1. Little Things Matter (Selling Your Home)
Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. What would matter to you? The little things can add up to a lot. Like trimming bushes, edging the sidewalk, or washing a few windows. Inside, make sure your house smells good. There are a lot of great-smelling household cleaners out there. I always say, it doesn’t cost much to clean well. And it makes a big difference to buyers.
Make sure your closets are organized well. Don’t let it be overflowing and looking too small. All rooms should be de-cluttered as much as possible. Less is more. Make sure the kitchen is immaculate. Dust, clean toilets, mop floors, scrub all those places you haven’t in a while, etc. A good, deep clean is very important.
Put out fresh towels, minimize family pictures and knick-knacks. Everyone’s sense of style and design is different. Just make sure that the buyer will be able to visualize some of their own things in the house. If it’s too cluttered, it’s tough for a buyer to imagine themselves living there. And definitely make sure the dog’s doo-doo is picked up!
It's all time well-spent and extra elbow grease is cheap.
2. School’s in Session – Take Some Notes (Searching for a Home)
I’d recommend keeping a list of pros and cons of all the homes you look at. Even if it’s just the major items that stand out to you, it will help to be able to look at your notes at a later date. It will help you go back into those homes in your mind. You may think you’ll remember everything you liked, loved, hated, or were apathetic to, but after a while, it’s hard to keep them all straight.
3. What Season is It? (Selling Your Home)
I didn’t think of this right away, but different seasons can affect the way you show your home sometimes.
Winter: If there’s a fireplace, make sure it’s in working order. Around the holidays, you can add touches like wreaths and a few other accents. Just don’t overdo it. Find photos of your home in other seasons other than winter that “shine a nice light” on your property. That way potential home buyers can see what it looks like without 8 inches of snow on the ground.
Spring: Flowers are always a good touch. “Spring”-scented candles are nice. Make sure you do a top-to-bottom Spring cleaning. Use bright-colored linens, spreads and pillows. Any extra splash of color you can add will also help.
Summer: Summer is outdoor time. So, make sure the yard, patio, deck, or any outdoor area is as inviting as possible. Hanging flowers are a nice touch. Keep the house cool but not cold.
Fall: Pumpkins by the front door? Sure why not. As long as they’re not rotten. Vases of some fall foliage can help make it pleasing to the eye. Just don’t overdo anything. Less is more. Maybe incorporate a seasonal scent like baked apple pie. Make sure the falling leaves haven’t taken over your yard, too.
Don’t let this list panic you though. These are just suggestions. Mostly remember that simpler is better, cleanliness is vital, and put yourself in the buyer’s shoes.
4. Investments in Your Home (Getting Ready to Sell Your Home)
You may need to consider replacing a few items that are run-down, shabby, or not in working order. Maybe you should power wash your deck or fence and re-stain? Could a few more plants in your landscaping help? Fresh mulch? What about faucets? Old faucets are pretty easy to replace. And if a toilet is stained beyond the point of no return, you may want to have a new one put in.
Some art on the wall always helps to add some color to a room. Don’t be afraid to head to a bigger department store that carries a lot of framed or canvas art. They’ll be prints. And they’re very inexpensive. Plus, any wall hangings you do invest in can go with you to your next home!
5. Extra Research Can Save You From a Bad Buy (Getting Ready to Buy a Home)
You can scope out the neighborhood at different times of the day to make sure there isn’t anything obnoxious that you could have missed before. But it doesn’t hurt to do a bit more detective work.
Make sure there aren’t an abnormal number of homes for sale in the area. If so, you might want to keep digging until you find out why. What kind of commercial business is in the area? Does it seem to be flourishing? Or are there a lot of vacant commercial spaces?
Just make sure you don’t let too much emotion drive your buying decision. Of course, there will be a lot of emotions, because it’s exciting to shop for a new home! But remember to tell your left brain keep your right brain in check.
6. Is a pre-inspection worth it? (Selling Your Home)
Pre-inspections aren’t mandatory, but the potential buyers can have an inspector go through the home with a fine-tooth comb. You could have a pre-inspection. Here are a couple reasons to consider: 1) It will give you a chance to fix something that you didn’t know about. 2) It’s a way to show that you’re up front with buyers and not trying to hide anything.
7. Don’t Be Stubborn – Think the Numbers Through (Buying a Home)
Be careful to not get into a “win at all costs negotiation”. You could be the stubborn type (which I completely understand) and let something like a few grand come between you and your next dream home. Here’s a hypothetical for you. What if the interest rate is 4.5% and the negotiation seems to be at a stalemate and you’re still $5000 away from what you said you were willing to pay. Assuming a 1.25 percent property tax and 15 percent down, that’s only about $25 per month on a 30-year mortgage. Think about that before you drop everything and take yourself out of the running for a home that you truly love. Of course your numbers will be different. I’ll help you work them all out if you need them. Did you know I was a high school Math teacher for 15 years?
8. Curb the BIG spending if you’re thinking about BUYING
I wouldn’t buy a car right if you’re thinking about buying a home (Unless you don’t think your debt-to-income ratio will be a problem with your mortgage banker). Opening new credit cards or accumulating any other kind of new debt can potentially hurt also. And try not to go from employed to self-employed prior to buying a home.
9. Is the Price Right? (Pricing Your Home To Sell)
Pricing your home accurately is important. Yes, you want to get as much as you can for your home, but take a few things into consideration. You may be tempted to overprice when there are a low number of homes for sale combined with high demand. That’s economics, right? And it could cross your mind to go low to stir up a bidding war. My advice (along with many others) is not to play pricing games. Price your home fairly.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to price your home exactly what other homes in your area have sold for. But that’s a good starting point if they are similar in size. Then, you have to look at any other additional factors that could affect the value of your home. What are the most important things people are looking for in your price range? Is there anything about your home that would raise the eyebrows of a potential buyer (either good OR bad)?
But that’s what I’m here for, too. We’ll talk through it. I’ll show you the research. I’ll evaluate your home and the market thoroughly before we agree on a listing price. We want to get you the fair market price for your unique home, and also get it sold in a reasonable amount of time. There are many things to consider. Again, we’ll talk it through together. I want you to be comfortable with everything, every step of the way.
Should we get to work?
To me, it’s important to be “real” with people. I gain nothing in the long run by not being completely honest. It’s in my nature to help people. At the end of the day, I want you to understand everything completely. I think back to when my husband and I bought our first home. We were young and clueless about a lot of things. We didn’t get a lot of help. Things were NOT explained to us like they should have been. If I knew then, what I know now, I would have fired a Realtor or two in the past. And I think we were afraid to ask questions sometimes. So, I don’t want that to ever happen to anyone buying or selling a home. There’s no dumb question. This should be a wonderful experience for you. I want you to know that I’m in this with you. I’m on your side. When you end up happy, I end up happy.
Sioux Falls, SD
I am a licensed real estate agents with Hegg REALTORS in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.