In selling residential real estate for more than 10 years, I’ve been in a lot of properties of all shapes and sizes.
Regardless of the type of property, every seller has one goal in mind: to get the most money possible from the right buyer.
Here are some tips to enhance your chances of getting the top dollar for your property:
• Lose your emotions. This is a tough one, so I put it first. When I sit down with sellers for the first time (often months ahead of our prospective list date), I regularly start by saying something like “this is no longer your home, rather this has to become your product.” I mean this.
It’s not easy to leverage any commodity unless you are prepared to approach the transaction with an unemotional or non-romantic notion of the process. Selling a primary residence (or even an investment property) comes with loads of memories and emotions, but unfortunately for most sellers, these two factors can be the largest barriers to success.
By allowing them to be present (or even worse — a driving force) in the preparation and sales process, you are diminishing your chances of making proper decisions that support your goal, which again is to get the most possible from the right buyer. So let go early and often while allowing those who are not emotionally involved to have a say in the process. With the right mindset, you will be taking a giant step toward achieving your goals.
• Create clean spaces and clear vision. Yes, literally in many cases that means open up the rooms in your property by getting rid of personal belongings and cleaning. Learn to live like a Spartan while your home is on the market by only keeping things you need for that period.
You would be surprised to learn how many people skip this critical step, and just how much of an impact doing so has on the showing experience. Believe me, I am the one at your open house listening to people’s criticism as they walk through cluttered rooms full of children’s toys or dog hair telling themselves how much work needs to be done when in reality a storage locker and a vacuum would do the trick.
Decluttering and cleaning is not a sophisticated process but requires long hours of dedicated labor and effort. Sound fun? That’s exactly why it’s an easy one to skip. But take a few weekends and do it anyway because it probably will have more impact on your life than those missed episodes of “House of Cards.”
Then it’s time to create a clear vision. If you’ve properly purged your stuff and grime, you still have work to do. Remember this — fresh paint, new floors, and adequate lighting goes a long way. Most properties I visit badly need all three, but the sellers just don’t think so. Think of it like this — neutralize the space to optimize the showing experience.
This includes getting one neutral paint color on all of the walls and white ceilings/trim so they too stand out in the right way. Make sure the floors match the walls in look and feel. Specifically, refinishing existing wood floors can make a huge difference. Also replacing weathered carpets with new types of neutral flooring wherever needed will do wonders to clear space…