Tamara Schuster ~ Broker
Chicagoland Real Estate Agent

Chicagoland Certified Relocation Specialist

Chicagoland Real Estate Agent
Naperville Top Producer
Chicagoland & Western Suburbs Email:Tamara@BrokerOfNaperville.com

Here are some tips if you are thinking of selling by owner.

 Step 1:  Getting the Home Show Ready

Your Home's first impression is always important--you know what they say--"You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a 1st Impression" --the same goes for your home. Getting your home into top showing condition is one of the most important things you need to do before starting to market your home. 

The first thing to consider in getting your home ready to sell is the curb appeal.  Make sure the home is visible so  buyers will have a favorable impression when they drive by the home.  The next step is crucial before starting to show your home: Make your home bright, inviting, uncluttered, and SPOTLESS!

Pack up the clutter and items seldom used. Pack up all family pictures, personal items etc. (Your moving anyway right?) Prospective buyers need to imagine their personal items in the home NOT YOURS!  Paint and clean carpets as needed, then CLEAN-CLEAN-CLEAN  paying special especially attention to the kitchens and the bathrooms.

 

Real Estate Article:  Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

"Get ready to move - start packing"

Here are some tips for you while getting your home ready to sell. After completing these, we will be ahead of the game 

Inside:

     *Clear all unnecessary object from furniture throughout the                    house.   

      *Clear all unnecessary objects from kitchen countertops. Clear             the front of the refrigerator i.e.: messages, pictures, etc. 

       *In the bathroom, remove all but necessary items from                        countertops, tubs, shower stalls, and commode tops. Keep only          needed items. Bathrooms need to be staged too--invest in some        luxurious well coordinated towels. 

      *Rearrange or remove some furniture. Less is more. Many times            we have too much furniture in a room. This is great for our own          living space, but when it comes to selling, we need to thin out             much as possible to make rooms appear larger.  

      *Take down, or rearrange certain pictures or objects on walls.              Patch and paint if necessary.

       *Check heating, air conditioning, and other systems of the                  house.  If you're unsure of their condition, offer a home warranty         on your house.  

      *Don't worry too much about the garage now, save that job for             later. in the process when everything else has been finished.  

      *Leave on lights in dark areas when you aren't going to be home.        When you know there is going to be a showing, turn on all                 lights and lamps

       *Have soft music playing for all showings.  

        *Go thru the house room by room with a "fine tooth comb" and:  

            a) Paint/patch/touch up any rooms that require it.  

            b) Clean carpets or drapes that require it.  

            c) Clean windows--inside and out including sills and doors.  

            d) Rearrange and thin out all closets.

            e) Clean-Clean-CLEAN!!

Outside:   

     Go around the perimeter of the house and move all garbage cans       to discreet location, remove any/all debris etc.  

  1. Check gutters and/or roof. Make sure they are clean of debris, removing leaves from gutters.  If wood condition is questionable, have a professional roofing inspector check it out.  
  2. Look at all plants...prune bushes and trees. Keep plants from blocking windows. You can't sell a house if you can't see it.   
  3. Weed all planting areas.  Keep lawn freshly cut, fertilized, and watered. Remove any dead plants or shrubs.  
  4. Clear patios and decks of all small items, such as small unused planters, flower pots, charcoal, barbecues, toys, etc.  
  5. Check the exterior paint condition--especially the front door and trim. Curb appeal and the lack thereof will make or break a sale!

 Try to look at your house "through the buyer's eyes" as though you've never seen before. Any time, labor, or money spent on these items bring you back much more money in return, and hopefully a faster sale.  

 

Step 2:  Setting a Price

Setting the right price for your home is CRITICAL.  Despite what some new national web sites are trying to make the public think, pricing a home to sell is an art, not a science.  These websites tell you that you can instantly find out your home's value.  The newest one has been known to be $10,000 to $80,000 above or below the actual home value....and some times worse.  In some areas, it has no information at all.  Why would anyone want to depend on these sites for pricing their most expensive possession, their home?

There are other sites that will tell you to compare your home to other homes on the market and then keep checking on them to see if the price changes.  Be careful, those are homes that haven't sold! 

There is even one site that encourages you, a FSBO (For Sale By Owner) to take advantage of real estate professionals and have them come out and give you a free Market Analysis.  Would you want someone to use your professional experience and not pay you?  That's what this site is encouraging.  More importantly, if you just pick up the phone and call someone, you don't have a clue about how much experience they've had in pricing homes to sell!

So how can you determine the right listing price to ask for your home? You may want to hire a local appraiser to complete a Fee Appraisal. They will check the recent sales to find a minimum of 3 homes similar and close to yours that have sold within the last 6 months.  They will then compare your home to those homes and make necessary adjustments. There are also real estate professionals who know how to use the same techniques that appraisers use.  But REMEMBER-- not all real estate professionals understand how to accurately value a home. Those who do know, will usually do a Market Analysis on a home that they have a chance of listing (Check Out "How Much is My Home Worth" I, myself, will prepare--FREE of Charge--a market value range of your property  for you and meet with you in person.

 

   Pricing of Your Home

When pricing your home for sale, proper initial pricing is very important.  I will show you a Right Price Analysis on your home and we will talk about the current real estate market conditions.  But you may not agree...

You may be thinking :

BUT I need to leave plenty of room for negotiation.  Although low offers do occur, prospective buyers are usually just trying to find your bottom line.  All you need to do is counter-offer.  Tight negotiation. 

BUT I can always come down. Often when a seller starts out high,  statistic show they end up selling the home at a much lower price than they would have sold it for if it had been priced right initially.  And it takes MUCH  longer!  

BUT we've been getting showings. When buyers and their agents look at listings that are priced too high, they compare it against homes that are priced right and usually purchase the other home. Actually, there are always homes on the market that have been listed too high and FSBOs that have priced their home too high---this makes selling properly priced homes EASIER to sell! 

BUT what about all of our improvements. I'm sure you've seen all the articles on how much various home improvements add to the value of your home.  That's at best--and they depreciate over time! Adding the cost of all the improvements without adjusting for depreciation, your home can often take the price way over market value for your area/neighborhood.  Even if you get your price, the home might not appraise if the sales in the area do not support the value.  

BUT I'm negotiable; they can always make an offer.  Buyers know everything is negotiable, but will only look in the price range where they are comfortable and have been pre-qualified for by their lender. If the home price is out of line, the buyers will tend to think the sellers are unrealistic; Why Bother?  Although they will look a little higher if nothing is available, there are usually a lot of homes on the market at any given time.  In general, the higher the price, the fewer potential buyers there are.  

BUT can't we try it for a few weeks? Sure, but you might miss potential prospects.  Real Estate Professionals and buyers will notice your home and think; Boy, that one's overpriced they must be crazy!They'll keep that opinion for the life of the listing - even after you lower the price.  Those few weeks can be fatal!  They can be make or break.

 

Step 3:  Finding Your Target Market

Before you can start the marketing on your home, you need to figure out who the best buyer for your home would be. 

The price range of your home or the size of the home may tell you who your best buyer would be.  For example:

Lower price homes         Target: First time buyers

Higher priced home        Target: Move-up buyers

Larger homes                Target: Move-up buyers

Smaller homes              Target: First time buyers or empty nest buyers

Condos                          Target: First time buyers or retired/senior buyers

Economic conditions in your area can help you decide if your target might also be a relocating buyer.

Physical characteristics of the home might also help you determine the target buyer.

 

This should give you some idea of figuring out which features of your home can be converted into benefits and for which group of buyers.  You'll use that information as you work on your marketing plan.

 

 

Step 4:  Developing a Marketing Plan

Once you have determined your target market, it's time to develop your marketing plan.  You know who your target market is and you need to determine how to find those potential buyers--ASAP.

The internet is now THE place where 90% buyers start their home search, so getting the information of your home on the internet is of utmost importance.  Include many pictures, and if at all possible, a virtual tour or slide show of the home--be careful "give away the farm" or use unflattering pictures(we still want them to come out in person).

Buyers often drive around the areas they want to live in to see if any new homes are on the market, so you need to be sure to have a visible sign in your yard.  You may even want to have a flyer on the home in a "brochure box" on or near the sign.

Newspaper or print ads can be costly, but FSBOs cannot afford to miss any avenue of marketing available to them.

If you decide to hold an open house, be very careful.  Make sure there is more than one adult in the home and have the children in the family somewhere else.  No amount of money from your home sale is worth risking your personal safety. Be careful.

 

Step 5:  Disclosures

 

The days of "buyers beware" are long gone.  To avoid problems later, you should disclose everything you know about your home.  Here are some of the disclosures you need to think about:

Environmental Hazards:

Lead based paint(If your home was built before 1978, Federal laws state that you need to give your buyers a booklet about lead based paint and disclose what you know about the presence of lead based paint in the home and about any inspections that have been done for the presence of lead based paint.

Mold, Asbestos, Radon, or other chemical wastes, Abandoned oil wells on property, as well as any other environmental issues you might know about.

Defects in the Home:

This would include the roof (and how old it is), the structure, the electrical and plumbing systems, the heating and cooling systems and other defects you may be aware of.

Zoning and Survey Issues:

Is the zoning proper for the use of the property.  Are there any problems that might show up on a survey?  (encroachments, easements, etc.)

Flood History

Has the home ever been flooded either by natural flooding, plumbing leaks or sewer back ups?

This is not a comprehensive list of things you should disclose to a potential buyer, but rather a list to get you started thinking about things you know about the home.

 

Step 6 of Selling a Home:  Fielding Calls From Prospective Buyers

Once you have started marketing your home, you should start getting calls from prospective buyers.  Handling these calls properly could be the difference in whether or not the prospect will come out to look at your home.

When buyer prospects are calling off of ads or signs, they are seeking to eliminate homes that don't meet their criteria.  That's why it's important to answer their questions, ask them questions.....but to never try to "sell" them the home.  That will send them "running"!

Over the years, I've discovered that buyers who are afraid they won't qualify for a loan will call a By Owner Seller rather than call a real estate company.  You'll know it's "one of them" when they ask if you will do financing.  Just a word of warning.

 

                                                                            Condition Checklist

Curb Appeal

Bedrooms

__

Neatly mowed and edged Lawn

__

Make all beds

__

Shrubs trimmed

__

Clean out closets

__

Can you see the house?

__

Excess furniture removed

__

Is your front door area clean & freshly painted?

__

Children's play areas - store extra toys

__

Condition of driveway(patch &/or sealcoat as needed)

__

Keep laundry chores up daily

__

Get rid of oil stains on driveway

__

Bedspreads - use basic colors & patterns-luxury linens in master bedroom

__

Is there any peeling paint?

__

General decor - remove distracting posters, etc.

Other Exterior

Kitchen

__

Torn screens replaced/rescreened

__

Sink free of stains

__

Exterior lights clean + operating

__

Scrub and wax floors

__

Do all windows work?

__

No dripping faucets

__

Is all fencing secured?

__

Remove personal papers

__

Replace dead shrubs

__

Refrigerator/freezer cleaned + defrosted

__

Prune dead branches from trees

__

Pantry neatly arranged

__

Clean out gutters, paint if needed

__

Wash walls and cabinets

__

Windows washed inside & out

__

Appliances in working order

__

Any cracked window panes replaced

__

Magnets, etc. off refrigerator

__

Freshen up mulch in landscaping areas

__

Clear away extra appliances, etc

__

Extra vehicles - remove from curb view

__

Keep trash taken out and area deodorized

__

Pet areas - clean up, re-sod spots as needed

__

Cabinets- remove & pack extra dishes, etc.

Entry

Laundry Area

__

Doorbell operating

__

Keep it clean

__

Lights operating

__

Arrange supplies to suggest ease of use

General Interior

Decorative Ideas

__

Hinges oiled

__

Decorate patio area

__

Replace filters

__

Put new logs in fireplace

__

Paint or touch up

__

Open book on nightstand

__

Windows washed

__

Put out special towels

__

Water stains repaired + covered

__

Re-arrange furniture to show well

__

Curtains washed, ironed etc.

__

Set dining room table w/ flowers & linens

__

Carpets cleaned or replaced

__

Add scented soaps or candles in bathrooms

__

 Do all light switches work?  Clean all light fixtures and lamps. Replace all bulbs w/the max wattage.

__

 Arrange decorative pillows or shams on bed

__

Wallpaper repaired or removed

__

Re-arrange pictures too highlight special areas

__

Repair ceiling and wall cracks

__

Large plant, wreath or new doormat at entrance.

__

Hardwood floors - clean & shine

__

Keep decorative objects on furniture restricted to groups of 1,3, or 5 items

__

Woodwork painted or touched up

 __

 Plug in neutral air fresheners

__

Remove extra or unhealthy plants

 

 

Living Areas

Bathrooms

__

Clean fireplace

__

Floors cleaned

__

Excess hobby supplies packed up

__

Guest towels out

__

Arrange games in play areas

__

Missing tiles replaced

__

Neatly display a project in work or hobby area

__

Leaky faucets repaired

__

Remove papers from coffee tables & end tables

__

Grouting stains removed

__

Take down decorative items that are too personalized

__

Sink, tub and shower stains removed

Garage

__

Re-grout as needed

__

Straighten up tools

__

New shower curtain

__

Make room for cars

__

All fixtures operating

__

Sweep floor, clean any grease spots

 

 

Before You Leave for a Showing(or leave for the day)  

__

Make beds

__

Dishes put away

__

Open drapes and blinds

__

Double check entry way

__

Turn on a soft FM station

__

Empty wastebaskets + garbage

__

Countertops wiped down

__

Final check every room

__

Turn on lights in dark areas

__

Bathrooms cleaned +straightened up

__

Turn off TVs and loud stereos

__

If possible, get pets out of house

__

Make sure rugs are clean and straight

__

Leave feature sheets out.

__

Do a "once over"" cleaning - vacuum, sweep & dust

 

 


--
Tamara Schuster
3rd Generation Broker
Prudential Elite Naperville
www.BrokerTamara.com
630.886.9596