Selling your home during the fall season after the kids have gone back to school can be challenging. You can make the process of selling your home easier and less stressful by following these simple steps.
1. Have an escape plan
Your kids just got home from school and there’s a knock at your door. It’s a real estate agent who says, “I’m sorry I didn’t call first. My clients and I were in the neighborhood and wanted to see your home”. Panic sets in and you ask yourself, “What do I do with the kids”? This happens all too often. If you have an escape plan, in place, it will much less stressful.
Have a list of places to go or see. Maybe you go visit with the neighbors or you go to the park. If you don’t make up a list first, you’ll likely end up driving around. Avoid needing to drive past your house every 10 minutes to see if the agent has left. Instead, give the agent a Post-It note with your cell phone number. Ask them to text you when they finished showing the house so you can come back with your kids.
As part of your escape plan, have an easy way to clean up any messes should potential buyers call on short notice. Keep your wash machine empty. When you need to leave your house in a hurry, throw your dirty towels and laundry in the wash machine. If it’s already full, use your dryer too. You can always pull dirty clothes out of the dryer when you get back home.
If you have children, limit their toys to what will fit in a storage tote in their closets. When you need to pick up toys quickly, everything goes into their toy tote and can be easily put away.
Lastly, have a laundry basket set aside. When you have to leave the house, walk through with the laundry basket and pick up anything that you can’t put away. Put the basket in your car trunk when you leave.
2. Remove showing time restrictions
If you want to sell your home quickly, you need to be able to make it easy for prospective buyers to view your home. Avoid limiting what times a real estate agent can show your home to a potential client. This can be especially difficult during the holidays. Your buyers have limited times too. They may skip over your house if the showing times don’t fit their schedules.
3. Price it right
Pricing your home home too high can cost you as much money as pricing it too low. Pricing a home correctly is an art as well as a science. If you list your house too high, agents and buyers are likely to ignore your house. Don’t attempt to test the market. Don’t tell yourself, “We’ll test the market and see what buyers are willing to pay”. If you do, your listing will become what we call “stagnant”. Stagnant listings are homes that have been on the market for a longer period of time than normal. Buyers and agents assume that stagnant listings have something wrong with the home and that is why they are not selling. “It’s not like the old days where you put in a 10% buffer,” says Jacquie Sebulsky, a broker with Cascade Sotheby’s International in Bend, Ore. “People are savvier, and many agents won’t even show a house if it’s overpriced.”
4. Make it bright
Bright and open homes sell faster than dark or poorly lighted homes. Look for ways to improve the natural light in your home. If you have dark drapes or curtains, look to remove them or replace them with translucent drapes. Make sure you leave your blinds and drapes completely open during the day. Replace your florescent bulbs with LED bulbs. Most agents will turn on the lights as they enter your home. Flourescent bulbs take time to warm up, but LED’s are instantly bright. You can also remove the exterior window screens and put them in your garage. This will allow more natural light to come into your home. Another way to brighten the interior of your home is to put fresh plants or flowers in your house. Rather than using cut flowers which wilt in a few days, try a small potted plant. Leave the plastic container on the plant and put the entire container inside a nice pot. When your flowers wilt or need replacing, simply lift the old plant out of your pot and put a new plant in.
For more tips, check out our recent article How to keep your home showroom ready, without the stress.