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What you need to know to sell your home – from ‘START to SOLD’!
The Bethesda Real Estate market is very competitive so it is crucial that you be well prepared to sell a home in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Potomac and the surrounding areas. The first step is to hire a professional realtor who fully understands the local Bethesda real estate market and what it takes to get your home sold for the most amount of money in the least amount of time. A good Bethesda real estate agent is also up-to-date on critical market information as well as legislative and lending practices that will help ensure a smooth transaction. Plus, they will add objectivity to what is often a very emotional process for both sellers and buyers. Please feel free to contact me when you are ready to discuss the possibility of putting your home on the market and I will explain how I am uniquely qualified to get your home sold!
Here are some good pointers for you in the meanwhile to help you get better prepared…
Getting to “Sold”!
There are 4 critical parts of the equation that will dramatically affect the marketability and sales potential of your property: Price, Location, Condition and Exposure. While some of these factors are beyond your control like the location, you can compensate by making your property as attractive as possible to prospective buyers and pricing it competitively.
Condition – Before putting your home on the market, it is critical that it be in as good a condition as possible since it will be competing against many other properties. Chances are there are years of wear throughout the house that may be evident to prospective buyers. Buyers today look for model-home, move-in condition and pay attention to “curb appeal” since the first impressive is often the most impacting. With a background in interior design, I can also give you some complimentary advice on what will help your home look its absolute best! Below you will find a checklist under “Pre-Listing Tasks” that will outline some of the things that should be done to entice offers.
Local Market and Location - The current state of the real estate market in your specific neighborhood has perhaps the biggest influence over any sale. A potential buyer’s perception of your home’s value will be affected by the other properties that are for sale or have sold in that specific area. It is essential that your real estate agent fully investigates your local market and previews the other available homes to see how your property compares before helping you price your property. You cannot get to a realistic price without this essential information.
Pricing – This is the area where most sellers get stuck. Your home’s list price should reflect what similar homes in the neighborhood have sold for recently, taking current market trends into account. While it’s often a challenge, you must resist the urge to price too high or you could just discourage buyers who liked and could afford your home but end up buying a competing property that you made look like a good value by comparison. Your task is not to sell your neighbor’s home for them! Your agent will start by finding out what other homes in your local area have been selling for over the past three to six months, then what homes are current listed and present these facts to you. As a team, you will compare your home to the rest of the inventory. Where does it fall in relation to size, condition, curb appeal, etc? Now compare the homes and prices that are a bit nicer and a little less nice than yours … and your realistic asking price should be somewhere in the middle.
Another key disincentive for overpricing is that, typically, the most potential buyers for your home will see your property within the first two weeks of being listed. If they leave that initial showing believing it is overpriced, chances are you will lose them as prospects and end up with a smaller pool of prospective buyers.
Exposure - As soon as you make the decision you are going to sell your house or condo … it goes from being your home to being a product that must be marketed. Your state of mind will need to shift into marketing mode with the help of your agent! In today’s world, exposure on the web is the key factor so that your home will be viewed by thousands of prospective buyers. One of my niche strengths is presenting your home beautifully on the web and generating the most exposure online through a variety of marketing techniques. I hope to have the opportunity to discuss with you why this is so important for getting your home sold.
While there are four factors to getting your property sold—location, price, condition and exposure—only two are under your control: price and condition. Of the two, price is the most important since it will correct bad condition, but condition cannot overcome a bad price.
When is the best time to list your property?
The short answer is “as soon as you decide to sell it”. If you want to get the best price for your house, it may be in your best interest to wait for the right offer. There is also the seasonality issue … there are peak selling times in this area in the spring and early fall when homes tend to “show” better. Spring is the most popular time to list in order for homes to attract families who will want to be settled in over the summer before school begins. But of course you will have more competition during those peak times. So while there is seasonality in the local real estate market, it should not be the dominant decision-making criteria.
How long will your home take to sell?
Listing times can vary from an average of 30 to 180 days and even up to a year depending on the price range, market conditions in a particular town or neighborhood, the location which can make a property more or less attractive compared to other listings, as well as terms and conditions which, if too restrictive, can encumber a transaction. Most professionals will tell you that preparing yourself for a minimum of six months will put you in a position to get a better return.
Staging – It is critically important to have your home show at its absolute best if you want to attract multiple buyers and sell at the best possible price. With a background in interior design, one of the services I provide is making complimentary recommendations that will help your property present beautifully. In the meanwhile, here are some steps to consider plus a Staging Checklist that you can click on and print for your convenience …
- Touch up interior and exterior paint as needed.
- Install new carpeting and flooring if it appears worn or dated.
- Make sure the front yard and exterior of the property is clean and spruced up – curb appeal will create a favorable first impression.
- Trim bushes and plants as needed, and make sure the lawn is kept mowed and trimmed. In autumn, rake the leaves; in winter, keep the snow shoveled.
- Keep the interior clean, decluttered and odor-free. Eliminate evidence of pets.
- Minimize personal items such as family photos. You want buyers to see themselves living in the home.
- Consider putting excess furniture and belongings in storage. Now’s the time to clean out the garage and basement and sell, give away or throw away items you don’t need anymore.
During the Listing Period …
- When potential buyers visit your home, either be absent or make yourselves as inconspicuous as possible.
- Have fresh flowers in the entryway. It makes for a friendly introduction into your home.
- If offers are made that don’t match your hoped-for price, don’t reject them out of hand. Pay attention to your agent’s advice.
- Consider dropping the price if several weeks go by with few or no offers. But if you and your agent have priced your home properly from the start, this shouldn’t be necessary.
- Don’t get discouraged. In buyer’s markets, homes take longer to sell than during boom times. Your home will eventually sell; it’s a matter of your agent finding the right buyer for you.
Help Your Agent Help You
You have the best chance of selling your home if you work closely with your agent. If a prospective buyer wants to negotiate price or other terms, defer to your agent who is the expert and can best handle the details on your behalf unemotionally.