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10 Home Selling Tips
Most people consider a home purchase as one of their largest investment in life. It can be emotional. It’s your job to know all you can about the selling process so that you can get the buyers in and sell at the price you want. By being proactive, you can get your home in its best condition so that your potential buyers will be enticed to make a strong offer.
1) The Best Time to Sell

2) Don’t Get Emotional: Just Let Go

3) Setting the Asking Price

4) Appealing to the Buyers' Tastes

5) Curb Appeal

6) Get Rid of the Clutter

7) Setting a Mood

8) Selling a Home with Pets

9) Available to Show - 24/7

10) The Secrets to a Successful Open House

1) The Best Time to Sell
People tend to move in the summer or spring months, starting in February the market can start to heat up. Remember, most families with kids are going to move over summer break to get settled before the start of the school year. Traditionally, November and December have been the slow months with holidays being a strong factor. Also, people don’t like showing their houses in the winter. There may be some advantages to selling in the winter in order to be one of the first houses listed, but most buyers prefer to move in the warmer months.

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2) Don’t Get Emotional: Just Let Go
Have you ever noticed when an agent speaks with you about buying a property, they refer to it as a “home.” But when an agent speaks to you about selling your property, they refer to it as a “house.” Buying real estate is emotional. Selling isn’t. Well, at least it shouldn’t be emotional.

Start thinking of your house as “property”, or “real estate.” When you list your house on the market, the goal is to sell it, right? This means you have to make potential buyers believe it could be their home – not yours. If you hold onto the idea that you are selling your home, emotionally you are not letting go. And this could create a situation which prolongs the selling period.

Detach from the past, and look toward the future.

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3) Setting the Asking Price
Before you stick that “For Sale” sign in your front yard, you need to determine your asking price. The goal here is to have a realistic, fair and accurate price which leaves you with a profit and doesn’t send the buyers running for the hills.

By studying the competition in your area and zeroing in on homes similar to yours in size; helps in deciding the listing price. Check them out and pretend you’re a buyer. You can stack your home against theirs, and determine an appropriate asking price based off comparisons.

You also have the option of hiring a home appraiser. Don’t forget to factor in the additional costs you will incur like appraisals, agent commission, paperwork and legal fees.

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4) Appealing to the Buyers' Tastes
Now that you’ve detached your emotions from your property, you’re ready for the first step in getting your house ready for buyers – making your home appeal for all buyers.

The point here is to make your home look and feel as if ANYONE can live here. That means stripping away a majority of personal items that reflect your taste, but maybe not the buyers. Stash those family photos, trophies, and souvenirs from last years trip to Hawaii. Store them in a box, and take them to storage. Don’t just throw them in the attic or under the bed. This helps to de-clutter the space so buyers can image their own items.

I encourage you to visit any new home tract near your neighborhood. The homes will have excellent, but sparse furniture and not a whole lot of personalized items. Sure, you may see a hockey stick in the boy’s room, but you won’t see a ton of family photos on the wall. There’s personality here – but not a lot of clutter.

When potential buyers see your personal family photos and belongings, it puts your own “brand” on the home, and may not be incongruence with the buyers taste. You want the buyers to image their personal items in a particular space and not to detract with your own tastes

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5) Curb Appeal
Having a strong curb appeal is powerful enough to make someone driving by your home, buy your home. Don’t ignore your home’s curb appeal. Here’s a good exercise: drive by your home and park in the street where a potential buyer would park. What is your first impression? What are the negatives? How can you eliminate them? What are the positives? And how can you enhance those? Next, walk toward your house and up the pathway to the front door, look around and ask those same questions. Take a camera with you - make a list and tackle the tasks one by one.

If you think no one will notice your backyard, you’re wrong! Most potential buyers who drive by a home will try and take a sneak peak into the backyard. To heighten your evening curb appeal, lighting works wonders. Make sure interior lights are visible through windows. Add a decorative street lamp. You might want to try hanging lights along your driveway, sidewalks, and highlighting some of your plants or trees.

Here are some basic steps to strengthen your curb appeal:
  • Stow away any tools/equipment.
  • Clean the gutters
  • Clean the windows
  • Pressure wash the siding
  • Edge your sidewalks
  • Mow your lawn, eliminate weeds, rake leaves
  • Remove vegetation between concrete or bricks
  • Trim your trees
  • Fresh paint
  • New front door (fresh paint, new doorknobs, polished hardware)
  • Clean out your garage
Most buyers cannot visualize change, and won't take a second look at a house if the first look doesn't work for them. Homebuyers who visualize change expect you to reduce the price of the house to compensate for the work involved.

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6) Get Rid of the Clutter
Most people are emotionally attached to everything in a house. It can be difficult for them to get rid of things that clutter up their homes and leave a bad impression on the potential buyer. Living in a house for many years, clutter inevitably collects in ways that may not even be evident to homeowners. Clutter collects in closets, drawers, shelves, attics, basements and counter tops. Stand back. Take a look around. Try and be objective to determine where your clutter is and stow it away.

Clutter in the kitchen:
Take everything (I mean everything) off the counters. Put them in drawers. If everything can’t fit in the drawers, put things you don’t use in boxes and store them in the attic. Homebuyers open drawers, especially in the kitchen. Also, don’t cram your cabinets with food. Keep the cabinet beneath the sink clean, and empty as can be.

Clutter in the closet
Anything you can do without for a few months put in a box and store. Closets stack up with clutter fast, and can be a big eyesore to homebuyers.

Too Much Furniture
Most people have way too much furniture in certain rooms. This takes up space the homeowner would like to see. Go on some model home tours to get an idea of the proper placement and amount of furniture.

Clutter in the Storage Area
Junk collects in basements, garages, sheds, backyards, etc. These areas should be kept minimal so that buyers can imagine for themselves what they would like to do with the space. Remove anything you don’t need and take it to storage.

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7) Setting a Mood
It’s important that when a potential buyer enters your home, they get a sense of a comfortable, clean and appealing living space. Here are some tips to help create the right mood when you have potential buyers coming over:

Turn on all your indoor and outdoor lights – even during the day. Homes lit up at night give a “homey” impression when viewed from the street or curb. You can prevent harsh shadows, and brighten dark areas during the daytime by leaving the lights on. Open curtains and blinds. Most people find scented sprays obvious and offensive. Some may even be allergic. Try a potpourri pot or something else natural and subtle. Use scents that are inviting and homey such as vanilla, cinnamon, or apple spice.

Organize each room including the attic, basement and garage. Have a garage sale to get rid of stuff you don’t need. Wipe down the walls. Consider repainting with a neutral color palette to appeal to a wide range of buyers. Clean light fixtures, fans, windows, and floors. You can highlight the kitchen and bath by selecting the right color of towels. Upkeep by dusting and vacuuming and make your beds.

You want to try your best to make your home look and feel like a model home that appeals to most buyers’ criteria. Maintain the interior and exterior until you finalize the sale. You may want to consider hiring a professional cleaning service.

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8) Selling a Home with Pets
Selling your home for actual listing price is hard enough, but it can be even more difficult for those homeowners who have pets. Cats, dogs, lizards, rabbits, fish, birds, hamsters – every creature has the possibility of distracting from the sale of your home, possibly costing you lots of money. Research shows, buyers tend to offer less for homes that have pets. Buyers can have allergies, fears, or hate pet odors or fur.

If you’re a pet owner, you aren’t going to like this, but the most effective solution is to take the pets out of your home and relocate them while your property is on the market. If you simply try and defuse the situation by putting them in the backyard, garage, spare room or closet, it’s not fair to them, plus, you won’t really be fooling anyone. Another solution is to kennel your pets in your home so that buyers can freely walk around inside and outside (mainly with dogs). You can let a neighbor, friend or family member take them, board them in a kennel or send them on a pet vacation.

Minimize the clutter and smell associated with your pets.
  • Litter Boxes: Keep them out of sight and smell.
  • Carpet/Floor Stains: Hire professionals. This is a huge turnoff to buyers. If the stains can't be removed, then replace the flooring.
  • Odors: Don’t use air fresheners – potential buyers may react with allergies. Try using enzyme cleaners or call in a professional.
Remove all signs that pets live on the property. That being said, some states may require that you disclose a pet lived on the property to buyers, but you don’t need to advertise it. When you are showing your house, put your pets into a carrier. Remember to leave a note warning buyers not to disturb them.

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9) Available to Show 24/7
Even if it’s inconvenient for you, you should always have your house available to show. Make it easy for your listing agent by allowing them to put a lock box in a convenient location, so that other agents have access to show your home to buyers when you are not around. It is inconvenient if agents have to schedule appointments – usually they will just skip your house, and move on to the next in line, costing you an opportunity. Don’t be home when buyers are looking. Would you feel comfortable viewing a home when the family is eating dinner? Of course not. Neither would any homebuyer. Don’t let your potential buyer feel like an intruder – they won’t be as receptive toward viewing your house. If, for some reason, you cannot leave the property, stay in a room that is out of the way, and don’t move. Don’t interact and volunteer information. Do answer questions if asked.

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10) The Secrets to a Successful Open House
The name of this game is quality, not quantity. You can hold twenty open houses, and if handled poorly, you’ll still have a “For Sale” sign stuck in your yard. There are several things you can do to make these events meaningful, resourceful, pleasant, and productive.

Timing
The best time to hold an open house is a weekend afternoon. Make sure there are no major sporting events or religious observances going on. Research shows the most ideal time to hold an open house is on a Sunday between 2pm and 5pm.

They Will come Only if They Know About It
Hang a sign in your front yard at the best angle where it can be seen, even at night. Use balloons to attract more attention. Send out flyers. Send e-mail announcements, post in bulletins, and place ads in local publications. A majority of the advertising should be taken care of by your agent.

Be Social!
You may want to include some affordable snacks. You don’t need to do this for every open house, but you may want to try it for your first one. Have your home flyers on the table for people to grab. That way people have something to take home.

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