Tips & Tricks: Selling A Home

April 15, 2013

At 2:00 pm EST Saturday, our house officially went on the market! (MLS# 1257601 if you’re interested!)

Since then, we’ve had 9 showings (one the same day it listed!) and an offer. I am absolutely obsessed with my house, so in my mind I found it highly desirable but it is great to see other buyers out there feel the same way!

We’ve been fortunate enough to work with a great Realtor who has made the experience of selling our home so much better than the experience we had with buying. Through him and this experience, I’ve come up with a short list of tips and tricks to sell your home faster!

1. Get a Realtor you can trust.

The Realtor we chose to go with actually lives in our neighborhood. He sees how much it’s growing and all of the opportunity since he is there every day as well. He knows the type of customer who would be a perfect fit for a place that is going through ‘revitalization’ as they call it and can share this knowledge. He’s also been incredibly trust-worthy with his advice, proving that he’s looking out for our best interest. This is absolutely key to selling or buying a home.

2. Hire a home stager.

This was included in our Reator’s fee, but it is a great way to have a non-biased third party come in and help you showcase your home as others want to see it. Ours came in and helped us depersonalize the house and highlight areas of the house that we weren’t showcasing. 

Some of her tips:
Remove personal photos. It can take away the buyer’s mindset of ‘This could be my home!’ when someone else’s family photos are hanging on the walls. This goes for diplomas or collegiate and sports paraphernalia. My husband and I are both Clemson grads, but what if a South Carolina fan came in? They could be biased against our house, simply for our alma mater.  
Remove evidence of pets. Not everyone is a dog or cat lover.
Keep things neutral. While we prepare to sell our house, we’ve been looking online for homes in Anchorage. It is a huge turn-off to think you like a home and then you see walls painted purple or red, with spiderman duvets. By keeping your decorations and bedding neutral, it doesn’t offend the buyer and lets them see the room, not just your stuff.
Move your furniture to highlight your home. Our stager rearranged just about every room in the house. We moved a bookcase into the large hallway to show it as great entry point; we put a small table in the middle of our kitchen to highlight the space; we moved around the desk in my office to make the room feel bigger and more inviting. These little things helped make our house look bigger.
Plants are key! She recommended we update our flower beds, do new planting, and remulch. These combined make a much more welcoming street view: key if you want people to actually come inside.

3. Declutter.

One thing about selling a house is that from the moment it is on the market, it is no longer ‘your home.’ It is a showroom, and everything inside and out is for view of the potential buyers. This means no stashing everything in the closets or under the cabinets and hoping they don’t see.

This was a huge one for Matt & I: when I moved into our house I apparently brought every memorabilia from my 24 years on earth with me. We donated 5 truckfulls, overflowed our trashcan more than the city should have allowed, and started stashing items in our neighbors recycling bins. 

One great thing about decluttering before you move is that you don’t have to take it with you; cutting down on your moving expenses. It also means we know exactly what is coming to our new home. This one is the most exhausting and labor intensive, but the most personally rewarding.

4. Hire a professional photographer.

Looking at homes online is the new drive-by: if your pictures online aren’t amazing or captivating, why would the potential buyer waste their time actually coming by?

Our Realtor included a photographer in his fee, and the pictures were mindblowingly amazing. Here’s a comparison of a picture I took with my iPhone, and one the photographer took. 

My Photography Skills
The Professionals Skill

The photographer was able to capture the light and showcase how big the room is, versus my crappy iPhone photo that makes the room look like a postage stamp. Here is our listing from our Realtor’s website.. you can see how absolutely amazing the house looks in these photos. When I saw them, I told Matt that I wanted to buy this house!

5. Hire a home inspector – BEFORE it goes up for sale.

Once again, our Realtor steered us correctly in recommending this. We thought ‘why do we need to do this? The buyer will obviously get this.’

Clearly Skilled at Home Repairs

We are so so glad we did. The home inspector coming through gave us a list of items that the potential buyer’s inspector may catch. Ours caught some structural issues that the inspector from when I bought the home TWO YEARS AGO didn’t note. By knowing this in advance, it has given us time to go in and do the repairs (we got everything fixed) before a buyer even requests it – saving us time in the closing process and hopefully money.

Our Realtor also told us that many time, potential buyers who see that an inspection has happened recently choose not to get their own: helping to shorten the closing process and get the new buyer into their home and us on our way to Alaska!

Let me know, what helped you sell your house or what do you look for when you’re buying? Do you agree with these tips, or would you add anything else?



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