What not to do when selling

It’s hard enough when you’re stuck selling your home in a buyer’s market.  You have so much competition as it is.  But this MSN article also talks about what’s important when selling your home and what not to do.  I wanted to go over the main points because this is so important.

1. No photos.  So you want to get your home listed Friday to make sure it’s available on the weekend but the photographer can’t come out until Monday.  So you’ll list it and just add the photos early in the week.  That’s a bad idea.  Every buyer who sees your home with no photos will not go back once the photos are in to look at your listing again.  They’ll pass over it the first time and won’t remember they wanted to see pictures.  Another bad idea is only listing photos of the exterior of your home.  Buyers will automatically assume something is wrong in the interior that you didn’t want to show.  It will prevent showings.  As always, make sure your home is in showing condition prior to scheduling photos so that it shows in great shape.

2. Not giving all the details.  It’s very common these days to be viewing short sales and foreclosures, just because of the sheer number of them.  But what buyers want to know when something says “third-party approval” is who that third party is.  What’s the estimate on when they’ll hear back if they’re interested?  It’s as easy as saying a home needs the bank’s approval and you’ll get it in 2 weeks.  Even better, if the bank has already approved a price reduction, be sure to mention that it’s at a bank-approved price.

3. Lies or exaggeration.  Do not say your home is “freshly painted” if that paint job happened 4 years ago.  I just had clients visit a so-called “freshly painted” and “meticulously kept” rental that had marks over the walls and cabinets falling off the hinges.  Be honest.  Do talk about the great features of your home, as long as they’re truthful.  While your carpet may not be new, if it’s neutral in color, that’s a great selling feature so people don’t have to worry about their furniture not matching.

4. Selling as is.  While it’s not always the wrong thing to do, if you’re worried about cosmetic repairs or replacing an out-of-date furnace, just be up front about it.  It’s likely that it will come up during negotiations anyway.  I’ve seen plenty of sellers offering a $2,000 carpet allowance or $1500 for the buyer to choose new appliances.  This is better than having the buyer think everything has been removed from the house to the studs.  

I’d love to know what other tips you have for sellers looking to sell their homes at the moment.  What would you suggest they not do?  Please be sure to leave me a comment or visit me online.

Prep your home to sell in fall

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can’t believe how fast this summer has gone by.  In two days, it’s going to be September.  It seems like it was just yesterday that school was ending for the summer.  Maybe it was the consecutive high temperatures we’ve had in Chicago, but this summer flew by.  So for those of you who will be putting your homes on the market for the fall or for those of you who have your homes listed but want a better chance of it selling now, here are a few tips to get your home sold this fall.

1.  I can’t stress the importance of curb appeal.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I’ve had buyers decide not to look at the interior of a house because the exterior was so neglected.  Your home could look like the Taj Mahal inside, but if the outside isn’t taken care of, it probably won’t matter.  So make sure leaves are raked and clear of the driveway and walkways.   Keep the lawn mowed.  Nothing is more unappealing than a front lawn that looks like the rainforest.  Trust me; I’ve seen it.  Keep gutters free of debris so that they drain properly.  If you get snow early, make sure to shovel any area that a potential buyer will walk on.  Again, I’ve had people not able to reach the front door because of 12″ of snow blocking the path.  If your home is vacant, make sure to go back to take care of these items or hire a service to handle it for you.

2. Keep windows clean.  Nothing brightens up a room more than a sunny day.  When the sun is shining through those windows, it’s pretty obvious if they’re covered in grime or dust.  The house will look bigger and brighter if you open up curtains/blinds to let the sun shine through clean windows.

3. If you have rooms that are painted dark colors, considering lightening them up with something neutral, or even a light yellow color.  It will make the room feel larger, brighter, and even cooler, especially as it gets dark earlier.  Buyers will be able to get a better sense of what the room looks like if they come to view your home in the late afternoon/early evening.

More great tips can be found here.  If you’re ready to get your home on the market, I’d love to help you prep it for fall.  Please visit me online.

Tips for selling during the holidays

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it seems like the Christmas and holiday decorations have started to go up.  If you are going to be selling your home this holiday season, I wanted to offer some advice to not deter buyers and to make sure it’s in selling condition.

1. Keep your decorations to a minimum.  I know that you love your 15 foot Christmas tree and it’s the focal point of your living room.  However, you want to make sure that buyers can see and appreciate each room for what it is.  You don’t want rooms in your home to be overshadowed by holiday decorations.  Buyers need to know the size and shape of a room and too much stuff can get in the way.  This is true with the exterior of the home, as well.  Don’t blind your buyers pulling up to your house.  Keep it simple.  The other reason you don’t want to go overboard is because not everybody celebrates the same holidays that you do.  It shouldn’t prevent someone from viewing or purchasing your home, but if you over do it, you could turn some buyers off.

2. Be wary of safety.  Make sure all plugs and extension cords and other plugs you have out for your decorations are safely tucked away.  Don’t cover staircase railings with decorations where buyers can’t grab on.  Hide all of your presents.  Don’t leave them out and wrapped under a tree.  You could get a curious child unwrapping your gifts before someone can stop them.

3. Make it easy to enter.  Keep your driveway shoveled and your walkway clear.  Throw down some salt if it gets really icy.  If you’re going to be out of town during the holidays, make sure you have someone planned to shovel for you.  I’ve had plenty of buyers unable to view a home because there was so much snow we couldn’t make it to the front door.  If you have buyers coming in from out of town, this could be their only chance to see your home.  Don’t risk losing that chance.

4. Along those same lines, make your home available.  I know it’s hard during the holidays to always want to show your home, especially if you’re entertaining.  However, try to move your festivities to another location so you don’t miss any showings.  

I’d love to her any additional tips you have for selling during the holidays.  If you are ready to sell, please be sure to visit me online.