From Rena Spangler
From national news shows to local realtor ads, the advice is everywhere: “The housing market is super hot! Inventory is low and prices are high. Now’s the time to sell!”
Great. But you’ve also been told it can be downright painful getting your house ready for market. Buyers today are HGTV-obsessed. They expect your house to look like the showplace makeovers on television or in The New York Times.
Not to worry. The process doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, it can be liberating! I did it myself when I moved from South Orange to Maplewood.
Here are three “must-do’s” that any seller can and must master to sell quickly and at the highest price.
1) Declutter With Your Head, Not Your Heart
You’ve probably already been told you need to declutter. And your first question may be, “Why do I need to get rid of my cool stuff? I bet potential buyers will love my knick-knacks as much as I do!” Well, maybe. But unless you plan to sell your home with all its contents, that cool stuff will be going with you. Remember, you’re selling your house and that’s what buyers need to see. You don’t want your house to be remembered for all its great collectibles, mementos, and one-of-a-kind furniture rather than for the house itself.
So, what stays and what goes?
The answer starts by knowing what buyers want and to showcase those features. Each home is unique and has its own story. When I first tour a house, I’m thinking about how to market it in ways that will make it stand out from other listings. Does it have unique architecture, lots of natural light, an open floor plan, an amazing back yard?
Once we identify the most sought-after features, we’ll get down to the basics. In a Marie Kondo-like way, we’ll decide what to toss, store somewhere else, or keep – all based on which items accentuate or distract from your home’s best qualities. I like to call it “pre-packing,” and believe me, you’ll thank yourself later when your focus has shifted to your new place.
2) Focus on Cosmetics, Not Finding a Contractor
Now that you’ve decluttered, your home’s long-overlooked “blemishes” may appear much more prominent, even shocking. Don’t panic; now is not the time to remodel a kitchen or bath, invest in a new roof or re-sod the lawn. Concentrate instead on a few small handyman projects and cosmetics that enhance your home’s most valuable features. It’s amazing how fresh paint and gleaming hardwood floors will update your space and make it shine in the photos.
But even paint and floor refinishing costs money. Here’s where Compass Concierge comes in.
Compass Concierge is an exclusive program for Compass clients that pays for home preparation and improvement services before you list your home. Compass has partnered with a licensed lender to offer Concierge funds directly to you, the seller. You pay the vendors you choose to use without having to go through Compass. The borrowed funds will be paid off at closing. And you keep your hard-earned savings for your next home.
3) Pick the Right Realtor for You
Do you know there are over 450 licensed realtors working in South Orange and Maplewood? And with all the ads for this “Number One Team” and that “High-Volume Producer,” how do you decide? Here are some tips:
- The realtor you hire should be the person who evaluates, markets, shows, stands by you, and secures the final sale. It’s a personal relationship that gives you confidence and peace of mind. Look for a realtor who will be with you exclusively from start to close.
- Market experience and knowledge matters. It might be tempting to call an old family friend or relative who sold a house in Hoboken, but it’s not likely to result in up-to-the-minute information about the community or an objective assessment of your home’s value.
- Find your personal advocate whose business depends on exceeding your goals. Real estate is an art and a science that requires pitch-perfect judgement and savvy marketing skills. Look for an agent whose only focus is you, not volume.
- Finally, the real estate company makes a difference. Compass understands that today’s smart buyers and sellers don’t just expect more, they demand different – in technology, client service, creative approaches, and professionalism.
It’s a proven fact: Houses that show well sell faster and for more money than houses that don’t. And ultimately, isn’t that your goal?
Give me a call for the help you need to prepare your house for market. Now that you’ve made the decision to sell, let me make the rest easy.
Founding Agent @ Compass NJ
Making It Home in SOMA