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Getting from “For Sale” to “Sold”: A How-To Guide

Selling your home doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, there are three phases to the process that are essential for a successful sale. Use this collection of tips in each phase to move your home from “For Sale” to “Sold!”

The preparation phase.

Know your market value.

Visit open houses, and compare sale prices. Better yet, ask a real estate professional for a comparative market analysis for your home. Here’s what you can gain:

  • A list of upgrades to help your home keep up with others on the market
  • A strategy for featuring details that already make your home stand out
  • A better perspective on your home’s worth and your finances

Invest in an Inspection

Catch the problem areas that a shiny exterior is hiding before potential buyers do. Early inspection equals more time to fix repairs, and ultimately provides insight into your home’s top needs.

Prioritize Improvements

Start with the must-haves that solve problems, and then choose wisely. Change your mind-set from home to product when ranking projects.

Do Your Homework Before Hiring

Don’t rush to hire a contractor and purchase materials. Compare at least three bids, and ask for references. Don’t offer buyer credits against the purchase price, either—you’ll be better off investing the money to get the work done before listing.

The Listing phase.

Plan Your Pricing Strategy

Start the pricing conversation early, and get more detailed as you get closer to listing. Decide on reductions and if-this-then-that scenarios. Write them down to use as a foundation when at a crossroads. Pausing to decide during the process may lead to lost interest or money.

Set the Stage

Staging is very different from decorating. In fact, it’s the opposite. Decorating makes a home your own. Staging gives it a broad appeal so that potential buyers can envision it as their own. The top staging priorities are listed as follows:

  • Doing a thorough, deep cleaning
  • Removing personal and quirky decor
  • Decluttering

Take High Quality Photos

A picture is worth a thousand words (and scheduling a showing). Showcase the preparation phase—your hard work and investments—with high-quality photos, which are a must for the era of the online search.

Stage for online and mobile devices

Today’s buyers are busy. So over 90 percent of buyers start their home search online, and many first impressions are from a computer screen, smartphone, or tablet. Make sure that all of the listing details are at their fingertips, including high-resolution photos that are optimized for web and mobile devices.

The Showing phase.

Be flexible with open house showings

The Sunday open house might seem disruptive to you, but research says that it is the number one successful showing day. Evenings are equally as important. Remember: buyers have jobs and busy schedules, and they could be traveling from a distance.

Highlight low cost living

Energy efficiency, shade-baring trees, and a low-maintenance garden are examples of major selling points to highlight.

Keep up with curb appeal.

Be prepared for eager buyers driving by your home before an open house, and maintain curb appeal throughout the entire showing process.

Pay attention to smells

Pet odors are the number one offender, but watch out for food smells and scents that are musty or allergenic, too. Don’t use scented candles or aerosol sprays that simply mask the odor; eliminate it with a deep clean and fresh air.

Be mindful of flow

Have a friend do a walk-through of your home. Look for odd breaks from one room to the next, and group furniture into arrangements that inspire conversation.

When you’re ready to dive into phase one on this list, make sure to download our home seller’s checklist to help identify areas of the home and ways to prepare them for a sale.

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