KEEP THE PRICE RIGHT (for you!). Know your numbers prior to meeting and interviewing real estate agents: call the bank for your payoff amount; check any other debt on the home such as a HELOC; and figure any other money items you need. After that you’ll be ready to discuss price with the real estate agent you select. The two of you can formulate a plan based on your needs, and the agent’s knowledge of market conditions and other sale factors affecting your home and location. Pricing too high may mean ending with a stale listing. Pricing too low may short change your bottom line. Take the time to do it right.
HIRE A MARKETING WHIZ! Because you know a real estate agent, or heard about one from a friend, doesn’t mean they’re a good real estate agent. Take time and hire the best agent you can find. That means you should interview a few, and end with an agent that can market your home for a quick sale. Yes, they should be a good personality fit for you and your family. Yes, you should be able to trust them immediately (that gut feeling, right?). Yes, listing through them should push your home to hundreds of real estate websites. Yes, hiring that agent should result in sharing information, video, and images of your home on dozens of locally controlled, closely managed social media platforms. Yes, your real estate agent should show you a marketing plan for your home. Yes, your marketing whiz should be shaking hands in their own network, sending letters to the neighborhood announcing your home for sale, and leaning into their sphere to push your home the old-fashioned way, outside of digital.
KICK UP THE CURB APPEAL! Here in Wisconsin we’ll be facing the early spring thaw, which brings minor destruction to the landscape around our homes. The advice here is to make sure the view from the street is what you want it to be: landscape is neat and tidy; wood portions of the exterior of your home are painted; the deck is stained; siding is washed; windows look clear. If you check those boxes, you’ll be well on your way to selling your home faster than those other guys.
REHAB, RESTORE, REPAIR! You know that light bulb that went out at the top of the stairs? And the loose cabinet handles in the kitchen? What about the piece of trim that needs replacing in the kids’ bathroom? We all live with a few minor, un-resolved home repair issues. We just deal with it. However, now it’s time to sell your home, and that means getting them repaired so your home shows well. Hire a handyman if you don’t have time, but get those items written on a list and start checking them off.
CLEAR THE CLUTTER! We’re all guilty. The holidays have passed, and we’ve got a little extra inventory in our homes, right? Selling your home means you need to put your best foot forward. You will want to give the impression to potential buyers that you have extra space, so the pile of magazines, empty Amazon boxes and unorganized closets won’t cut it. Looking for ways to clear the clutter? Organize it or get rid of it! The use of containers, totes, and baskets can make a world of difference – no matter the size of the space. If you’re ready to part with your items, donating a truck load to a local charity, taking another to the landfill, having a rummage sale, or even filling a dumpster will go a long way to help you create space, get organized, and sell your home!
CLEAN IT UP OR CLEAN IT OUT. Yes, it’s tough to keep the everyday messes few and far between but when your house is on the market, the “showing request” call may be just around the corner. Keep things clean – dishes done, floors swept, and laundry put away. It will make it easier when you add an open house or showing to your calendar. Other great habits during the selling process include: frequently vacuuming carpeted areas, keeping bathrooms fresh and clean, dusting shelves, picking up toys, books, or work, each night. If you are feeling a little overwhelmed about the cleaning process, search your area for cleaning services. Many companies can clean your home on short notice at a reasonable cost.
SET THE SCENE. First impressions are everything in the world of real estate. Wow your potential buyers by setting the scene. Staging your home before showings or open houses can encourage buyers and help to create a pleasant sense of being “at home.” Typically, staged homes sell faster; however, you need to be sure to stage your home in a tasteful way. If you’re unsure how to do this, reach out to your agent, who will be able to provide you with staging tips. Remember, you don’t need to stage every room in your house. Start by choosing one to three rooms as you channel your interior design skills. Select paint or decor with clean, neutral colors, clear the clutter, clean up the space, and try to keep your personal mementos to a minimum. Your home should allow buyers to imagine their family photos hanging on the walls.
KEEP A TIGHT LEASH. Reduce stress on yourself and your furry friends by having a go-to plan when it’s time to show your home. While everyone loves a good puppy photo on Facebook, it’s best to keep your pets out of sight during a showing or open house. Find a friend or family member who can watch your pets if you cannot take them with you. If you’re unable to relocate your pets during an open house or showing, it is a good choice to keep them in a space where they are out of the way. This reduces the risk of a negative interaction with a potential buyer or a pet accidentally getting out. In addition to keeping your pets safe, keep the animal clutter out of the way – pick up toys, hide litter boxes, and put food/water bowls away. It’s also good to consider fresh and clean scents in areas that animals may frequent – don’t be nose blind to the smells in your home!
GET SOCIAL! While it’s very important to hire an agent who can develop a great marketing plan, it’s also crucial to use your own network to market your house. Get social and spread the word! A casual Saturday conversation could quite easily help you make a connection that sells your home. If you’re on social media, be sure to share posts from your agent; you never know who may be looking for a new home. Be sure to tell close friends and family about your listing – word of mouth is a classic and surefire way to get a sold sign in your front lawn.
FLEXIBILITY IS KEY. Selling your home is a big transition; this may even include packing up your belongings and finding yourself a new home, in addition to being flexible until your home is sold. If your goal is getting that sold sign in your lawn, then your home needs to be seen. Letting your agent schedule showings and open houses is a step in the right direction to finding the perfect buyer for your property. Being flexible is essential when you get to this point in the process – try to not turn down an opportunity for a showing or open house, this is the time for your home to shine! Remember, our other tips – keep your house clean and under control. If you make it easy to host an open house or a showing, you have a higher chance of landing that sold sign in your lawn and moving on to your next adventure!