Getting from “For Sale” to “Sold”: A How-To Guide
Know your market value.
Visit open houses, and compare sale prices.
Invest in an inspection.
Catch the problem areas that a shiny exterior is hiding before potential buyers do. Early inspection equals more time to fix repairs, and ultimately provides insight into your home’s top needs.
Start with the must-haves that solve problems, and then choose wisely. Change your mind-set from home to product when ranking projects.
Do your homework before hiring.
Don’t rush to hire a contractor and purchase materials. Compare at least three bids, and ask for references. Don’t offer buyer credits against the purchase price, either—you’ll be better off investing the money to get the work done before listing.
The listing phase.
Plan your pricing strategy.
Start the pricing conversation early, and get more detailed as you get closer to listing. Decide on reductions and if-this-then-that scenarios. Write them down to use as a foundation when at a crossroads. Pausing to decide during the process may lead to lost interest or money.
Set the stage.
Staging is very different from decorating. In fact, it’s the opposite. Decorating makes a home your own. Staging gives it a broad appeal so that potential buyers can envision it as their own. The top staging priorities are listed as follows:
- Doing a thorough, deep cleaning
- Removing personal and quirky decor
A picture is worth a thousand words (and scheduling a showing). Showcase the preparation phase—your hard work and investments—with high-quality photos, which are a must for the era of the online search.
Stage for online and mobile devices.
Today’s buyers are busy. So over 90 percent of buyers start their home search online, and many first impressions are from a computer screen, smartphone, or tablet. Make sure that all of the listing details are at their fingertips, including high-resolution photos that are optimized for web and mobile devices.
The showing phase.
Be flexible with open house showings.
The Sunday open house might seem disruptive to you, but research says that it is the number one successful showing day. Evenings are equally as important. Remember: buyers have jobs and busy schedules, and they could be traveling from a distance.
Highlight low-cost living.
Energy efficiency, shade-baring trees, and a low-maintenance garden are examples of major selling points to highlight.
Keep up with curb appeal.
Be prepared for eager buyers driving by your home before an open house, and maintain curb appeal throughout the entire showing process.
Pay attention to smells.
Pet odors are the number one offender, but watch out for food smells and scents that are musty or allergenic, too. Don’t use scented candles or aerosol sprays that simply mask the odor; eliminate it with a deep clean and fresh air.
Be mindful of flow.
Have a friend do a walk-through of your home. Look for odd breaks from one room to the next, and group furniture into arrangements that inspire conversation.