Prepare to Sell

Presenting your home in the best light can add thousands of dollars to the market price.

Creating Curb Appeal: The value of curb appeal is to entice drive-by buyers to want to come inside the home. We’ve all heard the phrase, “don’t judge a book by its cover” and we all know that houses are no exception. The most beautiful and cozy interior is often not reflected by the exterior and visa versa. It is important to draw people into your home so they can see the interior charm. The yard should be comparable to the neighborhood; the cost of a quick clean up by a landscaper usually pays for itself. You want to make the house presentable, so keep the yard free of debris and toys. Keep the plants watered and the path clear. Little changes can make a world of difference.

Should You Make Repairs? A quick coat of paint and other relatively affordable cosmetic upgrades might take years off a home’s appearance. You want your home to be seen for what it is and the potential and not for the chip marks in the paint. Will undertaking significant repairs prior to putting your home on the market generate more revenue? Lu can help you weigh that decision. Sometimes big repairs can help and sometimes they are not worth it. Lu has dealt with this decision many times and she can help advise you on the best road to take. No matter what, it is a good idea to get estimates on the labor and materials and then you can go from there.

Cleaning Up The Property: Keep your property tidy, clean, well-lit and fresh smelling during the weeks the property is being shown. Often, having the extra pair of eyes (your real estate agent) will provide you with good suggestions as to how the home presents itself and what changes should be made. One of the most common mistakes is to leave the house cluttered during showings. Try to clean your house out as much as possible so that the potential buyer can see beyond your personal items and can see their own items in the house.

How Are Agents Paid? Real estate agents don’t get paid until you have successfully sold your home: typically they are paid a percentage of the real estate’s final selling price. The commission will depend on the type of property you are selling, the anticipated sales price, the type of agent you hire, and the level of services they provide. The commission is generally split between your listing agent and brokerage agency and the agent representing the buyer and their brokerage agency. Keep in mind, as your listing agent, Lu will pay for all the costs of marketing your home.

Staging: Agents may recommend staging your home so that the home appeals to the widest audience. Do-it-yourself tips such as putting fresh flowers around the house or hiring a staging company to bring in furniture are ways you can make your house feel more like a home.

Disclosures and Inspections? One of your primary duties as a seller is to make a list of anything you know about the house. You want to disclose everything you can to the buyer so that they are aware of the property’s condition. Real estate agents are familiar with the legal documents that will serve both you and the buyer in creating a sound and satisfactory transaction. In California, a termite inspection is required during the sales process. Lu recommends that you have this done prior to putting your home on the market because this can avoid surprising the buyer down the road.

Showing Your Home: It is important to leave your home while agents show your home to potential buyers. Lu recommends you leave the showing of your home to professional agents for several reasons. Buyers are more comfortable discussing the home’s merits and flaws with their agent if you are not there; they might even feel like they are intruding if you are home. Your agent is experienced in dealing with others on your behalf and has a fiduciary duty to represent your best interests in the best possible way; let them do the talking. This way, you don’t accidentally volunteer information that your agent could use more strategically during negotiations.