When you’re thinking about selling your home, suddenly every real estate headline can be interpreted as a clue to your future.
While no one can predict the market, or how buyer activity will be in your area, there’s quite a bit in your control when it comes to boosting the odds of a successful sale. Whether you’re on a tight timeline or just want to decrease the odds that your home will be the one to linger on the market, here are five things you can do now to help your home sell fast. Your real estate agent will thank you later.
Clutter seems easy to define to most of us. You definitely know not to leave out hampers of laundry, cover your kitchen table with piles of papers, or let toys continue their take over of your living room floor if you are going to show your home. However, you’d never consider your gallery wall of tasteful family photos, shelves of gorgeous glassware, or a priceless collection of genuinely interesting items to ever fit the definition of “clutter.”
Yet, to a buyer, that’s exactly what all of this is. Anything that is taking up space, getting in the way of sightlines, inviting strangers to ask questions about your personal life, or filling up cabinets counts as clutter. The harder it is for buyers to get a sense of what it would be like to live in your home, the longer it’ll take for the home to sell. Your realtor will tell you this (tactfully), but save the time and tackle the excess now.
Ideally, you'd get into the headspace where you round up everything you don’t need, toss it all in bags, and send it to the proper donation channels without thinking twice. However, most of us can get quickly overwhelmed by this. Professional organizers can take the emotion out of the decision-making process so you can stay focused on your goals. If you’re truly struggling with getting through all the stuff, look into temporarily renting a storage unit for challenging items (usually sentimental things) until you have the time and space to deal with it.
Stage 1 Staging
While you don't need to handle each aspect of staging a home (we're here to help with that) there are a few things that you can do now that will make the process go faster later.
Here are some things to consider tackling now:
- Painting Walls Neutral Colors
- Replacing Or Removing Worn-Out Area Rugs
- Getting Rid Of Out-Of-Date Bulky Blinds Or Drapes
- Giving Your Entire Home A Thorough Clean (from the ceiling cobwebs to the forgotten corners)
By doing this, you’re giving your real estate agent a blank slate that can quickly get professionally staged or photographed ASAP.
Rounding Up Documents
Head to the office supply store for plenty of folders, an accordion file or two, and perhaps even a small safe. Finding all the important documents you need now means you won’t have a paper chase later. In addition, the more information your realtor has about your home, the more thorough they can be when it comes to protecting your interest during negotiations.
Here’s what you’ll need to find:
- The sales contract for your home (original)
- Anything relating to mortgage and financing
- Tax records
- Proof of homeowner’s insurance
- Proof of any repairs or improvements done (including receipts, certificates filed with your township, etc.)
- All documents relating to your homeowner’s association (if applicable)
- Warranty information (including manuals)
- The original appraisal of your house when you bought it (and any other appraisals you’ve had since)
- Everything relating to the title or ownership of your home
The latter is especially important: Looking up your title may reveal red flag issues that could affect the sale of your home.
For one, there may be an easement on your property that might not have been created properly. For reference, an easement is basically a permission slip for others to access the land on your property. For example, homes on shared private roads may have an easement that allows neighbors to use the road, but there isn’t a road maintenance agreement in place. When this happens, some lenders will reject a buyer’s home loan. Smaller issues can arise when it affects how a future buyer can use a property. If you or the previous owner granted a solar easement to a neighbor so they could install solar panels, a future owner may not be able to add anything to the yard that could block sunlight.
Get a Pre-Listing Inspection
In the same way that having all of your documentation helps protect your interests during the future sale, a pre-listing inspection is another move that can only help you. Hiring a thorough inspector can give you a definite idea of what condition your home is in and alert you to significant problems so you have time to fix them. An inspection report also gives your realtor an important data point for pricing your home accurately. Having the power to address previously-unknown issues before a sale means there will be less for a buyer to negotiate about down the line, increasing the likelihood of getting your asking price. It also provides potential buyers confidence to put an offer down as soon as possible.
Snap and Share
If you’ve gotten your home in excellent shape and have a phone with a high-level camera, you might be able to take photos that will help the professional photographers while you get ready to list. If you list with us we will hire a pro, but your photos can be sent to the photographer to give them an idea of what they’ll be shooting and save a scouting trip. YouTube has countless tutorials available with tips on using your phone to photograph interiors and exteriors.
If you’re further out from selling your home and have been able to take gorgeous photos, you could try to make your property a social media star by documenting the story behind your home as you get it ready to hit the market. This tends to be more successful when you have a type of home with a specific niche (historic homes, midcentury homes, etc.) in order to take advantage of existing hashtags that’ll surface on social media, but renovations also captivate new audiences.
Don't worry if you're not into social media - we'll take care of all the marketing and advertising to make sure your home stands out from the rest. Take a look at our marketing plan here.
One Last Thing...
Selling your home as quickly as possible is mainly about getting the “little things” out of the way now. Get a jump start by finding out what your home is worth today. Our in-depth home value reports go beyond an automated system and will give you a better understanding of the market today.