Tips to Sell Your House Fast!

Mar 3, 2010 | No Responses

Barbara Corcoran, real estate guru frequently seen on the Today Show shares some “secrets” for selling your home at Oprah.com. Ms Corcoran took $1,000 and formed The Corcoran Group which she parlayed into a 5 billion dollar real estate business.

So, when Barbara talks real estate, anyone interested in the market should listen. Her best advice? PRICE IT RIGHT. One of the biggest problems in the real estate market is unrealistic expectations of not only what a property is worth but also what the market will bear.

You can do some research yourself such as attend open houses of similar homes to get an idea of values and you can ask several real estate agents in your area to perform a comparative market analysis. BEWARE any agent whose price opinion is largely higher or lower than the others.

What Barbara says is to ask for an opinion based on a 30 day sell time.

“Even the best brokers feel pressured to flatter the seller when asked to price a home, but the truth is the broker who gives the lowest price is always right.”

“Price your home 10 to 15 percent lower than the number you get. I know, I know, you think I’m crazy. I’m not. Don’t ever be afraid of underpricing your home, because market forces always correct an underpriced property. It’s called a bidding war, and you’ll be smiling when it starts.”

The old adage, “you can always drop the price but you can’t go up” is first, untrue and second irrelevant in today’s market. The fact is the longer your property languishes on the market, the less you’ll be able to get for it as it will become a stigmatized and stale listing.

Some other tips to set your house above the rest:

CLEAN

This may seem like a no-brainer but scrub the house clean and get rid of all odors! That means keeping that litter box clean and NO SMOKING in the house. You will eliminate roughly half your potential buyers with smoke residue. Smokers don’t notice the odor but non-smokers are totally put off. If someone has been smoking in the house, you will need to clean all surfaces and wait until you see the brown nicotine residue clinging to every surface, yuk!

Wash all curtains, window treatments and bedding and you will need to repaint all walls and ceilings. PLEASE, PLEASE forget about your “style” and paint in light, neutral colors! Once the house is clean, keep a container of upholstery deodorizer and an odor eliminating air spray to freshen the house before a showing, but use sparingly.

PACK

You love your collection of teapots and the stuffed deer heads in the den are a testament to the outdoorsy prowess of your family but if you want to sell your house all that stuff you have accumulated over the years could be a deal breaker. Why? Because these things personalize it as “your space” and most buyers can’t see beyond that to imagine it being their space.

Also, your cherished collections (CLUTTER) can make rooms seem smaller and generally distract the buyers from looking at the property to critiquing your decorating choices.

Time to think about YOUR home as THE HOUSE and start de-personalizing the space by packing everything but essentials. Leave enough furniture to be functional and a little wall art but everything else must go. Renting a storage unit for a few months will be a worthwhile investment.

LET THE LIGHT SHINE

Nothing says dungeon like dark rooms with bad lighting and heavy window treatments. Most buyers love light and your house shows better so check all lamps and fixtures and replace burnt out bulbs. If safe for the fixture, go up in wattage to help brighten the space, or add a couple of lamps – those floor lamps that direct light up are an inexpensive solution to brightening a room.

Remove heavy window coverings and replace them with sheer curtains or none at all on windows you can leave exposed. And, above all, clean all windows inside and out!

CURB APPEAL

Even if the snow is piled four feet high, there are still things you can do to increase the curb appeal of your home. The most important thing is that your house looks cared for and well maintained. If safe, clean out the gutters of all those leaves that fell last autumn or hire a pro to do it. If you have a porch, clean all things off of it you aren’t using and put these in storage. Hang a festive wreath on the front door. Again, make sure out door lights are in working order.

Once Spring arrives, trim the bushes, mulch around trees and plants and get some flowers in as soon as possible. You can get a jump start by using planters that can be sheltered at night and put out during the day.

NOW, STEP BACK

Walk down the street and approach your house, looking at it as a potential buyer. Try to remove yourself from the equation and look with a critical eye – what attracts you, what stands out, both in a positive and a negative way. Enter your house through the front door (if it is difficult to open or the hinges creak, get it fixed!) and just imagine yourself shopping for a new home. Again look for what attracts you and what doesn’t.

HIRE A REALTOR

So many times I hear people complaining about what real estate agents earn in commissions. A common complaint, “What do they do for that money? I can put a sign in my yard and talk to people!”

My first reaction is that these people have had a bad experience with a less than stellar agent. Like any industry, there are those who are good at it and those who are terrible. So how do you decide which is which? Talk to friends and family that have recently sold a home or made a purchase. They are usually the best source for recommendations. Invite at least three agents to view your home, give you a price opinion and present their ideas for marketing. Pay attention to whether they are providing you with details and seem to have a clear plan formulated. A red flag should be anyone who is vague with details and seems unsure of their pricing. Make sure they have data to back up their claims.

Some of things real estate companies and their agents should be doing for you is providing a market analysis of your property and their marketing plan for your property. Look for a company that at least advertises in the local real estate guide and maintains a website. Having a REALTOR that belongs to the local MLS (multiple listing service) gets your property more exposure as most groups have cooperative agreements allowing other agents from other brokerages to show and sell your property.

The amount of exposure for your home and the marketing techniques employed by an experienced, competent real estate agent will more than make up for that commission you are paying in optimizing both your selling price and length of marketing time.

Bottom line: You CAN sell you house even in this sluggish market if you make smart decisions and a good real estate agent can help you do that.

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