When I slipped into the shoes of my clients and sold my home recently, it was an enlightening reminder of what a challenge it is to prepare and sell a home!
As an agent, it is easy for me to give advice, assist through the process and facilitate the closing. But until you actually do it for yourself, it is hard to fully understand or remember the physical and emotional strain it can be, especially if you haven't moved in awhile.
When my youngest went off to college, I decided it was time for a change. I knew I wanted to move to Fairfield, CT. I told myself that when I found the right house, I would sell my home of 15 years in Weston.
As an agent selling the Fairfield market, I know it well. So, when "the house" came along, I jumped at it. Then I had to face the task of selling my own home. I promised myself that I would follow the advice I give to all my clients. Fortunately, I had already started de-cluttering, doing some repair work and staging.
When it came to pricing my home - I knew I had to step back and take the "emotion" out of it. Even though I had an idea of where I should price it, I asked some of the agents from my office to come through with their price opinions. Ultimately, I decided to price it on the lower side of their range of suggestions and hoped for a quick sale. I ended up selling for $30,000 over asking price… in 3 days. DONE!
I now have a great story to tell my clients.
Here is my advice for selling your home quickly and for the highest price possible:
- De-clutter as much as possible. Less is more! Take most of your knick-knacks and family photos off the shelves and surfaces, buyers can then imagine their own things there.
- Staging - if your home is filled with furniture that is blocking walk-ways or making the rooms look small, move some out, even if this means getting a storage unit. You want your house to feel open and spacious.
- Re-pair and paint - cracks from settling, marks from water damage, dirty/smudged walls and trim, etc. These issues should all be addressed. Look at your home from the eyes of a buyer: what would be the items that you would want fixed?
- Curb Appeal - the same advice applies to the outside of your home. Re-pair any rotted wood and fix walk-ways that are in need of attention. Make sure the front door is clean - first impressions are extremely important. A fresh coat of paint could make all the difference. Take away dead plants and old pots, cut back overgrown brush/plantings and stage the patio/deck, if applicable.
- Pricing - listen to your agent! Time and time again, clients think they know best and want to "start a little higher". History proves that if you over price your house from the beginning, you will get less for it in the end. The market will determine what the house is worth. As proven with my sale, you can never under price a house. If you value price it - buyers will jump on it and in many cases, will bid it up. Trust your agent and trust the process.
THE BOTTOM LINE - you want your house to be... neutralized, so that buyers can imagine themselves living there…a "shiny penny" so they feel like they can move right in and priced well, so you can successfully sell for the most money possible. Everyone loves their own home for a variety of reasons, but try to remember that this is a business deal. Try to take as much emotion out of it as possible, it will serve you well the end.
Susan Seath is an award winning realtor with KMS Partners at Coldwell Banker, Fairfield County CT Realtors in Westport, CT. To contact Susan and KMS Partners call 203-454-5411, vist www.KMSPartners.com or email info@KMSPartners.com.