The headlines are everywhere... "Existing Home Sales Near Five-Year High", "NOVA Real Estate Back to Booming". There is a lot of good news out there if you own a home in Northern Virginia and want to sell it.
Plum Street Properties agents held open two homes this weekend and reported over 100 buyers stopping by in search of a home. One home had four offers by Monday and both are already under contract, in less than five days. An abundance of buyers and low inventory mean prices are inching up and the best properties are on the market only a week or less.
I also see homes that just sit on the market despite all of the good news. Sometimes overpricing results in homes staying on the market much longer than well priced competitors. Preparation and staging is also important. Clean, clutter free homes sell faster and bring higher prices. Other times, it is not the big things that kill a deal, but a lot of small things that add together and turn off potential buyers. Always look at your home from a buyers perspective and do your best to eliminate potential buyer turn-offs. Here is a list to get your started.
- Don't Overprice - Overpricing kills deals in a number of ways. Some buyers won't come see your home. Others will see it, like it and then make a really low offer as if to counter balance your high price. Some potential buyers will sit and wait for you to lower the price and may find their dream home while they are waiting. Work with your Realtor to review the market data. Pricing your home to the market brings the best price.
- Eliminate Odors - Walking in the front door of a home leaves an immediate impression with buyers. The five senses engage immediately with the new environment. If unpleasant odors are present, buyers notice immediately. Homeowners become sensitized to the smell of their homes and either don't smell the foul odor or can't smell it as strongly as someone who is new to the home. Smoke and pet odors seem to be the most troublesome to buyers and the most difficult to hide. Consider new carpet and paint if cleaning doesn't eliminate the odors.
- De-Clutter - We all live with a certain amount of clutter. The amount of paper that comes into a home each week is staggering. Mail, packaging and shopping bags quickly overcome systems made to organize them. Families with young children are overwhelmed with toys. When my daughter was in the Barbie stage, I thought nothing could be worse than all of those little Barbie shoes and Polly Pocket clothes that hid in my carpet..... then my son discovered Legos. Ouch! Perhaps the easiest and most effective way to eliminate clutter when preparing your home for market is to move it out. Presumably you are moving anyway. Why not pack it up and move it to storage before buyers have a chance to walk though your door?
- Clean Up - Cleanliness is extremely important when selling a home. Outside and inside your home must be clean. Most Sellers understand this and do a good job with the big picture. They vacuum, they dust, and clean tubs and tile in the bathroom. Window cleaners are helpful to put a sparkle on the glass. Buyers, however, also see and experience the small things that sellers sometimes overlook. Things like door facings and light switches should be free of dirt and finger prints. If you have a pet, please clean your yard. Serious buyers will walk around your entire yard. They are looking up at your roof, your gutters and your siding. They are not looking down to avoid pet poop. If it gets on their shoe, it will end up on your carpet.
- Repair - Sometimes the little things we live with can be the very things that buyers hate. I've heard sellers say, "Its no big deal. I have lived with it that way for years". Buyers see it differently especially when there are a lot of small malfunctioning items that add up to a larger impression of a poorly maintained home. Doors need to be installed and functioning correctly. Light switches should work and bulbs installed. Buyers will open drawers. Make sure your drawers operate smoothly and cabinet facings are secure. Loose hand railings must be repaired. If you present your home as a fixer upper, the offers you receive will reflect that.
OK Sellers. Time to get started preparing your home for market. Schedule an appointment with a Plum Street Properties Realtor 703-801-4968.