Of course you do! Silly question! I have yet to meet a homeowner who says, "I want you to sell my home, but I really don't care what I get for it, just get rid of it."
We Realtors are hard wired to get our sellers the highest possible price for their home. Everyone wants it, but too often I meet sellers who get sidetracked on their way to getting their home ready for sale.
When we get ready to sell a home, it is only natural to start thinking of all of the "someday projects" we had planned. You know the ones, all of those little (and sometimes not so little) renovation plans that we knew would increase the value of our home, but we just never got around to them.
Now is not the time to start on that list. Let it go. Save your energy and plans for your next home so that you will be the ones to enjoy the final results.
My father always said, "Don't make it harder."
As someone in the business of helping people move out of homes they don't want and into homes they do want, I have been able to see what works and what does not. Through observation, experience, and research I can honestly say that there are 3 sure fire steps to take in order to get the most money for the sale of your home.
So forget, your long awaited renovation plans, keep it simple, and put your time and energy into these three areas.
PURGE: Your time in your home is coming to an end. After all, you have chosen to move on. Jump start this process by packing up or getting rid of clutter and extra furniture. Your home does not need to be a mansion to be a showcase. Nothing says "this home has no storage space" like overflowing closets, cabinets, and cluttered counter tops. Even if you have 25 closets in your home, if they are all full, buyers will feel cramped and assume your home does not have enough storage.
Pack away your treasured nick nacks, and that wall of family photos. Leave no more than 3 items on any surface. This includes walls, counters, tables, etc. This tip comes from a professional stager and I have seen the results myself. Buyers need the space to feel open so they can start to picture themselves living in the home.
Remove any extra furniture that crowds the space or impedes traffic flow. This makes even the smallest of rooms feel more spacious.
PAINT: A fresh coat of neutral color paint is the least expensive and most effective way to give a home a face lift. Your daughter may have loved her purples walls, but for every buyer that likes purple, there are 5 who will look at those walls and just think of the work it will take to cover them. Don't give them a reason to cross your home off their list or to discount their offer.
CLEAN: Yes, interestingly, cleaning is the single-most effective step you can take to get your home sold fast and for top dollar. A sparkling clean home gives the buyers the feeling that the home has been well-maintained (even if it hasn't.)
I'm not talking about a casual Saturday morning cleaning. I mean clean "like your mother-in-law is coming!" These little extra touches will make your home stand out in the buyer's mind. Everyone wants to live in an immaculately clean home. This is a pipe dream for many as busy lives interfere. Tap into the psychology of that dream by making your home stand out.
Move the furniture and get all the corners, wash the light switch plates, get the dead bugs out of the light fixtures, the cobwebs in the corners, and make the appliances and windows sparkle!
To sum it up, forget about those big "someday projects." My father is right. Don't make it harder. Focus on the things you can control. Just keep to these 3 sure fire steps and you will find that you can keep your sanity, sell your home faster, and get more money.
To get the most bang for your buck, you will need a Realtor who can maximize your efforts with an effective and far reaching marketing strategy. Give me a call and I will happily show you the impact of proper and thorough marketing on the sale of your home.
While price and condition are the 2 factors within your control, your agent still does play a huge role. The question for home sellers is…
I don’t believe agent’s are trying to purposely lie to potential home sellers. There are just some agents out there who seem so worried that they are going to disappoint or upset a homeowner, that they end up glossing over some of the harder truths.
Whenever I see this scenario play out I always think of Jack Nicholson’s famous line from A Few Good Men: “You can’t handle the truth!” I would argue that yes, you not only can handle the truth, but you deserve it and should demand it.
Most homeowners only see the prices that homes are listed for, not what they actually sell for. Your agent’s responsibility is to:
When a real estate agent presents their pricing recommendation to you, the first questions you should ask them is “Why?” A competent agent will not be offended and should have valid and detailed reasons and data they can point out to you that will support their price.
When your home has been listed for sale and remains unsold, most people end up feeling frustrated and even angry. Now there is a new resource online for owners of unsold homes.www.whydidntmyhousesell.info is a website designed to provide homeowners with ideas and answers and help guide you through the process of evaluating what went wrong and where to go from here.
If you are not in the mood to talk with a real estate agent and would prefer to take some time for yourself, this is the perfect place to start.
Previously, I detailed the first condition: Making Buyers Feel Welcome. Now we will look at real actions you can take right now to help buyers feel confident about choosing your home and making a solid offer.
How To Make Buyers Feel Confident
In order to get top dollar for your home, buyers need to feel confident about the condition of your home's systems and structure. If they have doubts about the heating system, roof, foundation, or other major systems, they will move on or start subtracting from their offer anticipating needed repairs. Most buyers tend to subtract twice the amount of the actual cost of a repair.
Here is the interesting part. Buyers will make assumptions (good and bad) about the condition of your home's major systems based on other things they see in the home. If a home is clean and tidy, buyers will assume the major systems have been maintained properly whether they have or not. On the flip side, you may have always maintained all of the major systems in your home, but if the basement is full of cobwebs, there are dirty light switch plates, missing outlet covers, or the foundation can not be seen due to piles of boxes, buyers will assume that you have not maintained your home. Their offer, if they make one, will reflect their assumptions about your home's condition.
If you have actual known problems, be sure to disclose them upfront and provide professional estimates for needed repairs. This will prevent the buyers from over estimating the cost and help them to feel confident that you are being honest with them about the condition of the home.
Read on for part III: How To Make Buyers Feel Comfortable.
We all know the phrase "location, location, location." This may be a truism in real estate, but you cannot change the location of your home. You actually do have control over the greatest variable...your home's condition. The condition of your home can add or subtract thousands from your bottom line. Condition can be the reason your home is chosen before others on the market. If you want to get top dollar for your home, then the condition must be in sync with the price and location.
Fortunately, there are MANY things you can do to improve the condition and appeal of your home.
Buyers do NOT see potential. The reality is that you must show it to them. Right now, buyers have a lot of choices. You want to make your home the obvious choice for them. The trick is to use what we know about buyers to guide them to that decision. Hence the title of this series - The Tao of Home Selling. Beyond my small effort to be clever, the word tao actually means "way" or "path." A successful seller creates an atmosphere that naturally leads the buyer down the path to choosing their home.
How do you influence buyers? My experience has shown me that a little psychology goes a long way. Emotions and gut feelings often play a larger role in the choices of home buyers than logic or reason. You want potential buyers to feel WELCOME, CONFIDENT, and COMFORTABLE. Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to a successful home sale.
How To Make Buyers Feel Welcome
Ironically, the free and/or low cost actions are the most effective at making buyers feel welcome in your home.
The Front Entry
Your Home's Interior
Next we will take a look at how to make buyers feel confident. See Part II
I have spoken with many home owners who want to sell their home, but feel they must complete those long overdue renovations before they put their home on the market in order to get top dollar. If this sounds like you, please read on before you make that costly trip to the local home store.
Despite the promises and claims of some renovation companies, the top 3 projects you can complete that will have the best return on your investment and have the biggest impact on the sale of your home are actually the cheapest to complete. They may not be as flashy as a new kitchen or bathroom, but they will get you to your goal of a successful home sale quicker and with less headaches, AND you will recoup more money than you spend.
Chances are this big "industry secret" is something you already know in the back of your mind. You have decided to sell your home and you have also decided that you are willing to do what it takes to get top dollar and be sure that yours is the home that sells quickly. The irony here is that what it takes is much simpler than many of us think, so here they are...your top 3 profit making projects.
1. Start Packing!
After all, you will be moving. The time to start packing away your extra items, knick knacks, out of season clothing, and all of those items you have accumulated is actually BEFORE you put your home on the market. This will really open up your home and make it feel more spacious and welcoming to prospective buyers. We are not going for an empty house here, but one with room to move about in, open counter space, and room in the closets and cabinets.
Even if you have tons of closets and cabinets in your home, if they are stuffed to the brim, buyers will get the feeling that there is not enough storage space in the home. If every wall and surface is covered with photos and decorations, the home will feel cramped no matter how large the rooms are. A good rule of thumb used by stagers and designers is no more than 3 items on any surface. Buyers will also be more able to start picturing themselves in the home if they are not staring at your family photos and your personal treasures.
Don't forget about the garage, basement, or that "catch all" room you tend to put things in. If you have the space, stack the boxes neatly against one wall. If you don't have extra room, talk with family or friends about storing your items. Renting a small storage space is even a good idea. The small monthly cost of the storage unit will be worth it when your home sells more quickly and for more money.
Not just any cleaning. Clean like your mother in law is coming! Now that you have packed away the items you will not need in the immediate future, this job will be easier. This will be a traditional "spring cleaning" no matter what season it is. Now is the time to vacuum every corner, clean out under the sinks, get those marks off the baseboard and doors, clean off the switch plates, around the light fixtures, and make those windows and floors shine. Cleaning the carpets can also breath new life into them and remove any unwanted smells. The simple act of a thorough cleaning gives the buyer the impression that the home has been well maintained. A cluttered or dirty home makes a potential buyer worry about what they may not be seeing. A clean and uncluttered home gives the buyer confidence that the home (and all its systems) has been taken care of.
3. Paint with neutral colors.
Nothing spruces up a home like a fresh coat of paint. Your daughter has enjoyed her bright purple room, and you may love your neon orange bathroom, but potential buyers look at this and see more work for themselves. A move in ready home will sell more quickly and for more money than one that will require scraping, patching, and painting. A fresh coat of medium tan may seem boring to you, but it is a welcome and calming sight to buyers. If your ceilings look a bit dingy, don't forget to freshen them up with a coat of white ceiling paint. This is the only project in the top 3 that will require a small investment beyond your own time and energy. However, the return received for the cost of a few cans of paint, some brushes, and drop cloths is tremendous.
There you have it! These top 3 projects will bring you a much larger return on investment than any well intentioned home renovation project. Tackle these three and you will not only sell your home quicker and for more money, but you will also have saved yourself thousands in renovation costs that you can then use on your new home so that you will be the ones to enjoy the fruits of your labors.
How did home sales fare in the Lewiston/Auburn Maine area in November? Let's take a look.20Average List Price: $143,436Average Sale Price: $136,956Average Percentage of List $ At Sale: 95%Average Days On Market: 103% Distressed Properties of Total Sold: 20% (2 bank owned, 1 short sale, 1 HAP program)Number of Homes Currently Listed: 153Number of Homes Pending Sale: 25 8Average List Price: $101,691Average Sale Price: $97,062Average Percentage of List $ At Sale: 95%Average Days On Market: 121% Distressed Properties of Total Sold: 37.5% (2 bank owned, 1 short sale)Number of Homes Currently Listed: 204Number of Homes Pending Sale: 17
Comments: With fewer homes on the market, Lewiston continues to fare better than Auburn. Both cities have a similar number of average days on market before a home sells, currently about 3-4 months. Lewiston has both a higher list price and sales price, but homes in both of the twin cities are achieving an average of 95% of list price at the closing table. Prices for homes sold in November 2010 in Lewiston have increased 15% from homes sold in November of last year. Auburn, however, had a dreary month of home sales this November with median sold prices decreasing 24% from November of last year. At the moment, Auburn has a higher percentage of distressed properties (foreclosed and short sale) that appear to be impacting sales and prices.
If you are considering buying or selling a home in the Lewiston/Auburn Maine area, please give me a call. I would be happy to help you achieve your real estate goals. For a detailed report of the market in your specific area, give me a call at 207-240-2250 or visit my website at www.homeseller.me.
Data for home sales taken from the Maine Real Estate Information Systems, Inc. (MREIS) and is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. Data used is from November 2009 and November 2010 and includes single family residential property.
As we head through fall and into winter, keep in mind that a toasty Maine home is a comfy Maine home...and a home that sells.
You are planning to sell your Maine home. You have tackled your to do list, spiffied up, cleaned as if your mother in-law is coming for a visit, and are ready to get a Realtor and let the showings begin!
Nothing says "HOME" like a toasty house complete with a fire in the woodstove, pellet stove, or fireplace. If you have a showing scheduled, be sure to open all interior doors, turn on the lights, open the curtains, and put some logs on the fire. (be sure of course to observe all safety precautions*)
Keep in mind that most buyers are looking at several comparable homes on the same day. They have been driving around with their agent and walking through the cold. Many times, they are also viewing some vacant bank owned homes with NO heat.
Just imagine the difference your toasty home will showcase.
Behind door #1 we have a lovely, but empty and very cold house. The buyers like the layout and the price, but aren't that anxious to spend too much time in the house. Why? Because "it just doesn't feel like home."
Behind door #2 we have another lovely home, not vacant, but the sellers turned the heat way down, closed all the doors, and left all the lights off to conserve energy since they were not home at the time. Again, the buyers like it "OK," but it just doesn't grab their attention.
Now, after slogging through the damp cold, they approach door #3! This time, they open the door, to find a well-lit and welcoming home and are instantly enveloped in WARMTH! This draws them in as they go from room to well-lit & welcoming room.
Which one do you think will "feel like home?"
Never underestimate the importance of making potential buyers feel at home.
*safety note: If you have a fireplace, be sure to check on your fire after the showing.
You have decided to sell your Maine home, so what happens next? When you contact me to discuss selling your home I believe you have the right to know what to expect from me. I am a planner by nature and believe in that old saying "the harder I work, the luckier I get." I use a fine tuned, time tested process for selling homes that includes some very important steps that occur even before you sign on the dotted line to hire me.
Before you sign the listing agreement:
Now you are ready to sign on the dotted line and experience the smoothest home sale possible.Preparation and communication are essential to a real estate experience with the least amount of stress possible. This preliminary process will empower us to be able to work together and achieve the successful sale of your home with the best terms possible, in the least amount of time.
Now the real fun begins! Click here to find our about the 1st week in the life of your home's listing.
If you, or someone you know, needs my help, please do not hesitate to call me at 207-689-9886 or visit my website today at www.homeseller.me.