The real estate market has gone from a recession to a recovery to a boom. Inventory is low and houses are selling fast. If you’re thinking about selling your home or if you are already in the process of putting it on the market, here are some sure-fire techniques to impress buyers and get you to the closing table quickly:
Studies show most home buyers make their decision to buy or not buy a home in eight seconds. Make sure your yard is landscaped and welcoming. Consider adding a few flowers or a new mailbox for improved curb appeal. Clean up any clutter on countertops or in the kids’ rooms, and make sure curtains and drapes are open to make the space as bright and inviting as possible. A fresh coat of paint, inside or out, goes a long way toward making the space feel new and attractive.
2. Depersonalize the Space
Treat your house as if you’re already moving out. Buyers want to envision themselves in the house, so it is up to you to make the home neutral. As sentimental as they may remove items such as religious icons and family photos. It is also important to make your space look large, so pack up knick knacks and declutter. Pets should also be relocated during showings and open houses. No one wants to smell a litter box or hamster cage when they walk into a space.
Your real estate agent will advise you in setting a realistic, competitive price. Many sellers think the best strategy is to set a high price for the home to allow wiggle room in negotiations. The reality is, overpriced homes don’t see as many potential buyers, and can cause the price to drop the longer it sits on the market. Work closely with your real estate agent to determine the best pricing strategy for your home.
4. Remodel Wisely
If you think you need to remodel parts of your home before putting it up for sale, don’t overdo it. The return on investment for home improvements is lower than most people think, For example, spending $30,000 on a new kitchen does not translate to adding $30,000 to the price of the home. If you need to choose between redoing a bathroom and the kitchen, do the bathroom. Buyers may have a distinct vision of how they want their kitchen to look that may not be in line with your taste. A shiny bathroom with attractive fixtures will serve your purpose better. Also, avoid basement remodels. Much like the kitchen, buyers probably have a distinct use in mind for the basement already. The extra bedroom you install may take up the space the buyer had hoped to put a weight room. The best bang for your remodeling buck comes in with small upgrades to increase the overall appeal of your home rather than big ticket items.
5. Use Lucky Numbers
Without getting too superstitious, there is evidence that using some numbers and avoiding others in your pricing can affect the transaction. Avoid placing the numbers 666 or 4 in your home’s listing price. In China, 4 is seen as an unlucky number. If you could have Chinese-American buyers, try using an 8 instead, which is considered lucky. The number 666 is infamous and studies have shown that including it in your price could decrease the sale price of your home by 2 to 3 percent. (source)
6. Build Anticipation
Ask your real estate agent about putting a sign in your yard with a Coming Soon rider on it. The neighbors and passers-by will start to get interested in the property. Depending on the market in your particular area, you could also list the home for a week without allowing showings. Then, kick off the weekend with an open house and showings. It won't work for all areas and your agent will know best if the strategy makes sense for your neighborhood.
7. Hire a Photographer
Most home buyers begin their search online, and data shows that home profiles featuring 6 or more photos get the most views. A professional photographer will know how to highlight the spaces of your home and show it in the best light. Your agent likely has a professional they regularly work with. When the photographer comes make sure surfaces are clear, extra furniture is removed, windows are clean and all lights are in working order.
8. Enlist Your Neighbors
Invite your neighbors to the open house and post a link to your home’s listing on any neighborhood email lists or message boards. Your neighbors may know of someone who is looking to buy a home in the area.
9. Leave Something Behind
An incentive, such as a stainless steel refrigerator or a wall-mounted high-definition TV could be the cherry on top that seals the deal for a buyer. Think about which is more important: keeping your stuff or getting your house sold. For example, a house with a large lawn may be more attractive if the house comes with a riding mower.
10. Get an Appraisal and Inspection
You don’t want any surprises during the selling process. One thing that can derail a sale is an appraisal from a lender that comes in under the listing price. Get this out of the way as early as possible. Another deal killer is a buyer’s inspection that discovers a costly repair. By doing an inspection before selling, you will be alerted to any potential problems, and you can decide whether to fix it or make it part of negotiations. By contrast, you can use a good appraisal and inspection as selling points for the home.
Prepping your home for sale may require a little elbow grease, but it will pay off when a buyer walks through the front door and knows your house is the one they want to buy.