Is one of your goals for the new to sell your house?
As you probably already know, we are in the midst of a tough market. It is more important than ever to make sure you are taking all the necessary steps to make your property stand out against the competition.
Here are 10 steps you can take now to get your house ready and get it sold in 2012.
1. Declutter – This time of year, everywhere you look there are tips on how to declutter your home and your life. If your ultimate goal is to sell your house this year, you will eventually be packing boxes anyway, so get a head start on it now. Go through your home room by room, and look for items that are not necessary. Remove some of the family photos, books, and knick knacks from the bookshelves, coffee tables and fireplace mantels. Clean out your closets and sell or donate clothes that you no longer wear. Box up clothes that are out of season. Pack up those kitchen gadgets that you only use once a year. Generally speaking, the more you can put away now, the better.
2. Get Organized – Ideally, we would all keep nice, neat files of all the documents pertaining to our houses. But it is more likely that after years of living in the same house, you will need to do some digging. Pull together whatever you can find, including floor plans, appraisals, manuals, warranties, surveys, and receipts. These items will be invaluable; first to your agent when you are ready to put your home on the market, and second to your buyers, who truly appreciate a seller who has kept these items and passed them along at closing.
3. Take care of repairs or maintenance items – There are many items that will be easier and less expensive for you to take care of before putting your house on the market. Replace burned out light bulbs. Fix broken windows or screens. Patch holes in the walls and touch up paint on walls or boards. Oil squeaky hinges. Re-caulk around bathtubs and showers. Fix that dripping faucet. If there is a project that you are unable to complete but that you know will come up at the inspection, get bids ahead of time and provide them to potential buyers. Buyers want to see that a home has been well-maintained. The more you can fix before they set foot in your house, the better.
4. Talk to Your Agent – Even if you are not quite ready to put your house on the market, now is a great time to give your Realtor a call and let them know your plans. They can help with ideas for de-cluttering/staging, and also give you an idea of what the market looks like in your area. This may be a good time to sit down with your agent and understand the costs involved in selling your house, such as commissions, property taxes, and closing costs. Likely, your agent will also present a marketing plan so you know how and where your home will be advertised. (If you don’t already have an agent, it is always a good idea to interview at least a few. Different Realtors offer different services, and focus on specific areas of the market.)
5. Understand the Market – In addition to researching recent comparable sales, attend open houses or ask to see homes in your neighborhood that are currently listed on the market, so you know what your competition will look like. Some real estate websites provide market data and estimates of what your property may be worth – but understand that these are just estimates, nothing beats a true analysis of the market by an appraiser or real estate professional.
6. Price it Right – Nothing is more important than pricing your home correctly. You need an agent who you trust that will be very honest with you about what your home is worth. And it may be worth less than it did when you purchased it. This may be a tough pill to swallow, but again, you only have one chance with most buyers. Price it right from the beginning.
7. Clean – This is the time when you do a deep cleaning of the entire house, from top to bottom. Have the carpets professionally cleaned. Dust the hard to reach places, like the top of the door frame or the cobwebs in the corners by the ceiling. Wash the windows inside and out. Sweep the front step, maybe put a fresh coat of paint on the front door. Make sure the yard looks clean and tidy. If there is snow on the ground, be sure to shovel the driveway and walkways. Click here for additional staging tips.)
8. List your property – This is the time when you sign the listing agreement documents, and your property is officially listed in the MLS. Once your property is listed, showings may start immediately, so make sure that the house is ready before this happens. The saying “You only get one chance to make a first impression” could not be more true than it is in real estate. Often times, your best chance of selling is in the first few months, and if the house doesn’t show in the best possible light the first time, you may never see those buyers again.
9. Prepare for showings and open houses – Now that your house is clean and de-cluttered, try to keep it that way. This can be especially tough with kids and dogs, but the last minute rush right before a showing is not fun. And by all means, do whatever possible to allow showings, no matter how inconvenient they may be. The more people you can get in to your house, the better.
10. Sell your house! Taking these steps to ensure that your home is presented in the best possible light will surely increase your chances of getting your home sold, regardless of the state of the market. Stay tuned for an upcoming post explaining the sale and closing process.
Always, if you have questions or are looking for additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help.
Wishing you the best in 2012!
Colorado Landmark, Realtors
Boulder, CO 80304
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