If you ask most Realtors or Google online sources about what you should do to sell your home, these sources pretty much say the same old same old about preparing to sell property... consult with a real estate agent, make home repairs and updates, talk to your neighbors, get to know prices in your neighborhood by looking online, blah blah blah.
Wait! We think you should actually AVOID the advice you've heard! We are nothing if not honest with our clients, so we want you to know the truth and you heard it from The Home Co. first!:
1. AVOID UPDATING
Wait- why is a home renovation design and real estate firm telling you not to make updates? Well, we aren't exactly saying don't update at all, but we want you to consult with us first! If you know you are going to sell, and you know your house could use some TLC, please please please consult a pro before spending a dime! It might just be that buyers won't care about a certain deficit (perhaps it is better to disclose it than fix it), and therefore invest your dollars elsewhere for a better return on investment (ROI).
We've seen it happen time and time again... a well-intending seller decides to remodel the master bathroom prior selling, but the finishes like tile, lighting, etc. were not well chosen and all we hear from buyers are they want to deduct from sales price for the bathroom, not add to it! Don't let this happen to you! Contact us before you update a thing! Pretty please?
2. AVOID FIX ANYTHING
This runs along with #1. Stop. Wait. Talk to us before you fix! We aren't saying to hide a flaw, but perhaps it makes more sense to disclose it and fix something that is MORE important to a buyer if your funds to prep for sale are limited. We understand the psyche of buyers in the East Bay real estate market and we know what they care about. We will advise you to fix what matters to most buyers looking in your neighborhood and disclose the rest. In general, buyers care most about electrical defects and structural defects, but even those you can get away with disclosing (and not fixing) in hot neighborhoods in a seller's market (such as Rockridge in Oakland, Elmwood in Berkeley, or certain Lamorinda and Walnut Creek neighborhoods).
3. AVOID HIRING A REALTOR
...without interviewing at least a few qualified candidates! That "neighborhood specialist"? She/he might not be tech saavy and totally out of touch with buyers moving into the neighborhood. Your "Realtor friend" might not be your friend for long if they aren't connected enough with the local market to get your offer accepted. That person that "everyone uses" may just be too busy to actually give you the attention you need and deserve. The houses you're considering are fixer-uppers or need work? Better make sure that your Realtor has experience in the complicated process of permitting, renovations, and construction.
Of course we think you should hire a great Realtor to assist you with selling, we are just saying that there are lots of us out there and don't be lazy about interviewing several to find the right fit when you are planning to sell the most valuable asset you own!
4. AVOID TALKING TO NEIGHBORS
Neighbors are often long on gossip and short on facts. The fact of the matter is that their house is different from your house, and different from the "house that is selling down the street and around the corner and up that block for $2 mill." Unless your neighbor is a reputable and seasoned real estate professional, we recommend you listen to one and not to the person next door.
5. AVOID LOOKING ONLINE AT HOME VALUES
To be honest, Zillow's "Zestimate", Redfin home valuations, and the like can be dangerous. They often set false expectations about what your home is truly worth, which makes our job harder when we need to explain that these estimates are based off of computer algorithms and not real life human experience. In most of the neighborhoods in which we work, home values can vary widely from street to street. Redfin doesn't know what to deduct if your home is on a busier street. Zillow doesn't know what to add if there are lots of mature trees on your block. We know you are going to look at these, but please understand that your home's actual value can vary dramatically from what these online sources profess. It is better to contact us and we will come to your home and provide you with a more accurate estimate as well as feedback on the best improvements to make to sell your home for the highest return on investment.
6. AVOID STAGING
...badly. Do not do it yourself. We know you like design and HGTV has you thinking you can do it, but this is not an area to skimp. Let a pro do it. And not all staging is created equal... we've seen such bad staging that an empty house would have been better! More and more Realtors are jumping on the staging bandwagon and buying inventory to stage for their clients, but there is a real difference between what they do and what a true staging pro can pull off! Before you hire an real estate agent because they'll give you free staging, be sure they can show you before & after photos and provide concrete numbers to prove their staged created value their client's homes. You can check out some of The Home Co. project before and after's here!
If we can offer you one piece of advice when preparing to list your home for sale, it is to contact us first! Because The Home Co. is a one-stop shop for buying and selling real estate, home renovation design, and property staging (with professionals on staff working in all these areas), we are experienced and well equipped to guide you in all these areas so you can avoid making costly mistakes. Learn more at www.TheHomeCoInc.com or watch our video: