Advice for Sellers

Clean out your home
As soon as you decide to sell your house, thoroughly clean it from top to bottom. Don’t forget rarely-cleaned areas such as baseboards, blinds, roof gutters and window wells. If you don’t have time to undertake a deep clean, hire a maid or a cleaning company. A clean home will help an appraiser see your house in a better light and value it more highly, as well as appealing to buyers.

  • Clear up clutter while you clean. Make your home look more spacious by getting rid of any unnecessary junk. You’ll see a big difference in how your closets look, as well as your garage, porch and bathroom. Buyers want to feel like they’re purchasing sufficient space, and clearing out more of your stuff helps them see themselves in your home. If you can’t bear to part with anything, consider moving the items to a storage unit temporarily.

Have your property evaluated
As much as you’d like to set the price of your home as high as possible, you have to be realistic. Many for-sale-by-owner listings fail to sell because owners persist in thinking their home is worth more than the market will offer, or because they have already settled on a set amount of money that they want and refuse to budge. Having a professional assess  your home’s worth will help you get comfortable with a price range, in addition to providing you with a solid reference point.

  • Be aware of the effects of your neighborhood. If your neighborhood is undergoing a mini boom of strong residential sales, those transactions will increase the value of your home. Conversely, if your neighborhood has seen a lot of short sales or foreclosures, your home’s value will be decreased. Try to time your listing so that you’re not affected by distressed sales. For instance, in most areas, a comparable sale can only weigh against the value of your home for 90 days after the sale date. It might be worth it to wait a few months to list your home if you can do it at a higher price.

Have your home inspected
Many standard real estate contracts are going to give the home buyer the right to inspect the property, so be prepared before you list. Under a general inspection you might be obligated to make major repairs to appliances, plumbing, septic, electrical and heating systems, etc. You can expect your home’s roof and foundations to be inspected, as well. Follow the recommendations and make necessary repairs. Additional inspections requested by the buyer are customarily at their expense.

Know your selling points
Before you start marketing your home, write up a list of special selling points you think will attract buyers. Potential items include good school districts, recent renovations, benefits that have been grandfathered into the property, energy-saving windows or insulation and new appliances.

Know how to show your home
When your realtor contacts you, try to be as available and flexible as possible. Be aware that many people will want to see the home in the middle of the day, when you might be working.

Set a peaceful, enticing mood. Before your potential buyers arrive, quickly clean up any clutter. Put away food on the counter, throw dishes into the dishwasher, and gather up laundry. Light a scented candle if you have one, put some light, soft classical music on in the background. If the weather is nice, open a few windows; if not, light a fireplace or turn the heater up a bit. These extra little steps will make your home seem inviting and cal

Try to close cleanly and quickly
Once the buyer is making offers and negotiating, try to close the transaction as quickly as you can. Make sure you’ve provided all the necessary disclosure documents required by your state. If you don’t like the buyer’s offer, don’t just say no. Always make a counter offer. Try to accommodate the buyer wherever you can afford to.