If Yogi Berra was a real estate agent, he’d probably say “Selling a house is 90 percent mental. The other half is hard work.” That being said, here’s a short list of must-do’s that we consider essential to ensure a smooth and successful transaction:
Price it right
Let’s get real, right now. The market doesn’t care what you paid for it or how much money you put into it. Just like everything else, your property is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. Understand that, and you’re half way to the finish line. Start off right by hiring a licensed real estate agent. They’ll work up a professional CMA (comparative market analysis) to help you determine a price that satisfies your wallet and entices potential buyers.
Now is the time to share a list of all the awesome features of your home, as well as the not-so-pleasant ones, with your real estate pro. This will help the agent create a compelling property listing that will display on websites, in social posts, on flyers and postcards.
Empty that nest
When your agent tells you to declutter, do it with a vengeance. If you need to live in the house while it’s on the market, remove all unnecessary items: donate, sell, rent a storage unit — do whatever it takes to empty out the house to its bare minimum. If you’ve already moved out, empty it completely or stage it (your agent will know the pros). Remember, we want buyers to say “Wow!” — not “wow.”
To upgrade or not to upgrade
A fresh coat of paint, deep cleaning, and new lighting and bathroom fixtures and cabinet hardware help to sleek up the place. Remember to keep it neutral and simple. Unless you’re a “flipper”, anything more extensive should be discussed with your agent, who can advise whether you’ll get a good return on your investment.
It’s not your hangout anymore, so leave the premises when the house is being shown to potential buyers. Lurking about, or telling stories about how the kids were home-birthed pretty much freaks people out.
It’s not personal
Speaking of detachment, if you’re not willing to negotiate offers that aren’t listing price, or if they are and you’re thinking you should’ve asked for more, you might not be as ready to sell the place as you thought you were. A good heart-to-heart with your agent might be in order.
Get real — Real estate agent, that is
Hooking up with a licensed real estate agent makes all the difference in the world. They’re “people” people, so they have a vast network of associates and pros who can help take care of all the details of selling a house. They are professional negotiators and dedicated to their craft — and their clients.
Working through this checklist will help reduce the “90% mental” and “50% hard work” part of the home selling equation.