Whether you’re starting a family, moving for your job, getting ready to retire or embarking on a new chapter in your life, when your home no longer suits your current situation, it’s time to think about selling it. Although this can be a bit complicated, with the help of your agent, you can minimize the hassles, get the best possible price, and shorten the distance between “For Sale” and “Sold”.
Price it right
If you want to get the best possible price for your home and minimize the time it stays on market, you need to price it correctly from the beginning. Your agent can give you a clear picture of your particular market and can provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA). A CMA contains detailed information on comparable homes in your area, including square footage, date built, number of bedrooms, lot size and more. It lists pending sales and houses sold in your area in the past six months, along with their actual sale prices.
By comparing your home to similar homes in your neighborhood and reviewing their list prices and actual selling prices, your agent can help you arrive at a fact-based assessment of your home’s market price.
Prepping your house for sale
You want to make a positive first impression when you list your home for sale. Here are some tips on how to enhance your home’s best features:
Work on your curb appeal
Some great things to improve your home’s curbe appeal are to get rid of moss on your roof, power wash your front walk, porch, deck and patio. Clean up the garden and mow the lawn, trim the hedges, weed the flowerbeds and add spots of color with container plants. Clean all the windows inside and out and repair them if they don’t open and close easily.
Refresh, repair and repaint
This goes for interiors and exteriors. If you see peeling paint, add a fresh coat. If it isn’t already, consider painting rooms a neutral shade of white or grey. It’s also a good idea to make necessary repairs as you don’t want to turn off a buyer with a dripping faucet, a broken doorbell, a clogged downspout or a cracked windowpane.
Deep-clean, from floor to ceiling
Clean rugs, drapes and blinds, and steam-clean carpeting. Get rid of any stains or odors. Make sure kitchen appliances, cupboards and counters are spotless and that bathrooms shine.
Declutter and depersonalize
Clean, light-filled, expansive rooms sell houses. So be sure to downsize clutter everywhere in your home, including cupboards, closets and counters. You might also consider storing some furniture or personal items to make rooms look more spacious. Take advantage of views and natural light by keeping drapes and blinds open.
Show your house
After you’ve taken care of all the repairs and cleaning tasks outlined above, your home is ready for its close-up: an open house. It’s actually best for you and your family to leave when potential buyers are present so they can ask your agent questions. But before you go, you might want to:
· Take your pets with you
· Open the shades and turn on the lights
· Light a fire in the gas fireplace
· Bake cookies or use candles and plug-in’s
· Keep money, valuables and prescription drugs out of sight
Be flexible in negotiating
If you get offers below your asking price, there are a number of strategies you can try in your counteroffer. You could ask for full price and throw in major appliances that were not originally included in the asking price, offer to pay some of the buyer’s fees, or pay for the inspection. You could also counter with a lower price and not include the appliances. If you receive multiple offers, you can simply make a full-price counter.
Your agent can suggest other strategies as well and help you negotiate the final price.
If your house doesn’t sell or you’ve received only lowball offers, ask your agent to find out what these prospective buyers are saying about your house. It might reveal something you can consider changing to make your house more appealing in the future or switch up the marketing strategy a bit to better manage expectations.
Breeze through your inspection
When a buyer makes an offer on your home, it’s usually contingent on a professional inspection. A standard inspection includes heating and cooling, interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; and the foundation, basement and visible structure. The inspector will be looking for cracks in cement walls, water stains and wood rot.
You can always opt for having an inspection done prior to putting your house on the market, so you can address any potential problems in advance. Your agent can give you several recommendations for qualified inspectors in your area.
Close with confidence
Whether this is your first time or your tenth, your agent can help guide you though the complex process of selling a home. Moreover, he or she can answer any questions you may have about legal documents, settlement costs and the status of your sale.
Your agent’s expertise, resources and extensive network also work for you when you’re buying your next house. Even if you’re moving out of the area, your agent can refer you to a professional agent in your new community.
You’ll never have a second chance at a first impression, so let’s make it count! When it comes to upping your home’s curb appeal, there are plenty of small changes you can make that have a big impact. And best of all, you don’t need to call in the pros or spend a fortune to get beautiful results. Below are some helpful and affordable tips.
A Well-Maintained Yard
Mowing: The first step to a well-manicured lawn is to mow it regularly. The experts recommending mowing high because mowing it too short can damage the grass and allow weeds to set root.
Weeds: To prevent weeds like crabgrass use a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring. These herbicides manage the weeds by stopping the seeds from sprouting in your lawn. Broadleaf weeds like dandelions can be stopped by applying granular weed control products.
Feeding: Lawns consume mostly nitrogen, so look for mixes of fast and slow release fertilizers; they will feed your lawn over time while keeping it lush and green.
Watering: Nighttime watering can result in long spans of moisture on the blades, potentially exposing your grass to disease. Consider watering your lawn in the morning – the sun helps dry out the blades throughout the day.
Flowers: You can quickly and affordably dress up your yard with colorful pre-made flower pots and containers. When placing your flower pots and containers remember that asymmetrical arrangements and staggering plants will provided the liveliest setting.
Dress up the Front Door and Porch
Paint: A fresh coat of paint in a pop color can give your home a well-deserved facelift. Get some color inspiration from House Beautiful.
Replace Old Hardware: Clean off any dirty spots around the door knob, and use a metal polish on the fixtures. Change out house numbers for an updated feel, put up a wall-mounted mailbox, or add an overhead light fixture. Keep in mind that well thought through elements, instead of mix-and-match pieces, will add the most curb appeal.
Create Perfect Symmetry: Symmetry is one of the simplest design techniques to master and is the most pleasing to the eye. Maintain symmetry by flanking your front door with two sidelights (just make sure that your hardware matches); find two urn planters or a unique visual detail to put on either side of your door.
There’s nothing like a fresh paint job to punch up a house’s curb appeal. And hiring a professional to do it is the best way to get a superior result — and save you the headache of ladders, repairs and other hassles.
Exterior Paint 1: Fluidesign Studio, original photo on Houzz
Project: Working with a professional on painting your house’s exterior.
Why: Whether your house is wood-frame or shingle, stucco or brick, you’ll get knowledge, accuracy and efficiency by hiring a professional.
Exterior Paint 2: Butler Armsden Architects, original photo on Houzz
Whom to hire: Many painters do both interior and exterior projects. A painting contractor should be licensed and insured. You should obtain a written contract with details about the work to be done. Review the contract to make sure it’s clear which parts of your house’s exterior are to be painted, how long the project will take and how the contractor will be paid.
Cost: A cost estimate should include all labor and materials. Additional detail work, such as painting intricate trim or repairing surface imperfections as part of the preparation work, will usually increase the cost due to the extra time required.
Exterior Paint 3: Meyer Greeson Paullin Benson (MGPB), original photo on Houzz
Costs vary by region, size of the project and amount of detail work. Jeff Dupont, of Sound Painting Solutions in Seattle, says a typical range for his medium- to large-size exterior projects (a 1,200- to 1,700- square-foot house is his medium size) is $9,000 to $12,000. Dupont says his contracts have a warranty that includes any touchups needed due to their workmanship or material defects.
How long the project will take: Prepping and painting a house’s exterior usually takes several days, depending on the size of the house. Dupont says if only minimal prep work is needed, a single-story home will take two to three days, and a two-story house two to four days.
Exterior Paint 4: PK Atkins Photography, original photo on Houzz
First steps: Many painters visit the site for a free initial consultation to talk about the scope of the project, including giving an estimate of how much it will cost and how long it will take to complete. Benjamin Moore recommends walking each potential contractor around the house, outlining which areas will be painted (siding, trim, window frames, porches, doors).
During the project: After repairing holes and cracks in stucco surfaces and using wood filler to fix frame siding, the contractor will apply a primer. Two coats of latex paint are almost always used, but in some areas, such as the Northwest, an oil-based paint might be applied to tannin-rich cedar or redwood exteriors, to better seal the wood and prevent the tannin from bleeding through the primer, Dupont says. In areas where stucco, masonry and brick homes are prevalent, a durable latex acrylic elastomeric paint might be used — it stretches if cracks form underneath.
Exterior Paint 5: Everything Home, original photo on Houzz
Before painting begins, homeowners should remove patio furniture, potted plants and other outdoor accessories in the work area. In general, painters usually remove items like hose holders and mailboxes and replace them when done. Mari Hensley, of Kennedy Painting in St. Louis, says her company asks homeowners to take any fabric cushions on patio furniture inside during the project to prevent damage.
Color considerations: Some painters provide color swatches and consultation, while others expect homeowners to research color combinations on their own. Hensley says samples can be applied to surfaces upon a homeowner’s request. Most large paint companies have online exterior color guides.
Exterior Paint 6: Polhemus Savery DaSilva, original photo on Houzz
Sherwin-Williams has color suggestions based on region and style — from traditional or contemporary suburban to desert Southwest. Behr’s Colors Gallery lets users choose from cool, neutral and warm tones.
Things to consider: A reputable professional should have all the necessary supplies, so a homeowner is not expected to provide anything. If your house was built before 1978 and lead paint is suspected, be sure your painter is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency to handle lead. Even exteriors require certain procedures if lead is detected.
Best time to do this project: Summer is the most popular time of year for painting exteriors in regions with cold, wet winters. Even in mild-weather regions, spring and summer are best for tackling exterior paint jobs. Dupont says April to October is prime time for painting exteriors in the Northwest.
First impressions are extraordinarily powerful, and your house is no exception. When others approach it for the first time, does it strike them as clean, inviting and well maintained? In real estate, these all-important qualities are known as “curb appeal.” If you plan to put your home on the market, or simply want it to look its best, here are some ideas that will ensure your home makes a positive first impression.
Clean, clean, clean
Start by cleaning and tidying your driveway, walkway, front yard, and front porch. Pressure washing can make concrete and aggregate surfaces look like new; pressure washers are also ideal for cleaning stains from gutters and removing moss from patios and decks.
In your yard, keep the grass neatly trimmed, and edge your paths and walkways for a meticulously groomed look. Keep the beds weed-free, and trim trees and bushes as needed. Remove and replace any dead or struggling plants. If you are selling your home, it’s a smart investment to have a professional gardener make things picture-perfect, and then you can maintain the look yourself.
On your front porch, remove any cobwebs and sweep away all traces of dirt, leaves and pet hair. Clean your light fixtures and bulbs, and be sure your windows are sparkling clean. Wipe down your front door and polish your door hardware.
Repair and update
Fix or replace loose latticework, gently tap down nail heads that have worked loose from your siding or decks, and ensure that downspouts are attached and secure. It might make sense to replace and outdated front door, or at least five it a fresh coat of paint and update the handle and kick plate. If your exterior light fixtures were fashionable 25 years ago, they’re undoubtedly out of date now. Visit a home-improvement store and choose something more contemporary.
If your exterior paint is in good shape, light pressure washing will make it look almost new, and a fresh coat of pain on just the trim and shutters can provide a quick facelift. On the other hand, shabby paint dramatically devalues a home. If repainting is necessary, use a mainstream color that fits in with your neighborhood.
Keep it simple, clean and classic
If your home is on the market, be ruthless with clutter. Remove anything that distracts from the home itself, including children’s toys, bicycles, garden hoses and tools. You want your home to appeal to as many people as possible. When potential buyers step onto your property, they need to be able to imagine it as their own.
Create a welcoming entry
Your front porch and/or entryway provide an opportunity to make visitors feel comfortable and welcome. Beautiful pots overflowing with flowers appeal to everyone, and a trickling water feature can create a serene atmosphere. And if there’s room, a small table and chairs on the front porch are very inviting. Finally, if your doormat has worn out its welcome, it’s time to purchase a new one.
Get a fresh point of view
It can be surprisingly difficult to view your home objectively and to see it as others do. One helpful trick is to shoot photos or video; for most people, this technique helps them see their home from a fresh perspective. By all means, ask your agent for a professional opinion. He or she can give you a checklist of recommended tasks that will strengthen your home’s curb appeal.
There’s only one chance to make a first impression
Curb appeal is more important than you might imagine. We’ve seen buyers make a snap judgment before they step out of the car. If it’s a negative first impression, that’s hard to overcome no matter how nice the home is inside. One the other hand, when a home is charming and cleaned and cared for on the outside, buyers can be so positively affected that once they’re inside, they are less critical of an outdated kitchen or a small bathroom. Strong curb appeal can help cement a positive opinion.
If you have questions about getting your home ready to sell, or are looking for an agent in your area we have professionals that can help you. Contact us here.