The Essential Home Seller's Guide
Whether you’ve already found your next home, or you’re preparing for a new chapter of your life, selling your home is a significant decision, both financially and emotionally. Our home seller guide walks you through how to prepare your home to make a timely sale at an excellent price with the least amount of stress.
Today’s home sellers have more access to the market than ever before. Tools like Zillow’s Zestimate give sellers a baseline price for their home, and cut-rate listing services provide sellers quick access to listing their home. However, sellers who have tried these avenues consistently contact us because they are frustrated with a lack of professionalism and execution.
Within the world of real estate sales, the adage, “you get what you pay for,” rings true. Picking the right real estate agent to sell your home will be the most critical decision you’ll make in this process. Do your research; ask friends for references, and read reviews on reputable sources such as Yelp. Choose wisely—you won’t know you made the wrong choice until it’s too late.
Important Factors for Buyers
Selling your home may feel overwhelming at first. However, if you follow the tips and suggestions in this guide, you’ll become more comfortable with the process. Four primary factors influence the ease with which your home sells.
PRICE. The real estate market fluctuates based on supply and demand. Accurate pricing is critical to bringing the right buyers through the door and getting offers before the market goes stale.
CONDITION. Your home’s condition, both inside and out, allows it to outshine the competition. You want buyers to fall in love with your home. First impressions do matter.
PRESENTATION. Use staging, photography, and a strategic marketing plan to find and attract the right buyers. Our expert team at 360dwellings offers advice and handles presentation details for you.
LOCATION. Location-related factors such as your neighborhood, schools, commuting, and overall vibe plays a considerable role in buyers’ decisions. While you can’t do much about location, you can perfect the elements above to present your home in the best light possible.
The right real estate agent offers the following
Market Expertise. Make sure your agent understands your local market. Experience matters when understanding comparable properties (comps) and how to price homes accurately in your area.
Negotiation Skills. Negotiation isn’t a buzzword; it’s an art. Either you’re good at it or you’re not. 360dwellings agents are trained negotiators and will approach your home’s sale like it is their own.
Contract Knowledge. Knowing your way around the Colorado contracts is an essential skill for real estate agents. Yet, some agents don’t understand the nuances of real estate contracts, necessary addendums, and how to best position contracts to a seller’s advantage. The knowledge and training of 360dwelling agents exceed the requirements set forth by the State of Colorado.
Professional Network. Real estate agents, through their comprehensive network, can connect you with potential buyers for your home. Agents also have relationships with other professionals you’ll need, such as appraisers, home inspectors, contractors, and attorneys. If you need a referral, we’re happy to help.
Sellers often feel that they are the ones selling their homes, even when they have hired a professional real estate agent. When you hire a 360dwellings agent, you’ll receive results-oriented and comprehensive service. Simply hand us the key to your home and let us do the rest!
9 Steps to Make a Perfect First Impression
1. Improve Your Landscaping. Curb appeal is crucial to an excellent first impression, so make sure your home’s lawn is immaculate. Mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden, and plant bright flowers. Fresh cedar mulch, especially near the entryway, sets the tone for a great first impression.
2. Clean the Outside. A dirty exterior leads buyers to think you’ve not been maintaining your home. Clean the gutters and pressure wash your home’s siding. Gutter downspouts should point water away from your foundation (inspectors notice this right away). Professionally clean your windows, or use the Windex hose spray sold at most hardware stores for a quick window shine.
3. Make Minor Repairs. We have yet to find a perfect home, and we will keep looking. Every home has some degree of deferred maintenance. Walkthrough your house and create a list of items that may deter potential buyers. Our agents can refer a skilled handyman to address this list if you need extra help.
4. Make the Front Door Inviting. A fresh coat of paint makes the front door stand out, especially when the color contrasts with the home. Think bold and bright, like a red door. Replace faded house numbers so buyers can see them from the curb.
5. Buy a New Welcome Mat. A fun welcome mat, with an inviting saying, may subtly influence potential buyers. Something like “Welcome Home,” “Come in & Cozy Up,” or “Home is Where the Heart is.”
6. Remove Clutter and Depersonalize. Buyers want to envision their belongings in your home. Minimize your personal tastes by renting a storage unit for knickknacks, photos, extra furniture, and other items. Closets should be tidy, garages should be cleaned and organized (even the floor), and basements should be pleasant smelling, and organized.
7. Make Every Surface Shine. From ceiling fans to floors and everything in between, clean your home until it sparkles. If cleaning isn’t how you prefer to spend your time, ask us for a referral.
8. Simplify Wall Colors. You might like your lime-green bedroom, but it may sour buyers. Paint your walls a neutral color that will appeal to a wide range of buyers. Warm grays offer a subtle and neutral palette that is inviting to all buyers.
9. Eliminate Bad Odors. Hide the litter box and spray air neutralizer throughout your home. When showing the house, fill it with inviting smells by putting out fresh flowers and baking a batch of cookies. A single cinnamon roll in a warm oven will make your whole home smell delightful. If your home smells like cat litter or rotten garbage, potential buyers won’t stay long. You don’t want to be remembered as the house that smelled like garbage.
Our 10 Step Marketing Plan
To effectively market your home, it is essential to view it with fresh, professional eyes. Our agents at 360dwelling help you understand the entire process and handle the rest, procuring professionals in the fields listed below to ensure the best marketing for your home.
1. Professional Staging. We send in our expert design team to meet with you and determine the best course of action to get your home looking it's absolute best. The stagers may work with your current furniture and art, bring in new pieces, or use a combination of both. No matter the mix, rest assured that our design team skillfully prepares your home for photo-shoots and showings. Your job is to keep it that way while it is on the market.
2. Professional Photography. Excellent photography might be the most critical piece of the home-marketing puzzle, and we leave it to professionals to get the best possible photos of your property. House hunting starts online, and homes with inviting images receive more clicks. Your home needs to look its absolute best, and high quality (HDR) photos get buyers through the door. If you ever hear an agent say that he or she will take pictures, consider it a major red flag.
3. Professional Showing Service. Showing your home while you live in it may be a considerable disruption to your daily routine. We work with a professional showing service to ensure showings are scheduled at times convenient for you. If you don’t want to show your home before 10:00 am or after 6:00 pm, we can work around your schedule. From one-hour showing windows to sending texts for entry approval, or anything else you need, we will do our best to keep showings as minimally invasive as possible.
4. High-Quality Flyers. We use professional designers to create and print our flyers. You want to have a beautiful handout, artistically balancing high-end photos and quality details about your home for potential buyers to take with them.
5. High Impact Signage. Often overlooked, high-quality yard signage helps sell your home. We have signs professionally printed and installed on quality real estate posts in front of your property. Simple, elegant, and tasteful.
6. Listing Syndication. We know the online world well. In fact, in 2008, it’s how we got started. We syndicate your listing out to all the major search engines and real estate sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Denver Post, Homes.com, Nextdoor, Realtor.com, and more.
7. Social Media. 360dwelling has a loyal following on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms. We take out paid, targeted ads to reach thousands of potential buyers. Your listing is seen all over the internet.
8. Re-Targeting. Have you ever searched the internet for items like socks or barstools? For the next month, you see little advertisements around the web for various socks and barstools. We do the same thing for your listing. After potential buyers search for homes and have clicked on your listing, our automated system gets to work peppering them with photos, information, and a link to your listing. We target potential buyers from all angles.
9. Email Marketing. We have email addresses for over 25,000 agents in the Denver Metro area. We send a listing announcement to every agent, so all the agents in the region know your home is for sale. A network of agents this large is an effective and powerful resource.
10. Whatever-it-Takes Mentality. We may send out professional postcards, have public and broker open houses, or go door knocking. We’ll do whatever it takes to get your home sold.
Getting Ready for Buyer Showings
Even though it takes effort, do your best to keep your home in a neat, clean, and showable condition. When a potential buyer comes through your home, make sure it is looking its best.
It’s important to remember that the right buyer could come along at any moment. As a seller, you need to be ready to show your home any time of day, any day of the week. That means keeping the house clean and uncluttered at all times. It also means being ready to leave at a moment’s notice to give the buyer comfortable and uninhibited access. To prepare for the unexpected, have some ideas of places to visit and spontaneous ways to kill an hour or two.
Follow these steps for a perfect home showing:
- Keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
- Keep it clean; wipe the counters, sweep the floor, make the beds, etc.
- Leave the lights on.
- Take your animals away from home.
- Tune into the olfactory senses; bake cookies or light a vanilla candle.
- Tune into the auditory senses; if you live on a busy street, keep your windows closed and play some soft spa-style music, or if you live in a quiet neighborhood, open it up so buyers can hear the birds chirping.
- Vacate your home; your presence does not help make the sale.
Accurate Pricing is Critical
At this point, we have discussed every variable but price. Your home looks its best, you have professional marketing online and off, and now you’re ready to put a price tag on it.
Price is the bottom line, particularly for first-time buyers. Getting it right the first time is imperative to ensure you receive top dollar in the quickest amount of time.
Market Analysis. We will look at all the comparable sales (comps), under contract properties, and active listings—the main competition similar to your home. Exploring comps helps us determine market value. We also have access to automated valuation systems to help validate and ensure we’re pricing your home correctly.
Zillow’s Zestimate is an excellent tool for approximating the value of your home. However, comps on Zillow overlook certain items such as kitchen remodels, finished basements, professional landscaping, and more. On the other hand, a professional real estate agent who has sold hundreds of homes knows precisely what information to look for and where to find it. Your best bet for a timely, well-priced sale requires analysis by an expert after seeing your home in person and taking copious notes.
Price It Right the First Time. If you overprice your home, you risk the potential of getting far less than if you priced it correctly from the start. The longer a home sits on the market, the more stale it becomes. Buyers are not stupid; they are not willing to overpay for a home. Most buyers attain an appraisal through their lender, which helps ensure they’re offering the correct price. Some sellers like to underprice their listings in hopes of starting a bidding war. Price may also depend on whether or not we’re currently in a buyers’ or sellers’ market.
It’s possible to sell your home on your own. However, statistics suggest that through the use of a real estate agent, you will likely attain a higher sales price. You’ll also experience far less stress when you use a professional. At 360dwellings, we do this full-time. As with everything in life, if you want something done right, use a professional when you can.
Consider Hiring a Top Rated Real Estate Agent (and do your research)
Market Expertise. The average buyer spends a few hours a month looking at homes online. Would you trust your doctor with that much experience? Your mechanic? Your hairstylist? Whether it’s an insight on pricing, building materials, or today’s sought-after design touches, agents have down-in-the-trenches expertise you simply can’t get from a casual web search.
Negotiation Skills. Whether you’re selling your first, second, or third home, the right agent can usually negotiate for a higher price than you ever could on your own. Also, agents are contractually obligated to protect your financial interests.
Contract Knowledge. Selling a home is a complicated process, full of financial and legal obligations beyond the scope of most sellers. Agents are required to understand contract language and keep up with changing regulations. This knowledge ensures you don’t sign a bad deal.
Research Your Agent Online. Read what others have said about their interactions and transactions. 360dwellings has been one of the top-rated agencies on Yelp since 2012. Read what clients say about us there and on Google Reviews, Zillow, and other sites.
360dwellings has sold thousands of homes in the Denver Metro area, and we excel at what we do. We work as a team, so someone is almost always available. Let us help you get the highest price for your home with the least amount of stress.