PRICE YOUR HOME WELL
- Beware of a listing price that is too high. Historically, most properties get the most attention from buyers in the first 2-3 weeks after they are put on the market. Too high a list price may scare potential buyers away, or make them think that an offer that is much lower than the list price might “offend” the sellers.
- Properties that are overpriced to begin with usually take longer to sell and when they sell the sales price is often lower than it would have been had the property been priced better at the start.
- If the property does not appraise for the contracted sales price, the buyer's lender may not grant the loan to the buyers.
- Get an up-to-date market analysis of properties currently on the market in your area, and of properties that have sold within the past 3-6 months. With this information, you can better set a good sales price. Your home is competing for buyers against those other homes. The final sales price of your home will be set by what buyers are willing to pay.
DO THE OBVIOUS: PLAN TO MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION!
- When you are ready to sell your home, do the obvious things that you would want to see in a home you would consider buying. Make your home look as pleasant and appealing as possible.
- Go for a great first impression, from curb appeal to the first step inside your home! It is better for potential buyers to see your home in “spiffy” shape than to leave them wondering how it might look “with a little work.”
- A poorly kept home, or one with too much clutter, will make it much harder for buyers to become emotionally attracted to your property. The more you can do to make your home appeal to a buyer, the better your chances are for a quick sale.
Tips for Readying the Outside of Your Home
- Keep the yard mowed and trimmed. Trim the shrubs. Rake the leaves. Put your garbage bin where it is out of sight.
- Consider adding some inexpensive plants or flowers.
- Make needed repairs. Fix or replace rotted wood, broken windows, missing window screens, etc. before putting your home on the market.
- Use a power washer to clean sidewalks and portions of the home that have mildew or dirt accumulations.
- Paint the siding and trim if needed to enhance your property.
- Check the roof for missing shingles. Replace them as needed.
- Clear leaves or pine straw from the guttering and the roof.
- If you have a pet, outside is the best place. Consider putting “Fido” in a cage or a dog run so he or she will not jump on the buyers. Cats can be left in a pet travel cage.
- Repair your fence. Replace missing boards.
Tips for Preparing the Inside of Your Home for Showings
- Freshen up your home! Clean the windows, floors, living area, etc. If you are short on time, get a professional cleaning crew to do this make-ready.
- Upgrade your home's features as you can afford to do so. The upgrades may make the difference in your home selling. Light fixtures are an easy upgrade, as are faucets. Floors and appliances can help also.
- Make your bathrooms and kitchen shine! Redo caulking in tubs and showers that is obviously damaged or unsightly. Display your best towels and mats.
- Your will get the best “bang for the buck” in improving the condition of your home through paint and flooring. A new coat of paint inside can freshen a house remarkably, and make a big impact on buyers. Watch out for wild colors! Make sure all of the flooring looks good too. Does your home need new carpet? Can the carpet be cleaned? Does it need to be stratched?
- Check your woodwork, doors and walls. Repair or refinish any damaged areas (holes in the walls, damaged doors, scuff marks, hairline cracks in sheetrock seams, etc.).
- Remove the clutter from your home – excess furniture, appliances on the kitchen cabinet, photos or other things on shelves and walls, closets packed with junk unused for too long, etc. With less stuff in your house, it will show off the space your house has for living and for storage.
- Rearrange furniture if this will enhance the living space and show off the best features of your home. Don’t hide a fireplace or have your dining area filled with boxes or office equipment.
- Make bedrooms and living areas look as much like bedrooms and living areas as possible. Keep the beds made and put on new bed covers and decorative pillows.
- Make sure everything is in working order. Little problems make the wrong impression on buyers. (You do not want things you can fix showing up on an inspection report!)
Replace burned out light bulbs. Turn the lights on and open window shades when a buyer is coming.
Check the appliances (disposal, vent hood, built-in microwave, stove burners, ceiling fans, etc.).
Correct any problems with dripping faucets or running water in commodes.
- Put new filters in the air conditioning return vents.
- Keep your house clean and in order while it is on the market.
WHEN THE BUYERS COME TO LOOK AT YOUR HOME
- Buying a house is always an emotional and difficult decision. The best practice is to leave the house when you know that a potential buyer is coming.
- If you are at home when a real estate agent arrives for a showing, lock the door when you leave and ask the agent to let himself in with his electronic key. The electronic lockbox provides a record of all showings.
- If you are present at a showing, be friendly and hospitable. If the buyers are with their agent, ask the agent for a business card. Let the agent show the property, allowing the prospective buyers the freedom to comfortably examine your property.
- If questions are asked, answer them honestly without trying to “sell” the buyers on the home. Do not tell the buyers anything that could be used to their advantage. It is best to leave any discussions on price, terms or other matters related to the sale of your property to your Realtor®.
- Unless you know the people, it is best not to allow buyers who are not accompanied by a real estate agent into your home.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
- With every offer, require a preapproval letter from the buyers’ lender that states that the buyers should be able to get their loan to purchase your home.
- Make sure that you understand the terms of the listing agreement with the Broker and your agent Be certain that you understand the terms of any offer you receive on your home before you sign a contract. It is legally binding on you and on the buyers. Ask questions.
- You should get a copy of every document that you sign. Remember that you always have the right to have an attorney review these documents (even before signing them).
- Disclose, disclose, disclose! In Texas, a seller’s disclosure of property condition is required by law except in a few instances. You should complete the Seller’s Disclosure form honestly (even when it would hurt to do so!). It is better to disclose all defects to potential buyers than to have them discover something you knew about later, and meet you in court.
- Ask your Realtor® how he or she will market your home. In these days of internet use, some old ways of marketing (classified ads and open houses, for example) rarely result in the sale of a home. The marketing plan for your property should be varied and must include widespread visibility via the internet. Will he or she plan an open house or "Just Listed" card? Will there be a color flyer that promotes the features and sale of your home? What about a home feature book that provides interested buyers with information on schools, taxes, home features, utility providers, etc? Will there be a for sale sign and text message sign?
- Make your house easy to show. A real estate agent will naturally tend to show first those houses that are get into. A lockbox facilitates entry by providing a key to your home that can be accessed only by qualified local agents. Homes that are listed as being “lockbox, no appointment needed” or “lockbox, call first, go” will get shown more often than homes listed as “agent has key, call for appointment.”
- Remember that competition with other homes on the market may make it more difficult for you to sell your home. In early 2016, the Austin real estate market is still very active, but homes are not necessarily "flying" off the market. Some are taking longer to sell. Owners may find it necessary to lower their list prices. To gain the best chance of a quick sale, you must differentiate your home from the competition, i.e., make it stand out as better.