Kim Cook's Blog
Although your real estate agent will do the lion's share of the work involved in selling your home, there are several things you, the homeowner, can do to help move things along.
By making sure your home is always ready to be shown at a moments notice to prospective buyers, you will be helping to "tip the scales" in the direction of a faster sale. Since making a great first impression is crucial to the sales process, it's important that your home always looks its best -- both inside and out. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you decide to put your home on the market.
Order versus chaos: Every time your real estate agent sets up a showing of your house, it's an opportunity to attract and engage potential buyers. When your house and property look organized, clean, and well cared for, it sends a series of positive messages to prospects.
Admittedly, it can be a little bit of a hassle to keep your house looking (and smelling) immaculate all the time, but doing so can definitely work in your favor when it comes to making a great impression and getting your house sold faster.
To the extent that it's possible, try to eliminate or significantly reduce anything that could be described as "clutter." Clutter can include anything from excessive furniture and wall hangings to knick-knacks on your shelves and too many containers on kitchen countertops.
The ultimate effect you want to achieve is one of spaciousness, tastefulness, and organization. Anything which detracts from those desirable qualities could potentially work against you. As the classic 1980s TV commercial for a well-known dandruff shampoo reminds us: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression!"
Remember curb appeal: Actually the real first impression happens before prospective buyers even enter your home or step on your property. In many cases, it occurs before they even get out of their cars!
Making sure your house and property look as impeccable as possible from the street can help attract potential buyers and put them in a more receptive state of mind. Maintaining a manicured, clutter-free lawn, highlighted by a few splashes of floral color, can be an effective way to create eye-appeal and make a positive first impression.
One thing home sellers are either unaware of or forget about is the fact that prospective buyers sometimes do a preliminary "drive by" before picking up the phone and calling your (or their) real estate agent to schedule a showing. If they do not like what they see from their car, they probably are not going to take the next step and arrange a full tour of your home.
When you come to the realization that every person who drives by or visits your home is a potential buyer, you'll be more motivated to take care of the many details that either attract of send away prospective buyers.
After you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your house, it may be only a few weeks until you finalize your home sale. However, problems may arise that slow down the home selling process. And if these problems linger, they may stop your home sale altogether.
As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to ensure the home selling journey is quick and seamless. If you know what to expect after you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your residence, you can prepare accordingly.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you wrap up a home sale.
1. Negotiate with a Homebuyer As Necessary
Typically, a homebuyer will request a house inspection after his or her offer to purchase your residence is accepted. This appraisal will enable a buyer to identify any underlying problems with your home. It also may lead a buyer to request a price reduction or property repairs in order to finalize a home sale.
Although you may have allocated significant time and resources to upgrade your residence before you listed it, a home inspector still might identify assorted house issues. In this scenario, you should be ready to negotiate with a homebuyer to find a solution that satisfies the needs of all parties involved in a home transaction.
2. Remain Patient
Ultimately, the period between when you accept an offer to purchase your house and closing day may seem endless. At this time, try to remain patient and focus on the big picture, and you may be better equipped than ever before to limit problems that could slow down your house sale.
It generally is a good idea to be open to communication with a homebuyer as well. If you keep the lines of communication open with a buyer, both parties can work together to ensure a home sale goes according to plan.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
For those who are stressed out about the home selling journey, there is no need to worry. In fact, if you work with a real estate agent, you can receive expert guidance at each stage of the home selling journey.
A real estate agent is committed to helping you achieve the best-possible results. He or she will collaborate with you throughout the home selling journey and help you identify and address any potential home selling hurdles.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides after you accept a buyer's offer to purchase your home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about a home inspection request and the final results of an inspection. Plus, as closing day approaches, a real estate agent will help you get ready for the big day.
Take the guesswork out of selling your house – use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble wrapping up a home sale.
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Although preparing your house for a real estate showing can be hectic, there are ways to make it easier and less stressful. One source of stress for many people is that nagging feeling that they're forgetting to do something important.
Admittedly, overlooking some things could result in lost sales or even lost valuables, but a little advance planning and organization can help prevent those problems from happening.
The solution is to create a checklist of important reminders and tasks you have to complete before leaving the house. Your real estate agent will provide helpful guidance and tips on effectively preparing your house for showings.
Putting Your Best Foot Forward
When your house is up for sale and it's being actively marketed, appointments with prospective buyers are sometimes made on the spur of the moment. While real estate agents will be scheduling the appointments and conducting the tours, it's up to you to ensure that your home is always in tip-top condition. Hopefully, you'll be able to enlist your family's help in picking up clothes, putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and cleaning up after themselves. If you have small children, they will undoubtedly need assistance in putting away their toys and making their bedrooms look civilized! Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when getting ready for house showings:
- Cleanliness (or a lack thereof) will be one of the many things that house hunters notice. While your house may meet their requirements for number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and overall layout, they could quickly lose interest if your floors, countertops, and sinks are visibly dirty.
- Pets can be a potential issue if your home is scheduled for a showing. Not only can dogs be a distraction if they bark a lot or have other undesirable behaviors, but some people are allergic to dogs and cats. The ideal solution is for a friend, family member, or neighbor to take care of your dog while the house is being shown. Unfortunately that's not always possible. Sometimes confining your dog to a fenced-in back yard (briefly) or a comfortable crate that they're accustomed to may be a viable, short-term solution. Several factors would come into play, including the weather, the temperament of your dog, and whether it's going to bother the neighbors by being outside.
- Doing your best to eliminate clutter throughout the house is another strategy for making the best possible impression on potential buyers.
Protecting Your Valuables and Privacy
Another priority that some homeowners forget is to hide valuables, such as jewelry, mobile devices, checkbooks, and cash. It's also a good idea to make sure your computers are password-protected, and that you turn them off before leaving the house. If you have any concerns about security during home showings, you might want to hide computers, personal items, and yesterday's mail in a secure place. Although most people touring your house will only be interested in its features, décor, and condition, it's always good to exercise a little caution when opening your house up to the public.