We meet with a number of sellers on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, and one common feeling we’ve gathered from partnering with homeowners is selling a home can be a stressful process.
If you’re a homeowner who is looking to move and you ever thought “I don’t know how I’m going to sell my house.”
Trust us. You’re not alone.
We understand the thought of packing up your entire life and moving it somewhere else can feel overwhelming — especially when you never sold a home before and don’t know where to begin.
The Erica Rawls Team is here to help!
We sat down with our project manager Robbi Guthrie, who is also an interior designer and owner of Mika Interior Designs, to learn the three things homeowners must do before placing their house on the market.
If you have ever worked with us before, you may have seen Robbi collaborating with us in one of our seller’s consultations.
Robbi understands what makes a house harder to sell and the things homeowners can do to make their house appealing to potential buyers. She spoke with us to share tips for sellers to help get their houses off the market.
In our post, we’ll share Robbi’s advice and explain the following three things you must do before selling a home and why they’re important:
- Get a Pre-Listing Home Inspection Before Listing Your Property
- Make Repairs and/ or Upgrades (That You Can Afford!)
- Declutter/Depersonalize Your Home For Showings
Before we get into the tips, we first want to help our sellers to understand…
It’s important to make buying a home a seamless process for potential buyers, according to Robbi.
“You want them to come into the space and feel comfortable and confident, and you want them to feel like, you know, this could be home,” Robbi said.
Aside from aesthetics, your potential buyers will consider the price and convenience of owning your home, so as a seller you want to make sure buyers are confident in your property.
This leads us to the first thing we advise you to do before selling your home…
Getting a pre-listing home inspection can give your home a clean bill of health when you put it up for sale — and a clean bill of health will give you leverage, even in a competing market.
You want to confidently say to your buyer: “I’m giving you a certified home that’s inspected so we know there are no issues with the HVAC system or roof.”
As realtors, we often recommend buyers get an inspection on a new home they’re interested in so they have an understanding of it structurally and mechanically as well.
If you know your buyer is going to get their own inspection, wouldn’t you want to be sure your home will pass?
As Robbi explained, if there’s a leaking faucet, your potential buyer may take a closer look at other things and scrutinize the entire property.
“And you know, that could make a buyer go and look at other properties, where otherwise, they would have stayed and made an offer,” she said.
For example, one of the real estate agents on our team, saw first-hand what can happen when we take clients to view a home and the sellers did not get a pre-listing inspection.
The agent’s clients were the first to tour a new home on the market, and they loved it!
However, the clients noticed one thing wrong with the home and it happened to be a deal-breaker for them — they no longer were interested.
If the sellers would have obtained a pre-listing home inspection, they could have fixed the issue before the buyers even knew it existed and sold their home.
The benefits of getting a pre-listing home inspection will easily outweigh the costs.
Once you have the inspection completed, you can move to the next step. Which is…
One of the benefits of a pre-listing home inspection is learning what repairs are needed, and determining if there are any upgrades you can do to make the house more attractive to buyers.
We highly recommend making any repairs you can, especially things like the roof – no matter the cost – because you’ll get it back in return.
If you know you need to replace your roof, it’s better to do it before the buyer learns about it from their home inspection report.
If you don’t make repairs you should be prepared for a buyer to ask for a deduction on the home. For example, if it would cost you $50 to fix a leaking faucet and you don’t, a buyer may ask for $1,000 off the home’s listing price.
We know everyone can’t afford to make all the major repairs their home may need before selling it, so we suggest putting a small fund together and asking your realtor what is the most important thing or things to focus on.
Yes, if you can do it!
When it comes to determining what price to sell your home, upgrades can make a significant impact.
According to Robbi, if you want to get a little more for your home than where it’s sitting now, you should invest in the following high-value upgrades that buyer’s love, which include:
- The kitchen
- The bathroom
- The roof
If the spaces have been recently upgraded or you can’t afford to repair anything that’s not required, there are other things you can tweak that will make a difference to potential buyers.
Think about the last time your carpet was replaced. Was it over five years ago? Consider replacing it.
Have pets? You never know what unpleasant smell could linger in the house, and because you’ve lived in your home for so long, you could be immune to it. Ask a friend what they smell when they first walk into your house.
After your home is inspected and you’ve made your necessary repairs and desired upgrades, you’re ready to begin showing your home to potential buyers. Before you do, Robbi highly recommends you…
Once you know for sure you want to put your home on the market, you must begin to look at it from the eyes of the buyer, Robbi explained.
In today’s society, the first time your potential buyer may see your home is via pictures from an online listing. You want to allow the person to see themselves in the space, which means you need to have less of YOU in the space, Robbi said.
This means removing family photos and other personal items or painting bright or bold colored rooms and accent walls to neutral tones. Just because you love your red accent all doesn’t mean your potential buyer will.
This can be hard because your home can have sentimental value for several reasons:
- You lived there for 10-15+years
- You raised children or grandchildren there
- You purchased the home single and now you’re selling it to get married
- You love your first family home but you’ve outgrown it and need a bigger one
Despite all of the reasons you may be attached to your time, it’s time to depersonalize it for potential buyers, especially when it’s time to stage your house for showings.
Furnished — every time.
As realtors who also work with buyers, we know they want to be emotionally tied to the house they’re looking to make their new home. Furniture plays a huge role in that.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR)’s 2019 Profile on Home Staging, when staging a home:
- 83% of buyers’ agents said it made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.
- 28% of sellers’ agents stated saw staged home on the market for slightly shorter times
- 22 % of sellers’ agents reported an increase of 1% – 5% of the dollar value offered by buyers, in comparison to similar homes.
- 17% of respondents stated that staging a home increased the dollar value of the home between 6% and 10%.
Bottom line – furnished homes sell faster and for slightly higher prices than unfurnished homes.
However, there’s a difference between staging a furnished home and keeping everything in your house as-is for showings.
And that’s where Robbi’s role as an interior designer/project manager comes in.
“My job is to quietly and strategically tug at the heartstrings of the potential buyer,” Robbi said.
When staging is well done, you can walk into a room and it has an essence to it. A furnished home goes a long way to making a space feel comfortable.
Doing the right things in the right order when you place your house on the market will help you sell your house in the timeframe you need.
Are you preparing to sell your home and need some assistance learning what you should be doing in the process?
Let us help you!
If you’re not sure what things need to be improved in your home, contact The Erica Rawls Team!
Complete our online form or call us at 717.500.2116 today!
To learn more about Robbi’s interior design services visit www.mikainteriordesign.com.