Tips for Selling Your Home

The process of selling your home can be an emotional and exhausting process. There are many things you will need to do in preparation of placing your home on the selling market. By following some simple guidelines, selling your home can be a more enjoyable and smoother process. 

Plan Ahead

Start cleaning out attics, basements, workshops, closets etc. of any unwanted or unused items. By doing this early on, it will save you time and stress when your home goes under contract. Have a Plan A- understanding approximately how long your home is likely to be on the current market if priced right, AND a Plan B- if you go under contract quickly, where will you & your stuff go? If you are planning on purchasing a new home in the near future, it is a good idea to place your home on the market as far in advance as possible. If you wait to place your home on the market until after you have found a new one, you may end up losing the home you really want, or paying two mortgages until you find a buyer for your home. It IS a good idea as soon as you "go live" on the market, to keep tabs on available homes you might be interested in; you could find yourself suddenly under contract any time and will want to be able to move forward in a timely fashion. Once you are under contract, a cash deal can close as soon as the Closing Attorney can pull together the title work and schedule your closing (a couple days to 2 weeks). The normal transaction involving a lender is 30-45 days until closing, however, be ready and flexible to work up a Back-Up Plan in case there are delays in the transaction. Closing dates are targets and are not etched in stone; there are many variables that can change the closing date and your REALTOR may not have any control over the changes. Also, all parties may need to coordinate closing and moving schedules - more than likely, the buyer of your property is selling their current home as well. You may not have to present at your closing! Talk to your TLC Real Estate Agent about your options.

Choosing An Agent

Find an agent that you trust and feel comfortable with. Understand that not all real estate agents are REALTORs, who are committed by paid membership to the National Association of REALTORS, and therefore to the highest ethical written standards and to mandatory and ongoing continuing education.   

Your TLC Real Estate REALTOR will help you:

  • Establish a fair, competitive asking price.
  • Handle all advertising and marketing of your home.
  • Schedule appointments for other agents and show your home without your presence.
  • Have a market plan that matches your home (See Strategic Marketing.)
  • Represent you in all negotiations with the prospective buyer.
  • Guide you through the transaction & closing process.

Setting a Price for Your Home

Once you have decided to sell, the next big step is to determine what the fair asking price should be for your home. Try to avoid overpricing your property; this may cause your home to remain on the market for an extended period of time UNSOLD. Your TLC Agent can prepare a basic Comparative Market Analysis on your home. A CMA compares your home with similar properties that have sold within a specified period of time. This will enable you to see your home like an appraiser will, (but remember, your REALTOR is NOT an appraiser). You will also want to see how your home compares to others that are currently ACTIVE on the market - your competition.

What establishes your property's Sell-ability? 
Use the Compare My Home tool on this website. 

Other factors to consider when setting a price for your home:

  • Economic conditions of your community
  • The supply and demand ratio in your local housing market
  • The location of your property (school districts and subdivisions)
  • Your home's special features (garage, pool, fireplace, in-law or guest quarters)
  • The age and condition of your home
  • Seasonal influences (the housing market may be stronger during certain times of the year).

About For Sale By Owner 

Some homeowners decide to try and sell their property on their own to save themselves the cost of commissions paid out to a real estate agency.  FSBO (For Sale By Owner) may work for you if you are comfortable with lookie-loos, un-prequalified strangers knocking on your door or requesting showings, can be available to show the home at all times of the day to accomodate buyers' various all-shift work schedules, are willing to answer ongoing phone inquiries quickly, are willing to spend good $ up front for marketing, are comfortable with direct negotiating, and know the current laws, contracts and procedures that protect you. National statistics show that homes listed by agents typically sell for more than FSBOs, even after agency commissions. Buyers know you're trying to save commission. It's amazing how simply flattering someone's home, decor, hobbies, or showing how nice their family is etc., can have an emotional impact on your negotiating. You NEED a buffer that keeps it strictly business. On the other hand, many buyers simply don't want to work directly with a Seller. Also, many agents don't want to take their clients to a FSBO home either, because they'll have to negotiate their commission (where it's already clearly stated upfront on the MLS,) and a FSBO is almost always double the work for the one agent involved- even if you are knowledgable and comfortable in your side's responsibilities. Be fair. If you decide you want to try FSBO, & an agent wants to bring a qualified buyer to the table-- be excited & be prepared to offer a commission. If fact, advertise it.

Equally important however, is your marketing resources. Realtors have access to vast effective resources and never forget that Exposure Feeds the Leads. Just putting you on the MLS alone at least puts you in front of hundreds, if not thousands of potential agents and buyers thru IDX (Internet Data Exchange)-- an unbelievably huge advantage over a For Sale By Owner website and sign. But, if you are determined--go for it. Try it for a couple weeks- by then the drive-bys will have driven by. If it's not working for you, CALL TLC Real Estate and DRAMATICALLY increase your exposure & your odds.

Preparing Your Home to Sell

There are many minor things you can do to your home to enhance its marketability. Remember, you want your home to make a great first impression to a potential buyer. Spend some time prior to placing your home on the market cleaning out storage spaces, closets, and cabinets. Remove any excess clutter from your home. Unless you want to sell furnishings and decor with the house, you'll want the prospective buyer to remember the architectural features of the house and not its contents. The potential buyer needs to be able to envision their furnishings in the house-- not admire your home. Below is a list of things you can do to increase the value of your house.

Consider Curb Appeal:

It is estimated that more than 50% of homes are sold before the buyers even get out of their cars. Stand across the street from your house and review the curb appeal.

  • Keep the lawn mowed and raked, shrubs trimmed, and the sidewalk swept.
  • Plant shrubs or install fencing to block unpleasant views.
  • Clean the exterior of your home. Clean oil stains from the driveway and garage.
  • Repair and/or paint exterior siding, trim, gutters, shutters, glazing, and window frames.
  • Repair or replace the street numbers on the house.
  • Make sure all exterior lighting is working.

Garages, Carports, and Sheds:

  • Replace burned out lights.
  • Clear away spider/cobwebs.
  • Keep areas clean and uncluttered. Organize and put away tools.
  • Lubricate, adjust, or repair garage door.

Interior Maintenance:
On the inside, remove as much clutter as possible. Hire professionals to do a deep cleaning. Cleanliness is a sign to buyers that the home has been well cared for.

  • Clean and vacuum carpets. Replace worn carpet and use area rugs as needed. If vacant, check for dead bugs.
  • Apply a fresh coat of paint.
  • Wash curtains and draperies.
  • Clean ceiling fans, light fixtures, scrub light switches & around doorknobs. Check for cobwebs in all corners.
  • Clean the air returns! (No fuzzy dust showing!) 
  • Clean and organize all closets and cabinets. More space is better!
  • Lubricate window slides; make sure doors close smoothly.

Kitchens and Bathrooms:
Overall, kitchens and bathrooms should be spotless. These two rooms alone can sell a home.

  • Clean all appliances inside and out. They WILL open the oven & fridge, (& probably several cabinets & drawers too).
  • Scrub around all doorknobs & light switches.
  • Replace all needed light bulbs (appliances included).
  • Clean floors, light fixtures (no dead bugs in there!)
  • Deodorize disposal, dishwasher, and refrigerator. Neutralize odors and clean all mold and mildew.
  • Repair leaky faucets. Make sure toilet flushes properly.
  • Test all electrical outlets.
  • Unclutter counters and cabinets. The more clear space, the better!
  • Clean shower door or replace curtain. Remove soap residue and lime deposits from sink, shower, and bathtub.
  • Put out fresh towels.

Create a Pleasant Atmosphere:
Overall, make sure your home exudes an inviting atmosphere. You want the potential buyer to have a pleasant experience visiting your home so that they remember the positive attributes that your home possesses.

  • Turn on all lights. Open drapes to allow natural light as well.
  • Be sure air is fresh, NOT overly scented, and put out fresh flowers.
  • Play quiet background music.
  • Turn on the air conditioner or heater so that your home is at a pleasant temperature.
  • Be absent during showings and make arrangements for pets so home can be shown safely.