We hope you had a great Easter. Just prior to the holiday, we began a little mini-series of retrospective blogs looking back at our all-time best tips.
Today we're going to focus on what we think are the most essential pieces of advice we've ever offered sellers:
Don't put off selling your home - In recent times, it's been our distinct pleasure to reflect on the growth in the Albuquerque area real estate market. On the fence sellers may therefore take the view that playing a waiting game for a few months, or even a year, will yield even better returns. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that the perfect storm we're seeing at the moment - low mortgage rates, low down payment home loans and low inventory of available homes driving up prices due to higher demand than supply - will continue indefinitely. Indeed, it's certain that, at some point, there will be a market correction and we may even see prices reducing for a period. Our best advice therefore remains unchanged - make hay while the sun shines and don't gamble on the uncertainties of the future. There has rarely been a better time, all things considered, to get your home sold and move on to the next stage in your life.
Start fault finding now - It's often said that buyers who see one problem with a home will assume that there are 10 more hidden somewhere. It therefore makes great sense to check that everything is working in your home, right down to individual light bulbs. Buyers will want to try everything and it's clearly preferable that there are no surprises in store for them.
Get a home inspection! - This may seem a surprising suggestion but, unless your home is virtually brand new, there could be nasty surprises lurking that you’re unaware of. A home inspection is normally requested by buyers to check that the property is in acceptable condition. The potential issue here is that you could be unaware of a major problem that could either delay the sale or present the buyer with an unexpected opportunity to make a reduced offer. Worse still, it could cause the whole sale to fall through. Therefore getting your own inspection has the double benefit of enabling you to rectify any problems before selling and also being able to show potential buyers that your home has a clean bill of health – not something they’ll come across a lot in their search.
Be realistic about your asking price - Don't waste any time by having unrealistic expectations about your home's value. Forget what the generic pricing websites tell you, they are only a rough, and usual quite inaccurate, guide. You need to hit the ground running with your home priced "in the market". Your realtor will have all the tools and information at his/her disposal to ensure your price maximizes your return and attracts buyers to view. This is a much better approach than starting off over ambitiously and then correcting the price at a later date and missing the current fabulous opportunities to sell your home.
Declutter the home - If your home is badly cluttered, take immediate steps to spring clean it. Some buyers can see beyond clutter, while the vast majority cannot. Don't take that chance, especially if you're selling against the clock for any reason. Here's where hiring self-storage space comes into its own. You can essentially offload all your clutter into a storage unit and, hey presto, your home can look immensely more appealing in less than a weekend.
Always recognize the benefits of staging - Regular readers of this blog will be very familiar with the vital importance we place on correctly presenting, or staging, your home. Faulty items, poor decor and clutter can either deter buyers altogether or cause them to make you a reduced offer. Some sellers will argue that they cannot see the point of making home improvements as they won't be getting the direct benefit of them. Those subscribing to that view should consider that, according to realestate.com, $550 spent on staging can net almost $2000 in extra home value. Staging should be seen as an investment in realizing the financial return you desire.
Never fail to pay attention to details - Clearly, if there are time pressures on the sale, you are not going to be able to make wholesale decorative changes to the home. What is crucial, however, is that you pay attention to details that will certainly be noticed by buyers. Pay special attention to the curb appeal of the home and make sure your front lawn is neat and tidy and the entrance to the home is as appealing as possible. Judicious use of plants and flowers will go a long way to creating a warm welcome and a feel good factor as soon as the buyer arrives for the viewing. Inside the home, make sure all paintwork looks good, touching up as necessary and, if you have carpets, get them cleaned either professionally or with your own carpet cleaning equipment. If curtains look tired, replace them with inexpensive new ones - the same applies to any broken window blinds. If you have pets, ensure there are no signs of this by vacuuming pet hairs, removing dishes and cat litter boxes etc.
Don't try to hide problems - Avoid the temptation to hide negative aspects of your home from buyers such as a leak underneath a sink or that a basement is liable to winter flooding. You are legally required to inform buyers of certain existing problems as part of transfer disclosures, so don't leave yourself potentially open to a later lawsuit. You'll also find that buyers appreciate your honesty.
Be as flexible as possible on viewing times - Remember that some buyers, especially those working night shifts and weekends, may not be able to view the home when it's most convenient for you. A sale can be destroyed if your time scales are inflexible and the potential buyer struggles to fit in with your lifestyle pattern. Some flexibility here indicates that you are someone the buyer can do business with.
Consider holding an open house - An open house refers to an event where the public, or targeted invited guests, can view your home in a more informal way than arranging their own private viewing. The key advantage here is the informality of the viewing process. Some buyers will feel more comfortable about viewing a home if the focus is not directly on them making a specific appointment. It's a less pressurized environment and one that consequently can greatly widen the scope of potential real interest in the home. It can even attract neighbors who may not necessarily have a direct interest in purchasing the house, but cannot resist having a look and will tell their relatives/friends who are serious about looking. At Everest Peak Realty, we go the extra mile to make an open house go well. We often arrange exclusive neighborhood gatherings and will encourage attendance by knocking on doors in the area. These events are proving very effective and are often held in advance of the home going onto the market, to give an added incentive to potential attendees. Where possible, we also produce a video blog of the home prior to the event to create even more interest. This is also usually augmented by announcements via social networking, including Facebook. We will also invite those home buyers who are in our database and know to be interested in the type of property and location.
Hire the right realtor - At Everest Peak Realty, we often talk to sellers who have been disappointed with the lack of effort by previous realtors. Bottom line - if you don't hire the right realtor the sale is likely to be a long, drawn out affair. Selling your home with us means that your home will benefit from our multi-faceted online marketing programs, including video tours/blogs and professional photography, plus our vast knowledge of the local marketplace and contacts with buyer's agents keen to find the right home for their clients. Call us today to find out more.