Selling a home involves a lot of moving parts as well as questions. When’s the best time to sell? How much is too much to list it for? What are buyers expecting?
While all of this may seem daunting, there are some steps you can take to optimize the sale of your home and make the process a whole lot easier.
Work With the Right Agent
Picking a real estate agent requires knowing what you want from your sale and what your home needs. So often, we’re quick to pick someone based on a name or a recommendation. But it’s important that your agents have experience selling homes like yours.
If you live on the waterfront, you need an agent who knows the waterfront market front and back (after all, “waterfront” and “water adjacent” are not the same!). If you own a luxury home, you need someone who knows what luxury buyers want these days — from large master bedrooms to modern appliances to home gyms. Find the right agent, and the rest will feel a lot easier.
Know Your Home and Your Area
Selling a home requires a good amount of research about the market — the best time of year to sell, the listing prices of comparable properties, etc. If people in your area tend to sell in January, let’s say, that means more competition. If you sell outside of the busy season, your home may stand out more. These are all things to discuss with your agent.
You’ll also need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your home in order to price it accurately. Yes, your home has a special place in your heart, but you need to distance yourself from the emotions behind it and look at your home like an objective observer. Is the house itself beautiful but located in a less-than-ideal location? Or is the location superb but the house in need of work? Choose a listing price that’s accurate, competitive, and right for your future buying goals.
Know Your Plan
Typically, sellers sell their homes either with the intent of buying a new one or with a new one already in the pipeline. People either sell then buy, buy then sell, or buy and sell at the same time. None of these approaches are foolproof, but you’re definitely wise to determine which works best for you.
If you haven’t yet decided what you want in your next home, don’t rush to sell. The reverse is also true — don’t buy an unrealistic home before you’ve even sold your last one. Work with your agent to determine a reasonable timeline for all parts of your selling journey.
Buyers judge books by their covers — after all, they want to buy a house that looks good on the outside! This is why it’s so important to have professional photos taken of your property. A professional photoshoot can range anywhere from $120-$200/hour, but the ROI is well worth the price.
You’ll want to shoot on a sunny day and capture the house’s best lighting. If you live on the water, make sure to get some sunset photos since waterfront buyers often envision themselves watching the sunset from the comfort of their homes.
You’ll also want to capture the most important rooms of the house: the kitchen, bathrooms, and master bedroom. Try to capture these rooms in a way that gives a sense of the floorplan. A picture’s worth a thousand words!
With so much happening online these days, a lot of buyers want the option to tour your home virtually. That doesn’t mean taking a quick video on your smartphone. A good 3-D tour provides crisp, high-quality footage that really puts your home in its best light. Some photographers may even use a drone, especially if your property has outdoor features (waterfront, a pool, etc.).
If you decide to stage a video tour, make sure your home is sparkling clean and staged to perfection (see below). Plan your shoot extensively before filming to make sure the footage you capture is enticing enough to attract visitors.
Stage, stage, stage!
Staging is a must in today’s real estate market. You want potential buyers to walk into your home and immediately be able to envision themselves living there. Whether you work with an expert or treat staging as a DIY project, you’ll need to start by decluttering your home — both inside and out.
When it comes to landscaping, be sure to eliminate any weeds or debris. If you have a relatively robust garden or landscape design, simply maintain it by trimming the hedges and grass, etc. If your home is pretty devoid of landscaping touches, consider heading to your local garden center for advice. They’ll work with your budget to help you find a few accents to spruce up your landscaping.
When it comes to the home’s interior, you’ll need to spend time getting rid of true clutter. Throw away excess papers or magazines and donate or sell items you won’t need. Facebook Marketplace and Offer Up are two easy ways to sell items. If you have a lot of family photos or children’s artwork and report cards hanging around the house, tuck them away for your new space. The same goes for children’s toys and pet paraphernalia. You want buyers to step into your home and see a neutral, calming space.
If your home needs a few upgrades, don’t fear! Even little changes can make a big difference. Start by painting your rooms neutral colors, like beiges and off-whites. Freshly painted walls and crown moldings will make the spaces look bigger and brighter. If your kitchen needs upgrading, consider sanding your cabinets and painting them a dark color, like forest green or navy. (Dark kitchens are having a moment.) Be sure to highlight your home’s best features. If you have great views and/or lots of natural light, open those curtains and let in the fresh air! Put some fresh flowers on tables and turn off any TVs or radios. You want to curate an experience buyers will remember, and that means creating a calm, approachable environment.
Looking to buy or sell a home in Oak Brook? Contact RE/Max Legends for the best listings!