A Guide to Selling

Selling property is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. You can take comfort in knowing that my Team and I will work with you from beginning to end.

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This Seller Guide will provide you with our strategies for selling your property at the highest sales price the market will bear.

(Not just a Real Estate Agent)

While the terms “REALTOR®” and “real estate agent” are used interchangeably, there are some unique differences. While they perform similar jobs, REALTORS® are held to higher standards (known as the Code of Ethics) as established by the National Association of REALTORS®. Strict adherence to the extensive Code of Ethics is required so consumers may feel at ease knowing that they are working with licensed professionals who are thoroughly vetted and have sworn to uphold those professional standards.

As your REALTOR®, my Team and I will help you navigate the selling process by assisting you with the paperwork to ensure your compliance with federal, state and local laws, discuss current market trends, review pricing options, management property tours, review offers, provide access to your property, and provide other valuable services.

A National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) report found the median For Sale By Owner (FSBO) property brings in $105,000 less than agent-assisted sales.

Preparing Your Property to Sell

First Impressions

The first impression is the only impression that matters. Buyers form an opinion before walking through the door. For this reason, an investment in the exterior of the property and the curb appeal returns high dividends. Consider inexpensive shrubs, brightly colored flowers, a new mailbox if the current one is not in good condition. Keep the lawn mowed and free of debris. Entryways into the property are equally important and should be welcoming. A garage door replacement can yield a 90% average return on your investment according to Remodeling Magazine. Do not forget to arrange deck, patio or porch furniture and make any needed repairs. Remember that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression.

Always Be Ready to Show

Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times. Buyers usually want to see houses on weekends and during evening hours. For this reason, you want to keep your kitchen sink free of dirty dishes, keep the beds made, keep your bathrooms sparkling, toilet seats should be kept down, keep fresh clean towels on display and floors should be clean as well. A fresh fragrance should be noticeable throughout the house. This may seem inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.

An Appealing Kitchen

Minor kitchen upgrades and improvements are also a wise investment since many Buyers will judge a property by its kitchen. A complete overhaul can cost tens of thousands of dollars but a minor update can yield at least a 75% return on the investment. A Buyer may consider your property to be worth $10,000 less if the kitchen looks outdated. Depending on your budget, you can start with resurfacing cabinets, adding new cabinet hardware, replacing countertops, replacing outdated fixtures and hardware, painting the ceiling, paint walls a neutral color and adding matching stainless steel appliances. Remove objects from the counters except for one or two new-looking appliances. Remember that you want to appeal to the masses.

Additional Preparation...

Find out what your house is worth, then deduct 15% to 20% off that price. You will receive more showings and multiple Offers above the asking price. Many Sellers refrain from doing this and their houses can sit on the market longer than those using this strategy. Setting the price too high can be detrimental and prevent Buyers from walking through your front door. They will not even request a showing. Remember, when a property is priced right, it will attract more Buyers to visit.

One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to depersonalize it. The goal of showings is for the Buyer to envision their own belongings in the house. The more personal items in your house, the less potential Buyers can imagine themselves living there. Put family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes in storage our pack them up so they are out of sight. If Buyers are distracted by personal items, they may not be able to see themselves in the space and will not make an offer. Staging includes arranging furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space. Remove objects and clutter that visually shrink a room, such as large ottomans or too many plants. Buyers are thinking of their own furniture, where it will go and how it will fit. Remember, Buyers are coming to see the house.

Updates and improvements are recommended before selling and they can earn you top dollar. Do not invest in major projects that will not give you a return on your investment. Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains, blinds and other window treatments or buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets, clean the grout, clean gutters.

Have your pets out of the house during showing times and Open House events. Take them somewhere safe and comfortable. Buyers do not want to walk into a house and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have pet hair stuck to their clothes. You want to give Buyers the impression that your house is clean. It is hard for pet owners to imagine sometimes, but some people really do not like pets. Having evidence of your pet, including their odors, can discourage some Buyers. Remember, they might make a great offer on your house.

After location, good light is one thing that most Buyers mention that they want in a home. Open the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Leave the lights on in all rooms during showing hours and Open House events. Remember, the presentation of your property is critical. Small things like lighting can make a big difference with no money coming out of your pocket!

Storage is something every Buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what is left in there. Organizing your closets and garage should be done as part of the process. Tackle one closet at a time so the tasks does not become overwhelming. Remove everything from the closet with the goal to reduce by 50%. Decide what items you will keep and what items you will donate or give away to someone you know. Even if you cleaned out that closet recently you will find things you forgot about. Some of it may even be helpful when showcasing your house for sale. Now is the time to pack away anything you will not need until you move to your new house. Pack these things now in boxes and label them and put them in storage or a friend’s home. Thoroughly clean the closet and consider painting it white. Remember, Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

Conducting a home inspection before putting your house on the market is another step we highly recommend. It is best to find out beforehand if there are any issues that can be corrected before Buyers find out during their inspection. That could give them negotiating power for a reduced price or, worst case scenario, a reason to cancel the contract. If your REALTOR® advises that you fix some things like faulty wiring, a hole in the fence, a leaking toilet or a visible stain in the ceiling, you should do it. Remember, the home inspection is the number one area where home sales fall apart. It only makes sense to address the problems beforehand. To help you with this, we will cover the cost of the prelisting home inspection and a 12 month home warranty that will be conveyed to the new owner at settlement. We also have resources available to assist you with decluttering, packing, storage, upgrades and improvements and moving.

Be sure to maintain your property coverages while waiting to sell. This includes paying the mortgage, property taxes, any HOA and/or condo fees, solar panel fees and the homeowner insurance on the property. Remember to keep all utilities turned on until after settlement.

Additional Preparation...

Professional Photos — The photography and videography are a gateway to a Buyer’s perception of the property; good or bad. The goal of photographs is not to show every detail online; but to entice Buyers to want to see more. If they don’t come to see the house, they probably will not make an offer. The majority of people search for properties online. If the photos are impressive, it can translate into a higher sales price and sell faster, too.” The pictures you post on your listing can make or break your sale. Buyers like to take a tour before they decide to visit, which a video allows. Remember, Buyers will probably look at the photos first, but once they take a look at the video, it can seal the deal, and they will schedule a showing.

Offers and Negotiations — You want to remove emotion from the equation and see this as a transaction and not your home. You are selling a product and want to decide early what issues and items you may be willing to make concessions on if Buyers ask. It is not unusual for prospective Buyers to request credits or repairs so do not take offense. Take a closer look at which requests are valid and fair and offer something. Remember, the cost to you is not in giving the concession but it is the expense of losing the Buyer, putting the property back on the market, starting all over again and getting a potentially lower offer.

The Value of a Yard Sign — While online marketing has its place, do not forget about the basics. Putting a “For Sale” sign in the yard lets everyone know that your property is on the market and makes it easier for people to find the house. Some homeowners want to “keep their home a secret” for a multitude of reasons. This can be a costly mistake. Never underestimate the power of real estate signage. Many properties have been sold over the years due to a sign. More often than not, this can happen with a consumer who was not thinking of buying but has always said to themselves if that certain property comes on the market, they would be interested. That property could be yours. Another creative option is incorporating a “Google this real estate address” as a sign addition. Many Buyers forget that they can Google the address of a house when they are in a neighborhood. A quick search on their phone will point them to the exact places we want them to go, including my website, video tour and other enhanced marketing channels.

Time is of the Essence — Once your property is listed on the market, things can happen quickly. It is important to be well prepared ahead of time so that you can be as responsive as possible to offers. Provide your REALTOR® with all the necessary documents, such as HOA and/or condo documents, solar panel documents, paperwork for recent repair work, home renovation costs and utility bills. Sellers who are slow in reaction time or unresponsive can lose Buyers. Remember, if the Buyer feels they are not being dealt with fairly, they are more likely to walk away.

Global Marketing — An online presence is imperative to highlight your property and make it “stand out” from the competition. Again it all starts with your photography. Without good photos, you can be all over the internet and it will not matter because your presentation will be lousy. Your property should have global social media exposure via major platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Consider Professional Cleaning — A clean house is inviting to Buyers, whereas a dirty house can turn them away faster than just about anything. The easiest way to know your house is spotless and looking its best is to hire a professional cleaning company. Buyers pay closer attention to kitchens and bathrooms. Also, make sure your carpets are as clean as possible. If need be, consider having your carpets professionally cleaned. The cost of a few hundred dollars can save you thousands by preventing the Buyer from thinking they need to replace the carpets immediately.

Closing/Settlement — After you and the Seller have agreed on a sales price, adhered to all the terms of the contract and financing has been secured, you will need to complete the sale by signing legal documents and paying the remaining related costs, the transfer of home ownership will take place. As your REALTOR®, we will walk you through the entire process and ensure that all requirements are met.

Moving — You will need to have utilities turned off in your name at midnight on the day of settlement. The closing attorney will withhold a few hundred dollars of your funds at settlement to cover the cost of the final water bill. They will pay it and refund you the difference. Unless otherwise agreed upon in the contract, the new owner/Buyer will take possession and move in immediately after settlement.

In Conclusion

In addition to providing this Home Seller Guide, we invite you to schedule a Home Seller Consultation where we will discuss your home buying needs and provide you with full details on our entire Home Seller Process.

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