Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What You Should Know About Selling Your House

Well, I am glad that you are back for another visit, or if you are new, Welcome! 

Last time I brought to your attention some of the things you might want to take care of before putting your house up for sale. I left you with a lot of things to think about last week, so I hope you are ready for more!

This week we will continue looking at things you can prepare to sell your house fast. We are going to take a look at research you should be starting now. What you should consider when it comes to marketing. Documents including some great features you may wish to offer when selling your house.

Quick Review

Since this article is kind of a “two parter”, let’s have a quick look back at last week’s topic. Last time, I encouraged you to get a house inspection, and evaluate your property for anything that you thought needed fixing or changing inside your house or outside. I brought to your attention the merits of de-cluttering and deep cleaning. I also suggested you find all the important papers you will need to sell your house.

The point was to start some lists of things that needed –or will need – your attention. The ultimate goal was to come up with some kind of schedule to get it all done on time – with or without help from other people.

This time around, it should be a little easier. We are going to look at some research you can do to prepare to sell your house fast. It is important to know the market and what services are available to you. We are also going to look at some more planning and strategies to make the process easier.

Devise A Marketing Plan

Most people don’t realize that when they put their house up for sale, that it needs a marketing plan or a plan about how to advertise the sale. Some people are able to do this on their own. Others prefer to hire the professional help of a realtor.

Do you want to use a realtor or would you rather sell your house yourself? Using a realtor means that they, or someone in their office, will understand the best way to market your house.  They use the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to advertise your house. Selling it yourself can save you the real estate commission (often about 4-6 percent depending on where you live), which can be an advantage in a competitive market. If you do it yourself, consider how you are going to market your property.

Traditionally, people put a sign in the window, take an ad in a local paper and tell friends and co-workers. Today there are additional choices, such as online classifieds (one example is Craig’s List) and specific real estate sites like Zillow, Trulia, Yahoo! Homes, and many others

Each of the two methods has its advantages and drawbacks. Realtors are professionals but come with a hefty fee. Doing it yourself is free or inexpensive, but takes your time to learn it and do it.

If you decide to sell your house on your own, it would be a good idea to become familiar with these online methods well before it is time to put your house up for sale.

If you would rather turn it over to a realtor and pay the fee, start that process now, too! Interview realtors. Yes, interview several early on about listing your house. Asking them for their advice is a good way to select an agent. It will help you see if the strategy they propose will fit with what you want.  What would they highlight about your home? What would they change before it goes on the market? Ask them how much they could get for your house. But be careful. They may flatter you with a high price to get you to sign with them. Also find out how long each has been an ACTIVE professional and in which area.

Set A Price

It is crucial to know your own house’s value. The best place to start is on your own street. If one of your neighbors just sold their house – and it is similar to yours for size and condition –that could give you valuable insight into how much you can sell your house for.

Even if you plan to use a realtor, you should have an idea of how much you want before you meet and certainly before you SIGN A CONTRACT!

The most important fact that I can share with anyone considering selling their house, is how buyers shop NOW. Housing related internet sites have become the source for buyers. Often, before a buyer even speaks to an agent, they will do preliminary browsing online.

The good news is that you can use these sites, too! Use them to get an idea of what your house will sell for. Find houses similar to your own in your area and make a list of the sale prices. Just remember, people can “ask” for any amount – reasonable or not! So be sure to look at any “sold” listings to get a better idea of what really happened. I will caution you not to write these prices in stone. Some of these web sites have a reputation for inaccuracy and errors.

If you have your heart set on a certain amount, and find out that houses aren't selling for that, you may have to adjust your expectations. Don’t think that “once they see it, they will love it”. If your house is overpriced, an informed buyer may never even come to look at it!

Pricing is strategy.  Getting it right is crucial. It depends on what is happening in your area and what other houses were sold for. Finally, much of it comes down to just how motivated you are to sell -- or how quickly you have to leave.

Offer The Buyer Your Flyer

Give Information

There is an old saying: “Location, location, location!” It is probably the main reason the buyer is looking at your house. They are looking to be near something in the area – usually their job, or for their children’s school. To help them choose your home over someone else’s, give them some “insider info.” Make a short list of local amenities - including co-ordinates - to offer the buyers who come to visit. This will make your house more attractive. Include select small shops (they will find Target or Walmart on their own!), great restaurants, gyms, libraries, activities (think: hiking trails or kid’s parks, etc.) Include whatever you have appreciated….or have always “meant to see.”

You may also wish to make a list of the manufacturer and number or name of paint colors you used in your house. Or if you have some recent cans tucked away, label them according to use and leave them visible. Potential buyers may appreciate not having to repaint a whole room if they scuff walls when moving in. This also shows that your maintenance was thorough and well organized.

Take Pictures

Think season: If you have flowering trees or shrubs, try to take some pictures when they are in bloom. If you end up selling at a time when the flowers are long gone, this will help your buyer understand the value in your garden by seeing it at its best.

Show off upgrades: Take pictures of freshly renovated, decorated or cleaned rooms. Does your house (or a room) look great at a particular time of day when buyers may not visit? Take a picture of the morning sun in the breakfast nook! If you have invested in some fantastic landscape lighting that can only be seen at night, take pictures of that, as well!

Why not take the most distinctive photos and add them to the flyer? If someone in the house has craft skills, make a printed album with all these photos that buyers can look through. Save digital copies of the best of the best that you can use for the listing.

These small steps will show the buyer that your house is organized and maintained.

If you have started your schedule last week of what you need to get done before you can sell your house fast, congratulations on taking the first step! Including your time to take care of the suggested research and organizational tasks will make the whole process easier. 

Start with the items you believe to need the most urgent attention and work your way through to your targeted listing date. Don’t forget to note any special times for your garden so you are ready to take pictures!

Next week we will take a look at how to prepare for your Open House.

So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here! And I’ll look forward to getting into more good stuff in future posts so that you can Turn Your House To $OLD!

Feel free to ask me any questions on my facebook page: Turn My House To Sold

I would be very happy to help.