Get Ready to Sell Your House!

Selling a home is no small task. Start with these tips!
PCS orders in hand, it’s time to sell your house! Even if it is not a job instigating your move, once the decision has been made to sell, it’s best to be efficent and objective to move the house as fast as possible. A house that sits on the market for awhile can bring lowball offers. Take some time to set yourself up for success with some of these suggestions before posting the sign in the yard. 

Plan Ahead- When  is the selling Season??
Nothing is more frustrating than listing your home at the wrong time!! Real estate markets, in particular military real estate markets, have a cycle that will bring more interest and traffic to your home. Generally, at the beginning of the calender year there is very little real estate activity. Slowly activity increases untill mid March, with the onset of spring break season. As flowers bloom, so do the signs! The market pace jumps sharply and stays busy until late June, whene there is a slow downward taper until early fall There a second spike in the real estate market as those leaves begin to turn. However, the second spike is not long, as Halloween usually sees the onset of the "dead" real estate season. Not a lot happens from late fall to the new year. 
If you are shooting the big Spring selling season, or the fall mini spike, plan months ahead for the things you need to do to get your home ready to sell.

Should I FSBO or use an agent?
Important decision! If you FSBO (For Sale By Owner) your home you can save money on commissions. This is especially true if you already have a buyer or if you are very motivated and have a good handle on the market and the process.   
 However there are some things to carefully consider. Real estate professionals are licensed to help you price, market and close on your home. They are trained experts that can protect you from making marketing and financial mistakes. Most importantly, agents know the legal in and outs of negotiating, contracting and the documents needed to close on your home. One way to protect your liability is to contract an agent. 
If you decide to FSBO your home, be sure to use a real estate attorney or a good title agent to assist you with the legal details of closing. Be certain to educate yourself beforehand about the process , be willing to work with buyers that come with an agent and check with financial qualifications of any potential buyers before you start dreaming about the big closing.
What Should I do to the House?
Stand on the curb and look through a buyer’s eye. Does the house have curb appeal?
Things to consider:
1.     Replace or remove dead or scraggly shrubbery
2.     Consider the sidewalks. Do they need repair? 
3.     Mow and neatly trim the lawn
4.     Exterior paint. It may be one of the most expensive fixes, but a new coat in a neutral and appealing color on your home our outside trim and a lot of bang for the buck. Carefully consider the shutters, porches, and trim work even if the house itself doesn’t need a full paint job.
5.     Flowers in the beds. This inexpensive improvement says that you care about your home
6.     If downspouts or rails are broken, buyers will certainly be concerned about what awaits within.
Inside and Out
1.     De-clutter! Clean out and get out everything except the most essential things you need to live. Rent a storage unit. Fill it with everything from your garage that you can spare, and all about the essentials from your closets and inside storage. Create a feeling of spaciousness
2.     Stage your home. Staging your home is so important, that many professional stagers are available to put a sharp eye on your interiors
3.     Major improvements, like a brand new kitchen or a newly finished basement are usually not a great idea just before listing. Not only does the cost of total renovations sometimes rise beyond your plans, but usually it does not reap the investment in the ultimate sales price. Do your best to spruce up! Change out counter tops, fixtures, add a fresh coat of paint and neutralize the décor.   For more information on what improvements actually are worth doing before you list see: Getting the most bang for your buck article
Here’s My House – Marketing your Home
No longer are we dependant on the sign in the yard and an ad in the Sunday newspaper. Technology drives real estate marketing. There are so many inexpensive ways to advertise your home that buyers can often get lost in a sea of images coming at them. Here are some ways to harness technology to market your home.
1.     Create a virtual tour of your home using one of the many websites available to assist you. Post the virtual tour on your online advertisements.
2.     Pictures speak a gazillion words. 
a.    Standing back at different angles gives a room depth and dimension
b.     Photographing rooms in natural light helps
c.     Cleaning up clutter really helps keep the focus on the room
d.    Compose objects so that there is breathing room
e.    Find a time of day when lighting looks the best for the subject
f.      Take multiple shots and then pick out the ones you like. Sometimes, it just isn't perfect the first time around
g.     Take photos from up on a chair to or down on the floor to create the feeling of height
h.    It's ok to cheat and move things around a little for the shot
i.      Take photos with furniture in the room. Empty rooms feel very small
3.     Advertise your home on Militarybyowner, a markedly inexpensive way to market. If you have an agent, your house will be listed on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) for agents. If you are selling FSBO consider a discount broker fee that will list your home on that service.
4.     Create a Facebook page that links to your online listing, ask your friends to share your page on their newsfeed.
In the Traditional Technology World
1.     Get a good solid sign in the yard.
2.     Word of Mouth!
3.     Print flyers to distribute that are colorful and enticing.
4.     Have an open house and advertise it thoroughly to bring in as many lookers as possible. Use road pointers from blocks away
Is the price right?
            Your house is ready, the marketing set to go out and it’s the right time of year. Make sure the Price is Right. If you are using an agent, they will have information to determine the Fair market Value of your Home.
 If you are FSBO consider this resource to help you price your home: How do I set the Price??