Sunday, January 3, 2016

How To Sell Your Home Fast and For More Money

So you're thinking about selling your home.  Every seller wants their home to sell fast and for more money than the house down the street.  I've been a Realtor® for more than 10 years now and this is pretty much a universal truth.  And I don't blame them at all.  That's what I want too.

So how do you make this happen?  Here are a few simple steps to selling fast and for the most money possible.

1.  Have realistic expectations.  You need to know what homes are selling for in your neighborhood and why they sold for that.  If your house hasn't been updated since 1978 and the guy across the street just did a total kitchen remodel, your home is not going to sell for his price.  ANY house will sell, no matter the condition.  The price it will fetch is based on condition, size, and location.

2.   De-clutter.  Now.  Actually, yesterday would be even better.  Clutter not only makes your home look smaller, it makes it REALLY hard for buyers to visualize themselves living there.  Get rid of anything that doesn't belong in this decade and box it up.  You're going to move it anyway so get a head start on the packing.  If you have photos on every flat surface, on every inch of wall space, and little knick knacks all around, box 'em up.

3. Consider minor improvements to update the house.  My husband and I just bought a great house that was built in the 90's.  The brass light fixtures made me cringe but the house had great bones and we could visualize how it would look with decor from the current decade.  Sadly for the sellers, no other buyers did.  We were the only offer after 90 days and we were able to negotiate a very good price.  The first thing we did was paint our formal dining room and replace this beauty.

Seriously, spend $100 on a new light fixture and the impact will be HUGE.  The one over the front door in your entryway is a big opportunity for some wow factor too.  If you aren't sure what to choose, go with either oil rubbed bronze or brushed nickel.  Go on Pinterest and search for "cool dining room chandeliers" or something along those lines and you'll get a ton of ideas.

There's a reason why you see these in every Goodwill store.  No one likes them anymore.

4.   Change out the knobs on your kitchen and bathroom cabinets for a fast, inexpensive, and easy update.  

1995 called.  They want their bathroom back.

 5. Clean, clean, clean!  Scrub your home top to bottom, get a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and get all the scuff marks off your walls, have the carpets cleaned, and have a friend tell you if your house smells like your pets.  Buyers will be immediately turned off if they walk in and it smells like a stinky dog or a litter box.  Put a dehumidifier in the basement if it smells damp and musty.

6.  Turn on every darned light in your house before buyers come through.  Open your blinds and curtains and let the sunshine in.  Turn off the TV unless it's playing soft music in the background.

7.  LEAVE the house for showings.  This is a big one.  When my buyers start visualizing where their furniture will go, this is a good sign.  They are imagining themselves living here.  I want them to start saying things like, "We could paint this room pink and put the crib over there."  But if the seller is home and follows us through the house, the buyers can't talk amongst themselves about the things they would change.  They can't say, "This is the ugliest carpet I've ever seen!  But wouldn't hardwood floors look gorgeous?" if you're standing right there.  You can be home when they arrive if you absolutely must, but then step outside or take a walk around the block.  Even go hang out in the garage.  Just don't make it so the buyers can't discuss the house in great detail.  This discussion is a crucial step in the offer process - make yourself scarce!

8.  Go check out your competition.  Have your Realtor make appointments to see some of the other homes for sale that directly compete against yours and go see them.  How does their kitchen compare to yours?  How about the master bathroom?  If their basement finished or unfinished?  What about the yard size?  Try to look at them though a buyer's eyes.  It's totally ok to steal some of their decorating ideas.

9.  Make your house smell good without going overboard.  Food smells or fresh laundry make your house smell homey and clean.  Nothing too overpowering please, but an air freshener right inside the front door is a great idea.  Freshly baked cookies or bread smells in your home are very appealing.

10.  Hire a Realtor who will give you an honest estimate of your home's value.  Be willing to make changes they might suggest, like some of the things listed above.  Trust me, I show homes to buyers several days a week and they all say the same things over and over again.  I know what buyers are looking for and faux wood paneling in every room is not it.  Help your agent help you by being open to suggestions and having realistic expectations.

Thinking of selling your metro Atlanta area home?  Let me give you an idea of what it's worth.  It's free and there's no obligation.

Karin Carr is a Realtor® with Weichert, Realtors® - Preferred in Marietta, Georgia.  She has listed and sold more than 150 homes since 2005.  Karin's team services the entire Atlanta metro area.