Selling a house is complicated. It’s not throwing darts at a price and putting a sign in the yard. Those are the houses that sit on the market with price reduction after price reduction. In this series I am going to explain the necessary components involved in getting your home sold. It’s always easier to break down a big task into stages.
- Make a plan to make your home appealing to your target buyers
Today I’m going to start with getting the home ready for the market and that means photo ready.
The first step to getting your home sold~It had better be perfect!
It’s all about getting ready for the professional photos
The all important shoot will be about a week before your homes goes on the market. I’ve already talked about why professional photography is so important. Your target date to list your house may be in 6 months or it may be in 2 weeks. Together we’ll talk about strategic timing and set a date. We will also make a plan to have your home picture perfect.
Blame it on HGTV
Buyers want a designer house so they come ready to look at homes with checklists of their must haves. In most cases my clients have spent months looking on line at homes and watched every episode of House Hunters. They have Pinterest boards-here is a link to mine. I think my grey is the new brown was from 2007. I wonder what will be the new
Buyers have already ruled out many homes because the photos are bad or the house needs updating. Many buyers are using all of their savings for a down payment and don’t have the money (or sometimes the imagination) to update after they move in. They are so picky! You may feel that you have lived in your home for 15 years and it’s just fine. Buyers will come in and pull it apart.
Is staging really necessary?
It is now. During the past few years I have worked with more buyers than I ever have. If your home is well staged buyers want to stay, have a seat in the family room or the kitchen table and talk about an offer. One of my clients told me this summer that they may not have been interested in their new home if it wasn’t so well staged. They love it and it was the staging that helped them imagine their family living there. I was sure to get that stagers card!
If the house won’t be vacant when it’s listed I can help with staging. I’ll have you put accessories and pictures in one room when you are clearing out. Then I’ll spend a day arranging the furniture to open up the rooms and add the finishing touches that will add just the right amount of detail. Plain vanilla is as bad as clutter.
If you move before putting your home on the market it’s worth it to pay someone to come in and stage. I can refer you to some excellent stagers. You will sell your home faster and for more money if it’s staged. It will be picture perfect!
Why didn’t this townhome sell?
You may recognize the townhome below from my HGTV House Hunters episode. My clients didn’t choose it. It really is a beautiful home but the furniture is arranged in a totally illogical way and there isn’t any color or pop. No wonder it didn’t sell! The sellers were trying to sell the home FSBO and thought they were doing the right thing by getting rid of clutter. They just didn’t know that they needed to go to the next step and add personality back in. Their marketing photos were non professional too. Other well staged town homes in the neighborhood were selling fast but this one had few showings and no sale.
It’s a retail product
Your house is a retail product when you put it on the market, so just like in the best stores your home has to be displayed, photographed and advertised to appeal to your target buyers. Together we’ll identify those buyers based on your neighborhood, home and my local experience. Everything we do to get your house ready will be focused on what those buyers want in a home. I’ll have marketing specific to each buyer persona. After we have a picture of the future homeowner it’s time to get started clearing clutter and presenting your home to fit your potential buyers fantasy.
A pre-inspection is a good idea
A pre-inspection can help identify possible problems and eliminate them. Recently I represented buyers who contracted to buy a house that hadn’t been preinspected. The seller didn’t want to spend the money for a pre inspection. I can understand that, the extra $400-$600 is a lot to spend when the house has been just fine. What the sellers didn’t realize was the contractor who had remodeled their bath had left a mess under the house. There was actually a leak and the sub-floor was wet and rotten. The contractor never got a final inspection. The buyers inspector found the water issues when he pulled away insulation in the crawl space along with a whole list of other problems. Even though the sellers went right to work making repairs, the buyers waited until the last day of due diligence, 2 weeks before closing, and backed out. They were nervous there was other hidden damage. The sellers lost important time on the market. My clients found another wonderful home and the sellers never sold that house. I think they ended up renting it out.
That’s sort of extreme but why take the chance after all of the work you have done getting the house ready for the market. So after your pre inspection I’ll help you with the schedule.
I’ll make a calendar~your schedule for preparing your home for the market
I know, it’s overwhelming to think about everything that needs to be done before you put your house on the market. It’s my job to help you prioritize the tasks and help you with a schedule to make sure the house is ready on our target photo day. That’s about a week before the home goes in the MLS because all of my marketing depends on professional photos. I’ll make a Google calendar just for you with the important tasks you need to get done. There is an order that seems to work and makes the process smoother. During this time I’ll be putting together the marketing so I can just pop the photos in when they are ready.
Are you a keeper?
Clearing the clutter one room at a time is the first step. This can be hard to do if you are a keeper so I suggest you get a friend to help out or hire a college student to help. Sometimes they’ll be happy to have your giveaways, that can make the parting easier. Renting a storage unit is a good idea because the garage just won’t do. It has to be clutter free too. Try numbering your boxes and take a photo before closing them up. That can save a lot of digging around later!
Are you a minimalist?
You won’t have the clutter to worry about but you are probably a perfectionist so the calendar will be important to help you feel comfortable that you will be ready on the target day. Start preparing yourself for showings- you’ll have people walking on your clean floors, using your bathrooms and kids bouncing on your beds. Remember retail product…
Download my tips and lists of things to do to get your home ready to sell
This is a great check list. You won’t need to do everything so don’t be over whelmed. It’s more of a guide to give you ideas and help you to stay organized.
It’s photo shoot day!
We’re ready! Your home will be on the market in about a week. In part two of selling your home I’ll talk about the market analysis and how we came up with a price for your home. Call if you have questions! (919) 274-4365 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
by Marianne Howell Wright