January 4th, 2017 at 11:00 am


Is selling your home at the top of your New Year’s resolutions list? If not, this is a good time to consider moving it to the No. 1 position.

Real estate agents are certainly optimistic about 2017, according to the new “Inman Real Estate Industry Outlook 2017.” This means they are pumped up and eager to work with home sellers who might have been on the fence due to upcoming mortgage rate increases and the recent election. Those interest rates might prompt buyers to proceed with their plans as well to avoid higher monthly payments for years to come. So if your home is on the market and priced right, buyers could be more likely to select it from the still-low inventory of properties for sale.

Getting it ready to sell

Unless your home is immaculate inside and out, you’ll need to take some time to increase its appeal. The more attractive your home appears, the greater likelihood you’ll have of receiving a comfortable offer in record time–the ideal situation for anyone selling their home. Here are several things you can do to get your home ready for sale and poised to do well against the competition.

Kick it off outside

What are your first impressions? Try to keep in mind what the prospective buyer will be looking for. Make sure your lawn is well-manicured, cut, and watered regularly. Be sure to trim any hedges, prune the trees, and weed your flowerbeds. Next, check your walkways and steps for cracks–reseal if possible. Inspect your gutters, and be sure to repair any loose or damaged shingles. And a fresh coat of paint will do wonders.

Tackle the inside

This is a daunting task, so make a goal and complete one room at a time. Begin by picking up any clutter and organizing. This can include neatly arranging dishes, sorting laundry, packing up knickknacks, and creating a filing system for loose paper. Again, fresh paint or retouching will make the home seem more inviting to potential buyers.

Really get into cleaning

Once you’ve got your home de-cluttered and organized, take a deep breath because it’s time to do some real cleaning. You’ll need to do a bit more than dust, sweep, and vacuum: also polish door handles, patch walls, paint doors as needed, clean tables and surfaces, and wash mirrors and windows. While you’re doing all these less-than fun projects, think about what you would want in a home you’re buying.

Go the extra mile

Next you’ll want to optimize each space. Take a look at your lighting in kitchens and bathrooms–these rooms should be well-lighted. If needed, buy new bulbs and use lamps to illuminate dark spaces. Open drapes to let as much natural light in each space as possible. If you have pets, be sure you’ve tidied up their area, and consider an air fresher to eliminate any associated odors. While you may be a pet lover, the next homeowner might take a different stance. You don’t need to go crazy with candles or incense; instead, open windows to let a fresh breeze flow through your home.

Make it a routine

Congratulations, you’ve put your best foot forward and now it’s time to sell the house! However, it can be easy to re-create the messes you’ve just cleaned up and eliminated. After all, life happens. Make it a daily or weekly routine to organize and de-clutter. Enlist the help of family members to ensure the house stays in top condition. Your hard work will pay off!

Price it to sell

Deciding how much to ask for your home isn’t as easy as checking its approximate value on some of the popular real estate websites. Every seller wants to realize the best possible price and terms. But it’s not just location, location, location that determines the maximum amount for any home on the market.

Experienced real estate agents know that pricing a home appropriately from the start is critical to getting it sold quickly, and at the best price. Research from the National Association of REALTORS® shows that overpricing your home and then dropping the price several times while it sits on the market usually leads to selling it at a much lower price than what you originally should have asked for it. The longer a home is on the market, the deeper the discount is likely to be off the original price.

Rely on an experienced agent

An experienced real estate agent will factor in all of these issues in the context of your local market conditions, including whether home prices are rising or falling, and whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market.

When you choose the right professional to help you with your home sale, and then listen to his or her advice, your transaction is more likely to come together quickly and smoothly from the very start.

Best of luck selling your home this year. With a little effort, it’s one resolution you’ll be glad you kept.

You can find more home selling tips here.

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