Saturday, June 5, 2010

To Sell or Not to Sell?

Recently my kids were here looking for a home in the Jacksonville, Florida area. They are planning on moving back here from Dallas (Yeah!) Unfortunately, they were disenchanted with the condition of some of the homes on the market. Somehow I knew I was going to hear about this. Here are a few of the “turnoffs” they experienced: dirty carpeting, granite countertops with outdated cabinets, dirty tile grout, empty house odor, clutter, too much furniture – bad traffic flow, rooms that needed repainting, exteriors that needed repainting, unkempt landscaping, sloppy bathrooms, clothes scattered on floors, pet odors; pool table in the dining room. My daughter–in–law said, “I just don’t get it. If you were selling your car, wouldn’t you make sure it looked its best? Why won’t these sellers enhance the most expensive asset they have for a quick sale and better price?” My answer to her was that sellers who don’t spruce up their homes must not really want to sell. Needless to say, out of 20 homes they saw, there were only two that they liked. I went to see those two homes and was impressed by both of them. They both were clean, decorated tastefully, had no clutter, no odors, beautifully painted interiors and exteriors, and showed pride of ownership. Furthermore they were realistically priced and in great locations.

When you sell your home, the most important thing is your frame of mind. You must really want to sell your home so that you put all of your efforts into making it a desirable commodity. That’s right – once you place your home on the market, it is no longer your home – it’s a commodity – a product to be purchased. If you don’t believe this, you won’t sell your home.

The location of your property often affects how fast your home will sell. Buyers are looking for properties that are convenient to major highways, stores, hospitals and good schools. Price is another factor that affects the success of your sale. Especially in a down market, your home must be priced competitively. The price should be based upon a competitive market analysis that your realtor prepares based upon homes sold in your neighborhood. The presentation of your home is the final factor that influences how quickly and for what price your home will sell. If you haven’t been maintaining your home throughout the years you have been living there, you need to get your “rear in gear”. You may have to put some time and money into your home to get it “show ready”. As a seller, you have no control over your location but you do have control over the price and presentation.

If you really want to sell your home, you need to focus on hiring a good realtor who can determine the correct price for the property and you need to prepare your home for sale by decluttering and aesthetically enhancing the property. Ensure that your home is clean and clutter free. If you have a lot of furniture that makes your rooms feel cramped, place the clutter and excess furniture in a storage unit. It’s worth the money and your home will sell faster. Make sure that your interior and exterior paint colors are tasteful and updated as well as your window treatments, lighting and plumbing fixtures, cabinets, countertops and flooring. Buyers really do notice all of these features. Get rid of any offensive odors. There are a number of air fresheners on the market which can do the trick. Pure Ayre is an organic product you can purchase on Amazon .com. This product eliminates odors and prevents them from returning. I also always place diffusers in the bathrooms which keep a constant pleasant fragrance in the home.

Make sure that the functions of your major rooms are clearly defined. Don’t place a pool table or day bed in the dining room because you have no place to store it. Remember that storage unit – you’ll need to use it. Placing the wrong furnishings in a room only serves to confuse your buyer. Don’t leave your home vacant. It sends the message to buyers that you are desperate to sell because you must have two mortgages. Ninety percent of buyers cannot envision their furnishings in an empty home. Furniture in a home gives potential buyers an idea of how to place their furniture in your home. If you have to move before selling your home, try to arrange the move in two parts. Take absolutely what you need first and leave some furniture so the home does not feel empty. It’s usually not that much more expensive to arrange your move this way and your home should sell faster.

If you don’t feel competent in preparing your home for sale, hire a professional home stager who is trained to prepare your home for sale with the buyer’s eye in mind. Many times the staging and rental fees are tax deductible as an advertising expense in selling your home. According to a 2009 study done by the Real Estate Staging Association, professionally staged homes sold 78% faster than unstaged homes. A U.S. Housing and Urban Development report revealed that staged homes sold, on average, for a price which was 17% higher than unstaged homes.

I’ve given you lots of information to think about if you plan on placing your home on the real estate market. If you heed my advice, your selling experience will be a pleasure instead of a nightmare.


Linda Leyble said...

Mary - once again you have nailed it! I guess that sellers who have poorly prepared homes for sale on the market - they don't want to move! It's like going out on a date with a guy you know you won't like - and you wear no makeup and your clothes are unironed. Same thing I don't care about the outcome! Good going!

Linda Leyble

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