1. Learn about Market Conditions – The “market” sets the final sales price and terms. You may have to be prepared for your home being on the market for a longer period of time, and there may be fewer showings than what you anticipated. Find out about recent sales in your neighborhood for a guide as to what to expect.
2. Hire an Inspector – Consider hiring an inspector before you put your home on the market. You will find out what items need to be repaired in your home and you can eliminate these concerns. Taking care of these repairs prior to listing your home can save you from having a possible buyer “walk” from a sale. Provide the home inspection report and any repair invoices to a potential buyer. Also consider having an HVAC inspection and termite inspection.
3. A Good First Impression – It starts outside with curb appeal. Those first few seconds when a buyer pulls up in front of a home can possibly make the difference in the sale of the home. Mow your yard, rake the leaves, pull weeds, and plant some flowers or shrubs. Remove any low hanging branches from trees, and keep shrubbery neatly trimmed. Remove any clutter, clean the front door and any railings, clean gutters, sweep the porch, and paint or repair the trim on your home. After cleaning up the front yard, take the same kind of care to your backyard.
4. Making Repairs Inside the Home – Fix doors and locks that don’t work properly, repair leaky faucets, check for problems with flooring, look for peeling paint, caulk windows, fix any cracked windows and tiles, replace light bulbs, and paint colored walls a neutral color.
5. Remove the Clutter – Clutter can make rooms look much smaller, and it detracts the buyer’s attention from the positive aspects of your home. Buyers can’t envision themselves living in the home if they can’t see past the clutter. Remove family photos, streamline your artwork, and pack up knicknacks. Also, pack up extra toys, organize the garage, and clean out closets and cabinets.
6. Make Your Home Shine – Dust baseboards and ceiling fans, clean windows and window sills, vacuum carpets, wax or clean floors, replace air filters. If you have pets and the carpet has been stained, replace it. It’s very important that your home shines while it’s on the market – it’s a good indicator that you’ve taken care of your home. Also, check for odors in your home.
7. Consider a Professional Stager – If you’re having problems doing the above steps, consider hiring a professional stager to help you. The money you would spend on someone staging your home could make the difference in your home selling.
8. “The Price Is Right” – There are many homes on the market, so be competitive with the pricing of your home. The first 30 days of the listing are critical. Rely on your agent to provide you with a market analysis which will enable you to price the home competitively. Is your home unique to the area? You might consider having a professional appraisal performed. Be very objective in pricing your home.
9. Offer a Home Warranty – A home with a warranty is typically more attractive to buyers and it adds an extra, inexpensive marketing tool. The warranty stands behind the covered systems or appliances in the home. Also, the seller typically has some coverage during the listing period at no additional cost.
10. Be Open and Flexible – You’ve completed the above steps. Now it’s time to finally put your home on the market. Be sure to follow your agent’s suggestions. It’s very important that you always accommodate showings. An agent who has shown your home often has feedback to share. Take the feedback into consideration, and make any necessary changes to the home. If after a reasonable time period your home is not getting many showings, check the listing price — it may be time to lower it.