BOB UPTON, Realtor®, CBR's Blog
Putting your house on the market is a lot like preparing to host a holiday party; you want to make the best possible impression on people without having to spend a small fortune in the process!
Assuming your home is not drastically outdated or in disrepair, there are a lot of simple things you can do to make it more appealing to visitors.
For a lot of reasons, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms of the house. The impression your kitchen makes on potential buyers can easily make or break your chances for a quick sale. Although everyone's looking for different features in a home, it will always be to your advantage to spend a little extra time sprucing up your kitchen.
While it may not be practical or affordable to give your kitchen a complete makeover, here are a few simple ideas for enhancing its overall appeal.
Lighting affects perception: As a home seller, one of your primary objectives is to create an environment that's comfortable, attractive, and relaxing. Lighting, both natural and artificial, can play a big role in how people perceive your home. If you're fortunate enough to have sunny weather on days when your house is being shown, it will be easier to present your kitchen and other rooms to their best advantage. By letting in a lot of natural sunlight, colors tend to be more vibrant and your home's mood will be a lot more positive. Turning on electrical lights can also help give your living space a more cheerful feeling.
Cleanliness is crucial: Although the "grunge factor" is something you want to avoid anywhere in your house, prospective buyers will pay special attention to the cleanliness of your kitchen and bathrooms. Thoroughly cleaning counter tops, floors, sinks, and appliances will go a long way toward making a positive impression. If you can use cleansers that have a mild, natural-smelling fragrance -- like citrus, for example -- then you won't risk turning people off with the overpowering smell of harsh chemicals or artificial scents.
Staging your kitchen: A few things you can do to make your kitchen look more inviting and memorable include adding touches like a vase of fresh flowers, a bowl of colorful fruit, and a green plant or two. Removing distracting clutter from counter tops, tables, and desks can also help give your kitchen a more organized, tidy, and spacious appearance.
If your refrigerator door is covered with outdated children's drawings, coupons, photographs, and other miscellaneous memorabilia, it might be worth your time to weed that out a little bit! Not only does it detract from the beauty of your kitchen, but it also makes it impossible to clean the door of your fridge. Another tip to keep in mind is that too many personal items on display make it more difficult for prospects to visualize living in your home -- which is the first step to winning them over as buyers.
Selling your home can be stressful, particularly when the time arrives to negotiate with a homebuyer.
You'll want to ensure that both you and a homebuyer can find common ground during a negotiation. By doing so, both parties will be satisfied with the end results.
In some instances, however, a homebuyer may submit an offer for your residence that fails to meet your expectations. If this happens, you may need to submit a counterproposal to ensure you're able to agree to home selling terms that fulfill your needs.
Submitting a counteroffer can be tricky, particularly for a home seller who is looking to complete a home sale as quickly as possible. Fortunately, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of countering a homebuyer's offer.
Here are three tips to help you streamline the process of submitting a counterproposal to a homebuyer.
1. Consider Both Parties' Perspectives
Ultimately, a home selling agreement should meet the needs of a homebuyer and a home seller. As such, you'll want to consider both parties' perspectives before you submit a counterproposal and ensure that your counteroffer is fair to everyone involved.
Does a home selling agreement ensure that you will receive fair value for your home? And does this pact guarantee a homebuyer will receive fair value from his or her purchase as well? Consider both sides of a home selling agreement, and by doing so, you'll be better equipped to agree to terms that work well for both you and a homebuyer.
2. Try Not to Get Emotional
If you feel like a homebuyer submits an offer that is below your initial expectations, try not to get emotional. Instead, take a step back from the home selling process and consider all of your options before you proceed.
For home sellers, it often is easy to let stress and anxiety get the best of you, particularly during high-pressure negotiations with a homebuyer. Conversely, if you take a deep breath and review all of your options after you receive a homebuyer's offer, you can avoid making any rash decisions.
Remember, a homebuyer's first offer may not be his or her best offer for your residence. And if you submit a counterproposal, you can show a homebuyer that you are willing to work with him or her to reach a fair agreement.
3. Get Advice from Your Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent can guide you along the home selling journey and will help you determine if you should accept, decline or counter a homebuyer's proposal. This professional also serves as a liaison between you and a homebuyer, which means your real estate agent can share your concerns about a homebuyer's offer directly with this individual.
With a trusted real estate agent at your disposal, you should have no trouble reviewing a home offer and submitting a counterproposal if necessary. In addition, your real estate agent is happy to provide tips and suggestions throughout the home selling process, ensuring you can maximize the value of your residence.
Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to selling your home.
While it's not always possible for conditions to be "perfect" when a real estate agent is showing a home for sale, things usually go more smoothly when homeowners are not present.
There are several reasons for this, including the fact that the family's presence at a real estate showing may make the prospect feel self conscious and uncomfortable.
Among other things, the potential buyer may feel like they're intruding and being an imposition. Some buyers also find it harder to concentrate on the many details they need to focus on to evaluate the home.
The ideal scenario happens when house hunters are able to picture themselves as the future owners of your home -- perhaps imagining what it would feel like to cook dinner in your kitchen, entertain guests in your living room, and relax on the back porch. However, when you and your family are there, it makes it more difficult for them to conjure up those images in their mind. So, to the extent that it's possible, it's often a good idea to take the kids out for ice cream or go on a short trip to the mall when a showing of your home is scheduled.
Granted, it may be a little inconvenient -- especially if the visit was set up at the last minute -- but you don't want to unintentionally dissuade someone from making an offer on your house. You never know what might "upset the apple cart!" There's a lot at stake and every prospect is a potential buyer.
Ideally, prospects should feel unpressured, unhurried, and free to express their opinions about what they're seeing. If they feel like they have to weigh their words carefully and be discreet about every reaction, then their discomfort may spill over into their feelings about the house, itself. Since buying a home is often an emotional decision, any negative feelings in the prospect could potentially derail the chances of a purchase offer being made.
Real estate agents not only serve as knowledgeable "tour guides" and objective sources of information for house hunters, but they're also there to accentuate the positive and minimize the negative aspects of a property. One of their main objectives is to put prospects at ease and help them appreciate all the desirable aspects of your home.
There are dozens of details, property features, unique attributes, and flaws that potential buyers are trying to assimilate and remember, so the fewer distractions there are, the better! That's why it makes sense to keep the atmosphere as uncomplicated as possible. It can be a bit of a delicate balance for real estate agents to maintain, but most have the training, experience, and finesse to keep things on an even keel and moving forward!
One of the biggest challenges of putting your house on the market is keeping it clean, organized, and ready for the next showing!
This is no easy task, especially if you have pets, messy kids, and/or a hectic schedule. If you're like most people, you're probably contending with all three conditions!
Although it's human nature to get immersed in our own view of the world, it's helpful to try and see things through the eyes of prospective home buyers. When buyers walk into your house for the first time, they're not going to immediately know about all the improvements you've made to your property or the many ways your home has served your family's needs for all these years. They're not aware of the "big picture" and may never be. They only know what they see, hear, and smell during their brief visit to your home.
Anything which makes a negative impression can sour them on the idea of buying your house. It's a delicate balance and it doesn't take that much to tip the scales in either direction. That's why it's so important for sellers to get into a routine of keeping their house clean, orderly, and well maintained.
It's amazing what a difference 24-hours (or less) can make on the appearance and cleanliness of your home. Rest assured, if you've said or thought the words, "But I just cleaned it, yesterday!" -- you're not alone! Cleaning your house when it's on the market is a lot like shaving: It doesn't take too long for that "five o'clock shadow" to start creeping in!
Reminding everyone in your family to clean up after themselves is the first step to being ready, but it also pays to have a checklist to refer to when preparing for a real estate showing. If you don't use a task list, chances are you'll forget something important -- like wiping off the kitchen counter, sanitizing the toilets, putting away dirty dishes, or cleaning the bathroom sink. Floors almost always require a quick sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming, and waste baskets need to be emptied. Crumpled towels, bath mats, and bedspreads may also be in desperate need of straightening and smoothing out! If you own pets that tend to have "accidents" or kids who haven't quite mastered the art of cleaning up after themselves, you might also want to allow a few extra minutes in your routine to take care of the "unexpected."
While it's true that you want your house to have a "lived in" appearance, it's all-too-easy to cross that thin line into a whole different category! No reasonable house hunter will expect your home to be spotless and perfect in every way, but if it looks messy, disheveled, or neglected, then that could be a potential deal breaker!