When selling your home, you need to make it the gem in the market that buyers can’t wait to see, experience and put an offer on. You need to sell your home from the buyers perspective not your perspective!
- Super Selling Tip # 1 – Yes You Do Need an Agent!
Let’s talk about the most controversial topic in selling your home first, the real estate agent. Maybe you don’t think you need an agent, but you do. Agents know the market, know people who are looking to buy but most importantly agents know how to get the best price for your home. They can also market your property for the best exposure. Don’t forget this is a legal transaction and there is an endless pile of forms you need to sign!
Bottom line, most people don’t want to pay the 6% commission fees (usually 3% on the seller side and 3% on the buyer side), so they think selling their own home or using a discount brokerage will save them money. But it won’t. Statistics show that owners that sell their own homes (FSBO) lose between 10% to 16% (realtor.com) of the sales price. On a $250,000 home this is $25,000 to $40,000 dollars. That is a substantial amount of money and I don’t want you to lose that. But you could lose it due to lack of good marketing and negotiating the deal.
Unfortunately, there are buyers that will go after FSBO listings because they know there is no agent protecting the seller and will try and manipulate the deal in their favor. Having an agent protects you from exposing yourself to legal liability and law suits.
- Super Selling Tip #2 – The Selling Price!
How will you determine the selling price for your home?
Selling price is determined on the sale price of homes recently sold in your neighborhood. You may think your home is worth $400,000 but what is it’s market price? Luckily, there is market data and facts (actual sales prices) that help determine what the value is and provide a range of actual pricing that can help with this decision. It is about the sold price not the price homes are currently on the market for.
You can go online and search for homes, similar to your own, that are currently for sale and see what they are selling for? You can also look up past sales and see what those prices were as well. The problem is that you will get a number, but you don’t know what is behind it. You would see the $350,000 sales price and think, wow, prices are going down in the area. Your home is not worth what you thought. Some people need a quick sale, or the property could be distressed so the price was lower than the actual market price in the area.
Thanks to technology, there are now several sites on the internet that will give you an estimated value for your home. It is not accurate! I would never use that number in determining the sales price. Why?
Let’s say you have a pool in your backyard, and you put in fancy tile, there is a slide for the kids, you built a deck around it and it cost you $30,000. The algorithm, on these sites, sees the word “pool” and adds a set price of $8,000 to the value of your home. The internet doesn’t know you have a $30,000 pool. Determining your sales price needs to be more defined and accurate. Don’t freak out when you see these estimates, that is what they are, a basic estimate.
FYI - If the buyer is taking out a loan then the mortgage company usually requires an appraisal and will not loan more than the appraisal value. The appraiser will look at recently sold homes in your area and adjust for upgrades etc.
It comes down to do you want to sell your house or just list it? I can list if for a $1 million dollars or sell it for it’s market value of $400,000. It is your home and your financial asset. I am here to help you determine the best price for the best outcome.
- Super Selling Tip #3 – Staging Your House – To Market We Go!
This is the step that no-one really wants to do, but it is the most important. Don’t get overwhelmed, just breath! You don’t have to do professional staging at all. Use what you have and just make the home warm and inviting.
Keep in mind that while you love cows and you hold the record for the most cow items in a home, the buyer may not like cows and you need to bring the look of the interior to as close to neutral as possible. The buyer will be looking at your home and trying to picture themselves and their collection of chipmunks in your space. You need to make it as easy as possible for this to happen. This is how you sell your house. If the cows are going with you to your next home, herd them into a box and store them.
Depending on the size of your next house (downsizing to a smaller home), you may want to pack up and store items or sell/donate them now. Just start packing all the extra items and get them ready for their new destination.
Cleaning – You will need to clean the entire house at some point. Either clean as you go or hire a cleaning service to come and help. Steam cleaning the carpet and tile as well as washing down the walls, get rid of cobwebs and wash the windows. The outside of the house may need to be power washed as well.
Storage – Some people have a lot of treasures and others don’t have any at all. In staging your home for sale, you may need to put some furniture or packed items in a storage unit for a few months. The house needs to be open, welcoming and give the buyer the ability to see past your furniture to their furniture.
Living Room – This is an important room and maybe the center of the house. This is the room that needs to feel open and bright. You may need to pack up the knickknacks and have only a few items on the coffee table.
Kitchen/Dining Room – The kitchen is easy to stage. You need to keep the counters free of clutter/papers. You can have a few items like the toaster and coffee pot out on display but everything else needs to be put away. The dining room table needs to be staged with a simple vase of flowers, not set for a family dinner.
Bedrooms – The bed, nightstands, dressers are all fine. Don’t have all your jewelry on display or any medications and make sure the closets are somewhat organized. Buyers will always look in the closets!
Bathrooms – Most bathrooms are basic, and you just need to keep them clean and the countertops again need to be de-cluttered.
Garage - The garage can be a scary place and your car may have not seen the inside of the garage for years. If your house is up for sale, then you are moving somewhere, so pack up the garage and either stack the boxes or put them in a storage unit or shed.
Storage Sheds – Another scary place for buyers to look at. Either it is already organized and looks good or you need to pack it up and throw away/donate items you no longer need.
Yard/Outside Areas – Sweep the patio areas, there may be leaves or dead bugs. Keep the grass mowed if you have any and clean up any trash.
Pets – Even though pets are part of the family and very important to you, they may not be to a buyer. If you have pet beds and toys all over the house, they need to be picked up for a showing. Dog poop needs to be picked up and the cat box needs to be cleaned frequently as well.
Kids – Keeping the house clean for a home showing while having young children is a challenge. So, make cleanup a game. All the toys need to play hide and seek, so all the toys can go hide in the toy box, or under the bed, closets, etc. One seller put all the bath toys in a cute display. There were 20 dinosaurs staged to take a bath. The buyers that came through the house, laughed and they linked the cute dinosaur display to the house. After the showing your kids can then go find all the toys they hid! This will keep them busy for about five minutes!
Buyers will look at four to five houses, so stage something unique in your home that they will remember.
- Super Selling Tip #4 – To Repair or Not to Repair?
Updating or remodeling a home does not get you the added value in price versus what you paid to upgrade/install new items. Don’t remodel the kitchen or install all new flooring. You need to do the small repairs that are inexpensive but can make a big difference. Buyers will be getting a home inspection so you can either fix it now or fix it later.
Lights – All the lights inside and out, should work. Maybe you will need to replace the bulbs. Buyers are going to flip all the switches to make sure they work.
Heating/Air Conditioner – This is a big deal in a town where it is 115 degrees in the summer. If it doesn’t work, it may need to be fixed. If it needs to be replaced, then that can be negotiated with the sale.
Plumbing – If there is a leak, fix it.
Paint – You do not need to repaint the interior or exterior of your home. Cleaning is usually enough to make it sale ready. If there are some touch ups you can do, then you may need to do that. Is there a fence in the front that would benefit with a new coat of paint? This would be an inexpensive upgrade that could make a big difference.
Calking – Calking the bathroom tub, sinks and bathroom tile, is a small detail that makes a huge visual improvement.
Sinks/Toilets – Installing a new toilet seat can make the look of the bathroom better for a small cost. Sinks on the other hand are decision you will have to make. If a sink is rusted it may need to be replaced, but that is not always an option. Again, it can be negotiated with the sale.
- Super Selling Tip #5 – Showings!
Yes, You Do Want People Wandering Through Your House!
Part of selling your home is having people come look at it. You probably work, have kids, pets and a busy life. Even though you have cleaned and staged your house for sale, life goes on and you still have to live there. A real estate agent will call and set up a time to show your home, usually when things are crazy. When you have a showing just pack up the kids, the dogs and go to the park or maybe go get ice cream!
Miss Kitty can usually stay in the house, but you need to leave directions for any visiting agents and buyers, so Miss Kitty doesn’t accidently get out. If possible do not leave the dogs at home, unless they can be put in a crate or a dog run outside. Just because Fido and Fifi are the best dogs on the planet and wouldn’t hurt anyone, doesn’t mean that they will behave nicely when stressed. Strange people in their home, may stress them out.
Now with COVID regulations as the seller you can determine how much PPE the visiting buyers must wear (masks, gloves, booties) and as the homeowner you do not need to leave. You can step outside or go into a room and wait while people look at your house.
- Super Selling Tip #6 – Offers & Closing
It is very exciting when an offer is on the way and the anticipation of what the offer looks like, keeps you guessing.
Contain your excitement, because you are going to need to review the entire document, not just the price! Wait! The offer price is nowhere near where you thought it would be. No problem, what are all the notes/exceptions and what is the buyer actually offering you.
Remember you can always say no. Maybe the offer is way too low, or the buyer is requesting something that you cannot provide.
It is not uncommon in the Vegas market to get multiple offers, all offering different prices and requests. Buyer’s agent try to provide an offer that will be accepted but counter offers are available to get all parties to yes. The negotiation is just a conversation, in writing, between you and the buyer.
As far as the price goes, you don’t have to meet in the middle, but you do need to listen to what the buyer is saying/asking. Your house is their dream, so you need to keep that in mind, to finalize the deal. Once an offer is accepted the only thing left to do is sign on the dotted line and close the deal.
In Nevada you must use a title company or lawyer to oversee the signing of all the documents. The title company also holds the escrow money, will be the notary and will file the required deeds/titles with the County.
Back in the dark ages both parties had to meet at the office, sit across the table from each other and sign. You would then hand the keys to the house to the buyer. It works a little differently these days.
You don’t need to be in the same state or even the same room now to close the deal. The documents and the notary will come to you. Both parties can sign out of state, on different days, whatever, and the title company will put it all together.
It would be easier if you were not vacationing in Tahiti when you need to close the deal, but it can still be accomplished.
Light at The End of The Tunnel…….
Selling your home and the process involved can be overwhelming and stressful. I hope that the tips provided above can aid you on your path to a successful sale.