What No One Tells You About Selling a Home – If you are about to sell your first home, you’re likely to be in for a surprise with the many unexpected preparations that need to be made.
Something no one seems to tell you it if you don’t do it right, is that it could linger on the market for quite a while.
What No One Tells You About Selling a Home
For example, houses for sale in Ottawa spend an average of 43 days, but in other places, it could be much longer. The ones that seem to sell the fastest usually do so because they’ve followed these important tips. Whether you choose a realtor or choose to sell by owner, these are things you must do.
Hire a Professional Photographer
Curb appeal is no longer a potential buyer’s first impression, the Internet is. How your home looks online can make a significant difference in how fast it sells.
In fact, analysis has shown that a home with professional real estate photography sells 32% faster. If it doesn’t appeal online, those buyers will quickly move on.
Professional photos can show your home in the very best light to get those buyers through your door… literally. We can’t tell you the number of times we’ve looked at pictures of homes online and the pictures were terrible.
There were shadows or they were too dark. While a real estate agent should be encouraging the seller to put away clutter from the home before listing it, for certain the clutter shouldn’t be in the pictures.
A professional photographer will curate the best shot for each room, making the spaces look larger and brighter.
You can absolutely tell the difference in photos. I wouldn’t consider hiring a realtor if they didn’t use a professional photographer.
Remember, a realtor hiring a photographer comes out of their commission, and shouldn’t cost you, the seller, anything extra.
In addition, many real estate firms have professional photographers onsite or that they contract with. If you are selling by owner, make an investment in getting professional photos to showcase your home.
The realtor who listed the house we are living in now didn’t use a professional photographer.
The picture they used for the living room was not at all flattering. It had a really ugly couch taken at a bad angle. In addition, there were shadows, and it was very dark.
I remember telling my spouse the reason the house was still available was because of the couch and the way the living room was portrayed in the picture. It likely deterred people from looking at the home.
As a buyer, that was fine with me. I truly believed it deterred people from looking at the home. However, as a seller, that picture did their home a disservice.
Getting Rid of Stuff
Instead of automatically putting everything in boxes to bring with you, be sure to go through your belongings to discard, donate and make money selling what you will no longer want or need.
Truly think about where you are moving to. If you are downsizing, take that into consideration. You will need to remove clutter.
If you are moving somewhere without garage space or with less land, will you use your tools, gardening supplies, and sports equipment?
At the very least, consider shredding unwanted paperwork. Go through your kitchen and donate plates and glasses you don’t use. Go through your books and clothing.
You Will Need Storage Space
Before the photographer comes, and certainly before the potential buyers start coming to take a look at your home, you don’t want to have any clutter or junk hanging around.
In fact, the fewer personal things in it the better which means you may need to pack quite a bit and find a place to store those items.
Closets will need to be mostly empty and bulky furniture, which may make your home feel smaller than it is, will need to be stored.
You’ll want to take down family photos and other personal mementos down and store those too. Clear off the bookshelves, tabletops, and mantels. Having less knickknacks and clutter will also make it easier to clean.
Unless you can pack it neatly in plastic storage totes, you shouldn’t just stick it all in the garage. You may need to rent a storage unit. There are pods you can set on your property to stash your stuff in.
I can give an example of a home I looked at in which I was so busy looking at their personal items, I couldn’t imagine myself living in the space.
They had military and horsemanship photos and awards…. it was really interesting. I tried not to look at their personal property, but it was difficult because there was so much of it throughout the house.
Then, coincidentally, our friends bought the very house. They took down some walls and painted. They remodeled the kitchen. In addition, they tore out the carpeting and used vinyl plank flooring.
I couldn’t believe it was the same house! In no way was I able to look past the personal items in the home to envision how I could make it my own.
Show-Ready at All Times
One of the hardest things about having your home up for sale is that your realtor will call you on a moment’s notice to tell you a potential buyer would like to view your home.
That can mean that you have just an hour to clean up and leave the premises for the viewing. Your house will need to be in show-ready condition at all times.
The bottom line is, plan on being flexible with your daily schedule and be extra diligent about keeping it clean.
How do you do that? We’ve moved a lot but still have a lot of stuff.
It would take hours to get ready for showings if we didn’t always clean at the end of each day. We all were in charge of rooms and would put clutter away, wipe counters, do a fast sweeping.
One of the best things a realtor did once when we signed a contract with her was to give us a new laundry basket.
She told us to use the basket and go room to room, putting things in it to clean faster. We could take it to our car when we left before the showing. Or we could leave it in a closet.
Selling a home by owner
It’s important to note, if you are selling your home by owner, you should be prepared to present your home as professionally as possible. Do your due diligence before setting an asking price. There is easy-to-find information online about the comps in your area and on your street.
Have information on your home that potential buyers can take with them just as they are used to doing when they see a home that has realtor representation.
In addition, be ready to leave your home so the potential buyer can feel comfortable thoroughly checking it out. Oftentimes, the potential buyers will come with their real estate agent. Let their agent do the selling. If they come without an agent, be sure to go outside so the potential buyers can look around without you hovering.
They need to imagine themselves in your home and can’t do so if you are following them around. Remove or hid all valuables when you list your home by owner. It’s essential you don’t leave jewelry or anything of value out.
What’s unique about your home
Remember to tell the realtor interesting things about your home. What’s something that sets it apart from others in your area? Perhaps you have a few apple trees, a rain garden with all-native plants, hidden storage or triple-pane windows. Think about unique things that your realtor and potential buyers wouldn’t necessarily know. These are things that will set your home apart.
Be Prepared to Negotiate Everything
Negotiations are usually part of the process. You’ll have to be ready to negotiate everything from which appliances the buyer keeps to the closing costs. Don’t assume anything. As the seller, it’s your job and your realtor’s job to protect you.
Your realtor can help you decide what to do and tell you what’s important to include with your home. Typically, homeowners leave the kitchen appliances. If there is a wine refrigerator built in the kitchen, you’d want to leave that as well.
However, if there is an extra refrigerator or freezer in the garage, you can usually take that with you.
Likewise, many homeowners want to take their washer and dryer with them if the residence they are moving to doesn’t have one. This is something that needs to be spelled out on the real estate contract.
Even if you plan on leaving the washer and dryer, it can appear to be a value-add by spelling it out on the contract that they are included.
If there are large planters outside, you will need to spell out if they aren’t part of the asking price. If you plan to take the play set in your yard, include that on the contract.
Even though you will have listed your home for a specific price, unless there is a bidding war, it’s likely potential buyers will give a lower offer.
In addition to wanting the appliances, they may ask for a flooring allowance or another allowance. They may negotiate things like the inspection and other closing costs. They might even ask you to include outside furniture or other items into the deal.
Selling a Home
Whether it’s your first time selling a home or if you’ve done it before, it’s important to follow these practices. Markets vary. However, your competition will always be homes within your price range. The better your home presents, the faster it will sell, and the more money it will sell for.
Do your best to see your house through the eyes of potential buyers.
Anything and everything has a price but if you’re aware beforehand it will allow you to roll with the punches, be less stressed and more open for what might lie ahead.
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