In today’s housing market being the Buyer is the best of both worlds. The cards are all stacked in your favor. You can choose the best realty agency in your neighborhood and interview the agent you want to work with. You can determine the time and places you would like to visit as well as being firm on the price range you will pay. Don’t hesitate to ask all and every question that is of utmost importance to you, such as location and types of schools in the area, what the house originally sold for, taxes, maintenance expenses, association fees, all improvements done on the house, etc.
Being the Seller is a whole different bag. You have your work cut out for you even before you sign a contract with a realty agency. So let’s go through these step by step:
1) Be prepared to accept that the value of your home is likely to be below what you think it is worth or what you think you can get for it.
2) Make sure your agent knows the lowest price you’re willing to accept.
3) Study the comparables in your area and read the latest housing trends.
4) Pick the realty agency you feel will meet your needs and has a good track record in selling homes in your area.
5) Interview an agent from that office and make sure you can work comfortably with him or her.
6) Let your agent know how you want your showings scheduled. However, be flexible.
7) Be prepared in advance for a showing by doing the following:
- Unclutter: remove all family and personal photos, toys off floors and neatly stored away; magazines and newspapers out of site, arrange books neatly in book cases or stacked neatly, or put in cabinets, remove religious items as not to offend any religion; remove items that show a political preference.
- Closets: Neatly hang and arrange clothes, organize shoes, handbags, belts, ties, etc. Now is the time to donate your unused, non-fitting clothes to charity. Make closet space appear larger.
- Linens and towels should be neatly folded and arranged on shelves or drawers (imagine a store display).
- Carpets, floors, tiles cleaned. Remove loose carpeting that could be tripped over.
- Bathrooms sparkling and counter tops cleared off.
- Basement: if storing in basement arrange items neatly and put in containers or plastic cartons.
- Clean or repaint if there is staining, mildew, or signs of aging. Recaulk where needed.
- Open windows, air out house and turn on ceiling fans if you have any. A light spray of a room deodorizer is alright, just don’t overdo. Fresh baked cookies give a homey touch.
- Outdoors: clear grounds of all fallen tree limbs, rake leaves, keep pathways swept, grass mowed/snow shoveled, hedges and flower beds trimmed and mulched. Fresh mulch is always impressive. Power wash or touch up mildew or mold. Lysol Mildew and Mold Remover spray works very well.
- Once a showing is scheduled, be prepared to leave the premises, take your pets with you, remove any signs of pets on the premises i.e. food dishes, litter boxes, pet toys and beds, vacuum/remove any animal hair (people with allergies will be very appreciative).
You are now on your way to selling your home. Good luck. Stay calm even when the offer is not what you expected!