Whether Your Home Is Luxurious or More Modest, You CAN sell it fast!
The exquisite home above was on the market for more than one year with another agency, but after listing with us, the sellers were willing to take our suggestions to get it sold. They took advantage of the staging, gave us time to get professional photography completed (including twilight photos and drone photography), and their home really shined on-line. Fortunately, the right buyers arrived an hour before the first Open House and made a terrific offer.
Follow these tips to find qualified buyers and to reap more money in the sale of your home.
Whether you read the tips from US News and World Report or from HGTV, the tips are largely the same. We at the Clay Realty Group have had great success in selling both luxury homes and more modest family homes by helping our clients follow these basic rules:
1. Price it right from the start.
Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the MLS, know what properties are on the market, know the comparable homes in your neighborhood, and have the technology available to showcase your home in all of the major portals. Often clients want to "try" a higher price for awhile, but the truth is, more potential buyers and agents see your home the first week it is on the market. If the home is over-priced, the right buyer may miss it entirely.
2. The first impression may be your one and only chance to make a great impression.
Buyers have already pre-judged your home by looking at pictures online and by driving by your neighborhood. Make sure you do whatever is feasible to improve your home's curb appeal before they walk through the door. Keep your lawn mowed, your shrubs clipped, and consider adding some brightly colored annuals to increase your entry's appeal.
3. Follow the rule of the 3 D's: De-clutter, De-odorize and De-personalize.
The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff- put it in storage. Even in the gorgeous home above, the owners and their realtor spent an entire weekend removing much of their furniture, their collections, and their personal keepsakes. Less is more means that less clutter shows off more available square footage. Cleaning your home is essential. Clean windows will maximize the light coming into your home, as will taking down heavy draperies.
Remember, you are moving! If there is something that you know you don't want to bring to a new home, why not give it away or donate it now? Your movers will thank you.
Buyers will also peer into your closets, so it is wise to remove clothing from other seasons if you can. Not everyone has a walk-in closet, but by removing some of your items from closets to packing boxes, your storage space will appear greater.
4. Stage the house to show how each room is supposed to be used.
Sometimes our clients are attempting to sell their parents' home, and often much of the furniture has already been removed. Sometimes the remaining furniture gives off an "old person's vibe." In almost every case, whether the home is priced for a first time home buyer or priced for buyers with deep pockets, we hire a home stager to consult with our sellers. Staging helps to best showcase the floor plan of your home, maximizes the use of space, and helps to give an objective eye towards lighting, artwork, and room usage. In the case of an empty home, we have used both virtual staging and complete staging (including furniture, lighting, decor, and artwork). The cost of the complete staging may range up to $3,000 in an empty home, but the effects are amazing.
If you are currently living in your home, the stager's consulting costs may be under $200, and he/she may make suggestions about changing a paint color, rearranging furniture, changing bed linens, etc. We find that the post-staging photos are well worth the expense. And studies have suggested that homes that have been professionally staged sell 10% faster!
5. Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes.
These are the two rooms that MUST be clean. If your appliances are outdated, at least be sure they are spotless. (People WILL look inside the fridge). The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Sometimes a fancy faucet may be enough to add a bit of glam.
Bathrooms look best if they are free from too much clutter. New fresh towels, a clean new shower curtain, and a shiny clean floor will make your bath more appealing, but don't forget that leaky faucets and missing grout shout out "deferred maintenance" to buyers.
6. Always be ready to show.
Clients are always worried that a potential buyer may show up when they are not ready. Guess what? They are right! While our team always respects our clients' requests for 24 hour notice, we also know that other agents may have buyer clients who are here for a one-day tour of homes. It could be that our seller's home is perfect for them but that it is unavailable to show.
Therefore, our suggestion is: leave your house"show-ready." When we call to set an appointment, you can let us know if the dishes are in the sink. We can always show up with a box and put them in the garage if we have to! A better plan, though, is to leave the kitchen and bathrooms sparkling clean, and give a quick vacuum before you leave the house.
Also, it is always best if you can leave your home during showings. Take the dog for a walk, perhaps, or visit a neighbor. Most showings take less than 20 minutes, but buyers are uncomfortable asking about details if the homeowner is present.
7. Keep your pets private.
Although we love pets of all kinds, not all buyers do. Some buyers are turned off by a bowl of dog food, the smell of a kitty litter box, or pet hair in swirls on the floor. While you may be consistent about cleaning and caring for your pet, even the idea of a pet gives some buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If you're planning an open house, please take the critters with you. For showings, consult with your realtor about how best to contain your pooch when a buyer is coming.
8. Photos are extremely important in selling the best features of your home.
Professional photography is well worth the cost. In an effort to quickly get the home on the market, some clients ask us to put one or two exterior shots on the Multiple Listing Service before the interior shots have been processed. While we always comply, we know that the lighting and lenses used by our professional photographers always highlight the home's best features and can give the on-line visitor a great sense for the space and natural light. Their photos allow the viewer to see the views to the outside as well. If your landscape is particularly appealing, these shots to the outside are essential to feature those natural views.
One of the choices we have made at Clay Realty Group is to offer drone photography to our clients who have properties with either extensive acreage or those whose home's proximity to ponds/lakes/oceans can be best highlighted by the aerial footage.
9. Make sure that the photos and features are on all of the major portals.
Gone are the days when only Realtors had access to new listings and all of the photos and information about those properties on the Multiple Listing Service. According to the National Association of Realtors, 45% of all buyers go FIRST to 3rd party sites (like Zillow, Trulia, and Zillow.com) to look at homes long before attending an Open House or meeting with a local real estate agent.
Therefore, it is imperative that your agent be tech-savvy enough to use all kinds of tools to get your house sold. We suggest single property websites that can be shared with your friends, relatives, co-workers in emails and in social media such as Facebook and Instagram. Facebook and Instagram ads also allow our clients to have their homes targeted to specific demographics, for example, boat owners looking to purchase a home in Falmouth or Mashpee, or equestrians looking for homes with enough acreage and trails for horseback riding.
It only takes one perfect buyer to buy your home, but having it featured everywhere increases your chances that your home will sell fast!
10. Share information about the neighborhood.
You bought your home because of its location as well as for its features (3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, garage, pool, etc.). Having lived in the neighborhood, you have found all of the best restaurants, shops, shortcuts to the beach, and local events. Don't keep these items a secret! We often suggest that our sellers write a letter, highlighting their fondest memories and their favorite spots in the area. Potential buyers leave the open house with a warm feeling about the property and the opportunities that they will enjoy when they purchase their new home.