A prompt sale and a successful closing requires close attention to the details at each stage of the home sale. This is especially important now as the local real estate market has cooled off some and, while it is still a seller’s market, buyers have more homes to choose from and multiple offers aren’t as common as they were last Spring. Pay attention to the details and you will have success.
- Pre-Listing Inspection.
By having a reputable inspector inspect your home prior to listing you will avoid negative surprises and can deal with any issues proactively. The benefits include: (1) the ability to control who does the repair, how & when it is done; 2) ability to get an estimate on a repair you don’t want to do so you can simplify the negotiation by disclosing it a provider who can fix it and the cost; and 3) no inspection surprises means no price reductions after you are in contract and happy buyers.
- Home Upgrade List.
It is always helpful to have a list of upgrades that you have made to the home and the cost of those upgrades. This information will help the Buyer know why your home might be worth more then the competitor home and it also helps ensure that your home will appraise at the contracted value by providing the appraiser the same information to support the sale price.
- Home Features List.
Most buyers walk through a home in 15-30 minutes and are trying to decide whether they want to buy and live in your home for years, it can be a daunting task. You and your Broker can really help them out by creating a feature list handout – by room or by area – so even if they miss something they have it after they leave your home. This is sometimes combined with the upgrade list.
- Contract Tasks & Deadlines.
Once you get into contract on a home there are very specific tasks that the seller and the buyer are required to do and key deadlines. A 1-page summary can be very helpful for everyone to manage the list and hit the deadlines – ensuring an on time closing.
- Moving Tasks.
Doing what you can before you list your home such as getting rid of things you don’t want and starting the packing process can really help. Make sure you have a clear list of everything that needs to get done and by when, being sure to prioritize time sensitive services like selecting an estate sale representative or mover early in the process since they get booked up. This will really help decrease the stress of moving.
Article Published in the Woodinville Weekly Real Estate Section. Since 2017 The Blue Team has written the bi-monthly Real Estate Column sharing their expertise in this community publications. Sharing their Tips for Home Buying, Tips for Home Selling, Tips for Investors, Buying & Selling Luxury Homes, Real Estate Transitions (Including Relocation & Senior Real Estate Tips), and Equestrian Real Estate.
When you go to sell your home that has a unique selling feature – such as an equestrian property – make sure that your home is staged to sell this lifestyle feature and the marketing information is designed to sell to the buyers that want this feature.
- Lifestyle Marketing Literature & Feature Sheet
You are selling a lifestyle so make sure the verbiage online & your marketing brochure paints a picture of what a buyer’s life could be like if they buy your property. Share the convenience of having your horses onsite instead of boarding, easy access to trails, the joy of drinking your morning coffee while watching your beloved animals out in the pasture, etc. In addition, make sure you have a detailed marketing sheet that lists out all of the equestrian features and if possible the cost and/or value of those features. Help buyers compare the full value of what you have with another property they may be considering – especially those that say “equestrian potential”. This will also help ensure that when you sell your home for maximum value it also appraises at that value.
- Equestrian Curb Appeal & Feature Staging
Make sure all of the equestrian features you have are staged so prospective buyers appreciate their value in addition to your home & property. For example, white vinyl fencing should be pressure washed so it sparkles, your barn should be organized & free of cobwebs as well as your tack room and other outbuildings, and your pastures should be cleaned and in good condition. Have laminated feature cards throughout your entire property providing the information when people are most curious.
- Professional Photography with Aerials
Aerial photography that shows your entire property is a must. You aren’t just selling your house – show your home as it relates to your pastures, barns, riding arenas, and driveways for hauling and trailer parking. It is also a nice touch to take pictures of the barn with your horses in them – or goats, chickens, alpacas, donkeys or whatever you have!
- Customized In-Home Marketing Materials
Home books are created by your Broker to answer questions for agents & buyers so they don’t leave your home unsure as to the details. Generally, they include things like the public schools relevant to your home, information about restaurants & parks, preliminary title, seller disclosure form, septic as built, well information, etc. An Equestrian Home should have an additional section with local trails, riding clubs, local veterinarians & farriers, area feed stores, etc. so that they know the service providers they will care about are convenient.
- Work With An Equestrian Specialist
Many brokers can sell your home but make sure you work with an equestrian property specialist to sell your “whole” property. They can speak the language and know what buyers care about, they can answer questions, and can provide you with service provider recommendations to help you prepare your whole property.
Article Published in the Woodinville Weekly Real Estate Section. Since 2017 The Blue Team has written the bi-monthly Real Estate Column sharing their expertise in this community publications, sharing their Tips for Home Buying, Tips for Home Selling, Tips for Investors, Buying & Selling Luxury Homes, Real Estate Transitions (Including Relocation & Senior Real Estate Tips), and Equestrian Real Estate.
How much preparation should you do?
Local home prices are continuing to appreciate, demand is high, and the supply of homes continues to be low – the perfect market for selling your home. So why not just put your home on the market “as is” at a high price and see what happens? Because the statistics clearly show that is not a good strategy for selling your home for the best possible price. Well priced, well marketed, and well prepared homes are selling quickly and for top dollar. Homes that are not selling quickly, even in today’s market, are sitting because they weren’t well priced, well marketed and/or were not well prepared.
Here are some tips on how you can prepare your home for a top sales price:
- Enhance Your Curb Appeal. Clean the roof, pressure wash walkway/entrance, mow & edge lawn, put down fresh bark, and add a spot of color (flower beds or flower pots). Buyers want to come in to see a house when the outside looks crisp & nicely maintained.
- Prepare the Entry. Make sure your front door/entry is crisp and clean… this sets expectations for buyers as they wait to enter your home and keeps them excited about the potential. Repainting your door has the highest return on value of any remodeling for resale project.
- Depersonalize. You want your home to appeal to as many buyers as possible – by depersonalizing it you help them visualize themselves in the house and not feel like they are trespassing on your home and memories.
- Maximize Space. Declutter, declutter, declutter – throughout the house – walls, floors, counters, shelves. Remember you will need to pack up when you move, doing some of it before you put your home on the market will make a big difference. Help people see where they could put all of their possessions.
- Interior Condition. The interior condition will dictate the price – have it in the best condition possible that is consistent with your pricing strategy. Generally – fresh neutral paint on the walls, clean carpets, clean/refinished floors, sparkling windows, organized cabinets & closets, fresh grout & caulk in the bathrooms – everything should be as crisp and clean as possible. Consider doing a pre-inspection and taking care of all major problems in advance. Make it move-in ready.
- Differentiate. Determine and emphasize what is special about your home – the style, the layout, the view, the privacy, the low maintenance, the local schools etc. Professional staging, feature cards, and in-home marketing materials can all help make sure the buyer knows why they should stop looking after they see your home!
If you would like a complimentary market analysis to understand how to prepare, price and best market your home give us a call. The Blue Team – working twice as hard for you and providing you with the right expertise to guide you in all your Real Estate Transitions!
Whether you want to move to a smaller home, smaller property, or you just want to simplify your life and reduce clutter, here are some tips and great local resources to help you achieve your goal.
Where to start? Don’t try to do all of the rooms at once, it can be overwhelming and you might stop before you start. Select a single room, one that you don’t use often, or maybe even start with a junk drawer to begin. Remember two rules to keep the process moving and successful: (1) never handle an item more than once and (2) categorize and sort each item based upon 4 categories:
Trash – you don’t need it and it no longer has value, throw it away into a garbage bag.
Donate/Sell – you don’t need it but it has value, designate a spot for these items.
Relocate – you rarely use or just don’t need any more but these items may be important to someone else in your family or a friend, designate a spot for these items and put a name on them.
Essential – these items are essential to you on a daily/weekly basis, pack them in a box if you are moving, or put them back if you aren’t.
If you have more trash than what fits in your regular garbage service (and it isn’t toxic, flammable, reactive or corrosive), you or a friend with a truck can haul it to the Houghton Transfer Station in Kirkland (11724 NE 60th St.) or get some help from Ray’s Hauling (425-844-2509) or 1-800GotJunk.
- Household Hazardous waste (toxic items such as paint thinner, fluorescent lights, pesticides & car batteries) can be dropped off at the Factoria Transfer Station (13800 SE 32nd St., Bellevue) or check the King County Waste Mobile website schedule to see when they will be in a community near you.
- Unused or Expired Prescription Drugs, Household batteries, and CFL light bulbs can be taken to the Woodinville City Hall and placed in the drop boxes for each of those items.
General item donations can be taken to Goodwill (Woodinville Park & Ride Lot), Northwest Center (Safeway parking lot on weekends) or you can schedule to have items picked up by Salvation Army (www.Seattle.SATruck.org). Northwest Center (www.donate.bigbluetruck.org), Google “Buy Nothing Woodinville” (or your city) – a great way to share your treasures with others in the community that would like to have them and Value Village (Woodinville/Redmond).
- Specific items such as: (1) Books can be donated to Friends of the Library for fundraising sales (most King County libraries) or www.booksForAmerical.org; (2) Beds, Mattresses, Couches– Salvation Army will pick up!; and (3) Cell Phones can be donated to www.CellPhonesForSoldiers.com, or Eastside Domestic Violence Program send by mail or drop off with the Woodinville Police Department. Tip: Every September Windermere Woodinville hosts a free electronics recycling event (pcs, tvs, appliances and more) – call or email us if you want to know the next date.
- Garage/yard sales at your home, sell limited items locally via ads on Craigslist, or for shippable items try eBay, or get professional help by using an Estate & Moving sale company such as Flotsam & Jetsam (206-818-2428), Caring Transitions Seattle (206-330-0878), Girlfriend Estate Sales (425-829-3848).
- Family & Friends. Contact everyone who has an item with their name on it and schedule them to come pick it up. Often our clients have “moving parties” where they invite friends and family to come see what they are looking to relocate to them and when they leave the party they take those items. Anything leftover can be donated.
Make sure you evaluate everything – don’t skip something merely because it doesn’t take up much room because you will just have to deal with it/move it later. Celebrate your successes as you clear out each drawer, room, and your home, and enjoy all of your new space!
- Holiday Decorations. Don’t go overboard they can make your home look cluttered and take attention away from it.
- Christmas Trees. Keep it small to medium size, large Christmas trees can make a room look smaller. As can a ton of presents under the tree and too much garland everywhere.
- Vacuum: Make sure you vacuum regularly if you have a fresh tree with fallen needles.
- Refrigerator. Keep refrigerators neat and tidy (we all get lots of food gifts during the holidays)… buyers will look inside.
- Outside Decorations: Be careful with outside decorations. Large santas and reindeer can take away from the beauty of the yard or the front of your home. Same with excessive amounts of holiday lights.
- Curb Appeal: Rake the lawn regularly to clean up the large amounts of fallen leaves. Pick up any fallen branches and debris from yard and walkways. Keep up a lawn care as much as possible.
- Ice & Snow. Knock down any large icicles forming over doorways and walkways. Make sure your walkway is snow and ice free. If it’s still slippery, pour salt on your walkway to help buyers safely to your door.
- Limited Light: Remember it gets dark sooner, so be sure to keep lots of lights on inside and out. Make sure all outdoor lights are working properly. Make sure your back yard is easily lit at night. Buyers want to be able to see the entire property.
- Towel/Dormats: Keep a towel or extra doormat inside your front door for guests to fully dry their shoes before exploring your home. Or have a sign that requests that they take them off.
- Heat: If you have a programmable thermostat, remember to change it if you will have showings during the day while it would normally be set very low. You don’t want buyers thinking the house is an ice box. You want people to enjoy spending time in your home.
- Hand Sanitiser: With flu seasons around, place a bottle of hand sanitizer by the front door for guests to use on the way in and as they leave. Or place it by the flyer box.
- Scents: Add holiday scents with mulled cider on the stovetop or by using fresh cinnamon sticks and evergreen as decorations. (Make sure you shake out the evergreen ahead of time to get out any bugs that have made it their home). There are also holiday scented diffusers.
- Keep it Cozy" Create a warm and cozy environment by lighting a fire, using candles and having fresh baked cookies and hot cocoa ready for buyers during open houses.
- Reduce your stress: Keep in mind that hosting during the holidays can take a lot of prep and clean up time. It might be a good idea to pass it to someone else this year or request extra help to get your place back to showing condition. Also remember, buyers look in all rooms so if you have people staying with you over the holidays, make sure they are keeping their room tidy and keep the suitcases in the closet if possible.