Tips for Selling Your House
These past few weeks have been such a whirlwind in our house! About three weeks ago we decided to have a realtor look at our bathrooms to see if we should do anymore updating before trying to sell our house. We were planning to move this fall after baby #2 arrives, but wanted to get any work done before the due date. So, she came over and looked and suggested we try and list it without any more up dates and just see.
So we spend a week de-cluttering, patching nail holes, and getting the house ready to “show.” We put it on the market on a Friday and there were folks lined up to check it out. What a blessing! By Tuesday we had multiple offers and by Thursday we were under contract, OVER list price. We still have a few months until closing which is awesome because we don’t have anywhere to go yet. We are house shopping and know where we want to move, but are still looking for the right house! Hopefully, we find it soon :) I think we really lucked out because we bought in 2010 when the market was near the bottom and now the market is on the rise, but the inventory is still low. SOOOO much about buying/selling has to be timing! So while I am NO expert, I thought I’d share a few tips that I think helped to sell our house, QUICK!
Declutter. I’m sure you’ve hear this before, but decluttering your house is paramount. If you are like us, you might not even realize how cluttered your house is until you start to put things in storage (or the attic). It’s amazing what clearing off counters and shelves will do; we also put about half of Chickadee’s toys away. She didn’t seem to mind :) In the bathroom we completely cleared off the counters, in the kitchen we cleared off everything except for the mixer, our Keurig, and knives (for the pictures) and then tried to keep anything else on the counters to a minimum. We didn’t do this, but if you have the extra space it’s also a good idea to clean out your closets a little bit. I read about 1/3 of your clothes should go elsewhere to make your closets look roomier. Basically, you want your buyers to see what your house can be, how much storage there is, what it would look like with their furniture. When you declutter the rooms look larger and cleaner and have more potential.
It’s best to remove any over personal items from your house (I feel like this mostly pertains to photos). I didn’t understand this one at first. However our realtor said that when potential buyers walk through our house and see our personal pictures they start to think more about us living here and our lives than what their lives could be like. You want buyers to imagine themselves in your house, so neutralize it and depersonalize. I kept picture frames up, but filled them with scrapbook paper that matched the rooms decor. If you are going all out you can also cover up/replace any crazy design choices you made like bright accent walls or bold pattern curtains.
You want your buyers to feel at home when they walk in your house. A few tips for making your home inviting is to light a candle leading up to the show time to make your house smell divine. Bright flowers and a bowl of fresh fruit also make your home feel welcoming. Also, one thing we had to consider was our sweet, but massive, golden retriever Max. During each showing we packed him up with the rest of us to leave the house. Pets can be distracting (even crated) when buyers are looking at your home. You also want to make sure your house doesn’t smell like your pet. The candle or air fresheners will help!
We weren’t up for a massive overhaul of the bathrooms before we listed our house, but there were some small quick fixes we made sure to tackle before our home hit the market. These are the things you probably look past on a daily basis but it might stick out to buyers. For example, door trim that needs freshening up, nail holes, tub grout that needs replacing or light bulbs that have burned out. It is even helpful to have your realtor or a friend give your house an honest once over. They might spot some quick fixes that you missed. Also if you are up for it, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way!
The outside of your house is the buyer’s first impression. It’s IMPORTANT. Make sure your grass it cut, cobwebs brushed away, bushes are trimmed and maybe even put out a new welcome mat or wreath on the door. Make sure porches and decks have been swept and maybe even add some potted plants!
This is probably another no brainer, but try and keep your house as clean as possible while it is on the market. Sweep, wipe down counters, vacuum before you go to bed. I also spruced up our stainless steal appliances to give them a nice shine and took some Orange Glow to our hardwoods to make them look their best! Another easy way to spruce up the bathroom is using this homemade grout cleaner. I found that if I would clean as we went each day, this process wasn’t too overwhelming.
Both in photo taking and when you are leaving your house for a showing make sure there is a lot of natural light! Open and raise the blinds (make sure your windows are clean). Pull back the curtains. Natural light works wonders!
Photos are important because a lot of the time this is what will get the buyer to your home. In the world of technology most potential buyers will have checked out your listing online before showing up to your house. The pictures don’t have to be Better Homes & Garden quality but they do need to be attractive and bright. Don’t underestimate the power in great pictures. Raise the blinds and let in a lot of natural light, turn on your lights, and shoot from several angles until you find the right one!
When you list your house could be the key to selling quickly. Right now (February 2015) is a great time to list because the market is on the rise and right now the inventory is low, so houses are in high demand. If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of school age children and young families April is probably a better time to list because folks will be looking for closing/moving dates in the summer to coincide with the school year. Your realtor will have a lot of information on this so talk with them and decide when is the prime time for your house to go on the market.
Resist the urge to overprice your home by a large margin, this will keep a lot of potential buyers from even walking through the front door. This is a hard one because you are so personally attached to your home and probably value it more than those looking to buy it from you. Look at homes in your area or neighborhood that are similar in size and features and use those as comparables when pricing your house. You can also hire an appraiser if you would like for an outside person to give you their opinion on what your home is worth. I think the first few weeks if the best time to get a feel for how potential buyers feel about your home. If it is still on the market a month later you may be forced to lower the price and this sometimes makes buyers wonder if there is something wrong with your home. We felt like we priced our home just right. Because of the inventory being low our neighborhood was in high demand and potential buyers were okay with offering a little over the list price because they felt the price we listed it at was fair.
Hopefully, these tips will help your sell your house fast and with less anxiety! I know it all seems like a lot of work, buy I think the payoff will be worth it! GOOD LUCK
Oh, and since we had to take new pictures for the listing, I thought I would update our house photos on the blog! So jump on over to the home tour page to take a look!
16 thoughts on “Tips for Selling Your House”
This will be my first time on selling a house and I’m thinking on what I could do to make my upcoming open-house a success. I agree that we have to take away all the personal things during an open-house, to make everything professional and also to not make it uncomfortable for the buyers. Thanks for the tip!
Theodore recently posted…Relocating to the Big City
Yes! We just bought our first house in January and the cleaning and the decent photos were ESPECIALLY important. It was amazing how many pictures of kitchens I saw that were just covered in dirty dishes and general filth. My thought process was basically, “If you can’t take care of the obvious stuff in your house long enough to snap a picture, you probably didn’t take care of anything else.” And I don’t want to pay a bunch to fix things that could have been prevented through basic maintenance.
Great post! :)
I hadn’t thought about listing your house at the end of the school year. That’s a genius idea because, as you said, a lot of people try to put off moving until their kids are done with the school year. While there will always be people moving during other times of the year, putting your house up for sale around April is a great way to snag a large demographic’s interest. Thanks for the article!
Wonderful post! Great tips! With the houses we’ve sold, these are totally the same steps we followed and have had great success as well!
Wow, that was fast! Wonderful tips! Thanks for sharing them here, I’m moving abroad and was worrying about everything, but now I’m more confident!
Excellent article! YES! These are all very true. Ours sold so freaking fast in June 2013 in the PNW. We worked our booties off decluttering and boxing stuff up, purging our crap and slowly, over a year we used a storage unit. We lucked out with an amazing agent. She was excited. and I think it really knocked her socks off when we did the last of the decluttering and it was a blank slate. FYI- all that decluttering makes it a tiny bit easier to keep clean. Our story is we actually had a full price offer the day after it went on the market! Had a contract and then the interest rates jumped and it knocked our buyer out. It sucked for us- but probably more devastating for the buyer. But within 2 weeks we had another buyer and it was a done deal. Took 3 months to close because one of the buyers had just switched jobs or something like that. Declutter- do it. De-personalize- think of it as Pre-packing! I know not everyone can do a full paint job- but most of our interior was some kind of white and we had it repainted and freshened up. It was AMAZING how it changed it up. It was bittersweet as over the years we had redone the kitchen, the bathroom, crown in the master and then this repainting and it looked amazing. I still say the de-clutter is what sold it.
Thanks for sharing all of these tips! I had no idea that a first impression could make such a difference! The outside walls of my home is in pretty good shape, but I’ll make sure that it looks good, especially if it’ll affect my home value. I want to get my house sold at a good price as quickly as possible!
Good Luck selling your home!!
When to list your house also depends on the region. Here in the northeast, winter isn’t going to show your house at its best – we tried last year. Also, we have neighbors that have let their yard totally go, and we are waiting until leaves return to the trees.
Curb appeal is definitely important!
Great post for me since I am in the middle of preparing my house for sale. I also was told by my real estate agent if I added some basic landscaping that too would bring the value up and help sell faster. We will see in the next couple of months. Thanks for sharing
Donna @ Dazzled Ideas recently posted…10 Crafts To Make And Sell
Those are great tips, LB! We bought a short sale when the market was high so hopefully in a few years, I’ll use your tips to sell our house quick!
keri @ shaken together recently posted…Easy Rolled Muslin Roses
We almost did a short sale when buying our current house! Definitely a great way to make a profit down the road :)
Thanks for the tips! Great ideas!
Angie @ CCC recently posted…Mason Jar Pallet Art
Wahoo!!! Congrats! We had almost the exact thing happen to us when we sold our old house four year ago and it was THRILLING!!! I loved your tips and I can’t wait to see the new place that you find to call home!
Courtenay @ The Creek Line House recently posted…Grey and White Cottage Dining Room: How to Love Your Ugly Dining Room!
Thanks friend! We are so grateful selling was a quick and profitable process! Now, we just pray the next house is out there ready for us to make our mark on it :) Yay for more projects!