My “day” job, you ask?! I’m in real estate. My love for real estate began when we bought our first house in Indianapolis. It was a 1920’s arts & crafts bungalow. We loved it! Sadly, we sold it 8 months later and relocated to Michigan. We had a great realtor that sold our Indianapolis home but at the same time had a terrible experience with our Michigan realtor while purchasing our second home. I decided right then that I was going into real estate. There are so many moving parts in real estate that I decided a “Real Estate Series” might help for those of you that may be considering buying or selling your home. Before selling your home and before hiring the perfect realtor, getting ready and being prepared are the first steps before anything else.
Here are the first 6 Steps you want to take prior to listing your home and hiring a professional:
1.) Declutter and Organize
The amount of things people can acquire throughout the years amazes me, myself included! This can be a very time consuming task when working full-time, kids activities, life in general, etc. I always recommend starting this a few weeks or even a couple months prior (if able) to selling your home. Look at every corner, wall, and shelf in your home. If you don’t use it on a weekly basis, get rid of it or put it in a nice storage bin into the basement/garage/storage.
2.) Walk through your home with “buyer eyes”
What does this mean? Walk through your home and look at it as a buyer would look at it. Once you have decluttered and organized it will be much easier to do this. Even with it decluttered and organized, this is so hard for homeowners to do. Most homeowners have been living in their home for many years and are used to things the way they are. Or on the flip side, they will pick apart everything, get overwhelmed and not know where to start. If you are able to look at it from a buyers eye, great! If not, wait for the professionals.
3.) Don’t try and sell your home on your own
Unless you have experience in the real estate industry, hire a professional (broker/realtor)! For Sale by Owners are so frustrating for homeowners and for buyers. Most of the homeowners time is spent answering phone calls from brokers/realtors that want to list their home, unqualified buyers or just people inquiring about price because they just drove by and saw the sign. Not to mention, the price is usually too high or too low, it is not marketed correctly and the pictures are terrible which makes it unappealing to buyers.
Most buyers already have an broker/realtor they are working with and they will want their commission one way or another. I could go on and on about this- just hire a professional! You will make more money selling your home with a professional than you would doing it on your own. Homeowners selling on their own are taken advantage of.
4.) Research Brokers/Realtors
It amazes me sometimes the brokers/realtors homeowners will hire. I am not sure if they are family friends or if they are just really great talkers but please do your research. Here are some huge red flags to look out for when looking for a realtor that will fit with you and selling your home:
a.) Look at their pictures from past homes they listed. If the pictures are taken from their cell phone, move onward! 9 times out of 10, pictures are the key to getting buyers interested in your home and therefore inside it. Once inside there is a much better chance of selling.
b.) From the pictures of their past listings, is there stuff all over the counters? Toilet seats up? Things not “tidy”? This usually means 1 of 2 things, they (the realtor/broker) are lazy and lack attention to detail or the homeowners wouldn’t let them touch anything (which I’ve never had happen). Lack of detail is a characteristic you want to avoid when hiring a broker/realtor.
c.) If they don’t call or text you back within a few hours or even 24 hours, move onward! Real estate is a 24/7 job or at least a 7am to 11pm job especially with this market. This screams disorganized.
d.) If they don’t work on the weekends, REALLY move onward! Recently, I had a real estate team, representing a homeowner, tell me they don’t work Sundays. I almost fell out of my chair! Not to mention, it was to submit an offer. I completely understand that everyone needs a day off but an assistant or other team member should be covering your days off. Real estate doesn’t quit when a whole office isn’t working. It is 365!
These are just a few things you can find out prior to even meeting with them. Find a realtor that fits you and understands the needs of the crazy 2018 market!
5.) Educate yourself on your area
And I don’t mean get your home value from Zillow! Zillow’s Zestimate is an ESTIMATE! Zillow does not have local market knowledge so please don’t go off of what Zillow says. For example, the Zestimate for my own house is $100,000 different from what it would sell for right now. That’s a big number! Instead, pay attention to any homes that are selling around you. You can use third party apps/websites to see what the homes in your neighborhood or street sold for, this will give you a great starting point. Talking to your neighbors is a great idea too!
6.) Meet with Brokers/Realtors
Last step before listing your home! If you are someone that needs a little assistance in the “seeing your home from a buyers eye” department, make sure the broker/realtor you hire has the eye for this. I have came to the realization that this isn’t a natural trait everyone has. Whomever is selling your home should be able to walk in and tell you exactly what needs to be done or not. Every home I have listed, I’ve had to redirect the homeowners from focusing on something that a buyer wouldn’t care about to focusing them on what buyers do care about. Hire a broker/realtor that fits with you!
Selling a home is a stressful time. Everyone wants to make the most money they can. Hiring a professional that knows what they are doing and takes the time to get you (and your home) ready is key! But also educating yourself as much as possible is important too. Find someone that answers all your questions and if they don’t know the answer, they will find out the answer. Don’t make the mistakes that I see time and time again!
Photo credit: C. Paris