By Bree Al-Rashid, Redfin real estate agent in Seattle
Whether it’s a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, there are several steps you can take that will help you sell your house quickly and for more money. It all comes down to preparation; the more time and energy you spend on your home before you list, the more you will get back in return. Here are the top five tips that I share with all of my clients:
Tip #1: Price your home properly
The most important thing to do when you put your home on the market is to price it properly the first time. The most traffic you will ever get on real estate websites comes in the first week of listing your home. Redfin studies have shown that the week that a listing goes on the market, it receives nearly four times more visits than it does a month later. Even if you drop the price later, it won’t get the same attention.
Wondering where to start? You can do research on your own by going to open houses in your neighborhood and reading up on the state of the real estate market to get a sense of home values in your area. You can also use the Redfin Home Value Tool or Price Whisperer service to do your own research before contacting an agent.
When you’re getting close to listing your home, it’s important to find a knowledgeable real estate agent who can help you determine the price to set. Your real estate agent will do comprehensive comparative market analysis to determine some baseline pricing. A good agent will have an honest conversation with you about the positive attributes and potential flaws in your home, so you can set a realistic price.
Tip #2: Keep it neat and tidy
It’s important to get your home looking its best, so people who tour it have a positive first impression. Before you list your home, do a deep cleaning throughout. Wash the floors, scrub the grout, scour the kitchen, dust the blinds, wash the windows and steam clean the carpets.
You should also keep your home organized and free of clutter when people are touring it. Remove anything you don’t absolutely need (consider putting it in self storage, PODS, or stacking it neatly in your garage), and organize the rest. Leave some furniture behind to define the space for the listing photos and tours. People can better visualize how big a room is when key pieces of furniture are left in place.
Tip #3: Make sure your home is in good repair
Scan each room and make a list of anything that’s obviously damaged but easily fixed, like a hole in the wall or peeling wallpaper. You don’t want those things to detract from the overall space when people are touring your home. You don’t need to update your home from top-to-bottom, but you might want to consider hiring a contractor to take care of those items you’ve been meaning to fix.
You’ll also want to make sure that structural elements of the home are sound. Check the roof, electrical system, plumbing, foundation, drainage, and windows, and make sure that all are in good condition. These are the types of things that will reveal themselves in a home inspection, and may be a deal breaker for some potential buyers.
Tip #4: Get high-quality home photos for online listings
Online home listings with high-quality photos sell for more money, and get more views than homes without. Home shoppers are now using real estate websites to do a lot of research on their own, and in many cases the first time they see (or notice) your home will be online. First impressions are everything; why go through the effort of cleaning and de-cluttering your home, if your listing photos are dark or blurry? Consider hiring a professional photographer to take the photos, or use a real estate brokerage like Redfin, which offers that for free as part of the listing service.
Tip #5: Choose a good agent
An experienced listing agent will give you reliable, professional advice, and guide you through the entire process and paperwork. They’ll help you understand what to expect in the negotiation process, what’s “normal” when it comes to offers, what you can ask for in today’s market, and how to handle any issues that may arise. They’ll be familiar with the area, and what comparable homes are selling for, to help you set the right price. They’ll use every marketing tool at their disposal to get the word out about your home, and they’ll be available to answer any questions you or potential buyers may have. For more tips on what to look for in an agent, checkout the Redfin Home Selling Guide.
For more information on buying or selling a home, check out my video series in the SFGate Home Guide section: Real Estate Tips You Need to Know
About Bree Al-Rashid, Redfin Real Estate Agent
Bree Al-Rashid has been selling homes with Redfin in North Seattle since 2008, and was a financial adviser prior to getting into real estate. She works for Redfin, a technology-powered real estate brokerage that’s on a mission to change the real estate industry in the consumer’s favor. You can contact Bree and read her client reviews on Redfin.com.