a home is the original American dream. It’s the
old frontier spirit, wanting to claim your own tuft
of the New World. Then again, these days it also makes
perfect economic sense. Experts estimate that all of
the homes in the United States alone are worth a combined
$14 trillion. That goes a long way to explain why a
housing boom has been sweeping the globe.
Where there is a boom,
though, there may be a bust. Read any headline from
your local newspaper, and you’ll see headlines
such as “Bye-Bye, Housing Boom” to “Housing
Boom is Leveling Off.” Some economic forecasters
predict a bubble that may be about to burst. They make
you wonder: am I missing the boat?
Whether you’re looking
to cash in on this real estate bubble before it pops—or
simply wanting to move to a bigger home or move across
the country—selling your home can be more a nightmare
than a dream. Not only do you have to find and trust
a real estate agent. You need to prep your home for
open houses. You need to haggle with prospective buyers.
Not to mention, you have to worry about the moving and
selling of all of your valuables.
It’s almost enough
to make you want to live in one home for the rest of
your life—just as folks did in your grandparents’
day. Then again, your home is worth a percentage of
that $14 trillion. Don’t you want to see just
As hectic and horrible
as selling a home may seem, it really isn’t so
bad if you break it down into a few simple rules. If
you don’t believe us, read the rules for yourself.
Fuss over the façade.
Your home’s future owners do not want to worry
about repairs and renovations as soon as they move in.
So make certain they don’t. Be sure to have your
home immaculately clean before you invite prospective
buyers over. Redecorate if your interior is outdated.
And invest in minor renovations if necessary. You’d
be surprised what a coat of paint can do.
Focus on the fine details.
Prospective buyers will leave no stone unturned when
they visit your home. They will test every light switch,
run every faucet, and lift up every toilet seat. Everything—and
we mean everything—should be in working order
before your open house.
Double check for blown
out light bulbs and leaky faucets. Scrub the bathroom
and clean up any ring around the bowl, tub scum, and
any other nasty surprise.
Don’t settle for
maybes on safety. Ensure that there are no safety hazards
anywhere on your property. Something as small as uncovered
electrical sockets or as large as an unfenced pool can
scare off buyers, especially parents of small children.
Create a soothing selling
atmosphere. Imagine the last time you visited a bed
and breakfast. Your home should be as welcoming and
accommodating as that. One easy way to accomplish this
is by brightening up the place. Turn on all your lights
for your visitors. Plus, fluff up your bedroom. After
all, most people want the bedroom to be the most comfortable
spot in the house. Make sure it is—at least when
buyers are around.
Clear the joint. Along
with the last rule, there is the standard real estate
practice of vacating the premises when buyers come for
tours. This is done for good reason. Buyers are there
to evaluate your home, not meet your sisters, sons,
cousins, and cats. So send your family to the mall for
a day of shopping, or to the park for a picnic.
Cut the clutter. All of
your stuff can get in the way, too. That’s why
it’s important to start packing and storing your
personal belongings as soon as you know you’re
going to move. An empty house is a cleaner looking house
is a more attractive house. You don’t want your
perspective buyer opening a closet and having a bowling
ball fall on their head, do you?
Make a killing on said
clutter. One option is to simply move your personal
items to your new home and create instant clutter there.
That’s the way of the pack rat. Or, you could
sell what you no longer need and turn a quick profit.
That’s the way of the fat cat.
If you choose wisely—the
latter option—be sure not to hold your garage
sale on the same days as your open houses. Neighbors
in their undershirts and jeans on your front lawn do
make for a great sales ploy. Instead, it makes you look
desperate and could hurt you come negotiations. Schedule
your yard sale on separate days.
Better yet, sell your goods
online. Classified Web sites allow you to negotiate
with potential buyers, get the best rates for your stuff,
and ship it off at your own convenience. And it’s
all accomplished on your own time, inside your own home
(where you can wear your undershirt and jeans and no
one will care).
Take a deep breath. Lastly,
never let the home-selling experience overwhelm you.
Sure, there are a load of responsibilities to take care
of. But that is what your real estate agent is there
for. They handle all of the grunt work. They do all
of the hard talking with the buyer. They make all the
follow-up calls. And they showcase your home for you.
Your job is just to smile, be polite, and answer the
buyer’s questions if they come up.
About the Author
Donald Lee is the public relations manager for Buysellcommunity.com.
Buysellcommunity provides free classified listing services
for individuals and businesses to market their products
and services online.