Top 10 tips for Home Sellers
1) Know what comparable homes in your area have sold for.
Knowing what other homes in your area have sold for will help you get top dollar for your home at sale time.
Keep an eye out for homes that are similar to yours. Watch the sales prices of homes that are similar models, have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, finished basements, garages, decks or patios, additions, and other similar features to your home.
Home sales prices are public information, you can consult your county or state to find out this information.
2) Learn the lingo.
The process of selling a home brings with it a host of terms that you may have never heard before. Click here for the definitions to some important words you’re likely to encounter.
3) Landscaping can add as much as 10 to 15 percent to the value of your home.
Add a few trees and shrubs to your landscape and you’ll not only improve the view, attract birds and wildlife, but also make your home more energy efficient. And that’s attractive to potential buyers.
Properly positioned deciduous trees (trees that shed their leaves in the fall) can save you up to 25 percent of your typical energy bill for heating and cooling. These trees provide cooling shade in the warm summer months; and in the cold winter months block chilling winds, yet let through precious sunlight that warms your home.
Computer models from the Department of Energy have predicted that just three trees, carefully placed around the house, can save an average household between $100 and $250 in heating and cooling energy costs annually.
Well-planned landscaping can reduce your energy costs by as much as 50 percent. And you don’t have to just use trees. Fences, walls and rows of shrubs can block winter winds and shade during the summer, and vines grown on trellises can shade windows or the entire side of a house. To deflect winter winds, plant evergreen trees and shrubs on the north and west sides of your house. To deflect summer winds, plant on the south and west sides of your house.
Make sure when you select your trees, shrubs and other plants, that you choose plants that are suitable for your environment. For example, in warm climates that lack significant rainfall, choose specimens that are drought-tolerant. If you choose the wrong plants, you’ll end up spending in plant maintenance and water what you saved on the energy costs.
Not sure what trees to plant? The Arbor Day Foundation (www.arborday.org) has a “Tree Wizard” that you can consult to determine the best trees and shrubs for your region of the country.
4) A shiny coat of paint and a little straightening up go a long way
Spend a day of your time and a few dollars for a new can of paint, and not only can you give an old room a new look, but you’ll add some value to your home come sale time.
Not sure what color to paint? Flip through some magazines or watch the many home improvement programs in television. There are excellent redecorating ideas out there that can make a drastic improvement in your home for little money.
Also, try to look at your home the way a stranger might see it, and make some small improvements that could go a long way.
- If there are kids’ toys on the floor, put them away.
- Stains on the carpet? Hit them with some spot remover.
- Have a cat or dog that sheds all over everything? Take a sticky lint remover to your chairs and drapes.
- Remove light fixtures and clean them out, the brighter light will make your house look cleaner.
- Burn scented candles to let off a pleasant aroma – but do not forget to blow them out if you leave and don’t leave them burning around small children.
- Dust blinds, banisters and windowsills – these areas don’t always get caught by the duster.
5) Thinking of doing a remodeling project to add to your home’s value come sale time? Here are some important features homebuyers are looking for in the homes they buy today.
- Floor plans that reflect an open, casual lifestyle
- Upstairs laundry rooms
- Linen closets
- Decorative moldings
- Recessed lighting
- Big family rooms
- Sunrooms and other areas that encompass the kitchen
- Small living rooms
- Natural wood cabinets
- Hardwood floors
- Solid-surface and granite countertops
- Stainless steel appliances
- Large showers
- Separate, compartmented toilets
- Soaking tubs
- Tot lots and playgrounds
- Parks and trails
- Community swimming pools
*Compiled from multiple industry sources
6) Help your home sell faster by including features that will appeal to an older buyer.
These features can make your home more marketable to a wider variety of home buyers, which makes these features a better “bang” for your remodeling “buck”. Many of these features can be put in for little or no additional cost during your remodeling project.
- Path lighting to front or rear doors
- At least one entrance with no steps
- A shelf by the front door
- Handrails on any steps or porches
- One-story layouts, should you be designing a new home
- Improved lighting with recessed fixtures in common areas and hallways
- Lever handles on doors and windows
- Lower light switches and thermostats; raised outlets
- Wider doorways
Kitchen/laundry room features:
- Lever-handle faucets with pull-out spray
- Rolling island that can be placed back under the counter
- Revolving corner shelves and pull-out shelves
- Lower, side-opening oven
- Side-by side refrigerator with slide-out shelves and a water/ice dispenser
- Cooking range with controls on front
- Larger cabinet and drawer pulls
- Front-loading washer and dryer
- Two to three attractive looking grab bars in shower
- Lever handles on faucets
- Slide-bar-type hand-held shower, for sitting or standing
- Inset shampoo nooks
- Curbless showers – nothing to step over
- Tub and Shower controls moved closer to entry point
*Source: National Association of Home Builders