7 Important Things Home Sellers Often Forget To Do
By Gary Pollard
When you're selling your home there's so much to do: find a Realtor, do touch-ups, get that bulky air conditioner fixed, look into staging .... It's no wonder that sometimes things fall between the cracks. Big things. (Not pointing fingers, promise.)
The experience of working with home sellers identifies the to-do's that sellers typically overlook. I promise you, these tasks are well worth the time it will take to complete them (which isn't very long at all). Give yourself the best chance to reduce the stress level.
To-do No. 1: Google your address. Not all sellers scour the Internet to find out what's being said about their property, but they should. Nearly all buyers - 90% - search online during their hunt for a home, according to the National Association of Realtors. You should be aware of what your online listing looks like, since it will influence the kinds of concerns buyers will have. Is the site's estimated value very different from your asking price? It might be because the tax records have the wrong information about the number of bedrooms or bathrooms, but this is easily fixed. There's another factor to consider with cars constantly mapping our world. Google Maps' street view of your property may not show improvements that you've made, so you'll want to be sure to include those updates in your listing.
To-do No. 2: Account for improvement Issues. If you've owned your home for a while, make a list of all the problems you've solved while you've lived there. This could include chimney fires, water damage, or a flood. Whether you solved the problem or not, you should disclose this information to the buyer so you don't wind up in a lawsuit after the sale. Disclosing "invisible improvements" that you've made, like re-grading or adding a french drain system can also be a great source of comfort for buyers. The same goes for sewer lines or tanks, radon remediation, or leaky skylights.
To-do No. 3: Check your real estate agent's references. An agent's bad behavior or incompetence could cost you time, money, and peace of mind, so it's well worth taking extra steps to find the best real estate agent for you. Ask friends for recommendations if you don't already have a relationship with an agent you know, love and trust. Make sure there have been no complaints filed, that the agent has a good knowledge of the market, communicates well and often, negotiates well to secure the best offer.
To-do No. 4: Insist on social media marketing. You staged your home beautifully, picked a competitive price, and listed the property, but there is also a need for a social media marketing plan. Video tours, floor plans, and photo galleries promoted on Facebook and Instagram are must-dos. Make sure your home has a presence on your agent's website and/or the agency's website, and is promoted on various sites that will market the home and give information about open houses.
To-do No. 5: Make sure the doorbell rings. Yes, attention to detail. it's those little cosmetic repairs that could cost you your home sale. If buyers see that you can't even be bothered to repair a busted doorbell, they're automatically going to think about what else may need fixing and view the home negatively. First impressions make all the difference starting with the view from the curb.
To-do No. 6: Clean inside everything. Storage is a huge selling point for homes. So be warned: Buyers are going to poke around inside closets, drawers, cabinets, ovens, refrigerators, and even the dishwasher - so you better make sure they are clean. Spending the money on a service to deep-clean your home will come back to you at least 10 times in your sales price. Even if you've swept up and scrubbed all surfaces to a shine, you're not done until dust, crumbs, and creepy-crawlies are cleaned out from within the small spaces too.
To-do No. 7: Clarify which items are not included. You don't want the buyer to fall in love with your house because of the custom window treatments and then rescind their offer when they find out the curtains are not for sale. The law says that anything bolted to the wall or ceiling goes to the buyer unless specifically excluded in the contract. Excluded items should be notated in the listing and labeled as soon as the house goes on the market (or removed before the house is photographed) so the buyers don't bank on owning that item and wind up disappointed.