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