The spring homebuying season is fast approaching. With more sellers on the market, it will mean more competition to sell your home quickly and for the right price. An experienced real estate agent is a valuable partner in this process, as they'll handle things like marketing the property, holding open houses, helping you set a listing price, and negotiating with buyers. But you shouldn't sit back and rely solely on your agent to get the job done.
If you're planning to list your home this spring, here are four ways you can better support your agent to help your home sell faster — and get the best deal possible.
Spruce up your curb appeal
First impressions are everything, which means your yard and front entrance should be well-kept and inviting in order to attract potential buyers. Your agent can help you identify areas where your curb appeal needs work, but as a general rule of thumb, be prepared to complete the following: trim shrubs and trees, plant seasonal flowers, cover dead grass with sod or grass seed, and install accent lighting to accentuate your landscaping. Also, jazz up your front porch with a new rug, an updated porch light, and a fresh coat of paint on your door. Bonus: Improving your curb appeal can increase your home's value roughly 3% to 5%.
Get your house sparkling clean
From shining floors and gleaming windows to clean counters and scrubbed grout, every surface should sparkle. This is the easiest (well, maybe not easiest, but certainly the cheapest) way to help your home put its best foot forward. You may want to hire pros to do some of the really tough stuff, especially if you have a large house. Don't skimp -- this step is key!
Clear away all clutter
If you are serious about staging your home, all clutter must go, end of story. It's not easy, and it may even require utilizing offsite storage (or a nice relative's garage) temporarily, but it is well worth the trouble. Clean and clear surfaces, floors, cupboards and closets equal more space in the eyes of potential buyers, so purge anything unnecessary or unsightly
Create a blank canvas
Your home may be immaculately decorated, but your décor is a reflection of your tastes and preferences — not those of prospective buyers. When selling, the goal is to enhance your home's features and space in a way that helps buyers envision it as their own, which is why your agent will want to stage your home. To do this effectively, you have to remove the distractions (aka, your belongings) to create a blank canvas for the agent to work with. That not only means de-cluttering and making repairs, but it also involves taking down family pictures, putting worn or excess furniture into storage, and possibly even repainting in neutral colors. Don't take it personally. Trust that your agent has your best interests and be willing to work with him so he can present your home in its best possible light.
Rearrange your furniture
In the living room, symmetrical arrangements usually work well. Pull your furniture off the walls and use pairs (of sofas, chairs, lamps) to create an inviting conversation area.
Price it right
More than a fresh coat of paint, the key to attracting buyers in a competitive market is to price your home right. Set the price too high, and you'll deter interested buyers; price it too low, and you may leave money on the table. That's why you should work with your agent closely to set the best asking price. Your agent will conduct a comparative market analysis of similar homes in your neighborhood that sold recently. These homes are called comps because they're comparable in terms of size, features, and age, and will give you an idea of what people are willing to pay for homes similar to yours. Your agent should also compare listing versus sales price, as well as how long the homes were on the market. Homes that were initially priced high and stayed on the market longer are a good indicator not to set your asking price too high.
Octavian D. Curpas