I may not be a real-estate agent, but I have had experience buying and selling houses.
Growing up, my family moved a lot. From house to house, school district to school district across the United States, my family always had success selling their home at a profit. So when it came time to us buying our first home, they had plenty of advice to dish out.
It also helps that we did TONS of research and had great realtors.
My husband and I bought our first home at a great price and then turned around and sold it two years later at a decent profit to us.
The first day our house hit the market, we had 13 showings, several competing offers, and accepted a contract. #Winning
Furthermore, here is the honest and somewhat vulgar truth to selling your home at a profit.
1. Always do your research on realtors in your area.
You are paying someone to represent your largest asset, your home. So pick the right person for the job. SIMPLE, but often overlooked.
Look up several realtors that have rave reviews in your area. Ask neighbors, family members, and friends if they had any success with realtors in the past. Or even do what we did, look up who sold the most houses in your surrounding area and give them a call.
But here is the key…interview them, several of them, before signing a contract. They should come out to your house, walk around and give you an insight as to what you need to work on in order to get your house ready to sell. Don’t be embarrassed and take their advice. They know the business. Then, they will talk numbers. They will show you comparison prices for similar homes in the area, you talk price point for your home, then you agree to a set percentage of the sale that goes to their fees.
DO. YOUR. RESEARCH. We had success with our realtors because they were honest and answered our calls at all hours of the day and night. Heck, we even went out of the country when we sold our house and held international calls while negotiating a contract. That my friends, is dedication.
2. Clean your s***.
Yes. You heard me. Clean your s***. Clean everything.
- Clean out cabinets and front of cabinets…buyers don’t want grimy hands when they look inside them.
- Clean out closets, (rule of thumb, if it looks crammed…cut half of your stuff out and remove all items from the top shelf.)
- Clean the inside and outside of appliances
- Clean the baseboards
- Clean your nasty carpet. Seriously. Invest in a steam cleaner people and steam clean all carpet surfaces.
- Clean up clutter (countertops, bookcases, for the love of God hide the kid toys and dog toys, heck hide everything that has to do with owning an animal, declutter everything)
- Clean bathrooms (major turn offs on a home are moldy nasty bathrooms)
- Clean everything, and once you think it is clean, do it again.
3. Paint wood baseboards/trim and crappy wood doors white.
This is a real love hate relationship I have…I HATE PAINTING TRIM. But I love when it is all done and a clean beautiful white. Buyers today don’t want wood trim or oak wood doors. It’s not the 90’s anymore people!
Today’s new homes have fresh white trim and doors and your home should too. It adds an updated feel and brightens the whole place.
4. Paint walls neutral colors: white, grey, and beige.
Let’s make this basic. Colorful homes, scare people. Painting, scares people. Don’t be selfish and say “oh, but I love my teal blue walls….” or heaven save me “But this bathroom looks great in this pumpkin orange tone…” Save it. Paint everything neutral. When we sold our home, we had three different colors. White. Grey. Beige.
These neutral tones invite buyers to a clean, blank slate where they can imagine their own stuff. Bright, obnoxious, and overpowering colors distract the buyers from the open space of your home causing them to leave running and screaming. I don’t care if you love it. Get rid of it.
Plus, a freshly painted house smells great and covers all of the nicks and scratches from years of wear and tear or unruly children wielding permanent markers.
5. Pinterest/DIY projects are not always your friend.
If I had a quarter for every failed Pinterest/DIY project, I would be wealthy.
The amount of houses where people did DIY projects in kitchens and bathrooms with painted cabinets that stuck shut with drips of tacky paint and tile hack jobs…was unbelievable. Just because there is an “easy how-to” with “cheap solutions” doesn’t mean it is a good idea! If you don’t know how to do the project right, hire a professional, or better yet don’t do it at all.
Don’t get me wrong. Many of the projects, if done right, turn out beautiful. I would much rather see white painted cabinets than the old oak traditional cabinets from the 90’s. But, I want it done right. A buyer will see your mess and run the other direction. Your “quick fix” means money out of someone’s pocket. Which usually means yours when you have to get it fixed by a professional.
Cheap “flips” are easy to see. So don’t be one of those people.
6. Don’t neglect the outside of your home.
Ever heard of curb appeal? It is a real thing. When a buyer pulls up, if you have garbage and tall weeds all over the yard, that screams run away. As my old crazy neighbor would put it, “Pull your d*mn weeds!”
- Weed out flower beds and the yard.
- Trim up trees and bushes.
- Add a fresh layer of mulch.
- Mow the lawn.
- And plant a few bright welcoming flowers.
Go the extra mile and power wash the siding of your home and driveway/walkway to brighten your entrance. If the paint is chipping and peeling off your home, touch it up or have the whole home coated in a fresh layer.
I don’t understand what happened, but for some reason people do not take nearly as much pride in maintaining their yards. My response? Grow up. Your yard is your responsibility so clean it up. If it is an eyesore you are just being a d*ck.
If you have great spots for outdoor seating, stage it. Place some chairs and a patio table with a small potted plant or a few glasses of ice water with a pitcher. Show the buyer the endless possibilities of entertainment space, inside and outside of your home.
A well manicured lawn shows that you take pride in your home and generally keep up with the maintenance. This means less work for the buyer.
7. De-personalize your home.
Take down family photos, drawings your darling little monsters drew, fridge magnets, and anything with initials/monograms on them.
The point is to allow buyers to picture their own families in your home, not yours.
8. Don’t bother with fancy scented candles and sprays.
Walking into homes with heavily scented candles or spays distracts buyers and hints that you are trying to cover another scent. With a clean and tidy home, it should smell fresh or like nothing at all, this is much better than apple pie and spice, or the overwhelming aroma of cherry blossoms.
9. Have a professional take photos.
We were lucky enough that our realtor covered the cost of professional photos. He hired someone local that does all of his jobs and then posts the pictures to the realtor site and other sites like Redfin.
Let’s be real, most people when looking for homes search on sites like Redfin or Zillow first before contacting a realtor. This is your first impression. Make it a good one!
Bad photos turn potential buyers away from even stepping foot in your home. Ive seen photos of dogs peeing on pee pads for a potential home…eww…no thank you.
Remove pets for these photos, and kids, and make sure the house is show ready.
Lighting is everything when showing a home and the same is for the photos. Make sure there is proper lighting for the photos.
10. Price is key.
Over pricing, and honestly underpricing, your home can hurt your chances of finding a potential buyer. Most people believe their house is worth more than it is in reality.
Talk with your realtor. With comparisons (comps) of other homes in the area, they should give you a realistic idea of what price point to place your home on the market. This is key. Don’t be an a**hole thinking your home is better than their professional opinion. When you have a good realtor, they know what they are doing. LISTEN. TO. THEM.
If buyers are looking at several homes in your area with the same basic features (number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and lot size) and they are all relatively priced similarly meanwhile your home is over priced, they will think you aren’t up for negotiations.
Also, placing your home just below a threshold number (usually in the increments of $50,000) will get more buyer traffic through your home. When people are looking to buy, they usually tell their realtor a certain price they don’t want to go over. Let’s say it is $250,000… and that is close to the number you wanted to list your home. You are better off listing your home at $249,500 than $255,000. Why? When a realtor puts in the buyers requirements for a home in their area they typically put in a cap price to avoid showing homes over a buyers budget. Staying just below a threshold will have more foot traffic. Also, if you bump yourself up to a higher threshold number your home will then be compared to more expensive homes. That typically isn’t a good idea. The more expensive homes will have better upgrades or more space than your home. You want your home to look like a shinning star not a dump.
That is all the advice I have for now. It may be slightly offensive but it works. Buyers will be offensive, keep that in mind.
As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions feel free to comment below and don’t forget to subscribe via email on the right hand side to stay updated on our newest posts! Until next time friends…