Home Selling in 72212>Question Details

Nancy Sparks, Other/Just Looking in Little Rock, AR

What is the first thing sellers should do prior to listing their home for sale?

Asked by Nancy Sparks, Little Rock, AR Fri Jan 14, 2011

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I'm a seller, and I already knew a terrific agent that I had worked with before. I got rid of half my furniture, boxed up all the clutter (having watched HGTV), and then went to see him because I *thought* I was ready. I wasn't..

He came over to see the house, so that he could get realistic comps for me. After he saw what he was dealing with, he told me that the wallpaper (ALL over the house) would not be popular among buyers here and he suggested that all of it should go. While he said he was no good "at this decorating stuff", he also said he had heard that painting in neutral earth tones seemed to help. He also noticed some repairs that needed to be done and said the house should be in perfect repair. And finally I already knew I had to recarpet the whole house, since the carpet was wildly colored and not neutral, stained, and over ten years old. He said that my curb appeal was great already so I didn't work on that so much.

It took me a couple of months and over $9K to have workers get rid of all the wallpaper, paint in neutral earth tones, get a new neutral carpet throughout, and get all the repairs done and have a handyman search for other repairs (like kitchen draws that stick, and doors that are hard to shut, a ceiling fan that wasn't actually working, and a million other little things that I hadn't noticed because I was used to them) and fix them. The house looks 100% better and it is a joy to live in. Who knew? LOL I should have done this years ago. Anyway I'm glad I did it before listing because the competition here for buyer interest is fierce. After the work was done my realtor came back, took a look, and got some new, realistic comps for me and the next day we listed the house.

It may or may not be advisable to do all of this in your location with your particular housing market. But my point is, your realtor knows what sells and you need to line up a realtor that you want to use, get him over to your house, and listen to any suggestions he may have.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 18, 2011
De-clutter and clean, clean, clean!
3 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
Start packing and preparing for the sale (clean out closets and clutter to make area more spacious). Clean carpets; paint front door; make sure garage doors operate; and if necessary touch up paint. There are many staging tips you might integrate into your decor. For example, declutter a coffee table. Instead of having 5 small objects, reduce to 1. Allow the buyer to view the home with their personal belongings there. Make the home look like you have been robbed because the way you sell is not the way you live! I offer free staging advice AND it works everytime! Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
1) Clean the grout in your bathtub and shower.

2) Declutter your closets and countertops.

3) Clean your windows- Inside and Outside if possible.

4) Have carpets professionally cleaned.

5) Clean out your storage areas

There is a reason why model homes are so emotionally appealling- they make buyers believe that they will live such a clean, uncluttered lifestyle, should they buy that home!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
Great answers from all the professionals! Bottom line:
1. Can you sell? In other words, is there enough equity to pay closing fees for yourself and sometimes for the buyer. A market analysis from a professional Realtor who is familiar with your neighborhood is the answer.
2. Can you buy? Where will you go? If you plan to buy another home, have you visited with a reputable lender who can pre-qualify or better yet, pre-approve you for a loan.
3. What do you have to do to prepare your home for sale? Look at your home through the eyes of a buyer. Again a professional Realtor can guide you through this process, sometimes saving a seller money and time by suggesting inexpensive, yet effective, improvements.
Good luck!
Donna Dail
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 15, 2011

First thing I would do is take down any personal items. Make everything look spacious take out all extra unnecessary furniture . People want to visualize where their stuff fits. People want a fresh start, so no clutter and the more move in ready it is the better! price right!!

Good Luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 24, 2011
A seller should get a home inspection done and hire a home stager.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 24, 2011
Hello Nancy,

Check out link for tips on preparing your home, staging, etc. to get ready for listing your home. And of course, interview licensed realtors.

When you decide on one that is right for you ... take trust in them to price your property accordingly. Also, be open to making price adjustments along the way if the property does not generate interest from buyers.

All the Best!
Tina Ciaccio
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 23, 2011
Obviously the first thing is to hire a Realtor. Are you asking after that? If so...

The next thing to do would be to obtain your current balance on the property. Then take inventory of what is in need of repair. What are some of the items that jump out at you as you walk though it. Have a friend come by like they were buying a home and have them tell you what jumps out to them. Then fix those items.

Some might suggest getting a pre-inspection done but there are two sides to that coin. Yes, nobody likes surprises but if you find out a list of things wrong, you will have to include them on your sellers disclosure. A ready and willing buyer might get the same report and not ask for things to be fixed. You never know.
If they are on the sellers disclosure you might loose buyers without ever getting to first base.

The next step is to stage your home. get it ready to sell. Loose the clutter and personalization. If their are bold colors spend a weekend and $50 and paint it a nice neutral color. Keep the kitchen counter tops clear of items and clutter. Focus on kitchen and bathroom. Those are the "hot spots." Also a very overlooked area is closets. If you can empty them out. They need to look as big as possible. Don't forget about "curb appeal" take care of the front of the home especially. Roll up the hose, remove the weeds, clear the toys. Also, get rid of any evidence of pets. I love them, and I have them, but buyers don't! Even if they themselves have them.

A good Realtor should be able to walk you through this plan and add to it.

All the best to you and happy home hunting!!

Jonas Mancuso I Remax Lakeland
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 23, 2011
Start Interviewing REALTORS~
This process will introduce you to a couple of professionals who will then walk thru your home and take note of any repairs, updates they believe will help your property to sell. This is only a gain to a Seller. First they get to know the REALTOR on a 1 to 1 basis. My clients work with me not because I have the most flashy advertising dollars but, because I have a good relationship with them. I tell it straight, I love my job and know what sells. If you hire a Listing Agent who you don't like or who you don't feel is listening to you..it will be a long road to a closed sale.

HGTV is a great tool for Sellers. Watch it and talk about it with your Listing Agent. Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 21, 2011
Louise - your answer is absolutely hands down the best advice! And coming from a seller as opposed to a Realtor! Terrific - I'm going to use it in seller meetings!

I hope you home sells - or sold - quickly and for a great price!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 18, 2011
Take a walk through your property as if you were looking at it to purchase, take notes of any obvious repairs that need to be made as they will surely become issues during the negotiation process, then you might have your home inspected by a licensed home inspector recommended in your area and have any repairs made that are possible or if funding does not allow get estimates and offer to credit at closing. Have your home and yard area spruced up especially the entry way to improve curb appeal. Price home competively for the market by researching the current SOLD listings in your immediate area that are the closest to yours in condition and size. Then get to work cleaning and organizing your belongings... This is more than one but it is a multi step process!! Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
To begin the sell home process you search pass sales to discover the median selling price of recently sold homes in your proximity.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
Great opinion question. I tell my potential clients to check what they owe, and I run comps. First things first, in this market can they really sell their house or are they upside down. If it is important to them, I then suggest ordering an apprasial up front. The potential buyers will not be able to use it (each lender has their own) but still if it is at or above our listing price, one more piece of the puzzle to a successful listing. I charge my clients nothing and they pay for nothing, unless they accept an offer.

Good luck.
Spirit Messingham
Tierra Antigua Realty
Tucson, AZ
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
First you and your significant other need to agree to sell the home and why - price or time. Once this is accomplished, hire a professional realtor to guide and explain the process to you. Doing a home inspection is a major plus when buyers look at a home. If an inspection is already done, they know that you the seller is trying to work with them and not try to hide anything. At the same time, you the seller will know and understand what could go wrong in an inspection before the buyer starts the process. You can then decide if and what you will want to fix in order to sell your home.

Good Luck to you! If you need to find a professional realtor, I may be able to assist you in the Little Rock area.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
Hire a professional agent.

This is what I do with my seller clients:

1) Get a preinspection to see what repairs are needed. (I hate surprises)
2) Determine what you will and will not fix.
3. Get home "market ready" including taking care of delayed maintenance items
4) Price aggressively/competitively. I recommend 1-2% below your nearest comp to be competitive

A professional agent will provide tried and true advice on what works and what doesn't work in your market.

Good luck on your home sale!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
Hi Nancy,

If you haven't sold a home before it's good to talk with a Real Estate Professional. They will have advice on what things will give you the best bang for your buck. It could be ideas on how to place your furniture, maybe it would be good to spend some money in one area to make it more appealing to buyers or maybe it's options that don't involve spending any money. They will know what the market is dictating and will set you on the road to getting your home in shape. Good luck! Pam
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
The very first this a seller must do is CLEAN! Regards,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
Here are some standard questions to ask yourself before listing a home on the open market. Can you afford to sell your home at a fair market price? Can you afford to pay a real estate company 6% in commissions. Can you afford to offer buyer closing costs? Can you afford to make repairs to the home after inspection? Can you afford to lower the price of your home to accomodate repairs if buyer can't afford to make repairs on their own? Can you afford seller closing costs?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
Your mantra should be: LESS IS MORE. The first thing you should do is get rid of everything you won't be taking with you. Sell it, donate it, pitch it! A good agent will help you prioritize your plan and give you some deadlines and goals so you start working toward them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
The very first thing you should do is declutter every room, plus the basement and garage & contact a local Realtor to give you adviceon repairs & updates you should do (such as removing wallpaper, taking out carpeting to show hardwood floors, painting,etc.). At the same time ask the Realtor to do a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
Make sure you have a game plan. You'll want to have an idea of where you're moving to and how much money you'll need for closing. First and foremost you will want to hire a Realtor and make sure they give
you suggestions on what needs to be done at your home to get top dollar for your home. Good Luck!
For more buying and selling tips, please visit http://www.RochesterHomeLocator.com

Salafia Sold Team
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
Walk outside your door and close it! What is the 1st thing you see? Start with the bushes by trimming and then your front door. Does it need paint? Then close your eyes and think like a buyer. This is what you want to do....look at your home through a buyers eyes.Usually decluttering is the 1st thing that I recommend to my clients. Less is better! It certainly makes the rooms look much larger. The exception would be if you have a very large home and not enough furniture.I also recommend some depersonalizing. This means that if you have a full wall of family photos and you cannot see the wall, then you need to remove some photos! It is okay to have some photos on walls . The 3rd item would be removal of any animal mounts on walls.....this sometimes alienates buyers if they are not hunters and the 1st think they think about is Bambi!
Keep in mind that you are staging the home to be shown in it's best light in order to secure a buyer! Uope this helps!Good Luck!Donna
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
Hi Nancy,
After you have decided that selling your home is right for you, take a close look at you home thru Buyers & Realtors eyes and imagine their first impressions. Old saying..."You only get one chance to make a first impression" is so true. Clean it up, fix it up and make sure it has a pleasant, alluring aroma and feels like home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 17, 2011
this question depends on what you want to accomplish. do you want to save a commission and sell the house yourself or do you want to hire the services of someone else. smart sellers seek to get information sell their house for sale by owner.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 14, 2011
Prepare it for sale by getting rid of all the clutter, then have it thoroughly cleaned. House like cars need to be "detailed" so they will show their best.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 14, 2011
Nancy, I would interview realtors to see which realtor meet your needs. I work with Crye-Leike Realtors which is #1 in Arkansas and #6 in the Nation. Because of the size of Crye-Leike we are able to offer a more extensive marketing plan. Give me a call today at 501-786-3652, e-mail me at Linda.Sanders@crye-leike.com, or visit my web site.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 14, 2011
Nancy, I would say the first thing that you would want to do is to determine whether or not it is feasible for you to sell your home. Some people may owe more on their homes than they can currently sell them for. Interview a few agents for listing your house, and they should be able to provide a market analysis to help you determine approximately what your house may sell for. If it makes sense to sell, make sure your house is as clean and repair free as possible. The buyer's first impression of your home means the most! Keep it as impersonable as possible, too - remove all pictures and other personal items. Lastly, hire an agent who you trust to give you superb customer service, and one that is completely honest with you. If the agent tells you that you need to repaint your pink kitchen, don't be offended- they are just trying to help you sell your home. Let your agent offer their professional advice. Please call me if I can help you! Kim Creighton, Keller Williams-LR, 501-351-2070.
Web Reference: http://www.kimcreighton.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 14, 2011
There are a number of things sellers should do prior to listing their home for sale.
First interview a few agents who have been recommended to them. Select an agent who listens, understands and is willing to tell you the truth about your home and the market.
See some of the homes currently on the market you will be competing with to get a sense of what you are up against. The agent you select may not suggest this, but I have found it to be very beneficial to help sellers take the blinders off. We always see our own home in a different light than others.
Do at least basic staging and decide whether full out staging should be considered. Basic staging to me are the three D’s. Declutter, Depersonalize and Disassociate.
Declutter needs little explanation, but don’t start on the junk drawer in the kitchen and ignore your stack of bills & papers on your desk. Clean up, pack up and make the place look sharp.
Depersonalize means removing most if not all traces of you and your family. Take down the refrigerator art, family pictures, and anything religious or political. You want to create a blank slate a new buyer will want to fill with their prized mementos. If yours are in the way they may not want to make your home theirs.
Disassociate means to break your connection to the house. It’s no longer your home. It’s where you live for the moment, but you need to be ready to move on to your new place. Don’t take criticism or feedback personally. Consider agent or buyer feedback seriously and continue to clean and organize until you get the offer.
So, First find a great agent, First look at other homes and First prepare your home and yourself. Does that help?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 14, 2011
Interviewing a Realtor who has created a market analysis for your home is the best first step! I work in your area on a regular basis and would love to have opportunity to share a market analysis with you and interview to be your Realtor!
Amanda Butler, Realtor
Crye-Leike, Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 14, 2011
I would recommend talking to several agents to have them do a market analysis to see what your home is worth in todays market. You need to know the estimated value of your home in order to determine the outcome of your sale. They should also be able to advise you as to what if any improvements are recommended prior to listing your home. Try and determine what your goals are for after the sale of your home and then see if you will be able to realize those goals based on the information you receive from the agents.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 14, 2011
Interview several local Real Estate agents, as well as ask trusted friends for referances about agents they have dealt with. Choosing the correct agent is paramount to your success.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 14, 2011
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