Maybe your family is expanding and you need a little more elbow room. Or that dream job comes along or you need to relocate. Or maybe you’ve just binge watched too much HGTV and decided you missed your calling in flipping houses. Whatever sparks your interest in selling your home, doing it well can be difficult, if not daunting, and we want to provide insight on how to make the process as smooth and successful as possible.
So what does it look like to begin the process to sell your home? Let’s break it down into condition, pricing, and marketing.
Condition: Surface & Systems
You know you want your home to look appealing to would-be buyers. But where to begin? We suggest thinking about surface features and systems.
Surface: In our experience, clients can make their decision of pursuing a house in the first ten minutes of walking through a home, so first impressions matter! After living in home for a while, it’s easy to overlook simple things that can make a big impression. Start with some presentation items that may not cost an arm and a leg – painting some rooms an on-trend or neutral color, landscaping, decluttering, power-washing. Anything that can present your home with the best foot forward may make a big difference on the final selling price.
Systems: Next, take a look at the structure and systems: foundation, roof, HVAC, electrical, pool, hot water heaters. Consider having a pre-inspection on your house and see what items you could fix or replace that could provide a better sales price at the end of the day. Often, costs for some of these fixes are less than you might think and can be a real barrier of entry for cautious buyers. If you’re not in a place to invest money or time on the front end, keep this in mind when pricing your home to make it more attractive to the buyer.
Now that you’ve looked through the condition elements and made some notes, let’s look at how things like location, flow, lot size, and other amenities can make a difference in pricing your house for the market.
What we find is that most people interested in selling their homes will (a) go to Zillow and find the “Z-estimate” for their home, (b) ask or research what the house down the street sold for, and (c) get an idea of the local average price per square foot and multiply that by how big their house is. The highest of these three numbers is often where a seller obtains her initial idea of what her house could sell for. While this method can provide a very loose ballpark figure, pricing can be far more complex. For example, if you live in a historic neighborhood, sometimes a dedicated laundry room and a garage can be a real value and raise the overall price point whereas it may make no difference in a neighborhood of newer builds.
This is often where an agent can help articulate how the neighborhood and market might respond to your home. For example, they may ask or consider
- Is the home on a large lot?
- Is it on a busy street?
- What schools are close by?
- How’s the flow of the home?
- Are bedrooms and master split or in the same area?
- If it’s two stories, is master up or down?
All of these things can play into price point and sometimes setting a strong but attractive selling price an art as much as it is a science. It’s helpful to have someone who can step in with an objective voice, someone to bounce ideas off of and help zone-in on a price based on your needs and goals. Do you need to move? Are you in a time crunch? Just testing the market to see what you can get for your house? Answers to these questions can certainly change your pricing strategy.
Now that your house is ready and the price point is set, it’s time to look at marketing your home. With Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc., an everyday part of the real estate process, can’t you just take some pictures with the newest smartphone, upload your description, and go? Not exactly. While every home won’t benefit from sweeping drone footage or a 3D map of the home layout, everything from taking stunning pictures of your home to a sixty-second video presentation makes a tremendous impact. It’s a virtual front door and first impression to your property. This is how buyers will make a decision to visit your home or keep browsing. Depending on your property, different media approaches can create a greater market reach and help find your buyer. A carefully crafted marketing strategy involving everything from stunning visuals to a targeted social media campaign is just as important as a clean home and a decent roof when it comes to finding the right buyers and the best selling price.
If all of this seems a bit much, it certainly can be. People often ask why, in the age of DIY, they shouldn’t just list their home themselves. You certainly can! However, it sure can help to have a knowledgeable agent with you along the way to help you make tough decisions and to advocate for you. Besides guiding you through the complexity of contract negotiations, an agent can help you make decisions about what to prioritize when it comes to presenting your home well. Their experience and knowledge of the market can help you determine just the right selling price. And, their networks and professional resources mean that your home is sure to reach the maximum amount of potential buyers. Please feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to find the right agent to walk with you through this important and exciting process!