10. Clean Up and Clear Out
All of our experts encourage sellers to clean house, which means removing personal items and personal tastes. The more neutral the home is the more likely a buyer can picture themselves in the home. Family photos remind a buyer that you are still living there. Antique hutches that display collectibles and keepsakes should be stored. Large pieces of furniture make rooms feel smaller, and collectibles do not hold the same memories for everyone.
The same goes for your faith and your politics. Corbett recommends removing anything that is polarizing. He warns that buyers have “strong emotional reactions to religious artifacts and political mementos. Don’t give your buyer a chance to prejudge your home because of your beliefs.”
And take the pets to the park. All of the experts agree that pets should go on a holiday. Just like family photos and keepsakes, animals remind buyers they are in your home. Even worse, pets could ruin a sale with a perfect buyer if they have allergies. Be sure to get rid of all traces of fluffy. Similarly, be sure to air the house to allow buyers a clean and fresh environment.
11. Curb Appeal
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That is especially true for home buyers. The first thing a buyer sees when looking at your house, either in a drive-by or online, is the front of your house. This opinion can be based on whether the lawn is well kept, the driveway is in good condition, and the house has relatively fresh paint. If they do not like what they see, they will not explore further.
According to Corbett, 80% of qualified potential buyers make their decision to preview a home based solely on the look of the front of the house.
Buyers also are likely to look at the street where the house is located, and probably the general neighborhood. Sellers cannot do much about the place where their homes are located, but they can be sure to present as manicured a front as possible.
A buyer will have your home inspected before the purchase is final. Homeowners should have an inspection done before their homes are put on the market. This will cost a few hundred dollars, but will prevent nasty surprises that could derail a sale or cause a buyer to press for a price reduction.
While Realtor.com’s DuBois recommends inspections, she advises that they are also not without their risks. While costs to perform typical inspections are not outrageous, they can add up. And once a problem is discovered, the seller is obligated to disclose that problem to the buyer or fix it.
The inspection should also go beyond the home itself. Make sure that your house does not currently violate any laws, including distances from roads or adjacent properties. Sellers can visit their local government to make sure all the paperwork and land maps of the home are current.
13. Know Your Market
In many cases, no matter what you do to improve the likelihood of selling your home, you will be advantaged or disadvantaged by local market conditions. In places like Denver, the average time on market for a home is slightly more than a month. In Asheville, N.C., the average home remains unsold for nearly half a year. The differences between the markets have much to do with desirability.
Based on 24/7 Wall St.’s analysis of Realtor.com data, markets with quickly selling homes are, for the most part, larger. They are also, as would be expected, much more popular among people searching for new homes. Detroit, for example, has the 10th-shortest time on market and was the second-most searched for real estate market, according to Realtor.com.
Whether you can sell your home has much to do with whether people believe they are getting a good deal on your property. Most of the markets with rapidly selling homes have had among the largest declines in home value from their prerecession peaks. Five of the 10 metropolitan statistical areas lost more than half of their home value from prerecession peaks. For the first time, real estate data resources like Trulia, Realtor.com and RealtyTrac can help you become aware of the factors that can affect your ability to sell your home. There is little reason not to take advantage of these resources and stay informed.
Douglas A. McIntyre