Use This Checklist For a Quick & Profitable Home Sale
Even in a “seller’s market” the wise seller makes smart home improvement choices to expedite the sale and optimize the final sales price.
Sellers following this seven-point checklist, are more likely to enjoy a swift home sale. With the right real estate agent and upgrades, you may even reap the benefits of a buyers’ bidding war.
1. Work with an experienced and personable real estate agent
Experience is essential when it comes to choosing your real estate agent. However, the agent’s personality matters too.
While it is important to find a real estate agent with a string of successfully closed home sales, personable customer service is still a priority. Sellers should always feel they can trust their real estate agent, knowing they are doing everything in their power to balance a timely sale with the maximum final sales price.
When you focus on the quality of the relationship, as well as experience, you and your real estate agent form a long-term partnership that you can rely on again and again over the years.
2. Think about major maintenance improvements
It may be tempting to forgo some of the costlier home maintenance needs, such as replacing the roof or updating the HVAC system. However, industry research shows that taking care of the higher-dollar maintenance items before selling your home is the smarter way to go.
For example, a post on homeadvisor.com states, “…a new roof increases home resale value by a national average of nearly $12,000. The survey also revealed that homeowners who have new roofing installed can expect to recover an average of 62.9% of the installation cost through increased home value.”
While some new homeowners enjoy performing a modicum of home remodeling to “make it their own,” once they move in, most prospective buyers prefer to have those done ahead of time – especially if necessary maintenance impacts energy efficiency. Otherwise, buyers will make low-ball offers that take their own time, energy, and investment into account.
3. Improve whole-home energy efficiency
That brings us to our next topic: evaluating and updating whole-home efficiency. If your home was built in the past five years or so, you are probably fine. If the home is ten years old or more, it’s worth scheduling an energy audit.
Today’s homebuyers prioritize home energy efficiency, particularly in terms of an energy-efficient HVAC system, solar potential, adequate insulation, window replacements, etc. This is especially true for those who work from home and run heating/cooling systems 24/7.
Other examples of energy efficiency updates include:
- Switching to LED or fluorescent lighting if you haven’t already
- Upgrading appliances (used models are affordable options and worth the confidence they instill in homeowners who won’t know they weren’t yours, to begin with)
- Installing a smart thermostat
- Updating faucets and showerheads to WaterSense models
Contact your local building department or utility company to get referrals for professional home energy audit inspectors. This small investment reaps large rewards because anything they find would be noted along the way during the contract-related building inspection. It’s always better for sellers to have the chance to update affordable improvements such as air sealing or insulation upgrades than to give prospective buyers more reason to reduce their offers.
4. Schedule a home inspection
Typically the buyer schedules a home inspection after their offer is accepted. However, if your home is more than seven- to 10-years-old, it would not be a bad idea to get a pre-listing inspection.
As with the energy audit, scheduling a home inspection before you list the home gives you the opportunity to discover and address any issues that homebuyers would want to be repaired before buying or that would give them the upper hand in the price negotiations.
Your real estate agent will have recommendations for licensed, reputable home inspectors in your area that offer fast turnarounds and trustworthy reports.
5. Update the exterior
Real estate agents know updating the exterior of the home (aka, “improving curb appeal”) is essential before hanging up the “For Sale” sign. While contractors and home designers may be able to look through a faded exterior to see the potential, most homebuyers judge the proverbial book by its cover.
If your home does not inspire a sense of welcome and visual appeal on the first impression, you may suffer a lack of interest from homebuyers and reduced offers. Your real estate agent will let you know if they feel exterior updates will expedite the sale and/or enhance the final sales price.
Typically, the quickest ways to increase your home’s exterior to make a good impression are:
- Adding a fresh coat of paint to the home
- Replacing dilapidated or damaged siding
- Repairing/repainting gutters and downspouts
- Repainting or refinishing fencing
- Sprucing up the landscaping
- Adding potted flowers to the porch
- Replacing any burnt-out bulbs in exterior/landscape lighting (to showcase the house after sunset)
6. Stage the interior
Similarly, you want prospective buyers’ positive first impressions to continue when they walk through the front door. If you or someone else is currently living in the home, the goal is to improve the interior while still allowing them to have a normal quality of life.
This can include improvements such as:
- Fresh coats of paint on walls and trim
- De-cluttering the home
- Minimizing family photos and personal items (no need to strip the walls but replacing family photos and personal mementos with more neutral decor helps future buyers feel they can be at home there)
- Re-carpeting if the carpet is outdated, stained, or musty
If, however, the home is empty, we recommend hiring a stager. Again, your real estate agent will have referrals available for you.
Investopedia.com says, “Home staging has become a “must-do” for sellers…home staging makes it easier for prospective buyers to visualize the property as a future home. Staged homes sell faster and for more money than those that are unstaged, according to industry analysis.”
The ultimate goal of staging an empty home is to modestly improve the aesthetics of a home in a neutral way. You want it to look appealing but without being overly stylized so buyers are attracted to the home but can still envision their own furnishings and decor in place.
7. Price your home wisely based on current trends
Here is another place where your real estate agent is your best ally. Pricing your home wisely is essential for generating buyer interest, moving the sale forward in a timely sale, and for getting the highest price possible.
Understanding current market trends for comparable homes in your area and tracking the relationship between listing and sales prices helps your real estate agent price your home for the best outcome.
Are you preparing to sell your Central Florida home? Contact Southern Exclusive Realty. We’ve quickly earned a reputation as top real estate agents in the area and we look forward to working on your behalf.