SPOTLIGHT ON REAL ESTATE
Look at Your Home with Fresh Eyes
Think of that moment of panic you have when your out-of-town in-laws announce they are coming to spend a week with you. Or the horror of knowing your spouse's boss is on their way to your home. In that moment, you take a look around and all you can see is what's wrong with your house. You see the fingerprints on the microwave number pad, realize how sad the wreath on your front door is and wonder why everyone thinks the coffee table in the den is the staging area for the dishwasher.
If you are your own housekeeper, even if you stay ahead of the dirt, we all have those jobs we hate - like dusting the blinds or cleaning the baseboards. If you hire out your housekeeping and feel pretty sure they're doing a good job, you probably have at least one area of your home that you'd really like to think no one would see - ever. For most of us, home is the place we go to chill and while your best friend and your mom are welcome at any moment, everybody else better call first.
When you sell your home, the world is about to come visit you. What's more, they are going to come with their white gloves on. Even the nicest of potential buyers will make judgments about your taste and that's the nice people. The mean ones are likely to diss everything about you. You need help!
Hire Some Assistance
It might be a toss up as to who you should call first - the cleaning service or your real estate agent, but whether you make the call before or after your cleaning binge, an appointment with a good agent is one of the best investments of time you can make. Not only will they give you valuable information about the monetary value of the home, they will help you understand both the assets of and the drawbacks to your property and give you important information about the current real estate market.
Many potential sellers resent the thought of someone else making money off their home, but a good agent can actually help you net more money at closing than you would have ever made on your own. Even if you have decided to sell your home "by owner", you owe to yourself to at least consult with a listing agent and you might want to interview more than one
Once you've chosen an agent to list your home, it's time for a frank conversation. A good agent will help you develop a list of things to do to get your home ready for the market. They may tell you things you don't want to hear, but you're paying them good money for their expertise, so take what they say seriously. At the same time, they may ask for things you are unwilling to do - and that's why this should be a frank conversation.
For instance, they may suggest updating your carpet, but you really don't feel you want to spend that kind of money. Don't just ignore them or resent them. Discuss other options, like a good carpet cleaning service or perhaps moving some furniture to minimize the appearance of traffic patterns. A listing agent is your partner in selling your home, but they are not the boss, you are.
One of the most important things your agent will discuss with you is staging your home and photographing it. We'll address that next week.