Before you list your home, think about the 5 questions that homebuyers will ask themselves about your house - and be prepared to answer them. If your house measures up the best against others when these questions are asked, yours will be the quickest to sell.
Is this a good location?
Your home needs to be comparable if not better than the others in the neighbourhood. Street appeal is crucial. If most of your neighbours have granite counter tops or tiled floors, consider upgrading yours.
What does it cost?
Be realistic. You are competing with other people who have a 3 bedroom 2 bath home to sell. If you ask much more than the market will bear, it will take longer to sell your home.
When you sit down with an agent to list your home, you should ask what other homes have sold for in your neighbourhood - and what homes in similar condition, with similar features are selling for in your area.
How does it look?
Make your home the jewel of the neighbourhood - the place that everyone wants to be. Assuming nothing is majorly wrong, here are a few things that you can do to give a great first impression.
Fix the driveway - it's the first thing they see close-up -and sets the tone for how the buyer will see the rest of your home - if it's cracked or stained -they'll look for similar problems inside your home.
Mow the lawn, trim the shrubs and plant some flowers - this gives a warm inviting feeling. Think about how new homes are always so perfectly landscaped and strive to be the same.
Paint the front of the house - or at least the front door. This is the first actual contact that a buyer has with your home; give it the feel of a well-tended home.
Lastly, un-clutter the place. Start packing the knick-knacks and moving your furniture into storage. This gives you a head start on moving, and gives the buyer a chance to imagine their own "stuff" in the house... leading them one step closer to making it their own.
What should we do?
Buyers are always nervous. They will need to sort, finance, builders reports, meth tests, lawyers approval. Although you are comfortable in your home, you must be comfortable with your purchasers doing what they need to, so that they are able to move forward and purchase. These conditions can take time and can be slightly stressful on both parties. All you can do is allow time and access for the professionals to carry out these inspections
When can I move in?
Many people are looking for a home, because they're transferring into the area or are tired of renting! For these people, the ability to move in quickly is an added incentive to buy your home. You're moving anyway, why not speed up the process?
On the other hand, some buyers need to sell their home before they can buy yours. This doesn't make for a quick sale, but it gives you time to get your own move planned and executed.
Let's close with this story. I know a young couple that looked at a home twice, with 2 very different impressions. For a background, they had been looking for a home in this particular neighbourhood for sometime. They didn't have an urgent need to move, but were getting tired of renting, so a quick move was preferable. They had contacted a lender and pre-qualified themselves for financing, and knew the general amount they wanted to spend.
The first time they saw the home it was decorated very tastefully, but in a very formal manner. For some reason it gave them the impression that a lot of work would have to be done to make it their own. So they decided to wait until something else came along in the neighbourhood.
Several months later, another home came on the market in the very same neighbourhood. Because this first house was still on the market, and the seller had already moved out, the couple stopped in to have another look. Without the furniture and decor of the seller, the house took on a wholly different feel. In each room, the couple discussed what would fit where, and had already named their offices. Within 24 hours they had made an offer. Within a month, they had moved in.
Every time I talk to them, they tell me how happy they are in their home, which suits their needs perfectly.