If you have decided on selling your home, you have probably spent many a sleepless night wondering how long the sale will take, how many potential buyers you will have to meet, and how disrupting to your life the process will be.
If you are contemplating the sale of your home, or even if you have already begun the advertising process, you will certainly benefit from some of the tips we bring you, about speeding up the sale of your property. Read on to find some awesome home selling tips!
1) Pick The Right Listing Agent And Call Them Now
All agents are not created equal. Yes, they are all REALTORS, and members of NAR (the National Association of REALTORS in the US), or CREA (the Canadian Real Estate Association).
Here is a Pro-Tip: Don’t ask “What do you think we can get for it?” even though that question will be top of most sellers minds. But odds are that, unless you already have completed all the other steps, you might be a few weeks away from selling, and markets change quickly.
Instead, ask your agent for their first impression of the home, and what, if anything you should be improving. This is perhaps the hardest thing for agents to do, and for home sellers to hear.
But having unvarnished feedback is critically important. The comparative market analysis should be done as you list your home, not weeks before. Here are a few questions to ask your prospective agent BEFORE you hire them.
2) Chose the right time of year to sell your home
Real estate is a very seasonal business. There are optimal times to buy a house. And there are better times to sell. The markets shift thruout the year, from a seller’s market, to a buyer’s market, within weeks. Ask your agent for the best time to sell, and then ask for their reason behind it.
In Winnipeg’s real estate market, for example, check out these stats for sales in April, vs. sales in October.
3) Fix Anythings Thats Broken Or Worn
I hesitate to recommend major renovations or upgrading your home. If you look at the ROI of most renovations, you’ll find numbers like 75%, 90% etc. The ROI is seldom 100%. If the seller only recoups 75% of their investment, why do it???
However……replace or repair anything thats broken. Prospective buyers are looking for flaws and faults to eliminate your home from their list. Here is why: They go out and look at 5 to 7 homes PER TRIP, and looking to weed out homes with the most flaws or negative first impressions.
A fresh coat of paint is a good idea. Here are a few of the most important things to look out for:
- Broken Lights
- Missing cabinet hardware
- Worn carpeting or flooring
- Poor Paint
- Still have wallpaper?
- Calking around tubs and showers
- Foggy windows? (You CAN simply replace the glass, at a fraction of the cost of a new window)
4) Depersonalize Your Home
It’s YOUR home. But prospective home buyers need to be able to imagine themselves in it. Too many family photos or other personal items make that more difficult for them to do.
Take down diplomas, personal awards and photos. ABSOLUTELY remove any hunting trophies and even religious symbols. You want to appeal to ALL potential buyers. This will give you a shot at getting the best price when selling your home.
5) Make it Bright
There are two things a seller can do to brighten up the home. First, take a look at the lighting in your home. Replace any of the old flourescent bulbs with new, bright LED bulbs. And maybe even replace some of the older light fixtures with new ones.
Second thing is to take a critical look at your drapes and blinds. Are they blocking too much natural light? Buyers lover a bright space, so this is a great way to stand out from other, comparable homes.
6) Tackle any odors
While the buyers eyes might miss a flaw here and there, their nose can not be fooled. Offensive smells such as smoking, cooking or mould will turn buyers off as soon as they enter your home.
7) Enhance The Curb Appeal
One of the most surefire ways to attract buyers is to improve your home’s curb appeal. There are several ways to pull this off and the chief goal is to make your home appear clean, attractive, and well-maintained.
Give the exterior of your home a facelift with a new façade and deal with any defects, cracks, and peeling paint. Install a high-quality front door and paint the windows. Get into the art of landscaping and present a well-groomed lawn.
Keep walkways, porches, and entryways tidy and free of clutter. Finally, invest in some outdoor lighting and create a good first impression.
8) Clean Your Home
Nearly every buyer I’ve ever worked with will open the sellers stove. On the surface, it seems like such a small thing, but buyers feel that the condition of the stove tells them a lot about how the owner cared for the home.
So clean everything. Here are just a few tips
- Countertops and stove top
- Inside fridge, microwave and oven
- Window panes inside and out
- Heat and A/C vents, bathroom and kitchen vents
- Baseboards and top of doors
- Tub surrounds and shower stalls
Consider hiring a professional cleaner. It’s a couple of hundred dollars well spent
9) Declutter Your Home
As for decluttering, less is more. We all accumulate stuff over time. You might be selling because your current home is too small. Don’t give that impression to the buyers. Remove extra furniture, consider a storage unit or storing them with a family member.
The good news is that cleaning and de-cluttering a nearly free, and give you the best chance at getting top dollar, maybe even a bidding war, for your home. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
10) Fill out a Homeowners Disclosure Statement
Depending on where you live, these are available, and in some areas, required. They are somewhat controversial, as some lawyers advise against them, but buyers’ agents and buyers themselves feel more comfortable receiving a short history of the home they are buying.
Bottom line: be honest in your disclosures and you (as the seller) should not have to worry about anything. These are NOT a warranty about what can happen in the future. They are a HISTORY of what has happened during your ownership. You can download a sample PDS here.
11) Get a Pre-Sale Home Inspection
These have been common during slower markets. The seller hires a home inspector and fixes anything that needs fixing. Then leave the inspection report out on a table, for the home buyer to take a look at it.
These last 2 points can be integral parts to a selling strategy, especially in a slower, buyer’s market.
12) Take Top Quality Photos of Your Home
An experienced agent will know to hire a professional photographer to take the all important photos of your home. Don’t settle for cell-phone camera pics. The quality between those two options makes a big difference in enticing buyers to come see your home.
The professional real estate photography is a competitive industry and it does not cost a lot of money to do it right. Hiring a pro is a great idea, and a top real estate agent will often pick up the tab on that expense.
13) Price it Once: Price it Right
Getting ready to list? Now is the time to call upon your agent to help you settle on a list price for your home. Getting the asking price right the first time is perhaps the best thing you can do to help the selling process progress smoothly. Remember that the ‘Listing Price’ is not directly related to the “Sale Price” of your home.
Set your price too high, and the house may sit for a while, and you have to lower the price again and again.
The Showing Process; 3 Pro-Tips
Your home is on the MLS, and showings start tomorrow. Especially in a slower market, your agent will have pointed out that there might be a lot of homes which are similar to yours. So every showing is important. Here are 3 pro-tips to maximize your chance at a quick home sale, or even participate in bidding wars.
14) Make it Easy To See
Don’t put on a bunch of showing limitations like “No showings after 6 pm”, or “Need 48 Hours Notice To Show”. Remember that I’m talking about a slower market, where buyers have many options. If faced with restrictive showing rules, many buyers just move on to see the homes of your competitors.
Got a last minute showing request? Here is how to get ready for quick showings.
15) Don’t Be Home During The Showing
From my own experience, showings where the seller is home tend to be very quick, polite and superficial. Buyers MUCH prefer to see the home with their agent, and without the seller being present.
In some cases this is difficult. For example, 92 yr old grandma would not be expected to leave the house. In such a case, confine yourself to one room and stay out of the way.
16) Use Open Houses Sparingly And Wisely
In faster markets, open houses are a complete waste of time. In fact, they CAN have a negative impact. But in slower markets, having an open house could be a valuable part of your marketing strategy. Here are my tips for having a successful Open House:
- Use it sparingly, not weekly
- Advertise it well
- If possible, co-ordinate with other nearby sellers
Great… the strategy has worked, and you got an offer (or offers) on your home. The work is not finished. Here are some pro-tips to make sure all goes well:
17) Consider all offers
Every seller would love a no-conditions, cash offer on their home. In super hot sellers markets, this will often happen. But in slower markets, you should treat any offer, presented by a buyer’s agent, carefully.
The best offer is not always the one with the higher price. Take a look at the possession date, and any conditions. Also, how good is the deposit? Perhaps that offer with the lower price has other things in it that make it work for you?
A great agent will be able to guide you thru these offers and point out the benefits and drawbacks of each one.
18) Hire a Great Real Estate Lawyer
You’ve selected the best offer for your home. Now let’s make sure we have a good lawyer to keep up with the dates and key/money exchanges between buyers and sellers. Here again, ask your real estate agent for a recommendation of a great real estate lawyer.
Conclusion: I’ve been a real estate listing agent for about 18 yrs and I hope you enjoyed these best tips on selling your home. Following these tips will help you sell your home fast and for a better price.
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2023 is going to be a different market than 2021 or 2022…. Call me to discuss a marketing plan for your home, house or condo.