I Want to Sell My House. What Should I Do?

Charikleia Stouka, Realtor® at Alma Real Estate, discusses some dos and don’ts for selling, buying or renting property in a real estate Q&A.

A. Trying to sell your house by yourself?

Done by a realtor, a home appraisal to determine the correct selling price is more than necessary and is the least expensive thing you can do for your property.

If you decide to skip the appraisal, be sure to not ask for the amount you need but, rather, for the amount your property is worth. Avoid adding any sentimental value to the asking price, and don’t dwell on how difficult it was for you (or your family) to purchase the property and on all the thought and effort you have put into maintaining it in its current good condition.

By renovating my house, I expect to get a better selling price.

If your property does not look attractive enough to potential buyers, small upgrades are of major importance. However, major renovations—such as changing the kitchen, bathroom, or floor tiles and replacing cupboards and closets—are not a wise move. Such changes will most likely not be welcome by the potential buyer and will not increase the value of your property. Moreover, if you are hoping to raise the price, it will result only in a delay of the selling process. Replacing the old light bulbs, though, will certainly enhance the appearance of the property.

What could I do, without spending any money, to improve the presentation of my house?

Over – under – between – below – beside – across – and – above all: Clean your house! Remove dry and withered flowers and plants, make sure there’s no pet hair or litter on the floor, and get rid of any unpleasant odors and mustiness. Keep in mind that overstuffed closets and cupboards don’t give a good impression—and potential buyers are more than likely to open them up for a look inside, to check for any issues or just gauge the storage capacity. Finally, gather up any books and shoes lying around the home and tidy them up out of the way (in a storage space) along with any excessive decorative objects—this can include even your most prized or expensive items—that clutter the rooms and don’t allow the property the space to breathe. The feeling that you get from a place is never forgotten and is an important incentive for purchasing the house, provided that everything else (location, price) is acceptable.

When is the right time to sell?

Choosing the right season should be taken seriously into consideration, and a professional can help you decide. Though many people feel that the best results are usually achieved in July or August, there tends to be a shortage of houses on the market during the winter months, meaning that that could be the better season to start. There are times that favor buyers and times that favor sellers. In the event that there are a lot of listings on the market in your area, the possibility of reaching the highest price is reduced.

B. Looking to hire a real estate agent to help you?

Interviewing a number of real estate agents is essential at this point. Definitely do not hire the first real estate agent you meet! Check their experience in sales in the area, their knowledge and their recent track record. Ask how they are going to promote your property to the market and which tools (marketing, social media, newspapers), they plan to use. Ask for references from other homeowners who have used the agent’s services. The real estate agent you choose is someone that you will see quite often during the process of selling your house. How do you feel about them? Are they well-informed and up-to-date with recent rules and regulations concerning the transaction? Do you feel at ease around them? Do they radiate positivity? Do you think they look confident in their work?

Useful Tips

  • Clean Your House!
  • Ditch the mobile phone! For best results, use a professional camera to take photos of your property.

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