Tips for selling your house (from a real person, not a realtor, AI, or someone trying to make a buck off you).

Trying to sell you house during a downturn can be tough. Here are my tips for things to do that can help. They include the maintenance type, listing, and some money tips as well. I have bought/sold several houses in my life time and have it down to a fine art.

The only AI you will see in this post…

Maintenance Type Tips:

  • Paint. You hear this alot. Paint has the largest ROI when selling a house. This is a no brainer. Paint crazy colors with neutral ones.
  • Paint/replace bad trim. The base boards around your house say a lot as to how your heavily your house was used. Especially if you have pets. Base boards can get nasty. You need to caulk nail holes and repaint after you clean them (if they didn’t clean well).
  • Clean and enhance your front yard. My front yard was literally dirt when I moved in. A couple of years ago I got sod and it makes the house look 1000% nicer. Maybe just a trim/clean up with some mulch added to beds will make your yard look so much more attractive. Remember, your front yard is the first impression potential buyers get.
  • Tighten your screws. Check all your exterior doors for smooth open/closure. The inner door are not as important since someone coming to look at your house won’t be testing the interior doors. Several of my exterior doors were a little tight/sticking and tightening screws helped so much.
  • Thin out your junk. I have lots of junk. Lots. I love a cluttered (organized, yet cluttered) living environment. Nothing better than books stacked everywhere. However, it’s distracting to people coming to look at your house. My realtor says ‘they need to envision what their stuff would look like’. I disagree that that’s why you need less clutter. I (personally) focus on their stuff and it takes my mind off the house. Anyway, pack it up and put it in storage or at least box it up and hide it in closets.
  • Clean your windows. Inside and out. If they are dusty or dirty, it’s ugly and distracting.
  • Put on some smells. When you have a showing, put on some wall-plug in smelly things or do some laundry with smelly additives or make cookies before hand.
  • Turn on your lights. Turn on all your lights and turn on all ceiling fans (to lowest setting) for showings.
  • Clean your AC Vents and change your filters. Air vents (intake or outtake) will build up dust. Vacuum them off and and change your filters. Telltale signs of someone who doesn’t take care of their expensive AC system is the dust on those.

Money Tip:

  • Know what your limits are beforehand. Know exactly how much you will start out at, how much (and how often) to come down on price and your bottom price you can afford to sell at. Have it all written down before you get a realtor. Remember, they work for you. They can suggest, but it’s your home. As far as price reduction timing, know when you absolutely have to be out so you can plan it out. My suggestion is if you are in somewhat of a hurry, try 2 week intervals (on the price reductions). Realtors will try to pressure you into reducing fast. They claim the longer a house is on the market, the less likely it will sell. I do not believe that. New buyers are coming into the market all the time.
  • Offer money to help pay down the buyers interest rate. This is a better deal for the seller than just reducing the cost. The interest rate paydown dollars are actually worth WAAAYYYY more than a few thousand off the price of the house. They reduce the amount the seller pays in interest for the entire life of the loan. True, it doesn’t benefit the seller as much, but it helps get the buyers (the smart ones anyway) into the door.

Listing Tips:

  • Utilize keywords. Ask your realtor (who typically writes the listing) to insert certain keywords that you feel would help attract buyers. As a buyer myself, I use the keyword box all the time on Zillow to help find ‘mother in law’ suites or close-by parks. Create a list of things about your property that people may be looking for and make sure they are in the listing.
  • Have a voice on the pictures. Once you see what your home photos look like, have the realtor add more if you feel they are missing something important. I have done this (and have taken pictures myself). If you have the chance before the photos are taken, be there to guide the photographer to make sure to get the shots you want.
  • Verify the final listing info. Make sure the bedroom counts are right, flex space is listed (rooms that are not considered actual bedrooms) and square footage is listed correctly. Check your previous appraisal for this info.
  • Request a listing summary. (which listing services your home is being presented on, the more the merrier). The realtor is probably using MLS (multiple listing service) and can pull this info for you. Let’s be honest though, Realtor and Zillow are the 2 biggies.

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