Welcome back to This Happy House everyone! Oh. My. Goodness. I have been SO excited to write this post!!! Like seriously, itching, for a month and a half now. But my superstitious self wouldn’t allow it until everything was signed, sealed and delivered. And after much anticipation, today is that day. I have officially sold my house, for full asking price in 24 hours. Yes, you read that right. Full price. 24 hours.
Naturally, it’s also a bit of a bittersweet day. We said goodbye to our home of nine years; the home where our dog fought (and won) his cancer battle, the home I brought my newborn son into, the home we have spent years collecting memories in. Truthfully, I thought it would be harder on me emotionally than it was. I attribute that mostly to being pretty well settled into our new home, but still, a bit bittersweet nonetheless.
In any case, today is all about how we successfully (and stress free!) sold our home! If you have been following along with the House, you know that we (totally on a whim) found our dream house and bought it that same day. You may also know that we had a super successful, stress free, home buying experience. But we still had that one nagging thing holding us back from getting excited in our new digs; we had a home to sell. Enter Stress City. Add a toddler and dog into the mix, and my mind had already prepared a recipe for disaster.
Getting our old home ready in a moments notice, keeping it clean, finding places to take a toddler and a dog during showings, and days, weeks or months of living on the fly were all clouding my mind. Seriously, I DREADED the thought. So much so that the idea of selling our home was really the number one thing preventing me from wanting to move in the first place. Imagine my surprise when we bypassed all of my worriess and stresses and sold our home in a mere 24 hours for full asking price! If it sounds crazy and too good to be true, it’s not! And I am here to help you do the same!
Home Selling Made Easy
ALWAYS BE PREPARED
KNOW YOUR MARKET
BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE
STAGE TO PERFECTION
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
If you read my article about Home Buying Made Easy, then you already know the importance of planning ahead. As I have mentioned before, we weren’t ‘actively’ house hunting so our scenario was a bit different than most of yours. In a typical situation, you may have an idea in your head of when you would like to start house hunting. (TIP: don’t plan for 2 weeks from now, you will need at least a couple of months!)
Why the time frame you may ask??? In addition to the preparation needed for buying a new home, there is also a considerable amount of preparation that will go into selling your home. Dust off the to-do list and jump on all of those tiny little nagging issues that you have let go unresolved. I know, I know, you are moving and finally knocking those items off of your list! That annoying gold door knob on our garage door that I loathed for 9 1/2 years??? Gone two weeks before we moved. Oh the irony.
Anyhow, I recommend walking through your home room by room with pen and paper and listing any nagging items that need attention. You only get one chance at a first impression when you put your house on the market and if you want a quick sale then your house needs to look it’s best! No matter how trivial and insignificant some tiny flaw may seem, TRUST ME when I say that someone, somewhere WILL notice it and point it out. So let’s skip the headaches and take care of it before anyone even sets foot in your front door.
Depending on the length (and cost) of your list, your time frame for listing may vary. Another factor to consider is what time of year you would like to put your home on the market. Spring into early summer is ideal, but be ready for anything!
Always Be Prepared
So this brings me to my next point… always be prepared! What this means is that once you have an idea in your head that you may be potentially listing in the near future, keep your home in tip top shape as best you can. Trust me when I say that this will save you a major headache when the time comes!
Your dream home may just come knocking when you least expect it, much like ours. Any home buyer knows that once the contract is in, your pile of paperwork is a mile long. You don’t need the added stress of tackling a to-do list to get your home on the market as well.
We were about halfway planned and prepared… we typically keep our house in very good condition, but we did have a short list once our contract was in on the new house. It took us about 5 days to get everything done and listed. You should be prepared to get your home on the market within a week of finding your new home.
Know Your Market
I have talked about this before… but KNOW YOUR MARKET!!! There are a few price points in the home listing world…
1. What you would LIKE to sell your home for
2. What you NEED to sell your home for
3. What you ACTUALLY sell your home for
4. Bottom dollar, this-stinks-but-I-need-to-be-done-with-this-house price
First and foremost you NEED to be realistic! Your realtor will simply advise you on a price point based on their expertise, but ultimately the decision is up to you, the home owner. In order to avoid winding up in scenario number 4, you NEED to be realistic with yourself.
Our house was a bit of a unique scenario. In our city, an updated home is a rare find. Super rare, unicorn running across the moon find. Basically, it doesn’t exist. But that was our home, updated to perfection. Lined up against the comps, we simply did not compare. Therefore, the typical formula for square footage, bedrooms and bathrooms didn’t really apply to us. So we needed to really do our research and know the market. Although we knew that we couldn’t get every penny back out of our home that we put in, we *hoped* to get a fair price for our home that we would be happy with, without watching it sit on the market for months on end.
Know your neighborhood and the surrounding areas. Know what your home has and doesn’t have that adds and subtracts value. And most importantly, watch the market. As I mentioned, a seller can really choose any price point they like to list at, but it does not mean that the home will sell. Simply looking at the listings online won’t help you tremendously; focus more so on what’s selling, and how quickly.
I had initially planned on waiting a few more days to list our home, but as my husband was watching the market he saw houses in our range selling within days, if not hours. And he knew that ours stood out above the rest. So we decided to just list it right then and there, and within 2 hours had our first showing. Over the course of the following 24 hours we were out of the house the entire day for showings, received 2 contracts, and signed one for full price.
Be Your Own Advocate
Full disclosure: I LOVE my realtor. Like truly love her. I have known her since I was maybe 10 years old, and the same goes for my husband. She is amazing, wonderful, and if you live in my area, I highly recommend her! But when selling your home, you NEED to be your own advocate. After all, no one knows how truly amazing your home is better than you. And let’s be real, you are trying to sell one home, your realtor probably has about ten on their plate… help them out a bit!
Two things that I did that I feel truly helped me sell my home quick:
I took my own pictures
I marketed my home
I chose to take my own pictures for a couple of reasons. As I said, you know your home best. I knew what times of day and what types of weather reflected best on my home. I knew how to truly capture it in it’s best form. We also happen to have a great camera. I was able to take tons of pictures and weed through them to find the absolute best. It saved my realtor a trip to the house and gave me an opportunity to have a unique part of my own listing and we ended up very happy with the results!
Oh the joys of social media! Literally the day after our contract was accepted on the new house, I created a Facebook post advertising that we would be selling our home soon. I was able to take time to carefully create my post and include all of the best features of our home (again, something a realtor may not truly be familiar with). In addition, this gives you a heads up on the competition and creates a buzz before you are even formally listed. My post generated tons of interest, many shares, and many requests for more information. Once I took my pictures I then created another post to showcase our home. I had nearly 10 solid prospects before our home ever even listed on the MLS.
Stage to Perfection
DO NOT underestimate the value of staging. If this is not your strong suit, head to HGTV or Pinterest for inspiration… or email me and I would be happy to help! This is VITAL to the success of a quick sale on your home! People need to truly envision what it would be like to live in your home. They don’t need to see piles of socks, dirty dishes, toys scattered around and undefined spaces in your home. If you don’t have defined spaces, chances are your prospective buyers won’t be inspired much either.
Your home can (and eventually will) sell without staging. However, if you want a quick sale and a leg up on your competition, staging is essential. Think how many times you are watching HGTV and think, “wow, I would love to live there!” Maybe it’s not your taste, but Chip and Joanna put things together so well you just feel like you need to live there immediately!
The other thing that I feel should go without saying is please, please, please keep a clean home. I can’t tell you how many homes we looked at that were plain old filthy. There were some that as soon as I walked in the door, I walked right back out. The cleanliness of a home has nothing to do with the actual space and structure, but it sure is a turn off! You don’t want to miss a buyer just because you didn’t catch up on your dusting and vacuuming!
If the idea of keeping a perfectly staged and spotless home 24/7 seems exhausting, just tell yourself it is only temporary. And the better it looks, the more temporary it will be!
You are trying to sell your home, you NEED to be flexible. Someone wants to see your home in an hour??? Sure! Someone called and wanted to see our house right in the middle of my son’s nap time… Absolutely! We were out of the house for morning showings and I got a call that there were more scheduled in the afternoon. I had no food for my son to eat, nowhere to take my dog, nowhere for my son to nap and I hadn’t even showered yet. Was I going to turn showings down and reschedule??? Heck no! We made it work. And when showings that day got extended into the evening and past bedtime??? Oh well, we found a place to have dinner and took a long car ride.
You are trying to sell your home, people! Do not, I repeat, DO NOT turn anyone down! Do not reschedule, they may never come back. And you don’t want someone else walking into another home before yours and buying it instead of yours! There are hundreds of homes on the market, trust me when I say that you need a buyer more than they need you! You need to cater to them. There have been times we have wanted to see homes with a 24 advance scheduling requirement… most of these homes we just never even got around to seeing.
This goes back to why staging and cleanliness is so important. If you keep up on your home, then a showing for 1 hour from now really won’t be a big deal. It becomes a big deal once you have a week’s worth of cleaning to squeeze into 45 minutes though! My reward for being flexible after a super hectic day of showings on my house??? 2 contracts!
Expect the Unexpected
So you got a contract on your home, woo hoo!!! Personally, I don’t let myself celebrate until closing time. Because, life happens. Expect the unexpected. There is ALWAYS, I repeat, ALWAYS going to be hiccups during the home buying/pending process. Murphy’s Law.
First hurdle: inspection. Inspections typically occur within 14 days of you accepting a contract. They are designed to check your home with a fine tooth comb for any hidden issues. My best advice? Know your home. There are plenty of inspection lists available online so you can know what they will be looking for. Address any issues yourself before they are brought to your attention. You can expect your buyer to negotiate on any repairs that may need done.
Second hurdle: appraisal. Appraisals are conducted on behalf of the mortgage bank. They want to protect their investment and ensure they are lending the appropriate value. Typically appraisals should be no big deal, but where I live there is really no rhyme or reason, and as I mentioned our home was a bit unique. So I would by lying if I said I wasn’t stressing more than a little bit about our appraisal! My number one tip for your appraisal: keep your home looking it’s best and be sure to let your appraiser know about any improvements that you have made to add value.
In addition to these two, there may also be hiccups along the way with your buyers. Financing, selling existing homes and delays in paperwork can cause troubles for you. Nothing is set in stone so just be prepared for anything the pending process throws at you!
You (finally) made it to closing day; it’s time to CELEBRATE! You can officially breathe a sigh of relief, your home is SOLD! Now is the time to finally relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor! It’s probably been a long road, but hopefully may tips have paved the way for a smooth ride!
Now is my time to celebrate and the first thing that I wanted to do was share my success with all of you! Listing soon? Already listed? Looking for more advice??? I am happy to help! Feel free to email me at email@example.com and I can give you a personal consultation to help you get your home SOLD too! Any other tips that worked for you? Feel free to share!