By Stephanie Andre
RISMEDIA, August 23, 2010—Since the housing boom ended and the market began to shift, the phrase “going back to basics” has been tossed around quite frequently. From the way agents handle their business to the way they communicate with clients, the phrase has gotten quite the workout.
But what about consumers? They were caught up in the housing boom as well…with homes selling in a day, sometimes a few hours. Getting back to basics seems like something simple that sellers should look at as well. It might just mean the difference between selling within a month and selling within a year.
Here are some basic tips from State Farm on selling a home:
Set your price carefully
Too high and buyers may not consider it, too low and you’re selling yourself short. Agents often give a free home market analysis if you ask. This gives you an idea of how your home compares financially with similar, recently sold homes in your area. The analysis may also include how much you might expect to earn after closing.
Don’t do major remodeling
Don’t break the bank preparing your home for sale. Pricey items such as a new roof may be big hits with buyers, but rarely does the buying price end up covering the payout for such costly home improvements. When possible, stick with the simpler (and less expensive) options rather than major remodeling.
Make a good first impression
Curb appeal is important. Keep your lawn and other landscaping neatly trimmed, weeded and watered. Check the exterior of your home for signs of wear and damage, such as peeling paint, foundation cracks or loose shingles, and fix what is needed. Clean the outside of the house, including windows. Many people suggest giving the front door a fresh coat of paint for that warm, welcome feeling. In addition, adding a few flowers in the spring and summer, or keeping the walks cleared of leaves and snow in the fall and winter can be inviting to potential buyers.
The obvious seller’s commandment: thou shalt clean. Remove all clutter from every room, including closets. Organize your basement and attic. Have a garage sale with all the stuff you don’t want to move to your next home! Wipe down and paint walls and trim if necessary. Many people advocate repainting with a neutral color palette to appeal to a wider range of potential buyers. Clean all windows, light fixtures and ceiling fans. Bathrooms should always be squeaky clean. Inspect and make any necessary repairs to the plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical systems. Highlight the bath and kitchen by selecting some attractive new towels, curtains or cabinetry knobs.
And keep it clean
Maintain the new and improved interior and exterior of your home until you successfully sell. It’s hard, but it’s necessary. A professional cleaning service may be able to help maintain the new clean look with occasional visits.
Light it up
When showing your house, provide plenty of light and make your home a warm, welcoming place. Open the curtains to let in the sunshine. In the event of an evening showing, make sure you have ample lighting available in all areas. Fresh cut flowers make a nice addition, and a pleasantly scented house is very inviting.
Many agents and potential buyers would prefer that the seller not be present during a showing, to avoid limiting the buyers’ conversation or making them uncomfortable. Children and pets should also be absent or out of the buyers’ way during a showing, if at all possible.