With the passing of the stimulus package, we expect (pray) that there will be an increase in the number of buyers looking for homes. Please consider the following tips if you have or will have your house on the market:
1. List your home with a real estate professional. They have experience in negotiating which will help you achieve the highest price possible for your property. Choose an agent who has at least five years of experience and will market your property on at least 20 national websites. Buyers usually search the web before they ever contact an agent.
2. Keep your house free of clutter. Clean off counter tops in the kitchen and bathrooms. Straighten your basement. Pack away your collectibles. Pick up your children's toys. Clean the closets. You get the idea.
3. Try to make your house available on short notice for a showing. This can be difficult to do but it is critical to get a buyer through your home while your home is top of mind. Many buyers will move on to the next property and may never get back to yours. People realize you have to live in your house so a few dirty dishes in the sink aren't going to make or break a deal.
4. When you have a showing, it is not necessary to turn on every single light in the house. Major lights are fine and appreciated. Tray ceiling rope lighting or under cabinet lighting is great. It's just not necessary to turn on the lights in your china hutch or on top of your piano, etc. unless it's included in the sale. Many times the Realtor can't find the off switches and are forced to leave them on until you get home. If you still want to turn them on, please don't get angry if we don't turn them off.
5. Please do not burn candles. Buyers think you are trying to cover something up and they are a fire hazard. A candle has never to my knowledge ever made or lost a sale.
6. Baking bread or cookies is fine but don't leave them out for the buyers. Realtors don't want the liability of buyers walking around your house while they are eating and dropping crumbs.
7. Leave notes for the showing Realtor and the buyers if there is something specific about your home you want to share. Some people leave a list of dates when updates were completed. This is very helpful.
8. Remove your pet's dishes, toys, etc. Clean your carpets if there are pet stains and odors. If the carpets can't be cleaned, replace them. Nothing turns a buyer off faster than pet odors.
9. Be patient when it comes to a showing report. It may take a day or two to get some feedback. It is usually not your Realtor's fault. May buyers want to discuss each property before they provide feedback to their agent.
10.. Talk to your Realtor. Let him or her know your thoughts. Don't be afraid to ask for statistics on how often your home is viewed on the various websites, etc. Be open to his or her suggestions and let him or her know of your frustrations.
If you have a specific question or concern about listing your home, please feel free to email me. I'll be happy to address it in my blog. We hope to have a very active spring and a great 2009. Good luck and take care.