The summer real estate season is heating up with the weather. If you are interested in selling your home soon, you’ll need to think like a pro. We talked to top Realtor Sarah Rogers for her tips on how she sells homes for up to 30% over asking price in less than a month.
“The process is about getting the most for your house in the shortest time possible,” she said.
So far this year, it has taken an average of 56 days for a home to sell, according to statistics from the National Association of Realtors. To beat those odds, Sarah guides clients to abide by three credos, whether selling a small starter home or a recent $9 million listing: plan ahead, pimp your place, and be realistic.
Plan Ahead Before Listing Your Home
Sarah advises sellers to work out a timeline with their real estate agent. There should be a deadline for completing improvements and listing the home. And there should be a deadline—shared with other agents—for viewing first offers. This gives time for multiple bids to trickle in over the first couple of weeks.
Sarah also urges clients to get a home inspection before they list their house. Calling out flaws may seem counterintuitive, but she finds building trust up front actually reduces delays and demands during the emotional closing process. “Buyers are going to end up finding out about it anyway,” she said.
Finally, pay close attention to your home’s marketing materials. Are the photos top quality? Is the description appealing and free of typos?
Pimp Your Place To Sell for Top Dollar
Sellers should get their house in order ASAP—even while still deciding whether to move, Sarah said. Even the best-kept homes need at least some paint touched up, have light fixtures that don’t work and space that needs to be cleared of excess stuff. For a couple that is downsizing, that could mean months of work.
She also recommends removing most personal items, including family photos, and taking steps to remove signs of your own very specific style.
“If a space feels so personalized to that family, it can be hard for a buyer to picture herself in that home,” she said.
Try to remove some furniture to give a more open and airy feel.
Potential buyers also love looking in closets; and storage space is a big selling point. Remove enough stuff so closets seem roomy.
Even if you have regularly-scheduled cleaning, you will need to be sure the extras are done: windows washed inside and out, baseboards dusted, the exterior rinsed. Make sure your trees and shrubs are tidy and consider planting fresh flowers to give a pop of color that enhances curb appeal.
For one home on the market in San Gabriel, CA that was empty, Sarah worked with a home stager to bring in furniture and accessories and to choose paint colors. Instead of opting for white walls, the stager used neutral tones that worked well with the existing flooring and tiles. She did add some personality touches and some period décor to emphasize the popular modern lines of the house.
Be Realistic About the Current Market
Set your price based on the current market conditions, not what you paid for your home or what you put into it. This is a simple tip but one that can be hard for homeowners to stomach. If the price should go higher, in Sarah’s experience, it will when buyers make offers. If your house is priced too high, however, it will languish on the market, increasing costs and missing potential buyers.
In short, have a plan and schedule, make your house as appealing as possible and be willing to accept your house's value based on sales in your neighborhood. Good luck!
by Ann Griffith