Selling a home is a journey. Most of us will have the experience of purchasing or selling a home sometime during our lifetime. At first, the process of selling a home can seem like an overwhelming task due to everything that there is to know about being a successful seller. Thankfully, that’s where we come in. Whether you’re a seasoned seller or are thinking about selling your first home, follow along with the Keri Shull Seller’s Guide to take advantage of our years of experience selling homes in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. We’ll take you step by step through the selling process.
The saying “first impressions are everything” couldn’t be more true when it comes to selling a home. One of the most labor intensive steps to selling a home is getting the home prepared and ready for showings, but it doesn’t have to break your bank account. If you do it right, the benefits will cover the costs of your efforts and then some. We’ve broken this process of preparing your home for sale down into four parts:
1. Depersonalizing & Decluttering Your Home
It’s hard for prospective buyers to imagine themselves and all of their stuff inside your home if your own personal knick knacks are taking over the space. In order to avoid distracting the buyer, eliminate as many personal items from view as possible. By creating a neutral space, you allow buyers to view your home as a blank canvas. So, take down the family photos and put away a lifetime of memorabilia; once your home is sold, you can flaunt your style and collections once more, but in your brand new home.
2. Cleaning Your Home From Top to Bottom
Any good agent will tell you how important it is to have a clean house if you’re serious about selling your home. If you’re going to continue to live in your home up until it is sold — as most people do — it is especially important to keep up with the cleaning every day while the home is on the market. A messy home will surely turn away most buyers, so glove up and get to work. A clean, neat home does wonders for showings. Keep carpets vacuumed, mop hardwood floors to a nice shine, wipe the counters down, and dust all surfaces. We also recommend washing the baseboards, cleaning out kitchen cupboards, and having any stains professionally removed. Try to make your home as clean as an upscale hotel room. We promise the work will be worth it.
3. Staging Your Home
In order to stage your home effectively, you’ll need to look at your home from another perspective. Staging a home involves optimizing the space to improve the look, use, and feel of every room. If you’re using that extra bedroom as an in-home office, revert it back to its original purpose. Add, remove, or rearrange furniture to paint a picture of endless possibilities. Cover up any marks on the wall with a fresh coat of paint and buy some new throw pillows or towels. If decorating isn’t your forte, choose a real estate agent with professional experience to help you stage your home. Enlisting the help of professionals isn’t a bad idea; top realtors know how to make homes appealing to a large number of buyers and can save you time and money. The amount of effort you put into staging your home will have a significant impact on the length of time it takes to sell your home, and the selling price.
4. Renovating & Repairing Your Home
The majority of buyers aren’t going to buy a home in need of a lot of repairs or renovation — not unless you’re willing to sell your home for less to make up for it. Call your favorite handyman and make an effort in fixing all of those little things you’ve put off until now. Fix any leaky faucets, repair dents in the walls, replace broken knobs or handles, and upgrade the light fixtures. Don’t forget to take care of the outside of the house as well. Check to make sure the gutters are firmly secured and replace any missing bricks or shingles. Trust us; it will make a huge difference to buyers and you’ll be able to list your house for more money.
The Keri Shull team has helped hundreds of sellers prepare their homes for sale, and we can help you too. By choosing us as your Realtor, you’ll get:
If you’ve made it to this step in our Seller’s Guide, give yourself a pat on the back! You’ve gotten a lot of the nitty gritty work out of the way, and your home is prepared to enter the market. Now you’re ready to start pricing and listing your home for sale.
When you’re ready to sell your home, pricing can be the trickiest part of the process. Should you start out with a high asking price, and then negotiate it down? Why are some listing prices a whole number and others not — where is the difference coming from? How long is too long for your house to be listed before you need to lower the price? Should you position the price of your house in favor of a bidding war?
These are questions the Keri Shull team can answer from decades of experience selling houses in fluctuating markets. We can help you decide if you’re better off listing high and patiently awaiting the right buyer, or asking on the lower end in order to sell fast, and we can teach you how to avoid the number one mistake buyers make when pricing their homes. The right realtor will ask questions about your expectations and goals before helping you develop a pricing strategy for your home. It’s important to start off with the right asking price because you’re essentially setting the first number in a negotiation and you should always have the upper hand when selling your home.
In determining how much your house is worth, it is critical to factor in:
1. Current market conditions
2. The pros and cons of your home
3. Other properties on the market
4. Recent home sales in your neighborhood
Remember that your home is only worth whatever price the buyer is ultimately willing to pay, but that doesn’t mean your pricing strategy can’t work in your favor to boost profits. The Keri Shull team has pricing strategy down to a science and can help you navigate the numbers game to choose the right asking price.
When you choose Keri Shull as your realtor, you’re automatically giving yourself an advantage — several advantages actually! With Keri Shull on your side, you’ll get:
1. Insider knowledge regarding the market, comparable sales, and statistical data
2. Experience knowing what sells, what doesn’t sell, and why or why not Authority on the competition, since we’ve physically seen the other homes on the market
3. The right pricing strategy for your home
4. A proven track record of successfully out-performing other agents — ask us about our days-on-market statistics and price-to-sold price ratio.
Most realtors won’t tell you that their marketing plan for selling your home only consists of getting it on MLS, but we aren’t most realtors. The Keri Shull team understands that marketing is a multidimensional game — our marketing plan for selling your home goes way behind a simple MLS listing and we have the resources to give you an edge on the competition. We want your home to sell and know how to market your home appropriately. Our ideal marketing plan is broken down into four parts:
1. Identifying the Ideal Buyer
Great marketing means understanding and targeting your audience. In order to understand your ideal buyer, you need to think about your home’s potential and visualize your perfect buyer. Who is most likely to buy your home — a large family, an older couple, or a young, single buyer? What features within the house will appeal to them most? What benefits will your ideal buyer get from your type of home and location? Once you can pinpoint your ideal buyer, you know your audience and can develop a targeted marketing strategy.
2. Choosing the Right Marketing Channels
Depending on your ideal buyer, there are certain marketing channels that will be more effective than others. It is very important that the marketing for your home is written and tailored to appeal to your ideal buyer, enabling you to target your home’s serious buyers and weed out the rest.
For instance, if your ideal buyer is a senior citizen, they will most likely respond best to a mail marketing campaign, such as postcards or flyers — the likelihood of them being active online is lower in comparison to a younger buyer. If your ideal buyer is a young millennial, they will most likely see your home on social media and respond accordingly. In some circumstances, it may be best to market your home in a variety of ways to increase the potential of selling your home, but in others it will make the most sense to target your marketing through one or two specific channels.
3. Taking the Perfect Photos for Your Home’s Online Listing
Let’s face it: in today’s world, the majority of homes are found through online listings. That’s why it is extremely important to choose photos that show your home in the best light. An online buyer will immediately be drawn in by outstanding listing photos; if there are very few, low quality photos available of your home or none at all, your listing will suffer.
We highly recommend you get professional photos taken, or at least use a camera better than the one on your new iPhone. Cell phone cameras just won’t do your home justice. In our digital age, high quality photos can make or break a listing. Take our advice; we’ve been here a few (hundred) times.
4. Exposing Your Home to Active & Inactive Buyers
Optimally, your ideal buyer is actively searching for a home. They are looking at online listings, using an agent, and house hunting in person. However, your ideal buyer could be someone who doesn’t even know they’re ready to buy a home yet, but if they see your listing and fall in love…
But how do you find these inactive buyers? Well, that’s when your real estate agent can really have an impact on marketing your home for sale. Truly effective marketing of a listing can reach both those who are already in the market for a new home and those who are not. The Keri Shull team has a vast network of professional contacts, tried and true marketing techniques, and years of experience seeing what works and what doesn’t.
1. We have an authoritative presence online and in the industry.
2. We mix traditional advertising elements with modern techniques.
3. We don’t just sell homes, we buy homes too! We know how buyers think. We can identify your ideal buyer and direct them to your home.
4. We understand the power of social media and harness it appropriately.
5. We work with professionals in the advertising industry to guarantee high quality photos, well-written descriptions, well designed listings, and we utilize search engine experts.
6. We have a vast network of potential buyers and agents to work with to get your house sold efficiently.
7. We devise a multifaceted marketing plan to not only market your house, but your neighborhood too.
8. We know how to make your house stand out from the rest of the competition.
So your home is prepared to be shown to prospective buyers, you’ve determined the right listing price and your ideal buyer, and your marketing plan covers all your bases. Now you’re ready to start showing your home. We’ve broken this step in the selling process down to five parts:
1. Flexibility is Key
As a seller, you need to be prepared to be inconvenienced by having to show your home to strangers regularly throughout the selling process. One of these strangers will end up being your buyer, so it is a critical part of the process. If you want top dollar for your home, you will need to be open and flexible in order to show potential buyers your home at a time that is convenient for them. In most cases, your buyers will have similar schedules and you won’t have to go too far out of your way to please them; weekends and evenings are the most popular showing times. However, some buyers will want to see your house at other hours, like early in the morning or in the middle of a week day. Just be patient and remember that all of your efforts will prove to be well worth the prize at the end.
2. Remove Yourself from Showings
Our experience in buying and selling homes has proven that buyers aren’t the most comfortable seeing a home when the seller is around. We recommend you run your errands or go check out that new coffee house down the street when your house is being shown, so potential buyers can look at the house on their own. Buyers feel most comfortable when they are able to explore at their own pace and feel free to make honest observations of your house within earshot of their agent (and not you).
3. Keep Up With the Upkeep
As we recommended in the Preparing Your Home section of our Seller’s Guide, make sure your home is always in top condition, ready to be shown at a moment’s notice. This means folding the laundry, making beds, cleaning the cat box, and putting the dishes away. Treat your home like a hotel and keep it constantly prepared for new visitors.
4. Give Open Houses a Chance
Though some statistics suggest that open houses don’t sell the most homes, your home could be the exception — and our open houses constantly prove those stats wrong. Open houses enable potential buyers to see the house in a low-key, relaxed setting. There is less pressure on a potential buyer when they are viewing the house among other interested buyers. If they walk in and really love it, the presence of other people viewing the house could also incentivize your ideal buyer to make an offer right away. Learn how to avoid a common open house mistake from the experts.
5. Learn to Take Constructive Criticism
We understand that people become emotionally attached to their houses, but not everyone will think your house is special. If they raise concerns, listen. Take their perspective and opinions into account, so you are able to respond appropriately and maybe make some tweaks to avoid similar critiques with the next potential showing.
When you sell your house with Keri Shull, you will:
1. Get access to our vast network of buyers, real estate agents, and professional services
2. Have our commitment to selling your house — that’s our only focus! Obtain real feedback from showings and open houses
3. Stay in constant contact with us on the status of your home
4. Know you’ve got the best team on your side to help you sell your home
Offers can come to you via email, a phone call, presented in person, or even by fax — yes, some people still have a fax machine!
Points of Negotiation
2 . Price
3. Closing date
4. Irrevocable date
Responding to the Offer
Now you have to decide how to respond to the offer. You have three options:
1. Accept the offer as-is — no more negotiating
2. Counteroffer with different conditions or a better price for yourself — the buyer can either accept your counteroffer, make one of his or her own, or walk away from the whole deal
3. Reject the offer — this doesn’t necessarily mean the deal is off; the buyer can always make another offer
Negotiating is truly a skill, dependent on practice and experience. If you’ve chosen the right dealer, you’ll receive professional advice and guidance in the art of negotiation, and be able to rest assured that you’re making the right decisions. Negotiating like a pro can be difficult and we often see sellers on the verge of blowing good deals because they let their emotions get in the way. Take our advice and avoid common negotiation traps by studying up in advance.
We listen to your wants and needs before offering advice. We’ve been here and done this before! We know what we’re doing. Our negotiating skills have impressed and pleased hundreds of clients who are willing to share their awesome seller experiences with Keri Shull.
Yes, we read the fine print! We know the laws and we abide by them, so you don’t have to worry about learning a whole new industry of rules. We won’t cave under pressure.
We’ve got your back.