- Know your selling points.
Before you start marketing your home, write up a list of special selling points you think will attract buyers. Potential items include good school districts, recent renovations, benefits that have been grandfathered into the property, energy-saving windows or insulation and new appliances. Highlight these items in your ads, when you talk to people about your home or while you’re showing it. Memorise them so that you don’t forget anything.
2. Time it right.
Be aware that the real estate sector sees a noticeable uptick in business over the summer — people prefer to move when it’s warm, and they’re reluctant to have their children change schools in the middle of the school year. Start trying to sell your home in April or May and continue to promote it throughout the summer. If you haven’t sold it by late fall, scale back your efforts and begin marketing more intensely when the weather warms up again.
- Another thing to be aware of is the trend your neighbourhood is going through. If your neighbourhood is undergoing a mini-boom of strong residential sales, those transactions will increase the value of your home. Conversely, if your neighbourhood has seen a lot of short sales or foreclosures, your home’s value will be decreased. Try to time your listing so that you’re not affected by distressed sales. For instance, in most areas, a comparable sale can only weigh against the value of your home for 90 days after the sale date. It might be worth it to wait a few months to list your home if you can do it at a higher price.
3. Get your property ready for a staging.
A staging is an especially important part of selling your house. During the staging, potential buyers begin mentally imagining their own items, and their lives, in your home. If they can’t make the imaginative leap because the house is too cluttered, dirty, colorful, or quirky, you’ve probably lost their business. Best to stage the house to be as spacious, clean, bland (yes, bland!), and typical as possible.
- Try to limit furniture in your house to the absolute essentials. If you haven’t used it in three months, store it, sell it, or throw it away. This helps the rooms appear larger. Replace or hire replacement for items that are outdated or don’t complement your home.
- Show items in groups of 1, 3, and 5 items, erring on fewer items when possible. It’s not clear why odd groups of items are mentally appealing, but they are. Freshen up rooms with fresh flowers and bowls of fruit. Use scatter cushions and glass vases to liven up the room.
- Go into each room and paint as needed. Paint the walls white to brighten up your home. Remember, neutral is best when you’re selling so potential buyers can customise the property to their tastes. Check the carpets and windows in each room and clean as well.
- Don’t neglect bathrooms and the kitchen. Use fluffy white towels in the bathroom and even put an orchid in there. Don’t have too many appliances and or pots and pans visible in the kitchen, a bowl of fruit and 1-2 appliances/pans are more than enough for the kitchen to look homely but not crowded.
- Remove any personal photos and items – these tend to make buyers uncomfortable.
- The style of your house should appeal to the demographic of your potential buyers. For example you will use different property styling if you’re selling a bachelor pad or a family home. And remember: if your house is decorated in a very specific style, this might not match the style of your potential buyers.
- Pay attention to how the outside of your home looks. Clear away any plants that obscure significant parts of the home, weeding and mulching as necessary. Check in on the condition of the paint on the outside of the home; inspect how it looks from both the curb and up-close. Invest in potted plants and place them at the entry or on the balcony/courtyard. Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer!
- Take professional photos that show the best of each room (and outside area). If you have a room bathed in sunlight, take a picture of that room on a sunny day (early morning or late afternoon), even if the photographer wouldn’t approve. In other rooms, turn on all artificial light when taking pictures, even if there is enough light – it creates a special ambience.
4. Market your home.
Staking a “For Sale By Owner” sign in your yard is good if you live in a high-traffic neighborhood, but you can go further.
- Advertise online. Put an ad for your home on a website like Craigslist. Take out classified ads in your local newspaper and ask if they’ll be available on a website as well. If you use social media sites, mention often that you’re selling your house.
- Put up fliers. If local ordinances permit it, place fliers on stoplight poles at prominent intersections.
- Fish out potential buyers. Call local bank managers, as well as school principals, and let them know that you have a great home for sale if they know a family who’s looking. If you know that a nearby company often relocates workers to your area, contact their recruiting or human resources department and tell them you have a home you’re ready to sell. Do whatever you can to get the word out.
- Rely on word of mouth. Alert your friends, family and business associates that you’re selling your house. If you need to sell quickly, offer them a carrot — say that if they can find someone who’s looking for a house and that buyer makes an offer, you’ll buy them an expensive bottle of wine, a nice dinner out, or some other reward.5. Know how to show your home.
- When potential buyers or their realtors contact you and want to see the home, try to be as available and flexible as possible. Be aware that many people will want to see the home in the middle of the day, when you might be working. If you can’t be home for appointments, try to arrange for a close friend or family member to be there.