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Factors to Consider Before Listing Your Home for Sale

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In today’s real estate market place nothing should be left to chance whether you are a seller or a buyer. Money is tight, lenders are even tighter and homes are in abundance from coast to coast. It’s a buyer’s market and they know it. When just a few short years ago everyone was scrapping and clamoring to get in on the housing boom and the mortgage industry was in a euphoric state, sellers had the upper hand, but now the world is standing on its head and buyers have all the leverage now. A smart seller will do everything they can to attract the attention of buyer, keep their attention, and negotiate the best deals they can despite the market situation.

1. What’s all this talk about curb appeal?

Despite the high ticket price of property buyers still make snap decisions and go with their gut instincts and feelings. First impressions are everything! Many buyers are so enamored by the appearance of a house that they even say its “love at first sight”, so it’s no wonder that curb appeal is at the top of the list when preparing a house for the  market.

Because first impressions have a lot of bearing on the rest of a sale it imperative that an seller keeps their home, the property and the sidewalks and street out front looking their best. A mown lawn with accents of colorful flowers and well manicured shrubs and trees is always an attention getter. A new mail box and house number sign or lamp post at the end of the drive will also give a home a fresh and inviting look. Sellers should keep the trash to a minimum and if the rubbish bins are old, replace them. If you are selling during the holiday season put a wreath on the front door or some lights on your entry way. Have the kids help out by not leaving their toys, bikes and sports equipment to clutter the yard or entry way. When buyers see a home they envision living there so make it warm and inviting.   

2. Get all the inspections and surveys out of the way before you list

Home inspections are important and buyers expect to see them. Being up-front about any defects or problems will help inform a buyer and let them know you have nothing to hide. It may not be to the best of your advantage to know that your foundation leaks or the furnace may only have one more season to go, but if these aspects are initially hidden and not discussed they can surely be deal breakers.

Have reputable professionals survey your plot, inspect your home for defects or termites, and if your jurisdiction requires any other inspections just get them done. Have all the certificates o hand during tours and possibly leave copies out where a prospect can see them and know that you have nothing to hide. Having your inspections done before hand will show you have integrity.

If the inspections turn up issues that are easy to repair and strike form the list have them done immediately and let your prospects know that these issues have already been addressed and at your expense.

3. Remove as many repairs from the list of things to do that you can

If your house needs roof repairs, or a fresh coat of paint the expense may just be worth it. As we have mentioned above in item 2, if repairs need to be done, and you can afford to do them now, get them completed and out of the way. It may cost you some money now but in the long run your chances of finding a good buyer will be improved greatly. No one wants to think about working on a home after they have just bought it and the idea of time consuming or costly repairs will probably send them next door to look for a bargain.

4. Be organized and helpful

Even if a seller has hired a real estate professional to market and negotiate the sale of their property they need to make sure that all the latest innovations are being used in the effort to get a good price quickly for their home. Mini-websites, fact sheets and brochures canal be designed easily and cheaply these days and all of this information should be made available for prospects to take home with them.

Any warranties for appliances or contracts that may need to be transferred to a new owner should also be prepared and available to use as a selling point. If a seller has paid in advance for any contractors for lawn or pool services, garbage removal or even the satellite TV let a prospect know. Being organized can convey to a buyer that a seller has always been attentive to their home and that it was always taken good care of. 

5. Communicate with your lender and have a thorough understanding of your current and up-coming mortgages.

Before sellers list their homes for sale they need to know beforehand how much more they owe on their mortgage, and would there be any penalties associated with selling now. They also need to know how much they must realize from the sale of the current home to pay up the mortgage, have a reasonable down-payment for the new home, and use this information to establish a proper and fair listing price.

6. Final tasks that need to be addressed in preparation of showing a property to buyers.

Needless to say the home and all the surrounding property need to be clean, kept clean and free of clutter. If carpets and drapes need cleaning or deodorizing, a tile floor needs waxing or possibly just replacing an old shower curtain need to be done do it. Organize rooms to look free and open and remove any furniture or fixtures that may make rooms look smaller.

All of this is known as staging and it helps a seller to be competitive in this day and age. Some sellers hire professionals who will come in to their homes and do this staging work for them. They advise a seller to remove all the personal items such as   pictures, trophies, and memorabilia that could distract the buyer from what they are actually interested in, and this gives a buyer a better chance to envision themselves living in the home.

It’s a buyer’s market so sellers need to arm themselves with every advantage and sales tool they can. Making use of the Internet and the latest marketing tools will afford a seller a competitive edge and put their home on more shortlists until it is sold. Seeking professional advice if you are not familiar with the process is also a good thing to do.

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