By Margaux Pelegrin
Selling your home can be an emotional process, and it’s our job as agents to ensure the process goes as smooth as possible. There are often hiccups along the way, but the more the client is prepared, the easier it is to get the deal done. Looking back on my 10 years of real estate sales, I came up with a list of “seller principles” that my happiest clients have adopted. So, if you’re thinking of selling your home, here are some helpful tips to remember:
- A little paint goes a long way.
When preparing your home for sale, giving it a little TLC can increase its value purely by perception. A fresh coat of paint can turn a tired room around and add value. If nothing else, painting the woodwork white (baseboards, moldings, doors) can make a room pop. Another home- prep tip: if your home is on the smaller side, consider renting a storage locker to keep clutter to a minimum and make rooms feel more spacious.
- Price your home to sell, not sit.
I never want my sellers to leave money on the table, so by showing sellers the recent comparables and “days on market” we come up with a price that is maximizing their value in the shortest amount of time. Anything higher will create a lag time in the sale and often, the property can be perceived as “stale,” which can actually decrease the sales price. If within the first two weeks on the market you aren’t getting good activity, prepare to reduce the price.
- Share why you love your home.
Making sure your agent knows the upgrades and unique features of the property will help the agent market the home properly and convey its added value. Sharing your favorite neighborhood highlights, such as your running loop or coffee shop, can also give the agent additional selling points.
- When in doubt, disclose!
To avoid issues during inspection or even legal ramifications post-settlement, make sure you disclose any past or current material defects within the house. Even something minor as a loose floorboard or a lock that sticks can be problematic with a buyer so, when in doubt, disclose!
- Put any inclusions and exclusions in writing.
Before you place your property on the market, make a list of any items you will be including and excluding with the sale. Some of these items include flat screen TVs, TV mounts, paint cans with touch-up paint, shelving units and garden planters. Attach this list to the listing contract and Agreement of Sale so all parties are aware of what to expect in the house on the day of closing. Basement items such as old windows and doors should also be cleaned out unless specified in writing that they are being left with the house. Any lighting fixtures you wish to exclude should ideally be removed prior to the property going on the market and replaced with something that will stay.
- Prepare for imperfections.
Buyers will be late. Agents will cancel at the last minute, and may even just not show up for their scheduled showing. It happens. As agents, we do everything we can to avoid these situations, but at the end of the day we can’t always control other people. As a seller, a lot of frustration can be avoided if you prepare yourself for the occasional imperfection.
- Communicate with your agent.
Good news or bad, when the agent is in constant communication with sellers, it makes for a smoother transaction. Make sure when hiring your agent that he or she knows your preferred method of communication—phone, email text—and any other information that will help keep the lines of communication open. For instance, if you’re a night owl and prefer to talk after work, let your agent know. Or, if you’re asleep by 9 p.m. each night, your agent should know this so he or she won’t contact you past your bedtime.
- Be open to feedback.
Having an open mind when it comes to your home is not always easy but can work to your advantage during the home selling process. After the tenth buyer has said that he or she was turned off by the dirty carpeting on the stairs, it may be beneficial to replace it. Or, when the feedback that comes in indicates the house is “too small” (read: overpriced) it may be time to consider a price reduction. There will be some objections you can’t control – like the location or view, so by adjusting the things you can, you may make for a quicker sale.
- Have the final walk-through on the calendar.
By having the date clearly marked on the calendar one month prior to the final walk-through, all parties can be prepared and in agreement. Waiting until the week of sale can cause conflict and confusion as some buyers want to inspect the property a few days earlier than the day of closing.
10. Don’t wait until closing day to move out.
Keep emotions at bay by moving out at least three days prior to closing. While this is not always possible, it can avoid buyer and seller conflicts by giving the buyers ample time to inspect the property prior to closing and take care of any unforeseen issues.
So, there you have it! Use this list as a guideline when you are ready to sell and the happier you’ll be when it’s time to hand over the keys!
MARGAUX PELEGRIN is an agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® in