There are (5) basic reasons a property sells in a good or poor real estate market. They include (1) Property condition, (2) Price, (3) Terms, (4) Location, and (5) Agent. As a seller one has the ability to control four of the five reasons.
1. Property Condition
A. Outside Clean Up and Creating Curb Appeal
- Paint – A fresh paint job is one of the best ways to enhance the salability of your home. Be sure to prep and prime areas that need it; repair any gutters or down spouts; and replace any wood showing dry rot. Good color selection for the neighborhood is also critical.
- Front Entry – Give special care to this area as first impressions do make a difference. All woodwork needs to be freshly and neatly painted, including the door if necessary. Polish any door brass; replace worn or broken doorbells; and make sure the mailbox looks new. Put out a new door or clean door mat.
- Front Yard – Mow and trim yard. Weed flower beds; remove any dead plants or trees. Water regularly during the growing season and make sure bark dust or mulch gives a neat, finished look to the garden areas.
- Driveway, Garage/Carport – Remove grease or oil spots and clean driveway and best as possible. Be sure the garage door operates freely and automatic door opener is in good working order. Clean and organize garage.
- Backyard, Patio – Clean or replace any rusted or exposed metal on air conditioners or heat pumps. Correct any drainage issues. Stage backyard or patio with some outdoor furniture to enhance the “showability” of your property.
B. Inside Clean Up and Look at the Basics
- Windows – Repair or replace any torn or bent screens. Replace any cracked or broken panes. Drapery rods should be affixed firmly to walls and work smoothly; draperies should be clean and hang properly.
- Doors – Be sure all doors open and close freely, including closet doors and patio or sliding glass doors. Oil any squeaky doors. Tighten the hardware, particularly doorknobs. It is also a good idea to check and tighten all hardware on kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
- Walls – All holes or heavy use areas need to be repaired and repainted. A freshly painted interior will pay dividends. Wallpaper should be clean and adhere smoothly to walls.
- Floors – Repair or replace missing or damaged pieces of tile or linoleum. Clean and finish wood floors; polish if needed.
- Carpet – Steam cleaning is best for soiled carpets. If pet odors are present, clean the carpet some time before the home is placed on the market to be sure odors have been eliminated.
- Mechanical Operations – Consider a Home Warranty
a. Lights – Every light fixture in and around the house should have a good bulb of adequate wattage. Be sure to check outside, garage, utility room, halls, closets, over the kitchen sink, and in the oven and exhaust hood.
b. Switches – Repair or replace wall switches, outlets, and light fixtures that don’t work. Replace any broken switch plates.
c. Appliances – Those being included in the sale of the home should be in good working order. If there is specific equipment that does not work and you do not intend to repair it, be sure to point this out to prospective buyers.
d. Plumbing – Sinks, tubs, and toilets that are chipped or irreversibly stained should be re-enameled or replaced. Leaky or noisy toilets should be fixed, as well as dripping faucets.
e. Heating – Be sure to service your heating system if it has not been done recently and replace any dirty filters.
- Go for the spacious look
- Closets and storage areas – Open up your storage areas by removing items you are not using. Adequate storage space is a big requirement of most buyers.
- Counters and cabinets – De-clutter counters and cabinets, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms with the kitchen being most important. Store infrequently used appliances.
- Garage – Buyers may pay more for a garage if they can visualize it being of value to them. Move the excess to a mini-warehouse or other storage location.
C. Housekeeping Hints
- Bathrooms – Dirty bathrooms can kill a buyer’s interest instantly. Vanity, sink, faucet hardware, and mirror are the focal points and need to be spotless. Also give attention to soap residue in the shower, a moldy shower curtain, accumulated dirt in the track of a sliding shower door, soiled or missing grout, soiled toilet bowls, and dirty or battered bath mats.
- Kitchens – Buyers inspect the kitchen carefully. Clean the stove inside and out and replace stained or corroded reflector plates under the heating elements on electric stove tops. Clean the kitchen exhaust fan which is a good check point to see if the kitchen has been cleaned regularly.
- Windows – Clean windows are critical to creating a good impression and show off the home at its best. Open windows for fresh air if weather permits.
- Utility Areas – A clean water heater, washer and dryer set up, and utility sink can be easily spruced up and can really make an important impression on a picky buyer.
Too high and buyers may not consider it; too low and you’re selling yourself short. Be sure to get a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) that gives you an idea of how your home compares financially with similar, recently sold homes in your area. The analysis should also include an estimate of what you might expect to receive after closing.
How your home is purchased and the financial terms offered can many times make the difference in selling or not selling, particularly in a tight market when loans are difficult to come by.
This is the one factor a seller cannot control. Factors can change after a seller first purchases the home depending on the length of ownership.
5. Agent (Real Estate Professional)
Doing some homework is essential as one determines which real estate professional would be a good match for one’s wants, needs and individual tastes, and whose personal and professional judgment you respect. Seeking references and recommendations would be essential in your screening process. Silverton Realty prides itself in being known as the “Home Town Experts.”
For more tips on selling a home go to http://www.hud.gov.selling/index.cfm