West Virginia Real Estate Selling Tips & Advice
Your home is more than an architectural structure. Often, it’s an extension of who you are – your personality, style and values. That’s why selling it can be an emotional experience. But it can also be exciting and rewarding. This section provides some simple home selling tips that can help lead you to a successful, timely sale.
Once you’ve made up your mind to sell your home, you need to do your “homework” – and century21.com is a great place to start! Getting a signed contract is a great accomplishment, but that’s only half the journey. The typical home sale today involves more than 20 steps after the initial contract is accepted to complete the transaction.1
A real estate professional can provide the experience and local knowledge to guide you through the entire process, and selling your home within the ideal time frame and at the most effective price point. As the representative of your best interests, your CENTURY 21® Agent has state-of-the-art marketing resources to showcase your home’s best assets, and help you determine what improvements will make the biggest difference.
Much of what needs to be done before the closing is the responsibility of appraisers, loan processors, attorneys, and inspectors. Your CENTURY 21 Agent’s role also includes coordinating those responsibilities, helping to ensure that others do their jobs promptly and correctly.
Many steps between contract ratification and closing involve the cooperation of both buyer and seller, and attentive real estate professionals on both sides of the transaction will troubleshoot and keep everyone on track.
1 Source: National Association of REALTORS®
Create a Marketing Plan
Much of an agent’s work is quiet, behind the scenes – and important. Promoting your home involves several outreach efforts, including scheduling, marketing and hosting open houses, following up with open house visitors, having conversations with ad respondents, and posting photos and virtual tours on the web. Being your guide and confidant is part of the process as well.
Selling can entail a variety of marketing strategies, and your agent will develop a plan especially for your home, which will help set it apart in your local marketplace and attract buyers. Once listed, it’s likely that the home will be quickly entered into the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), displayed on century21.com and distributed to over 500 national and local real estate websites, where most buyers begin their search for a new home.
TIP: A marketing plan will help sell a home at the best price possible in the shortest amount of time. Find out how a CENTURY 21® Agent can help.
The Top 10: Tips to Add Value to Your Home
1. Clean, organize, and neutralize your space: Unclutter your house to make it look bigger and cleaner. Buyers need to be able to envision their own belongings in the home; so, avoid using bright colors and too many personal effects.
2. Keep Your Lawn Green: Get your lawn in shape. A patchy lawn takes away from the home’s overall appearance. Your local hardware store has supplies to re-seed those unhealthy areas.
3. Add insulation to save energy: The most inexpensive way to increase your home’s energy is to add insulation, which can reduce heating and cooling costs by more than 25%.
4. Update kitchen appliances: The kitchen is often the room that buyers gravitate towards first, and an updated kitchen can help sell your home. You don’t have to remodel your kitchen to give it a new look. Updating your appliances to the current standard and replacing cabinet doors and hardware can make a big impact at a relatively low cost.
5. Update bathroom fixtures: A little change can go a long way when it comes to the look of your bathroom. Updating simple fixtures such as your sink and faucet can give any outdated bathroom style.
6. Build a fence: If you’re trying to sell a house, the appearance of a fence adds value to the home overall. Buyers with children or pets will appreciate the privacy and security of an enclosed backyard.
7. Repair the gutter: Ensuring that your gutter is clean is crucial in protecting your home against water damage.
8. Light up the outside: An easy and inexpensive way to increase your home’s outdoor space is to add lighting. It makes it more appealing and safer.
9. Store and organize: Ample storage space is a plus, especially when it comes to garages and closets. Efficient closet structures can help keep your clothes organized and can save space.
10. Polish off the basement: Rather than adding an additional room, it is more cost-efficient to remodel your basement. This adds value and usable space.
Setting the Right Price for Your Home
A key part of your marketing plan is setting the list price. Quite simply, if a home is priced too low, you miss out on potential profit. If a home is priced too high, qualified buyers will look elsewhere.
To determine the best asking price, review the prices of recently sold, comparable homes in the area; evaluate the competition, and study marketplace trends. CENTURY 21® Sales Professionals have ready access to this information, and can provide the big picture to help you determine the right asking price.
It is also helpful to discuss with your agent other terms and conditions that can be included in the sale of the home to make it more attractive to potential buyers. For example, an owner can offer to pay points or complete a major repair – such as a new roof – to make the deal more appealing to a qualified buyer. A home warranty such as the Century 21 Home Protection Plan is another useful marketing tool, providing protection if an appliance or other covered item fails after closing. Home warranties are a relatively inexpensive way for a seller to add value to a property.
Other factors to consider:
- Real estate is local. Your CENTURY 21® Agent can explain current market factors in your community, including what’s selling, what isn’t selling, and why. This information is critical to setting an optimal price and terms.
- If your house is located in a desirable area you will be able to get a higher price than you can for the same house in a less desirable area.
- If a house has amenities that are currently popular in the marketplace, it will bring a higher price. Your CENTURY 21 Agent can help identify top trends.
- A house that has been better maintained and “shows” better will always sell for more than one that has had deferred (neglected) maintenance and needs work.
- Buyers expect everything to work. It’s an important trust factor, and worth the time and expense to make basic repairs.
- Markets differ by location and time. When interest rates are low and the local job base is growing, it’s great to be a seller. But when times are slack and mortgage rates are rising, homes also sell. The trick is to be realistic, to get as much as market conditions will allow.
TIP: A formal written appraisal can be useful if your property is unique, or there hasn’t been much activity in your area recently. It’s also helpful when co-owners disagree about price, or there is any other circumstance that makes it difficult to put a market value on your home.
SHOWING YOUR HOME
Start with a good cleaning, eliminate clutter, put away the knickknacks and add fresh coats of a neutral-colored paint to brighten rooms. Oh, and tidy up the yard. Your CENTURY 21® Real Estate Agent can give you all sorts of tips to help boost your home’s curb appeal and impress potential buyers once they’re inside. Here are a few basics:
- If the weather permits, open the windows (if there is too much noise outside, close them). If it’s cold enough to wear a sweater to stay warm, turn on the heat. You want the temperature inside to be comfortable and to give the buyer more of a reason to linger, especially on hot or cold days!
- Light a fire in the fireplace, have chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven, or use lightly scented aromatherapy – such as lavender – to set the scene for a tranquil home.
- Open all the window coverings to let in light. If a particular window overlooks undesirable scenery or obstructed views, keep the blinds partially closed.
- Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights. Brighten dark rooms with few windows by placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture.
- Play soft background music.
Move your cars to an alternate location, and allow your real estate agent to conduct the tour: potential buyers usually feel more comfortable – and less pressured – when the owners are not present.
TIP: One way to make a home more attractive is to purchase a Home Protection Plan. This insurance protects you, the seller, from paying repair or replacement costs of major items during the listing period. It also protects the buyer during their first year of homeownership.