can set you up for massive success or massive failure.
So you hired a reputable agent and now you are ready to move forward, great! The next step is creating a plan of action. What I mean by this is sitting down with your agent and deciding the best time to sell, the repairs or upgrades to make in order to sell more quickly, and a realistic listing price that draws buyers in immediately. You will also need to decide what you want to keep and what you want to leave behind, how you want to stage the home if necessary, and where you will be going once the house sells. Having a proper plan of action can really set the tone for the selling process and will help make your life so much easier. Selling a home is stressful and not having a plan can make it much more stressful than it needs to be. You know what they say, “Proper planning prevents poor performance!”
The Importance of Pricing
You have your plan of action and now you want to keep the ball rolling. A vital aspect of selling your home is pricing your home properly. Most homeowners think their house is worth a lot more than it is. This is understandable because they tend to have strong emotional attachments to it. Most have raised their families and have made unforgettable moments there. The reality is, your family and memories do not add value to your property, only to your life. The first 2-4 weeks that a property is on the market is when most of the buyers will come to see it. Research has shown that if you price your home at or slightly below market value you will attract 60%-80% of the buyers that are looking for that specific home. Also, if you price at or below market value you have the opportunity of creating a bidding war between buyers, which can draw the price up from what you listed it at. My question to you is, would you rather have people fighting over your home because you priced it properly from the start or would you rather keep reducing the price and missing out on the surge of initial buyers because it was priced too high at the beginning? This is why it is very important to have a reliable agent that can help you properly price your home.
Preparing Your Home For Sale
You have your plan of action ready, you and your agent spoke and agreed on a listing price - now it is time to get your home ready to be shown and sold. First you want to start decluttering. You will want to begin the process of cleaning and clearing out your personal belongings in order to make your home more appealing to potential buyers. You want to put yourself in a buyer’s shoes and have an objective view about your home. This can be difficult which is why it is nice to have a qualified agent working with you because they can help you decipher between what is appealing and not. So gather the family up and a take a few days to clean the clutter or if you want to make it easy on yourself hire a professional company to do the work. Make no mistake, if you fail to get your home in showing condition you stand to have your property on the market for a long time. It would be wise to have a professional stager come and give you a consultation. They can help you truly make your home stand out and catch the eye of everyone who walks through.
Now that the interior is taken care of, let’s move to the exterior. One of the best ways to make sure you deliver a great first impression is to have the exterior of your home on par or better than the rest of the neighborhood. A sure fire way to keep prospective buyers away from wanting to view your property is to have a messy yard, crumbling stucco, dirty siding or dilapidated bricks. Having a well manicured lawn, trimmed bushes, and a smooth- paved driveway will be all the more appealing to home buyers. Make sure that keeping up the exterior or your home is as important as keeping up the interior. You only get one first impression so make it count, the sale of your home depends on it!
Now that the interior and exterior of your home is cleaned up and properly staged the next step is having professional photography and even a video taken. According to the National Association of Realtors 9 out of 10 home buyers today rely on the internet as one of their primary research sources and 52% turn to the web as their first step. So what does this mean for sellers? Having professional pictures taken of your home before listing it on the market will attract more buyers and you will have a higher chance of selling quickly. To compound that attraction, adding video to your advertising will skyrocket the amount of people who will view your home. The return on this investment is so high for the amount it costs to have pictures and a video taken and often real estate agents will pay that cost themselves, like I do! I can’t even tell you how many times I have talked to buyers who have told me they didn’t want to go look at certain homes because the pictures online were not appealing. So do yourself a favor and make it a priority to have professional pictures and a video taken before your home hits the market.
So now that the home is priced properly, decluttered, staged, photos and videos are done we move on to being ready to show your home. Buyers want what they want, when they want it. Meaning, they want to be able to schedule an appointment at 10 am for a showing at 12 pm. I know this may sound unreasonable to some and sometimes it is just not possible, but when you are in the selling process just know that you should be able to get your house ready and your family out as quickly as possible. Time is always of the essence and you want to get the most people in and get the right buyer quickly. Too many times houses I have seen homes that require scheduling days in advance sit on the market for months and months without an offer. If you have family make sure everyone is on the same page with keeping their portion of the house cleaned. You want every buyer who comes through to see the your house in the best possible shape so they can envision living there.
Marketing Your Home
Properly marketing your home is essential to reach the masses in order to bring in the most amount of buyers. Part of the marketing process I have already gone over which is pricing your home properly from the start and preparing your home to be shown. The next aspect will be the listing description. Having a strong, well-written listing description can really paint the picture in a buyer’s mind and draw them in. The following is a list of the most important features of writing a listing description.
Be Descriptive- People that are searching for properties will be looking at a lot of potential places, and it will be too time-consuming to call up and ask questions about each, especially with the excitement of buying a new property. When creating your property description, include all the information about the property you can.
Opening Statement- The opening statement should describe the buyer’s main question, “What am I looking at?” Do not go right into the features of the home, rather describe the overall highlights of the property.
Use Words That Add Value, such as Luxurious, Captivating, Impeccable, Stainless, Landscaped and Granite.
Avoid Words such as Must Sell, Value, Motivated, Move-In Condition, Clean, New Paint or Carpet. Words that denoted “curb appeal” or general attractiveness helped a property sell faster than those that spoke of value and price.
Create a Visual Image. It’s much easier to sell a property if the potential buyers can see themselves living in your property. Instead of superlatives, use imagery words that help to paint a picture. Andrew C. Peterson, a listing writer for Paper Writing Service, explains; Instead of superlatives, use imagery words that help to paint a picture. Rather than stating that the home has a deck, you could say, “enjoy listening to the bird’s chirp on your private back deck”.
Use Brand Names such as Viking Stove, Subzero Refrigerator, Nest Thermostat, or Armstrong Flooring.
Describe the Best Features in Order of Importance. The National Association of Home Builders 2016 report, Housing Preferences Across Generations, rank the importance of home features: A separate laundry room, Energy Star appliances, Exterior Lighting, Energy Star rating for the whole house, ceiling fans, outdoor living space, and full bath on main level.
Location, Neighborhood and Schools. Describing the structure itself is important but remember that you are selling a lifestyle. We all have heard the phrase, and yes the location is very important. And equally important to many are the schools in that neighborhood. Here are 5 characteristics that are important to home buyers according to Fox Business News.
1.) A safe neighborhood 2.) Good schools 3.) Convenient access to popular places, shops, and restaurants 4.) Water access and views 5.) Access to public transit and/or freeway
Don’t Waste Space on Basic Information. Every tool that your listing gets inputted into will display prominently the property square footage, the number of rooms, and bathrooms. You don’t need to put that information in your description.
Once you have your listing description ready you are ready to officially put it on the MLS and all other major home buying websites where buyers are looking. Having your home listed online is the best way to reach the mass amount of people. Some of the best sites to have it on are Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Facebook, Craigslists and Instagram. On Facebook and Instagram you can actually create ads and target them directly to the demographic of people who are most likely to buy your home. The internet is the world’s biggest shopping market in this day and age.
You can also send out print advertising such as postcards or you can advertise in newspapers, diner mats, and local publications in your area. Print advertising does still work but you have to pick the right medium to relay your message in your specific area.
Lastly, one of the best tools is word of mouth advertising. Letting everyone you know that your home is for sale can be beneficial. Telling your neighbors that you will be listing your home soon can have it sold quickly because you never know if their friends have been looking to get into the neighborhood.
Reviewing Feedback and Accepting an Offer
Finally, be ready to make adjustments as you go. After your home has been on the market for a few days to a week (and if it hasn’t sold yet), take all the feedback you have gotten and begin to make adjustments. If you had 20 showings the first week and 12 people mentioned they didn’t like the wallpaper, remove the wallpaper if it isn’t to big of a hassle. By this time you should have a good idea of what others think about your home and you can begin to formulate a plan of action to take care of the problem areas if any arise. Listen to your agent and trust that they know what they are talking about and what it takes to get your home sold.
One of the most exciting parts or selling your home, in addition to going to the settlement table, is accepting an offer. All potential buyers will have their agents submit an Agreement of Sale, a Buyer’s Financial Statement and their pre-approval letter. The Agreement of Sale is the document which outlines the buyer’s proposed terms for purchasing your home. It will included their offer price, the amount of their deposit, settlement date, the inspections and contingency period and much more. Your agent will sit down with you and go through all the intricacies of this document because it is roughly 13 pages long. All offers are negotiable! Generally when a buyer submits an offer it is not the best they can or will do. They are trying to feel the situation out and see where you are at in regards to coming down from your asking price. Buyers and sellers alike are looking out for their best interests and each one wants to get the best possible deal for themselves. The art of negotiating is best left to the professionals in this case and dealing with a great agent will help you get the best possible deal.
Following these guidelines is a sure way to having your home sell quickly and for fair market value or more. This may seem daunting and the process isn’t always this straightforward, but if you make an effort and do what is outlined above then you will certainly have the best chance of selling your home. If you would like to speak with me about how I can help you sell your home please feel free to reach out to me anytime at 267-808-0574.
Shawn Connors is a licensed real estate professional that services the Philadelphia & Greater Philadelphia region. Shawn was born and raised in Philadelphia but has taken up new roots in Chester Coun....
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