First lets address the picture included in this post. No, it has nothing to do with the post. However, the Thrive Group are a bunch of soccer junkies, so in honor of the best sport in the world (empirically proven), we will be using World Cup pics for this month and next.
Now…on to business…Here are 5 things every seller should do before selling…
1. Put your emotions in a Mason jar in the pantry – after living in your home for years and years, you begin to see your home as an extension of yourself. You’ve laughed there. You’ve cried there. You’ve had marital fights there. You’ve had Christmas there. The scratch on the fridge is from when you were chasing your kid. The nick in the floor is from when your dog dropped his bone. The screen door is bent from when you were moving your bed in, which made you and your friend who was helping you laugh uncontrollably…you can’t remember why, but you do remember that day. But, now it’s time to sell, and nobody else cares about any of that…particularly the buyer. Their mind is in a totally different place. They’re thinking about the new commitment it will take to own your home. They’re thinking about their job security, and whether it’s a wise decision to get a loan in order to buy your home. They’re thinking about their budget. For all of these reasons, they are motivated to get the price down as low as it can possibly be. So, do yourself a favor and pour a glass of wine some night…flip through all your picture albums (or Picasa)…invite that friend over…relive all the memories…retell the stories…honor your time at your home. Then, get up the next morning with your “business hat on” and realize that this is a business transaction.
2. Trust your agent – interview at least 3 agents. They’ll all pump their company and why it’s the best. They’ll all tell you that their company sells more homes than anyone else (which is impossible of course). They’ll show you their marketing plan (which is important). But at the end of the day, you need to choose a Realtor whom you feel that you trust. In the heat of negotiations, when it really matters, when stress levels are high you want to be working with someone who, when you fall asleep at night, you’re thinking, “She will do what’s best for me…she will guide me through this”. Trust trumps marketing, photography, the company they’re with, how big the sign is, and even how uncool their business card is. If you don’t listen to and trust your agent, then you’re better off just doing a For Sale By Owner.
3. Hire a staging consultant – many times full blown staging is not an option because of the cost involved. However, staging consultation is much, much cheaper (a couple hundred). Staging consultants will visit your home for about an hour and have you give them a tour. Then, they’ll make immediate suggestions as to what you need to do in order to make your most saleable. The statistics prove, inarguably, that staging will net you a higher dollar amount and in less time than without it. Lastly, when the staging consultant makes suggestions, DO THEM. Do not argue, do not challenge, do not disagree. Follow Nike, just do it. Remember, they help sell homes for a living, you just live there.
4. Know your costs – too many sellers focus on what they are going to have to pay their agent. That is indeed a consideration, however, it is not the only consideration. There are many costs involved in selling a home including (but not limited to) pro-rated taxes, title insurance, transfer fees, HOA document orders, payoff fees, interest payments, settlement fee, transaction fee, water escrow fees and more. Have your agent (or a title company if you haven’t picked an agent yet) guide you through the process of figuring out all the costs of selling, ask them for a “Net Sheet”. You’ll achieve a more realistic picture of what you will be able to put in your pocket at closing, which is what you really care about.
5. Have your friends beat you up – After living in a home for a number of years, you just begin to ignore things. The floors that need to be refinished. The smudges on the door. The dirty fingerprints on the light switches. The scratched-to-hell doggy door. The weeds around the garbage cans. You start to not see any of it, because it’s just too familiar. And that’s totally natural. So have a few friends that you really trust tell you what they think of your home. Invite them over and explain that you want to get top dollar for your home without spending thousands of dollars in remodel costs (unless they all tell you that you need to spend thousands of dollars in remodel!!!). Choose friends who have great homes, and which are well kept. Tell them you really want their honesty. LISTEN to what they say. Don’t think “oh nobody cares about that”. Chances are, if your friend who lives in a “well kept nice home” notices it, a buyer will DEFINITELY notice it.