The following post is a guest post from Houston, Texas area real estate developer and entrepreneur Tracy Suttles. Tracy can be best contacted for questions, comments and concerns on Twitter at @tracydsuttles.
Homeowners make the decision to move for a variety of reasons from relocation to outgrowing their current residence or even having the desire to downsize after becoming empty-nesters. Regardless of the reason for the move, selling your home in today’s economy can be a difficult task.
Now more than ever most parts of the country are experiencing true buyer’s markets where the price of a home is no longer dictated by the neighborhood’s comp sales (houses with similar characteristics which have recently sold) but rather, by the price the buyer is willing to pay.
Preparing To Sell Your Home
The first thing a seller must do in preparation to put the home on the market is to completely emotionally divorce yourself from the house. Once the decision to sell is made, the house is no longer your home. You do not want a potential buyer to enter the house and see you and your family living there. The space must now be devoid of your personality so that the buyer can be free to visualize how his things will fit in this new space. A good first step is to take this opportunity to start a little early packing and box all the photographs you might have adorning your furniture. Photos make the space yours.
Another idea is to remove all the extraneous clutter you might have on kitchen counter tops, dressers and in any office space. The goal is make the the environment as visually clean and neutral as possible so that nothing distracts the buyers from seeing the true bones of the home.
The colors you have chosen for your walls are real indicators of your design style. You may love the way you painted your son’s room in his favorite team colors but overpowering colors do exactly that, they overpower the buyer. This might work against you when the time comes to negotiate the selling price. Take the time before you put the house on the market to make the colors of the home as neutral as possible. The money you spend before the sale can often help yield a higher sale price if the buyers feel your home is move in ready or turn key.
Maintaining a Good Relationship With Your Realtor
A good realtor will make sure that your home is priced properly, advertised well and often, and that any open houses will be conducted in a professional manner. Your realtor will also be the one to advocate for you when an offer comes in and price negotiations commence. It is often a good idea to choose a local realtor who knows your neighborhood well and who can advise a potential buyer about schools, shopping, restaurants and the like.
Perhaps the most important thing that you can do as a seller is to step back and allow the realtor to do his job. It is also one of the most difficult things to do as you are not only financially invested in your home but you are emotionally invested as well. You love your home and know how much care and upkeep you have put into it over the years. It may be very difficult to hear some of the critique that your realtor shares with you based on your home showings, but in order for the process to work smoothly, you must try to separate your feelings from the matter at hand…the swift sale of your home.
Once you neutralize your decor, price your home appropriately and have a realistic outlook for the time it might take to sell your home, you will be well prepared for the home sale price process.