Here’s some great tips from Michelle Minch of Moving Mountains Design for getting your home sold even in the current real estate climate in Utah.
I first wrote this post a little more than a year and a half ago. I’ve updated it and added another important step. The real estate market has gotten even more challenging since then. But despite the challenges, many of our Los Angeles staged homes are selling very quickly, sometimes with multiple offers and sometimes over asking price. A few other experienced Los Angeles home stagers are having the same experience.
Want to know what those home sellers are doing to help their homes get sold? Here are 11 steps you can take to help get your home sold, too:
- Hire the best “full service” REALTOR or real estate agent you can find. This is no time to be fooling around with less than full service. Do your research on the Internet and by asking friends who they’ve worked with and if they had a good experience with a REALTOR or real estate agent. Interview at least 3 REALTORS or real estate agents. Don’t hire your best friend, their cousin, your hairstylist who moonlights as a real estate agent, unless you are certain that they know what they are doing and can back up their claims. You are selling what is probably your most valuable asset. Don’t be embarrassed into letting your home sit unsold because you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Make sure you understand your listing agents marketing plan for your property. How many photos will they post? Which sites will they use to promote your home’s listing? Will they be holding open houses? How many?
- Don’t beat your listing agent up over the sales commission. A really good, experienced REALTOR or real estate agent will tell probably tell you “no” anyway. Marketing and selling real estate properly is an expensive proposition. All the brochures, flyers, virtual tours, professional photographers, etc. cost money. If you negotiate a lower commission, you are preventing your listing agent from pulling out the “big guns” to get your home sold as quickly as possible. Don’t hamstring the sale of your home by limiting the amount of money your listing agent has available for marketing. Also, with the abundant inventory on the market right now, buyer’s agents are going to show the homes that pay full commissions first.
- Listen to your Listing Agent regarding pricing.They know what they are doing (assuming your followed step 1). They are on the MLS every day and know what homes are selling for and how quickly they sold. They talk to other REALTORS and real estate agents daily. It doesn’t matter how much your dry cleaner thinks you should list your home for. It doesn’t matter how much profit (or how little loss) you would like to walk away with. All that matters is how much someone will be willing to pay for your house. A good REALTOR or real estate agent will be able to tell you how much you should list your home for to get it sold quickly.
- Hire a professional home inspector for a pre-sale inspection. You can address any issues that might sink a sale during escrow, or prevent someone from making an offer in the first place. Use the
information to get your home into tip-top shape. This also sends a signal to buyers that your home is well cared for and maintained.
- Make any needed repairs. Home buyers want a home that is truly move-in ready. They don’t want an allowance for new carpet or a new roof. They want a house that already has new carpet and a new roof so
they can move in right away.
- Clean your house from top to bottom. Clean it until it is cleaner than it has ever been before. If you don’t have the time or energy, hire a cleaning service. Make sure your house sparkles and smells clean every day it is on the market. If there is an issue you can’t address by cleaning, then replace it. For instance, if the linoleum in your kitchen has a big burn mark from the hot skillet you dropped, replace
- Hire a professional home stager. Again, do your research on the Internet and with your listing agent. Make sure you hire an experienced professional and not a hobbyist or (again) your sister-in-law, unless she is a pro with experience and knowledge of your market. Ask to see the stager’s portfolio (or view it on-line) and make sure all the photos are of their work. If you are a do-it-yourself type, at the very least, hire a professional home stager to do a comprehensive consultation so you know exactly what needs to be done. Most home stagers will also help you choose paint colors and carpet as well.
- Listen to the home stager regarding the condition of your home and what needs to be done to make it appealing to the greatest number of buyers. If they tell you your favorite floral pattern wallpaper has to go, do it. A home stager’s expertise is preparing homes to look their best so it is appealing to the greatest number of buyers and they have done it successfully for numerous home sellers (assuming you followed Step 7). Remember, they are looking at your home through “buyer’s eyes”.
- Have your home photographed by a professional photographer. Many REALTORs and real estate agents include this as part of their marketing package. Photos taken with a point and shoot camera are not going to show your home at its best. 90% of home buyers are looking at homes on the Internet before going out to see homes they are interested in. If your home doesn’t look great in the photos, then most buyers will pass you by.
- Don’t rush the process. Follow all of the above steps before you put your home on the market.Clean it up, fix it up, have it professionally staged and then photographed. Once you have great photos that really showcase you home, give your REALTOR the go-ahead to post them on the MLS. Make sure they post the maximum number of photos allowed. The more photos you have showcasing your home on the MLS, the greater your chances of selling it. If you rush the process, then you will not be putting your home’s best face forward from day one. Staging or adding better pictures after you home has been on the market, even for a few days, won’t get back potetial buyers who dismissed your home when they saw few pictures, bad pictures, vacant rooms or an unstaged mess.
- Make your home easy to show. Don’t make it difficult to show your home by limiting access to certain times and days. Allow your listing agent to install a Supra Lockbox so your home can be shown on a moment’s notice. Keep your house clean and orderly everyday all day during the listing period so that it looks its best for every showing. This may create some inconvenience for you, but it will result in a faster sale.
Remember: When you put your home on the market, you are entering it in a beauty contest. The best looking homes in the best condition sell first. It’s a no brainer!
You can read her blog here.