What would you suggest a seller to do in order to get the most return on the sale of their home?

Asked by Michelle, 20110 Thu Feb 24, 2011

I have an older home built in the 70's and have done a lot of updating since I purchased the home 13 years ago.I am concerned that I will have competition w/ newer homes that are currently listed in comparison to mine.

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Barbara S. R…, Agent, Daphne, AL
Wed Mar 30, 2011
Good Morning Michelle,
If I had an home built in the 70's, in order to compete with newer homes I would put in new stainless steel appliances, granite, hardwood floors and bath and kitchen updates if needed. If you are careful and use good taste with your up dates you will get most of your money back instead of getting a lot of low ball offers.

As a Realtor I have found there are a lot of buyers who prefer the character of older homes as long as they are either fully updated or price according to condition.

I hope this helps.
1 vote
Brenda Feria, Agent, Richmond, VA
Fri Mar 11, 2011
If you purchased your home 13 years ago, you should have equity. Don't feel that you have to recoup all of your upgrades, though. That is a mistake of a lot of sellers. They are a necessary, but don't necessarily add value unless you are talking about something like new windows or finishing off a room or adding square footage or a garage, fence, etc.. The least expensive thing that you can do to your home which by far ehances saleablity is fresh neutral paint. Buyers love fresh paint. If you are competing with new, then you need to be as fresh as new.

Best of luck.
1 vote
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Thu Feb 24, 2011
Price it right--so it sells quickly.

Have a home stager do a consultation for you. It may cost a few hundred dollars, but the advice will be well worth it.

Make sure it has great curb appeal. Spend whatever you need to on landscaping and touch-ups on the outside to make the home appealing from the street.

Make sure it's marketed to emphasize your home's strong points vis-a-vis your competition. For instance, your home might have bigger bedrooms than some of the newer homes. Or possibly a bigger kitchen. That sort of thing.

And, depending on where you're located in Manassas, you're likely competing against a lot of foreclosures and short sales. The marketing advantage of a nice, clean sale (as opposed to the hassles of the alternative) is a valuable marketing item in itself.

Hope that helps.
1 vote
suzanne pinto, Agent, tampa, FL
Sat Apr 14, 2012
0 votes
Carolyn Lidd…, Agent, Fredericksburg, VA
Sun Mar 11, 2012
Michelle, 1st let me say that you have an advantage in this market. Yours is a regular sale. It's not a foreclosure or a short-sale or even new construction. For a buyer who is ready now that's a plus in that they do not have to wait several months for the possibility of it coming through. They do not have to deal with a bank/investor who won't do any repairs on home inspection items. From the sounds of it you have done some updating so that's good, too.

There are two factors for selling a home that You can control -- 1) condition and 2) price. Focus on what you can control and don't compare yourself to "new" homes, that's not your competition.

As for preparation, go back to the basics: 1) Declutter and simplify, 2) Neutralize dark colors, 3) Fresh coat of paint does wonders, 4) Address any maintenance issues - inside and outside, 5) Clean every nook and cranny - inside and outside 6) De-personalize, 6) Curb Appeal is critical.

By decluttering, simplifying, and depersonalizing the home, it will appear larger, and enable the buyer to better visualize their belonging there. By cleaning, addressing maintenance issues, and painting, it let's the buyers feel that the home has been well-maintained. By working on the outside, giving your home curb-appeal, gives the buyers a welcoming sense and the desire to see what's inside.

For more detailed suggestions, have an agent do walk through. Also, ask the agent to provide you with comps for similar homes that have sold in your area so that you may price yourself competively.

Carolyn Liddell
Sun Realty of Fredericksburg
Web Reference:  http://www.suncompanies.biz
0 votes
Jose Mazarie…, Agent, Downers Grove, IL
Thu Mar 31, 2011

Before you even put your house in the market I will hire a professional Stagger. He or she will help you in a number of ways. First, they will point out the problem areas that make a used home look used, and then offer low cost ideas and solutions that make your property feel new. Next, while it is a fact that a furnished property is easier to sell then vacant; sellers need to understand that due to size constraints of the home furnishings in the house or condo needs to be set in a way that they actually help the home show and flow for touring and a stagger can help here too. Good staging is a balance between adding the right amount of visual appeal, without having the interior décor distract the seller’s eye from the property they are considering buying.
0 votes
Judy Pfeiffe…, Agent, Mebane, NC
Wed Mar 30, 2011
Knowing that Buyers are shopping on line for their homes, the advise I have for sellers are to be sure curb appeal is awesome and that all rooms are Decluttered - pictures are worth a thousand words. If the pictures - an agent takes are not fattering you will not get them in the door. Everything else that has been listed by other comments are of upmost importance, but the pictures taken are so important. Make sure your agent has lots and lots of pictures and if possible a virtual tour. Buyers want to shop in the comfort of their home! Buyers are Tech savvy even if you are not or if you agent is not!
0 votes
Judy von Kum…, Agent, Andover, MA
Wed Mar 30, 2011
I've read through most of the responses and everyone of them had valid suggestions. Basic answer is that you should be concerned about the competition. Condition and Price are what will sell your home. Just because a house is newer than yours doesn't mean it's in good condition or that it was built well. Get a Realtor to take you out and view your "competition". This part will be the hardest for you, but think of your home as a cereal box on the shelf of your local super market, are the corners smashed in, is the box worn looking, is the shopper going to reach behind your box for the better looking one? Then adjust the price accordingly.
0 votes
Lourdes Mata…, Agent, Pittsburgh, PA
Wed Mar 30, 2011
I would suggest starting with the exterior of your home. The exterior pictures is what buyers will see at first online to attract them to your home. Give your home curb appeal to give a welcoming feeling-planters at the home's entrance are always a nice touch. Next, I would declutter the interior as much as possible. Have your windows cleaned and remove heavy draperies if you have any. It is best to make the home as light as possible. A coat of fresh paint is inexpensive and gives the home a newer feel. Your agent can go through your home with you and make suggestions. After that, pricing your home right to compete in the market is what will assure a faster sale.
0 votes
Miriam Weini…, Agent, Ann Arbor, MI
Wed Mar 30, 2011
I would suggest that you have your home staged. I am an artist and I stage my listings as a free add on when I list a home. I suggest fairly inexpensive fixes to update a home such as rearranging & storing unnecessary furniture, removing clutter and new paint & carpet where needed. Buyers are strongly influenced by the decorating and will pay more for a home that shows well.
0 votes
Beth Bell, Agent, Eagan, MN
Tue Mar 29, 2011
In the January edition of Realtor magazine, there was an article on return on investment for home improvements when selling your home. The ONLY 100% return was a new front door. Not that expensive and a major 1st impression.
0 votes
Don Maclary, Agent, Virginia Beach, VA
Mon Mar 28, 2011
Find an agent who loves your area and has the ability to use the internet to make your home stand out in the crowd.
0 votes
Richard Coff…, Agent, Midlothian, VA
Fri Mar 25, 2011
You could do some preliminary research to determine the "market value and trends" for your area from my website. Under "my external links", click on the Home and Market Trend Search link: enter search criteria for homes similar in style and age as yours; view results; then click on the Stats & Trends tab at the top of the page to view list and sale price ranges for similar homes. After you recieve an offer, the next thing to be concerned about is the home inspection. Under "my pages" on my website, a short article titled Passing the Home Inspection is provided for tips applicable to before and during marketing. Best wishes.
0 votes
Steven Pacch…, Agent, Howard Beach, NY
Fri Mar 25, 2011
With the current market the way it is:

#1 - dont do anymore updating - you wont get your investment back
#2 - Get a good Broker in your area to give the listing to
#3 - Price your home correct, if you price too high you will be sitting for a while as prices continue to go down
#4 - Before a showing get your house in order, clean up, remove junk and clutter
#5 - Be honest with your self when it comes to the price of the offers you get
0 votes
Pete Whan, Agent, Pasadena, CA
Thu Mar 24, 2011
It's very simple..Price it Right.
0 votes
Jeff, , Virginia Beach, VA
Thu Mar 24, 2011
Remember to be realistic. If you think your home is overpriced in comparison to other competing homes, so will potential buyers.

The person who said to price it rigt is dead on. It may be painful, but is better than death by a thousand cuts.
0 votes
Zhanna Conrad, Agent, Honolulu, HI
Sat Mar 19, 2011
Dear Michelle,

There are a few simple things you can do at a minimal cost to make your home more appealing to buyers' eyes:
1.Declutter (which is not always easy, because we get very attached to personal items). If your mom is not ready to part with things and furniture that need to be removed, may be you could store them somewhere while you are selling the home.
2.Fresh coat of paint throughout
3.Even minor repairs that need to be done - will show that the home has been kept up.
4.New doormat (It's very importtant how the entrance looks)
5.New shower curtains and bathroom and kitchen accessories
7.Pleasant smell
8.If needed, replace anything if things have lost its luster - area rugs, bedding, etc.

If you know there are some problems that will need to fixed, depending on your situation you may consider fxing them before listing your house. It looks much better on seller's disclosure if a buyers sees what was fixed, versus the work they need to do.

Please let me know what other questions you have. I will be glad to help.
0 votes
Johnny Yanko…, Agent, Manassas, VA
Thu Mar 17, 2011
Hello Michele:

How are you doing?

That is a great question, although having sold "mid-century marvels" before, you might not have to do as much as you would think.

Why, because a lot of the "distressed properties" out there are absolutely hideous!

If you actually have a traditional sale, meaning the homebuyers don't have to wait 6 months to have their offer labeled unacceptable, as in a short sale. Or if the buyers try to buy a foreclosure, but they can't get the loan because the property has too many FHA issues, then you are that much more ahead of the game.

Hopefully by now, you have taken out the dreaded pea green shag carpeting along with the non-matching pale purple wallpaper. And if you have made the wood paneling go back to The Brady Bunch, then other then painting, adding good current towels, bed coverings, and landscaping tweaks, you are already almost there.

Also, over 80% of todays homebuyers start their search for a new home online. I would ask to see, from any prospective listings agents, pictures of similar properties that they took. Anyone can make a million dollar home look good, it takes a lot more skill to "broadcast" your atomic ranch to the rest of the world.

Good luck,

Johnny Yankoviak
0 votes
Tami Winbury, Agent, Ojai, CA
Thu Mar 10, 2011
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0 votes
Pete Whan, Agent, Pasadena, CA
Thu Mar 10, 2011
Price it Right. Stage it so that is has the WOW Factor, and Make sure you hire a Broker that will Market the property aggressively.
0 votes
Roberta Kayne, , Dublin, OH
Thu Mar 10, 2011
Price it right and stage it.
0 votes
Charlyn Lewis, Agent, Maize, KS
Thu Mar 10, 2011
I would suggest that you and your Realtor go see the competition and see where your home falls short. In addition to pricing, there may be things that need to be updated, and can be done for little money. For instance: paint; inside (neutral & warm colors -- such as khaki green or brown or a warm gold) & out, no wall paper, replace brass fixtures (lighting and plumbing) with more current finish. Finally, staging is crucial.
0 votes
Deborah OLea…, Agent, Westerly, RI
Thu Mar 10, 2011
Hi Tifanie,

Your kitchen and bath are the rooms where improvements give you the most return for your money. If there is weariness in your kitchen, change worn or obviously dated counters, appliances etc. Little things mean a lot. New light fixtures can help brighten a dark kitchen, and changing cabinet hardware can give a kitchen a new look and feel. With bathrooms clean is 1#. They need to shine and all fixtures should be in good working order. Replacing a sink and toilet are not terribly expensive and can give your bathroom a "new" feel. In the rest of the house, evaluate your colors and replace them with neutral ones. Old carpet? If you have hardwood underneath, rip up the carpets! Hardwood floors are very appealing to buyers. Pare down your furnishings, photos and get rid of clutter. Organize your closets so they appear spacious. Open the blinds and curtains and let the sun shine in! In some cases, a pair of new contemporary drapes and toss pillows and bedding can give a room a lift. And don't forget the front door and the landscaping! A pot of flowers by the front door together with a new WELCOME mat will give buyers a good first impression.

Price your home right, and it will sell. Your Realtor will provide you with statistical data on recent sales in your area of similar homes as well as your active competition. Hopefully, your broker will deem your home "better than new." You can also offer a 1 year home warranty which can cover major items like electrical, plumbing, some appliances etc. It gives buyers peace of mind when purchasing an older home and your Realtor may have more information about them.
0 votes
Deb Casper, Agent, White Bear Lake, MN
Thu Mar 10, 2011
First and foremost make the exterior, landscaping, driveway, sidewalk, etc. to grab potential buyer's interest from the street! This is so important and generally doesn't take much money to fix up. Secondly clean, clean, clean - the interior must be as clean as possible, kitchen and baths must sparkle! Pack up everything that you don't need on a daily basis (after all, you'll be packing it up anyway and you'll get a good start!). Think of what a model home looks like, then do your best to get your home to look as close to that as possible. Good luck!
0 votes
Angela Nelson, Agent, East Northport, NY
Thu Mar 10, 2011
You probably have lower taxes and that will be a plus. I find the best thing a seller can do is price their house correctly and it will sell for money and in a shorter span of time than if is not priced correctly.
0 votes
Jennifer Mu's…, Agent, Arcadia, CA
Thu Mar 10, 2011
Regardless of the market, the best returns you can get are from things you do for free or for low cost. Declutter the house, maybe even move some furniture and items out to a different location to make the rooms seem bigger. If your closet is stuffed with clothing and its hard to open the door, it makes even a large closet look small. Beyond that, fixing small noticeable problems like bad paint jobs in rooms or painting the front door if it doesn't look sharp. At that point your investment is limited to some paint and your labor. As you get into larger and larger jobs, you often don't get your money back unless you are fixing serious deficiencies in the house. Larger remodels usually won't return 100% of their cost when selling unless you are capable of doing most of the work yourself. Take a good hard look at your home and focus more on making what you have look good before you get into changing things, and resist the urge to make large changes unless you are fixing serious problems in the house.
Web Reference:  http://JenniferMu.com
0 votes
Dave Ringold, Agent,
Thu Mar 10, 2011
Simply make it look like a model! Super clean. Neutral colorsKitchen & Bathroom upgrades pay for themselves. Good luck!
0 votes
Harriet Pric…, Agent, WOODBRIDGE, VA
Thu Feb 24, 2011
The most importan and least expensive things to do are: de-clutter, paint and have the home sparkle both in and out. Make sure the windows are clean and all blinds and curtains open. These are just a few little things but are crucial to the sale of a home. Of course price and location plays a major factor in the buyers decision.
With over 30 years of full time experience in Prince William we would love to help you and share our knowledge and expertise with you. Please free to give us a call or e-mail us.
0 votes
Tina Beasley, Agent, Saint Augustine, FL
Thu Feb 24, 2011

I am an Accredited Staging Professional. If you need my help, give me a call and I will offer you advice on how to stage your home to get the most for your money. I can also stage your home for a fee if you need me to. Give me a call to discuss. I am currently booked up until March 7th. You can always email at tina@tinabeasley.com.

I don't list properties in your area, but I would be more than happy to help you with staging.
0 votes
Vivianne Rut…, , Fairfax County, VA
Thu Feb 24, 2011

Take off the seller's hat and step into the buyer shoes. Then preview a few homes in your market and see how your home compares to all the other homes listed for sale - this is how buyers will see your home.

Contact me for a Marketing and Listing Consultation and I will be happy to help you see your home through the buyers' eyes.

Vivianne Rutkowski
0 votes
Vicky Chrisn…, Agent, Purcellvile, VA
Thu Feb 24, 2011
The best advice will come from a personal visit. As everyone has said there is general advice, but the key is to make sure that any money you put into your home you get 100% of the investment out of, and that means you must be VERY strategic, and generally, it means not spending very much at all, but doing a lot of low cost things. Professional staging is important for an occupied home, but not nearly as important as pricing and marketing well. Without the right price and marketing no one will see your home, so what good does staging do? Contact me and I will gladly meet you to discuss things in person... vchrisner@kw.com 703-669-3142
Web Reference:  http://www.vickychrisner.com
0 votes
Jay Hurst, Agent, Washington, DC
Thu Feb 24, 2011
Every successful sale is a combination or price-updates-location.
Location helps set the price - why your agent shows you the "comps" or compareable sales.
Updates - older homes have to be on-par with newer homes in kitchens and baths
Price - as Don says, you need to price it right.

An agent will be able to do a walkthrough and see how your updates will help/hurt the price.
You cannot do anything about location, but it may deduct from your price if the location is bad.
i.e. - if the home sits on a busy street, or the neighbors have run-down homes.

All of these things and more come into play, and are why a good agent is very important when doing your
value estimate.

Web Reference:  http://TalleyHurstHomes.com
0 votes
Bob Jurgensen, Agent, Manassas, VA
Thu Feb 24, 2011
Hi Tifanie,

Upgrades are important but most important in the right places - kitchens and baths being the primary focus. Other than that, and perhaps a face lift on electrical fixtures and any aged components, most like-kind homes compare favorable - all things being equal, you won't likely rise to the value of the newer homes (but appeal and location can help offset the age, to some degree) but you can come close especially if you have curb appeal and a "wow" factor once you enter the home to tour. It's all about the feeling buyer's get when they come inside and what they think their family and friends will think when they come to see their new home, most of the time.

I'd say focus on the kitchen first (cabinets, countertops and appliances, flooring, fixtures) and baths second (fixtures, tile, etc.) and as Spring approaches, landscape - landscape and landscape! CURB APPEAL! That draws them in but you don't want to disappoint once they come inside.

We can help you with staging and helping you prioritize any updates and getting the home ready to show - we've been selling homes in the Manassas area for over 27 years - we'd love to meet with you to plan the selling of your home, prepare a comprehensive market analysis for you and give you any guidance we can offer. Let us know if we can help!
0 votes
Kevin Scharek, Agent, Manassas, VA
Thu Feb 24, 2011
Competition can bring out the best of our creative juices so to speak! Clean and clutter-free is, of course, ALWAYS in vogue. It never hurts to visit a couple open houses including (new construction) to see some of the newer "nice-touches" your potential buyers will be comparing your home to. Enhancing closet space, kitchens and baths typically get you the most bang for your buck. And, make sure you point out to your listing agent the updates you've made and that they are highlighted in the listing!

Good Luck!
0 votes
Jim McCowan, Agent, Arlington, VA
Thu Feb 24, 2011
Buyers are looking for clean, clutter-free homes with nice kitchens and bathrooms.
0 votes
Zoe Arefzadeh, Agent, Manassas, VA
Thu Feb 24, 2011
The house should be in good condition with neutral carpet and wall colors. Clean and inviting. It should be priced right and have the maximum exposure in the market.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at 571 239 1563 or ZA@LNF so I can discuss with you in details and show you our marketing strategy to get it sold in the quickest possible time and at the highest possible price.

Zoe Arefzadeh
Associate Broker,CRS,GRI,ABR,SFR,CDPE,Green
Licensed in VA & MD
Long and Foster Realtors
571 239 1563
0 votes
Andy Krumholz, Agent, Reston, VA
Thu Feb 24, 2011
Hi Tifanie,

Without knowing the condition of your home, it's impossible to give you pointers. Aside from de-cluttering and making sure you eliminated all surface defects, fresh paint and carpeting that is in excellent (not good) condition will help make your home look like it's in move-in condition. As for enhancements or staging, you should interview 2-3 or real estate agents whom you might use to list and market and home and see for what they suggest.

Good luck,
0 votes
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