Trying to sell your home in Williamsburg, VA? Well.... the old saying is true: It’s a beauty contest and a price war you have to win BOTH.
Yes, it is more difficult to sell today. Impossible? No way. As a seller you do have to do your ‘homework’ (no pun intended) in order to accomplish the ‘sold’ sign being placed in your front yard. I closed over 40 sales in 2011 so I can say with some degree of experience what you need to do as a homeowner to sell your home. My top 6 things are here and are really in the order that they need to be done- although you have to do ALL 6 to succeed.
1. PRICE is king. When pricing, try to see your home through the eyes of your potential buyer. Look first at the SOLD properties in your neighborhood and the price that they sold for. Try to find the sold listings on the Internet and look at the features in the home and how the house showed to buyers as they trolled Realtor.com or another real estate website. Look second at what is active on the market and then price competitively. SOLD prices equal REALITY. The LIST prices are ‘what we hope to get’. Proper positioning is the key to a successful sale. Price too high and your home will truly just sit. Chances are if you are not seeing showings then you are priced too high.
2. Declutter and depersonalize.I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to declutter and depersonalize your home. Buyers cannot see past your ‘stuff’. If you have closets that are overflowing then your buyer will think that if your clothes don’t fit in your closet then neither will their things fit in the closet. Most of the time we have too much furniture- see if there are pieces that can leave a room so that the room will look better. Remember, buyers only know what they see. If they see a house that has too much ‘stuff’ in it then it will appear that the rooms are too small. (It doesn't hurt to already have a few boxes packed as well!). Take down ALL personal photos. You want the buyer to be able to see the home as potentially their home not still as your home. And, while your children are beautiful, do you want the buyer to remember what your kids look like or do you want them to see the features of your home and remember those?
3. Keep it clean! Follow up with a good and a constant good cleaning. Q-TIP clean! (Yes, really!)
4. Update as much as you can.A brand new and neutral comforter on a bed as well as fresh paint will work wonders. If you can do more- like adding granite countertops- do so. Consult with your Realtor about things that you can do that will add value to your home. Not every update will be worth the money and you may not get back all of your investment. Some updates have to be done in order to compete with the active listings and you may not get your money back dollar for dollar- but you will get your home sold. For example, most buyers see wallpaper as ‘work’ and will walk away thinking that there is possibly work to do in the house.
5. Make your home available to show. The easier that your home is to show the more likely that it WILL show. Think of this aspect of selling as you would any odds for winning- the more your home is shown the more likely that you will find your buyer. The less you are shown the less opportunity to sell. Don't have unreasonable conditions like only allowing your home to be shown at certain times of the day.
6. Have the home READY to show! Turn on all lights in the house. Have the house clean and smelling good. No unmade beds, no dishes in the sink and no trash in the house. Put away personal hygiene items like mouthwash, tooth brushes etc. Open the blinds and let the sun shine in so that your home will sparkle!
Remember, the first step is to get the buyers in the door! This is accomplished through proper pricing and making it easy to see your home. Price too high and you won’t see showings. The second step is to have a ‘wow’ factor once the prospective buyer enters your home. Declutter, clean, and have a ‘neutral’ palate.
The final step is to have some patience with the market. It will take a little longer to sell than it has in the past, however, do the 6 items above and you will move to the SOLD category this spring!