Information for Sellers
like yours, everyday. We know Bungalows and the Nashville housing market better than most and understand what type of buyer is looking for a home like yours. We use this experience and knowledge to create a unique marketing plan that specifically targets the type of buyers that will ultimately purchase your home. If you are curious about selling, give us a call and we will set up an initial consultation with you in your home to view the property, discuss the current market conditions, and devise a plan of action that will achieve your desired end result.
Preparing Your Home
As a seller, you need to understand that purchasing a home is an emotional process for the buyer. A potential buyer is much more likely to purchase a wellpriced home that feels right rather than a bargain home that doesn’t show well. There’s nothing more important than making a great first impression on potential buyers. Below is a list of tips to help you prepare your home so that it makes a great first impression. Remember, a home that shows well is a home that sells well!
Enhance the Curb Appeal
The outside of your house is the first thing a buyers will see, so you want to make sure it is tidy, fresh, and welcoming. Here’s what you can do to help enhance your home’s curb appeal:
- Have your trees trimmed
- Keep garage doors closed
- Clean the gutters
- Store toys and gardening equipment somewhere other than the front yard
- Turn on exterior lights at night and consider accent lighting if your house is in a highertraffic area
- Cut back overgrowth (especially in front of windows)
- Keep the grass wellwatered and mowed (strongly consider hiring a professional lawn service)
- Keep leaves out of the yard and off of the porch
- Remove mold and mildew on the siding, roof, sidewalks and driveway
- Pressure wash dirty driveways, decks, and patios
- Depending on what you can afford, repaint the entire front of house, front door and trim
- Check steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling
- Add some seasonal potted flowers or plants to your front steps or porch
Clean and DeClutter the Interior
It is hard for someone to purchase a home if they can’t actually see it. Buyers will feel much better about a home that looks spacious and clean. Here are some tips that are vitally important to a successful sale:
- DeClutter, DeClutter, DeClutter! If you don’t need it and it doesn’t add any aesthetic appeal to the home, put it in storage or donate it – remember, you’re moving, so you’ll have to start packing at some point, why not start now?
- If you have too much furniture, rent a storage unit and put the excess there
- Keep floors of closets clean and free of boxes and don’t overfill closets with hanging clothes
- Take down personal photos that can be distracting to buyers
- Hire a professional cleaning service to give your house a good scrub and consider having them return once a week to keep your house sparkling while your home is on the market
- Have carpets professionally cleaned (or replace them if necessary)
- Keep kitchen countertops clear and free of clutter
- Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink or dish drainer
- Clean ash out of woodburning fireplaces
Follow Your Nose
Some people have a very keen sense of smell and if your house has bad odors, then you have a problem in need of a solution. A wise mentor once told me, “If you can smell it, you can’t sell it!” Follow these guidelines to help fix problem areas:
- If you have a pet, bathe it
- If you smoke, stop smoking in your house and consider purchasing an air purifier or ionizer and look at repainting the entire interior
- If you have a cat, clean the cat litter box daily
- Do not burn scented candles. Smell is one of the strongest memory triggers and a smell you love may cause a buyer to be emotionally turned off to your home
- Refrain from cooking fish or other strong smelling foods
- Consider dry cleaning your drapes if they are adding an odor to the home
- Add fresh flowers to different rooms in your house
When preparing for these repairs, try to spend as little money as possible. Buyers will be impressed by a brand new roof, but it’s unlikely you will earn back what you spent to put the roof on the house. Make sure you understand the difference between minor polishes/repairs and major renovations. Contact us for further advice on what you should do to prepare your house to sell.
Consider Professional Staging
Professional Home Staging has become a booming business because it works. You’ve probably watched enough HGTV to realize that it truly does make a difference. If you’re selling an empty house, staging it is imperative, but even when your home is furnished, having a stager come in for a consultation or go a step further and bring in some furniture, art, etc., can make all the difference in the world. Contact us for names of stagers we recommend.
Why Use a Realtor
This process generally begins with a determination of a reasonable asking price. Your real estate agent can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms, and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.
The next step is a marketing plan. Often, your agent can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of the property. Marketing includes the exposure of your property to other real estate agents and the public. In many markets across the country, over 50% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. Your agent acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service or other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics requires REALTORS® to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit their clients. Advertising is part of marketing. The choice of media and frequency of advertising depends a lot on the property and specific market. For example, in some areas, newspaper advertising generates phone calls to the real estate office but statistically has minimum effectiveness in selling a specific property. Overexposure of a property in any media may give a buyer the impression the property is distressed or the seller is desperate. Your real estate agent will know when, where and how to advertise your property.
There is a misconception that advertising sells real estate. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® studies show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends and family, and personal contacts.
When the property is marketed with the agent help, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Agents will generally pre-screen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
The negotiation process deals with much the same issues for both buyers and sellers, as noted above under the buying process. Your agent can help you objectively evaluate every buyer’s proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections, and financing — a lot of possible pitfalls. Your agent can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.
Monitoring, Renegotiating and Closing
Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your agent is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing (or settlement).
How Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid?
Real estate agents or brokers are generally paid through the sales commission paid by the seller when a transaction closes. Agents have expenses and financial obligations just like you, so it will be to your mutual benefit if you choose a real estate agent and stick with that person. The agent will respect your loyalty and respond with a sincere commitment to you.
Why A REALTOR®?
All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®. They proudly display the REALTOR “®” logo on the business card or other marketing and sales literature. REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey reports that 84% of home buyers would use the same REALTOR® again.
Using a REALTOR®
You Be the Judge! Real Estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $100,000. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be foolish to consider a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a REALTOR®!
Seller First Steps
In many ways, the selling of your home is similar to the selling of a product. From the moment you make the decision to place your home on the market, you are no longer simply a homeowner and a resident in the property. You must now view yourself as the seller of a unique and valuable commodity. The price of this commodity will be determined in the same way that other products are bought and sold.First, there must be a demand for your property given its condition and price relative to the current marketplace.Second, there must be viable and affordable vehicles for you to advertise your property in.Third, the potential buyers of your property must have easy access to it to allow them to inspect it as they shop for their most suitable choice.Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, you must be willing and able to separate your personal and emotional ties to the home from the property itself.
There is nothing like a good first impression to drive a sale. There is nothing more lasting than a bad first impression.
Begin the process of readying your house for sale by stepping outside and evaluating the property from curbside. Trying to be objective, ask yourself what a newcomer will notice as they drive up to the property. What is the general first impression?
- Has the exterior of the house been well taken care of?
- How does it compare with the other homes in the neighborhood (if applicable)?
- Has the landscaping surrounding the house been maintained?
- Do toys, tools, or trash litter the landscape and detract from the appeal of the house?
Complete your inspection by walking around the house and into the back yard. Remain critical! Keep in mind that you are pretending to wear the shoes of a potential buyer. You are also following a path that will be walked by a home inspector or other individuals hired by the buyer to give professional opinions about the property’s façade and exterior characteristics. Prepare a list of action items that will need attention immediately and that can be completed without undue cost.
Conduct the internal inspection starting at the front door and walking through the house as a buyer might. At each threshold stop and review individual rooms to gain a general first impression. Make a list of action items pertaining to the inside of the house. Things to watch out for include:
- Clutter – Piles of newspapers, magazines, toys and other objects, and even mail distract from the fine points of a room and contribute to making the room seem smaller.
- Poor lighting – Inspect those things that contribute to the brightness of the room. Open curtains and shades, make sure windows sparkle from inside and out, replace burned out light bulbs, and wipe down walls that contain smudges or marks. Good lighting can contribute to a feeling of spaciousness.
- Dirt – It appears in obvious places like heavily trafficked kitchens and baths, and some inconspicuous places that a serious buyer could investigate such as under furniture and appliances, in closets, on windowsills, and inside of cupboards. If your property is in a competitive market, it is strongly recommended that you hire a professional cleaning service to completely clean your house. A clean house gives the impression of being well cared for and offers a subtle assurance to most buyers.
- Too much furniture – This is often a problem when you have occupied a property for a number of years. In some cases, moving furniture from one room to another or removing certain pieces altogether can greatly improve the look and feel of a room.
- Poor decor – Keep an eye out for shabby fabric, colors than clash, or decorations that are so personal that they make the buyer focus on you rather than on your property. Also keep an eye out for empty spaces that could be filled by inexpensive silk flowers or plants, or other decorations that would spruce up the room.
Summary: Make a list of positive and negative features of each room and prepare to maximize the positives. Write down the finer points of the home and provide this information to your Realtor® to be used in creating promotional materials. If you feel that there are major upgrades or changes that must be completed in order for the house to sell seek the advice of a real estate professional to get a second opinion before you invest your money on renovations. Unfortunately, in markets where there are more listings than buyers it is sometimes necessary to complete major repairs even though the cost will not be recouped through the sale of the house. If your goal is to sell, you will
have to do whatever it takes to make sure the house sells. Stay focused on the goal. The process of preparing your house for sale requires a critical eye, an impersonal attitude, and in some cases nominal money. Do it right, and you will be rewarded by a timely sale!
Can I sell my house myself?
Many people believe they can save a considerable amount of money by selling on their own. They look at the average commission on a house, and remember stories of friends or relatives who managed to get through the process with seemingly little trouble. “I’ve seen other people sell their own homes,” they say ” so why can’t I?”
Right now, about 10% of American homeowners handle their own sales. But in order to join the ranks of the successful ones, you need to realistically assess exactly what’s involved. The routine parts of the job involve pricing your house accurately, determining whether or not a buyer is qualified, creating and paying for your own advertising, familiarizing yourself with enough basic real estate regulations to understand and prepare a real estate contract, and coordinating the details of a closing. The greatest downsides are the fact your house is only on the market when you’re home and can show it, and the possibility that a mistake may cost you a lot more than just the money you’re trying to save.
The best reason for working with a real estate professional is the enormous amount of information we have at our disposal information that can help make your house sell faster and easier, and for a higher price. As professionals, we know about market trends, houses in your neighborhood, and the people most likely to buy there. We also know how to reach the largest number of people who may be interested in your house, and are trained in areas like screening potential buyers and negotiating with them as well.
Many “For Sale By Owners” who do sell their house successfully on their own admit that they would never do it again because it was not worth the amount of time and energy they had to put into learning the ins and outs of the marketplace. You may change homes once every 5 years; most good agents will sell over 100 homes in that amount of time. Professionals do professional work because they have their experience and knowledge backing them up. Do the smart thing: hire a professional.
Should I make any major home improvements?
Certain home improvements that are useful to almost everyone have been proven to add value and/or speed the sale of houses. These include adding central air conditioning to the heating system, building a deck or patio, basement finishing, some kitchen remodeling (updating colors on cabinets, countertops, appliances, panels, etc.), and new floor and/or wall coverings, especially in bathrooms. Improvements that return less than what they cost are generally items that appeal to personal tastes, like adding fireplaces, wet bars, and swimming pools, or converting the garage into an extra room.
The challenge that comes with any home improvement designed to help sell your house is recouping your investment. There’s always the risk of over-improving your house — that is, putting more money into it than neighborhood prices will support.
So how much is too much? Professional renovators have found that, no matter how much you improve any given house, you’re unlikely to sell it for more than 15% above the median price of other houses in the neighborhood, whether you do $1,000 worth of work or $50,000. Be sure to ask our opinion about the viability of recouping the cost of any major renovation you have in mind before you start the work.
Should I do the work myself?
If you have the time and talent, do-it-yourself improvements are the most cost-effective way to go. Painting, wallpapering, replacing cracked trim and old plumbing fixtures the difference between work done by a competent amateur and a professional is usually time and money. Just make sure you don’t tackle something you can’t handle this is no time for “on-the-job-training!” If you’re not experienced, it’s well worth calling in a professional.
Larger jobs involving mechanical systems (heating, electrical, plumbing, etc.) or work that must meet local building codes are another story. Even if you or the family handyman know exactly what you’re doing, it’s not a good idea to engage in this type of work unless you’re licensed to do so. Your efforts could make you responsible for more than you realize if something you worked on goes wrong after you sell.
Should we try to avoid being at home when the house is shown?
You should definitely plan to be out of the house during any open house your agent has scheduled; the same goes for first showings to prospective buyers. People often feel uncomfortable speaking candidly and asking questions in front of current owners. You want them to feel as free as possible to picture your house as their “dream home.”
Who does the real estate agent work for?
If I explained a complicated legal scenario to a group of good attorneys and ask them how they would handle it, they would most likely respond with, “It depends…who is my client?” The same goes for real estate agents. Agency determines who your agent represents.
In Tennessee, most homes are sold with two separate agents a listing agent and a buyers (or selling) agent. When you sign an agreement with your agent, they should explain their agency status to you. When listing your property, Abby Norman works as a Designated Agent for the Seller; in other words, Pareto Realty, the brokering firm, designates her as your agent and she is required by law to work for your best interests before anyone else’s and obey all lawful instructions from you.