My husband and I sold our house last summer and it didn’t go as planned. It was a nice house in a good neighborhood and was priced competitively. I thought selling the house would be a no-brainer. Turns out, it wasn’t.
We were fortunate to end up selling the house three months after we listed it but only after taking a cut on the asking price.
Now I can look back and see some things we should’ve done and am more prepared to sell a home in the future.
The Realities of Selling Your Home
First, and this may sounds a little contradictory but hear me out please, you can’t listen to generalities on selling a home.
For instance, when we put our house for sale the general buzz around real estate was that it was a seller’s market. This had me pumped up and perhaps, a little blinded to what the market in my area really was.
There were 5-7 other houses for sale on my street and the next street over when we went to sell. That is some serious competition in my small town. Hands down, it was a buyer’s market not a seller’s market.
The truth is every market is different and you need to have an understanding of your current market to base your expectations off of. With that said here are some basic things to sell your house faster.
Look at Other Homes in Your Neighborhood for Sale
The first thing you should do is look at the other houses in your area that are for sale. Make note of everything that they have going for them that your house doesn’t.
When you know what you’re up against you’ll be able to make better decisions on what your house needs or doesn’t need. You’ll also get a good idea on how your home stacks up on selling price.
Invest in the Right Areas
Before we listed our house we had the ceilings painted, the entire basement painted and every room that wasn’t neutral painted. We spent a lot of money on a professional painter. While I firmly believe this was worth it, we should’ve went a little farther.
One thing we didn’t do in the beginning was put new flooring in the two rooms that needed it. The entire house had nice floors of either hardwood or tile except for the kitchen and half bath.
After our house was on the market for a couple months without any offers I had this nagging feeling that the flooring was our big problem. I spent around $1,000 and had new flooring put in the kitchen and bathroom and shortly after the home was sold.
When you go to make improvements to your home make sure you’re putting them in the right area. Just because you can happily live with outdated flooring a bold colored wall doesn’t mean that someone else wants to.
Here are basic principles to stick to:
- Walls should be neutral, clean, and hole-free
- Floors should be clean and stain free
- Your home should be clutter free
- No trash outside
- Cabinets should be clean
Have Info Available for Commonly Asked Questions
When I bought the house I’m now living in one of my pet peeves was that the owner couldn’t tell me anything about the utilities. She wasn’t sure about internet hook-ups or the TV (and in fact told me we could get service that we could not get) and didn’t even know where the well or septic tank was!! (The property had both county and well water.)
It was frustrating. We almost passed on the property after spending a month paying plumbers to find the well with no luck. (Third plumber was the charm.)
Your potential buyers want to know what options they have for TV services, internet services, and who the utility providers are and what schools are in the area. Put together a sheet with all of this information that potential buyers can check out. Include EVERY detail you can think of that a buyer would want to know.
Choose a Good Realtor
Having a good realtor is incredibly important. A good realtor will be honest with you about what type of price you can expect to get from your home, the improvements that need to be made, a good understanding of your competition and will market your house to make it sell!
Take your time when choosing a realtor as this can be the make or break for you.