Tips for Sellers

Tip #1: Hire A Real Estate Agent

Selling a house is always stressful and requires a lot of prep work ranging from advertising, cleaning up, preparing for inspection requirements, being available for potential buyers' visits, planning the move, etc.  The good news is: you do not have to do it all by yourself! Hiring a real estate agent is the right thing to do in most cases for obvious reasons.

Before anything, the agent will help you determine the right price through a market analysis showing comparable home sales prices in your area.

The agent will then plan and implement the appropriate marketing strategy to advertise your home, not just on-line (e.g placing your home in MLS) and off-line, but also among agents from his own firm and other agencies. A common practice in the real estate world is called "caravaning" and consists in inviting other agents into a home, or more often a series of homes, listed for sale in hopes to achieve higher visibility and marketing.  Remember that agents do not just represent sellers; in many cases agents act on behalf of potential buyers as well.

The agent will then typically show your home, assist you with purchase offers from buyers (e.g submit counter-offers on your behalf) and help you finalize all paperwork to complete the sale seamlessly.

Tip #2: Determine The Right Selling Price

Home prices are determined by numerous criteria. Factors such as the current market trends, the number of available homes for sale in your area, and the urgency of the seller to sell in particular will influence the determination of the sales price.

However, there are other equally important factors which can either increase or decrease your selling price such as:

  • Optional features of your home such as a pool
  • Major improvements, renovations and/or additions to your home such as solar panels
  • External and internal amenities such as the age of your appliances
  • The general condition of the interior and exterior of your home

Tip #3: Stage Your Home To Sell

Showing your home is probably the most important part of the selling process.

First impressions mean a lot and many prospective buyers make a decision almost immediately. It starts with curb appeal, ie what buyers see from the street.

Fresh paint (at least in places that need it most) on your house’s exterior and interior is one of the easiest and best improvements you can make to enhance that first impression. Keep yards and vegetation mowed and trimmed. The back yard is of particular importance in California as many buyers want a place to relax and entertain, so make sure it is clean and attractive.

If you are willing to do more majors improvements before selling your house, it is highly recommended that you start with the kitchen and the bathroom(s), which are generally the two areas that sell houses.

A critical concern to address is to minimize clutter, which is often used to describe too much décor, too much furniture, too much stuff on the mantle, etc. To put it simply, allow potential buyers to see as much as possible every square foot of your house.

Trust the skills of your agent to present your house for you. Make sure you discuss everything you would like him/her to convey to the buyer prior to any visits. Try your best to be away when your house is shown by an agent. Buyers are uncomfortable in the presence of sellers and will feel constrained to express freely their opinions to the agent. Finally, be flexible as your house could be shown at any time. As a result, ensure that your house is always ready for viewing at any time.

Tip #4: Prepare For The Home Inspection

In today’s real estate world, most buyers and sellers hire a professional home inspector to take a closer look at a home prior to closing, or even prior to writing a purchase contract.

The inspections cover a multitude of systems within your house. It is wise to take care of some of the more important ones before placing your home on the market such as:

  • Structure and foundation: Cracks in walls or ceilings are red flags)
  • Roofing: Deteriorated shingles, gutters or other roof coverings are hot-spots for buyers and inspectors
  • Electrical & plumbing systems: Make certain your electrical system is working properly. Leaks and clogs should be fixed. Dishwashers and other appliances will be tested.
  • Heating and cooling: These should be in good working order, and efficient

Remember, no home is perfect and the inspector will most likely find those imperfections. Don’t be discouraged, and don’t feel that you must comply with unreasonable demands for repairs. Your contract will probably state that things should be in good working order at closing.