You can find lots of information on the Internet about preparing your home for sale . . . in fact, just scroll down: you’ll find one such article here! But selling quickly for top dollar involves more than just spiffing up the house. It also involves YOU, your mindset, your preparation, your choices and so on.
Make the Shift
If you’ve been living in your HOME for some time, you wear it like your favorite sweater. You love almost everything about it. Every blemish has a story. The few little defects have been in place so long you hardly notice them. Every corner of every room holds a pleasant memory.
And somewhere, deep inside, you expect everyone who comes into your HOME to recognize and experience all of that warm fuzzy stuff. They won’t.
The day you decide to sell, your HOME becomes a HOUSE. All of the sweater aspects evaporate (you were the only one who perceived them anyway). It is now a PRODUCT, competing in the open market with other similar products. And you must start to view it that way as well.
In my previous post, I drew a parallel between detailing your car and preparing your house for sale. I think the analogy is good because we tend to become far less emotionally attached to our cars than our houses. When it’s time to sell a vehicle, we prep it and GO. You need the same mind-set when selling your HOUSE.
Over and over I have seen home sellers create barriers between their HOUSE-product and potential buyers. It’s usually subtle little things like NOT having a lock box (that makes access easier for REALTORS), like NOT having a for sale sign in the yard, like requiring 24 hours notice for a showing. There are often good reasons for these little roadblocks – small children, ailing family members, day sleepers, valuables – but they still cut the pool of potential buyers AND make competing properties more attractive.
Before you insist that you can’t or you don’t want to or you’re not going to . . . ask yourself why. Is there a temporary change you could make in your daily lifestyle that would allow you to remove the restriction? Time on market right now on Oahu is very short. Most properly priced homes sell in 30 days or less. Most people can put up with even a drastic change for that short period of time, and it can make a big difference in sale-ability.
Do Your Homework
Ask your agent to walk you through the offer and acceptance process BEFORE you have an offer. What can you expect? What should you look out for? How will you work with your agent to sift through offers? If you wait until you have an offer to start educating yourself, the process will drag and your comfort level will sag.
In addition to simply talking about the process, ask your agent to give you a blank copy of the standard real estate purchase agreement and the sellers’ net proceeds worksheet that will be used. The time to become familiar with these important documents is NOW, before you’re having to make decisions based upon them!
Adjust the Bulls-eye
One of the biggest mistakes home sellers make is getting hung up on price. It’s natural: we are born shoppers and when shopping we usually start with price. But when it comes to selling your HOUSE, price is not the most important metric for judging success. What really matters is your net proceeds or walk-away dollars.
When you list your home for sale, work with your agent to determine a target net for yourself. Then when offers come in, you’ll be prepared to evaluate them properly. Many times, in multiple offer situations, the BEST offer is not the highest. If you stay focused on the right bulls-eye, you’ll be able to spot it.
If you are talking with real estate companies about what they can do for you, beware the marketing fluff. It’s fine for your agent to tell you how wonderful he or she is and what a good job their company will do. But where’s the proof?
Look for a tangible track record in a number of areas. And the company or agent with the largest number of sales is not necessarily the best. The kind of results that impact you, the seller, are:
- Days on Market. On average, how long does it take your prospective agent/company to sell a listing? And how does that compare with the MLS average
- Sale Price as a % of Listing Price. On average, how far off list price do sellers listed with this agent/company have to budge to make a sale? Do they have to come down 2%? or 5%? And how does that compare with the MLS average.
- Seller Savings. On average, how much do sellers listed with this agent/company save in real estate commissions over what they might pay any other agent/broker? Ok, I know; that’s a loaded question because Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties is the only real estate company in the area that has a better deal for sellers, that is focused on seller savings like no other company. Our low set fee pricing and completely different business model delivers substantial savings to our seller clients again and again and again. It is the track record we are most proud of!
- Seller Satisfaction. Does your prospective agent/company have raving fans? Can they share testimonial letters from former sellers with you? Are they willing to give you a list of references to check? You know if you were hiring an unfamiliar babysitter you’d check references. Why wouldn’t you check them when you’re dealing with your biggest asset, you home? I am very proud of the testimonials we’ve received at Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties, and you can view some of them HERE.
Work through this little list and prepare yourself (as well as your home) for sale. You’ll sell faster for more walk-away dollars, with less hassle if you do!