Most sellers experience a life change or see a home they wish to move up or downsize into and then begin the process to sell their home. Ideally, it would be great to get yearly valuations of the home. Have a running plan or schedule of updates or large scale maintenance for the home to check off each year, so that you enjoy those while you are living in the home as well as planning for when you will sell. Not many sellers actually do this, but it’s a great concept! So, you’re ready to sell your home. What’s next and how does the process unfold to list your home?
Normally, I meet with the sellers for two visits. In the first visit I get to know the sellers, ask about recent improvements to the home, walk through the home taking notes, and schedule a date for the second visit. It’s hard to give a value to a home that you haven’t seen before! I search out recent sold comparable home listings in the same neighborhood over the last 6 months, but if they are not available or if they are not comparable to this home, then I search farther back (up to one year) or I go outside of the neighborhood (within an appraiser’s acceptable distance) to locate comparables. I review the interior photos, description, upgrades, mapping, and whatever information I have to compare with my sellers’ home. I review active listings and those currently under contract as well. Often, driving by or scheduling a preview of some of the active homes. I return to the seller for the second visit to better understand what their goals and needs are, go over my process, explain how I will market and service their listing, and review my findings with them in the form of a CMA (Comparative Marketing Analysis). This meeting allows us to answer each other’s questions, decide if we are a good fit to work together, and decide if we will move forward with a listing contract. After the second visit we have a schedule to follow as we move toward listing the home in the local MLS (Multiple Listing System).
I generally offer my sellers a consultation with a staging professional. Even, for those homes that look like a model already! A staging professional can help the sellers’ view the home the way a buyer would and offer suggestions to improve the way the home appears in the real estate photography as well as the actual showings. Most suggestions are simple, inexpensive, and involve more labor than money. All make such a difference in the way the home photographs and shows to buyers. The staging professionals I work with are good at what they do, but not intimidating. They understand that getting a home ready for listing can be stressful along with sellers’ daily schedules and their requirements. You’ll love how your home looks and may think twice about selling it!
I use a professional real estate photographer for all of my listings. I do this in all price ranges and even for lots. It is part of the value that I bring to my business. It makes a tremendous difference in the quality of the photos and marketing material by doing this. My photographer continually invests in equipment that keeps him at the forefront of real estate photography. I don’t skimp on the photos and make sure we show off as much of the house as we can. Often, we show photos of the neighborhood amenities and similar shots to help the buyer get a sense of the area. The sellers must have the home in perfect shape for the photography, so this is where their hard work will really shine.
I work with a licensed appraiser to measure my listings and create a detailed floor plan. This allows me to feel comfortable I have accurate measurements of the size of the home for the MLS listing. For marketing of the home it provides a floor plan with measurements of each room, right down to the closets. This will help the buyer see that their furniture will work in this home or to remember how the “flow” was in this home (after seeing twenty other homes and their memory lagging). This is helpful when the home is appraised by the lender’s appraiser down the road once the home is under contract.
Pre-Inspections are good options for some homes. I can explain the pros and the cons of a pre-inspection for each home and let the sellers decide. A few positives are that a Pre-Inspection is a great marketing tool that helps buyers feel more comfortable about putting an offer on a home and the price they are willing to pay. A seller has fewer surprises once under contract after the buyers’ inspection and has a better idea of what their net take away will be. This knowledge allows a seller to better negotiate the purchase price when receiving an offer. Once the home is inspected the seller will need to choose to repair any issues that came up on the report before listing or they are required to disclosure the issues on the property disclosure. Generally, it is better to go ahead and make the repair.
There are many other marketing tools involved in preparing a home for the market and listing. These are just some of the basic steps that I feel are essential. Are you thinking of selling your home or trying to plan for the future? Just have questions? Call me! I’m happy to discuss the process or meet with you to create a plan for the future. Step by step…I’ll help you get there in time!