Even in a hot real estate market, where properties sell faster than ice cream on a hot summer day in Galveston Beach, you have to enter the process with solid planning and intentionality. Otherwise, you’ll short-change yourself and leave money on the table.
Although most Houston homeowners focus on what happens between listing and closing, you could argue that the pre-listing process is even more essential. What you do in those weeks leading up to listing can have a substantial impact on both the value of the home and how quickly it goes under contract.
Nine Tips to Prepare for Listing
Preparing your Houston home for listing isn’t a step you should take lightly. Here are nine useful tips to help you master this process.
1. Address Any Major Issues
Many homeowners go overboard with fixing up their home prior to listing. They try to get every detail perfect. In the process, they end up overspending on facets that buyers don’t really care about in the first place.
So we’d caution you against trying to make your house absolutely perfect, but it is wise to address any major issues. These would be anything a home inspector will readily spot during the due diligence process, and/or something that could slow down the sale and entail further negotiations.
Examples would include water leaks, broken appliances, foundation issues, wood rot, plumbing problems, and electrical issues.
Buyers don’t expect a residence to be in perfect condition. And in a seller’s market, you can get away with a lot of little items. But if you address all the big problems in advance, you speed up the process and give yourself greater negotiating muscle.
2. Clean Up the Curb Appeal
Curb appeal is an undeniably vital factor. Significant first impressions can often be established before a prospective buyer walks through the front door. Thus, if you can give your curb appeal a major lift for a few hundred bucks, it will be well worth the cost.
For improving curb appeal, focus on landscaping and the front entry. Mow the lawn, trim the bushes, pressure-wash the driveway, plant some fresh flowers, and repaint the front door (if it needs it). Simple little jobs like these don’t cost much, but they will have a significant impact on the buyer’s state of mind.
3. Declutter and Depersonalize
Nobody likes clutter. You may consider whether it makes sense to stage your property (more on that coming up), but you should absolutely declutter. This includes:
- Removing items from countertops and bookshelves
- Limiting each wall to just one or two pieces of art
- Cleaning up the garage and moving boxes, yard tools, etc., into a storage unit
- Eliminating 75 percent of the hanging clothes in your closet and putting them in storage
In addition to decluttering, you’d be wise to depersonalize. As much as you love that family photo above the fireplace, your potential buyer won’t care. In fact, it can dampen their enthusiasm by making it more difficult for the person to picture his or her own family in the residence.
4. Eliminate All Signs of Pets
We get it: You love your little Fido! But guess what? Buyers don’t.
Even if they’re pet lovers themselves, people naturally resist moving into a place that looks and smells like an animal has been in residence.
Get rid of pet beds, toys, food bowls, etc. Also, clean up the backyard so there are no “pet messes” for people to step on. (That’s a sure-fire way to turn a buyer off!)
5. Consider Staging
According to one professional staging company that tracks the latest trends, “Staged homes may sell two to three times faster than homes that haven’t received a special touch. The average offers may increase by up to 15% compared to homes with no staging. This means that you’ll get faster and higher profits on your property.”
If you’re already planning to declutter and remove most of your belongings, having a professional staging company come in and spruce things up a bit won’t cost you much more. And as long as you’re in a price range and market where it makes sense, the ROI will invariably justify the effort.
6. Search Your House Online
When was the last time you searched for your own address online? Run a quick Google search and see what pops up.
If you see any glaring issues in your Zillow or Realtor property profile (such as an incorrect number of bedrooms or erroneous tax information), you should fix it. It would be a shame for something like this to turn otherwise interested buyers away.
7. Find a Houston Real Estate Agent
In a busy seller’s market, you may be tempted to list your property on your own. But you should be aware of some of the difficulties that come with a transaction of this nature. Unless you have experience with real-estate transactions and negotiations with buyers, you should hire a professional to handle everything on your behalf.
8. Hire a Professional Cleaning Crew
Wait until the day before you put the home on the market, and have a professional cleaning crew come through the house and conduct a deep clean. This includes bathrooms, appliances, windows, baseboards, etc. You want the place to sparkle!
9. Get Out of Dodge
Finally, make plans to leave the house over the weekend your listing goes live. This will enable you to relax and avoid worry about strangers constantly coming and going for showings. Make a vacation out of it!
Sell Your Houston Home With Green Residential
Most Houston homeowners fork over 6 percent of their selling price to real estate agents (3 percent to the selling agent and 3 percent to the buying agent). On a $500,000 property, that amounts to $30,000 in commission.
We believe you shouldn’t have to chew up your equity just to sell your house. At Green Residential, we operate on a flat-rate commission structure that can save you thousands.
On a $500,000 sale, you can expect to save around $4,000. And as the value of the home increases, so do the savings.
Want to learn more about the advantages of working with a flat-rate realty company? Contact us today and we’ll walk you through the process!