Choosing an Agent
Like choosing any service professional – from an accountant to your family doctor – it’s important to do your homework before deciding on a real estate agent. Your home purchase or sale likely represents one of the most significant financial transactions of your life, and you definitely want to find the right person for you.
You want someone with experience, education and a proven track record of successful closings. Liz and Ellie bring a host of skills to the table when helping you sell your property.
Below is an outline of the steps involved when selling your home. These steps will prepare you for organizing your home, negotiating an offer, and getting ready to close. We will be there every step of the way to make the process as painless and effortless as possible. Feel free to ask any questions at any time during the process!
Preparing Your House
Making a great first impression is one of the most important aspects of selling your home. A property that is not clean or well-maintained is a red flag for potential buyers. To them, a poorly cared-for home may be an indication that there are hidden defects which could result in an increased cost of ownership. For many buyers, the thought of having to spend more money on a home after they purchase it will deter them from wanting to buy it.
Painting your walls may be the best interior improvement you can make. For broader appeal, paint in neutral colors such as beige, or off-white. You may personally like a bit of personality in a home, but having black or zebra striped walls may put off potential buyers.
It’s equally important to make sure that your mechanical systems are working well and have been recently serviced. Fix any leaks that you may have been ignoring in faucets, shower heads or basement pipes. Check to make sure that the electrical outlets are properly grounded and covered, and that the kitchen and bathrooms have GFCI breakers.
Home staging is how you get your home ready for the market so that it appeals to a large number of people. Staging is the simplest and least expensive way to increase the sale price, but it is also the one most frequently overlooked.
What areas of your home should you think about with regards to staging? All of them! This includes:
exterior lawn and walkways
windows (interior and exterior)
attic and/or basement space
De-cluttering usually takes the most time. Make sure that the countertops everywhere (especially in the kitchen and baths) are almost bare. All surface areas should be free of clutter. All personal photos should be removed, making the home as depersonalized and neutral looking as possible.
There are many excellent videos on YouTube that explain home staging. Here’s a link with a great overview.
Ellie is a Certified Housing Market Specialist (CHMS) and will be happy to work with you on the staging process of your house before you put it on the market. She can also provide you with helpful materials on home staging.
Once your home is fixed up, de-cluttered and clean, it's ready to show to prospective buyers. Typically, we will bring the house on the market by showing the home to other realtors on a Wednesday night. Then we hold the public open house over the weekend. After your open house, we may bring in prospective buyers for private showings. Here's what you need to know about your role in showings:
During an open house and private showings, we often ask people to remove as many personal effects as possible, even the bare essentials that you use on a daily basis. If your kitchen dishes are on the drying rack next to the sink, put them away and hide the dish rack. If you have pets, please take pet bowls off the floor to prevent them from being kicked or spilled. This short-term inconvenience is worth it in the long run!
Pleasant smells are welcoming, and fish odors are not. To help eliminate odors, don’t cook with a lot of spices the night before an open house or showings. You can also keep your home smelling fresh by burning lightly scented candles, boiling a pot of cinnamon sticks or putting a dab of vanilla on cold light bulbs before turning them on.
At the time of an open house, or during any private showings, please leave the house — and take your pets with you! You want potential buyers to feel as comfortable as possible and to view the property without the pressure of being interviewed or followed. If you are worried about anything getting stolen, such as expensive personal possessions or medications, don’t leave them in the house, or hide them well.
For an open house, which is usually for an hour or two on a weekend afternoon (between 12-3 pm), make sure the home is filled with light: Open all the shades and pull back your curtains so prospective buyers can see how bright your home is. Also, turn on all the lights in your house during any open houses and showings – light adds warmth and helps make potential buyers feel welcome.
Private showings are often conducted during business hours and in early evenings (until 7 pm or so). If there are days/times that don’t work well you, we will work around your schedule. They usually last around 30 minutes, and again, please vacate the house and take your pets!