8 INSIDER SECRETS TO SELL YOUR HOME FOR MORE MONEY IN LESS TIME
When a buyer takes a step into a new house for the very first time, similar to when we meet somebody new, they immediately begin forming an impression about not only what the home looks like, but who lived there, how they could imagine a life living there themselves, the quality of the home, and how the home could potentially serve their needs for the foreseeable future. We can even rewind just a bit, and include what your home looks like from the street as they pull up to the house, as well as how the house is being presented online. When a house is being held under the microscope, with buyers eyeing every single feature, it's imperative to be meticulous and stay on top of the smallest of details.
Los Angeles is one of the hottest markets in the world right now for real estate, and for that very reason, the first impression your home gives off can mean the difference between selling in an average amount of time, at an average price, or selling sooner and for significantly more money. An experienced real estate agent can advise you on many of these points. Here are the top 10 insider secrets that will help you sell your home for more money, in less time!
1 PRICING IT RIGHT
Work with your real estate agent to find out what your home is worth, then cut that price by ~5-10%. You may think I'm crazy, but with demand far outweighing supply even in today's luxury market, you’ll be stampeded by buyers and attention — this is true even in the best and worst markets — and once you have a sizable pool of interested parties who've submitted offers, they will bid up the price over what the home is worth. I've seen this strategy work successfully countless times! There is nothing worse than a perfectly good house that sits on the market for too long because it is priced too high - this is what we in the industry call a stale listing. Neighbors begin talking and buyers begin asking questions along the lines of, "why hasn't it sold?" and "Is there something wrong with the house?". That's the last thing you want, and all that you will gain by pricing a house too high is stress and wasted time. Pricing a home below it's value takes a lot of courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but the data shows that it’s the single best strategy a seller can employ to sell a home for top dollar in today’s market.
2 START PACKING
One of the most important things you should do when selling your house is to de-personalize it, or in other words, take the home out of your house. The more personal belongings, and clutter there is present in your house, the more difficult it will be for others to envision living there. Start by packing up excess furniture, family photos, closets, memorabilia collections, toys, and personal keepsakes - put it all in storage, or consider asking a friend to hold onto them. Decluttering your house also gives you a jump start on your move! Additionally, consider hiring a professional home stager to showcase your home in the best light! The National Association of Realtors conducted a survey that revealed that hiring a professional to stage your home, can increase the sales price by as much as 10% and reduce the time your house sits on the market significantly.
3 KEEP THINGS SIMPLE
I've come to find that there are two types of sellers, those who want to sell their home "AS IS" and leave any issues/outdated features for the new owner to take care of. On the other side of the table there are the sellers who may have seen HGTV's Flip of Flop, one to many times and want to give their home a complete makeover prior to selling. The truth is, every home is different. Quick fixes here and there before selling almost always pay off. Complete makeovers on the other hand, not so much. You may be disheartened to discover that you probably won’t get the ROI you were hoping for if you complete a huge improvement project prior to putting your house on the market. Instead, focus on smaller updates that will pay off and almost always guarantee a strong return: A few ideas include a new fresh coat of paint on the walls, repaint or clean up your cabinets, replace the curtains, deep clean/replace the carpets (possibly with vinyl or real-wood depending on market, and location in house - some bathrooms were designed with carpeting...EEK!), replace the door handles and cabinet hardware, update lighting, ensure that all of your closet doors are on track, clean up all grout work and take care of any plumbing issues.
4 LIGHT UP THE HOUSE
Buyers love bright and happy spaces, so do everything you can to maximize the light, both natural and ambient, in your home. Believe it or not, after location, good light is one feature that every buyer cites that they want their home. Clean the windows, remove the drapes and go for something sheer, increase the wattage of your bulbs around the house, change the lampshades, and trim back the bushes outside to let in more natural light. Anything that you can do to make your home brighter, will pay off more than you’d believe.
5 GIVE THE PETS A WEEKEND GETAWAY
When most buyers, even if they are pet owners themselves, walk into a home, they really don’t need to know that you have a few little critters of your own running around. A potential buyers don’t want to walk in your home and get a whiff of kitty litter or walk out looking like they need to spend the next 10 minutes using a lint roller because of the tufts of animal hair stuck to their clothes. All that pets will do is give buyers a sense that your home is not clean. When your agent is hosting an open house or showing off your home, take the pets out for a walk or send them to a pet hotel for the day.
6 THE KITCHEN IS THE MONEY MAKER
Not only is the kitchen the space where families spend the most time with each other, but it sets the mood for buyers' impression of the rest of the house. If the kitchen doesn’t “WOW”, the rest of the home is going to be a harder sell. There are endless benefits to remodeling a kitchen, and the best time to do it is while you still plan on living in the house for a few more years prior to selling so that you can enjoy your investment! If done tastefully, you can look forward to seeing about 85% of what you spent on your kitchen returned to you upon sale. I’ve personally witnessed cases where a kitchen remodel pushes the difference in sales price over 100% of what the kitchen cost. It may only cost a few thousand dollars to replace countertops even with more premium materials, where a buyer may knock $20,000 or more off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The most budget friendly ways to update your kitchen include repainting the cabinets and replacing that old grungy hardware with sleek chrome, brass, or fashion forward options. We recommend utilizing a neutral-color paint, such as white, grey, black, or navy blue, so that when buyers walk through your kitchen they are looking at a blank canvas that will allow them to envision their own style.
Have a few extra bucks to spend? We recommend buying one new appliance from a higher-end brand (Sub-Zero/WOLF, Miele, La Cornue , Gaggenau, etc.) stainless steel appliance. Why only one? When people see one modern day high-end appliance they tend to assume the rest of the appliances in the kitchen are high end as well, and by riding on the halo-effect of the one appliance, the kitchen as a whole takes on a higher profile status. We recommend upgrading the refrigerator or the range.
7 YOU MUST ALWAYS BE READY TO SHOW
Imagine you’re having family and friends over for the holiday, now imaging your home even better than that. Your house needs to be ready to hit the runway at all times – you never know when your buyer will walk through your front door. Your home must always be in beyond perfect shape while it’s on the market. Having the maid service come twice or three times a week? So be it. Everything needs to be in immaculate shape. Bathrooms not up to par? BIG no-no. Dishes in the sink? Don’t even think about it. And last but not least kick the dust bunnies to the curb! It may be an uncomfortable and impractical way to live for a while, but it will get your house sold - isn’t that the whole point?
8 CHOOSING THE RIGHT REPRESENTATION
Do your homework. Close behind pricing your home for the wrong amount, one of the biggest sales killers is hiring the wrong agent/broker. It is absolutely necessary to only hire and work with a broker who knows the market. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS) on a daily basis, know what price properties are selling for on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood inside and out. While experience and local market knowledge are extremely important considerations in hiring the right agent, in todays world, working with a broker who embraces both video and technology will put you leagues ahead of the rest. If a photo is worth a thousand words, a video with the right media strategy can be worth millions. Every home has a story to tell, and that story cannot come across through photos and a witty property description on it's own.
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