- Ways to Add Flair to Your Home
- Concepts All Sellers Should Know
- Structural Red Flags
- Facts That Can Improve Your Selling Experience
- Other Helpful Hints
It is important for you to be fully knowledgeable and prepared for the sale of your home. There are improvements you can undertake that can improve the selling price, selling time, and net proceeds you receive in the sale of your home. There are also facts you should know that may help you during the process of showing your home, negotiating deals, and successfully closing the deal. SHERIDANS has been serving the Ohio real estate market for 5 decades, and we have the experience and knowledge to maximize the value of your home.
Below are details and recommendations that may assist you in improving the sale of your home. Some of these points may not apply to you. Others may provide you with ideas that will enhance the appearance of your home and improve your overall selling experience.
At any time during your relationship with SHERIDANS, we encourage you to let us know if you have questions or concerns regarding the marketing of your home. We thank you for the opportunity to provide you with this information and for the faith you are showing in us to assist you. We take great pride in working with you and want your selling experience with SHERIDANS to be positive and rewarding.
Ways to add flair to your home
Less is more!!!
Remove cluttered or unneeded furniture, countertop appliances, table top knickknacks, papers, and other items.
Real Estate is aspirational, so create an organized, clean and attractive appearance. If necessary, rent an on-site pod or storage facility in which to store items and remove unneeded clutter in your home. Do not use boxes stored in corners or spare rooms, since this will cause buyers to assume your home lacks storage space. Consider removing or reducing the size of dining tables to give a larger appearance to the room.
Make your home appear as a “fresh canvas”. This will create an open, flowing feel to your home and will allow a prospective buyer to envision their “stuff” in your home.
Add touches of luxury.
Bring in real plants in nice pots; the best linens; and big, white, fluffy towels. Don’t be mundane, BUT don’t go overboard!
Paint walls, trim, & ceilings.
Keep adjoining rooms in the same color palette to make a home appear larger & flow better. Hire professionals to paint windows, stairways, & other difficult areas. Rarely use plain white or dark colors. Neutral colors are best & will appeal to the majority of buyers.
Use slip covers on mismatched furniture.
It’s an inexpensive way to create visual unity.
Replace mismatched or poor fitting door handles or cabinet pulls.
Buyers rarely get beyond a knob that comes off in their hand.
Refresh closets with organizers and paint them a neutral color.
Make sure closets are lighted and buyers can see the back of all closets and cupboards.
Clean, organize, & paint basements, attics, & garages.
Buyers pass on homes because of “creepy” attics or basements. Inaccessible and unusable attics or crawl spaces do not apply. If your garage is your place to store everything, consider other alternatives. If your garage is unusable for vehicle storage and other typical uses, buyers will believe your home lacks sufficient storage.
Install new light switch and outlet covers. Most buyers interact with these during showings. Worn, unattractive, or outdated covers show inattention to detail.
Purchase the best quality carpet pad.
It can make any new carpet cushy, & buyers love “cushy”.
Spice up unused areas.
If you are not using a bedroom or other living area of the home, create the appearance of usefulness. In a spare bedroom, use boxes, tubs, or blow up mattress covered by a nice quilt or comforter to create the appearance of a bed.
Attractive lawns and landscaping.
The appearance of your yard & landscaping are often considered indicators of how you maintain your property. Properties with appealing lawns & landscaping will attract buyers, while unkempt properties may deter prospective buyers from even looking at your home.
Dated kitchens & bathrooms.
Find ways to spruce up dated kitchens & bathrooms. Consider painting kitchen cabinets and replacing cabinet knobs to freshen up their look. If you don’t have a dishwasher, find a way to add one. If your built-in stove and/or oven are outdated, consider replacing them.
Concepts all Sellers should know
Pay attention to the front door.
The front entry door is often considered one of the most powerful aspects of the entire property. It’s also the first impression buyers have of how well the sellers have taken care of the rest of the property.
Make sure the area around the front door is swept clean, free of cobwebs and clutter, and well landscaped with flowers, mulch, and other attractive décor. Make sure all lighting is straight, properly hung, and operable. Better yet, light the path leading up to the front door to create an inviting atmosphere.
Unneeded & unsightly items.
Always keep the toilet seats down … and the toilets, shower/tub, and sinks spotless. It is also considered appropriate to close the doors to bathrooms.
Clean all cobwebs along ceilings, in corners, and in basement areas … especially near your furnace, hot water heater, and other important areas where buyers will be looking. Clean all floor and wall vents from dust and debris. Showing a clean home indicates to buyers that you care for your home.
Make the main living area appear big and open.
Again, less is more. Consider removing unneeded furniture and clutter from your main living areas. This is often the first room a prospective buyer sees, and you want that area to appear open and inviting.
Having too many chairs, tables, and other clutter can detract from the open appearance you want your buyers to feel. Again, pods or storage units are helpful to store unneeded items in your home.
Attention to detail.
Make sure the table is clear of clutter. Use an attractive tablecloth to enhance the look of the table while also softening sharp corners. Getting the windows of the home professionally cleaned will make the home sparkle and ensure that the view will be optimally displayed. Clean all window coverings to give a bright and fresh appearance.
Structural Red Flags
Ridges or lateral movement indicate a change in a surface that could be cause for concern. Find out why the change has occurred to get the problem solved. A foundation wall could be inadequate or too much water may be accumulating outside. Consider adding dirt around the foundation to create a slope to keep water away from your foundation.
Load bearing walls removed.
This problem will be tough to spot unless the change caused ceilings to sag, ceilings or walls to crack, and floors to become springy. If you are concerned with these types of potential concerns, consult with a contractor or structural engineer to ensure your home is sound before placing it on the market.
Faulty or insufficient wiring.
Most homeowners know when electrical problems exist in the home. If you have electrical issues, older wiring or outdated electric panels or sub-panels, consult with an electrician to fix the problem. Do not let this fall to the buyer’s home inspector to find. Typically, buyers will overestimate repairs when issues are discovered, so fixing it before you sell can ultimately save you money. Also, make sure wiring in your home can handle all current tech needs.
Water, water everywhere.
Stains may indicate prior water problems, but so can surfaces recently painted to camouflage past problems. Fix these problems professionally, and have a professional painter finish the job.
Don’t skimp on repairs when preparing to sell. When replacing your roof, remove the prior shingles and do not install a 2nd layer over the existing roof. Also, make sure your soffits and gutters are in good condition and operating properly.
Windows that can’t be opened or closed, and those that fog up due to bad seals and are not energy efficient are red flags. Also, windows that cannot mechanically stay open and fall can be a hazard for children. New windows aren’t necessarily a cure-all but may eliminate the concern of future expenses for prospective buyers. Consult with your local glass company to see if repairs can be made to existing windows.
Stains on wood siding may reveal moisture behind; cracks around bricks may indicate missing mortar. Know that hairline cracks around bricks may be okay.
Termites, carpenter ants, powder post beetles, carpenter bees, and other wood boring insects leave few signs except mud tubes and sawdust. Best rule: When selling, know about prior pests and pest control programs, and consult with a professional if you suspect any pest issues.
Wood that’s not treated is often vulnerable to moisture and fungal growth. Red flags are decay that appears brown or crumbly, breaks into cubes, or is soft. Pay attention to wood that touches dirt. Also watch for masonry or joints that are slow to dry.
Facts that can improve your Selling Experience
Your home may not be worth what you think.
The biggest shock most sellers face is what agents and buyers think their home is worth. Sometimes, sellers can be pleasantly surprised, but the reality is that markets change and home values rise and fall. Many subjective factors such as floor plan, condition, updates, and drive-up appeal affect home values. The truth is that buyers will determine the worth of your home in the Ohio housing this market, at this particular time, and that has very little to do with what price you need to get for your home.
How should I price my home?
Statistics from the National Association of Realtors show that most buyers come to look at a house in the first 7 to 14 days after the listing goes on the market. Sellers who are willing to price their home correctly in the beginning and take their profits with them win when compared with sellers who hold out and end up reducing their sale price further down the road.
If you overprice your home in the beginning, all you end up doing is taking longer to sell. And often you don’t get any more money. There are a pool of buyers waiting for the right house to come along, and they will pounce if your home is priced correctly. For this reason, the first offer you receive is typically the most aggressive and the best offer. Don’t always trust real estate agents who say they can get more for your home than what other professionals are telling you, and do not select a real estate agent simply based on the price he/she gives you.
People won’t love your home like you do.
You love your home and expect others to appreciate the same qualities in it that you do, but buyers have their own lifestyles, preferences, tastes and attitudes. The chances of finding a buyer who will want your home “as is” are slim. In fact, buyers will look at your home with an eye to how they can make it suit themselves.
They may knock out that wall where you have your prize fish tank, tear down that designer wallpaper, and gut the kitchen where you’ve spent so many wonderful family times. All those changes cost money, so they will value your home less as they consider remodeling and decorating costs.
You have big competition.
Your home is competing against other homes with updates and features your home may not offer. Your home has to withstand the glare of scrutiny, so you must make it as competitive as possible within your means. Put in a good repair and make sure that it is spotless and clutter-free.
Why won’t someone just make a low offer?
After several months of showings, inquiries and other activity, some sellers will begin asking this question? The answer is simple. Most buyers don’t want to waste their time.
Buyers will make an offer on your home if they like it and can afford it. Usually, if a buyer has looked at your home, they can afford it. Therefore, if they don’t make an offer, it is most likely because they do not like it for some reason.
When comparing your home to other homes currently available, buyers have the upper hand and will keep looking until they find one they like. If you’re asking this question, you should decide if you are willing to consider a low offer. If so, then you might want to consider a price reduction to make your home more attractive and affordable. Every reason a buyer has for not making an offer on your home is relative to the price, so consider a price reduction if buyers are not looking at your home or making offers.
Sooner or later, you may become frustrated.
Your relationship with prospective buyers will be one of love/hate. The buyer is an adversary because she/he wants to pay the least for your home, while you want to net the most possible. The buyer, in order to improve leverage, may pick your home apart. Many of the buyer’s comments and complaints for repairs will be legitimate, but some may not.
In fact, some requests may be downright outrageous. Stay focused on your goal to sell your home and keep your cool. Let your real estate agent tell the buyer or buyer’s agent yes or no. Also, rely on your agent to guide you through the process.
Remember, your home cannot close until everyone is happy, so focus on your primary goals and be flexible and willing to compromise. Don’t let your feelings fester. If you are uncomfortable about anything, inform your agent so the issue can be resolved immediately, and do not let your emotions cloud your judgment.
Unexpected showings happen.
Buyers are not going to operate on your schedule. They may want to see your home at any time of the day or evening. Your licensed real estate agent will ask you to keep your home in showing condition at all times.
Trust that only serious buyers will be permitted to see your home. Remember that a showing request that you refuse is most often a lost opportunity, and buyers will often not bother with rescheduling.
Buyers can be rude.
Poor manners are rampant in society. Don’t be surprised when buyers visit your home and leave their empty coffee cup on your dining room table, or miss their appointment, expecting you to reschedule at any moment.
Inspections are important.
Inspections kill more deals than any other single factor other than overpricing. Almost all older homes have some minor and some major problems, so address the problem before it becomes a problem. Many sellers decide to get a complete home inspection BEFORE listing the home.
By doing this, you will have advanced knowledge of any problems that must be fixed. A buyer who sees a favorable inspection report as part of the home marketing materials is more likely to make a fair price offer.
Last-minute problems can delay closings.
Service providers, from lenders to inspectors to closing agents may cause problems, sometimes without intention. In some areas, closings are happening at such a rate (especially at the end of each month) that all services providers associated with the real estate transaction are on overload.
The best real estate agents are often the busiest agents, so trust that your real estate agent has a staff who can handle the workload necessary to make your transaction a smooth and event-free one.
Buyers will often search out neighbors to ask questions about you & your home (i.e. Why are they selling, Have they taken good care of the property, etc.). Depending on the neighbor(s), this can help or hurt the sale of your home.
If possible, talk to your neighbors and encourage them to help sell your house. We do not encourage neighbors to search out visitors. However, if confronted, a good word from your neighbor can do wonders.
Some sellers want to have Open Houses and some do not. Many sellers believe that Open Houses are one of the best ways to draw potential buyers to your home. Others do not want to welcome people into their home who may not be serious buyers.
Studies by the National Association of Realtors show that less than 5% of buyers originate from Open Houses, and this has steadily dropped since Covid restrictions. This does not mean that Open Houses do not work. It does, however, indicate that most buyers prefer to see homes on their schedule.
Open Houses are most often used by real estate agents to attract new buyers as clients. We will discuss your feelings regarding Open Houses during our listing presentation or in the early stages of your listing.
A selling technique that is becoming popular is a “Pre-Listing Inspection”. Some sellers may desire to have a whole house inspector perform a pre-listing inspection of the home. This can provide two benefits. First, if there are no problems found, it can serve as a marketing tool to prospective buyers.
Secondly, it can alert you to problems to correct prior to receiving an offer. Inspection issues are one of the top deal killers, and a pre-listing inspection can sometimes eliminate these risks. Conversely, some sellers do not have the finances or desire to “hunt for problems”. We can discuss this with you prior to or during the early stages of your listing.
Don’t get offended by ridiculous offers.
You are at odds with every buyer looking at your home. You want to maximize your price and buyers want to steal your home. For this reason, especially in a buyers’ market, you may receive offers that appear offensive.
If this happens, your first goal is to not get upset. Secondly, counter-offer every low offer! No matter how ridiculous an offer appears, work with us to prepare a counter-offer that truly depicts your negotiating position.
… Other helpful hints:
Before a property can sell, most counties in Ohio review the property’s legal description (i.e. survey) to determine if it is sufficient.
Old surveys that used antiquated measuring techniques and surveys that referenced trees, fence lines, or other non-standard monuments can be labeled as “insufficient” by the county. When this occurs, the property must be re-surveyed by the seller, which can be costly. This most often occurs with rural properties but can sometimes happen in platted areas of a Village or City. If we believe you are at risk, we will ask the county to check your legal description early in your selling process.
Sewage smells in your home?
If you have sinks, showers or other plumbing drains that are rarely used, it is possible that the drain traps are dry. When drains are not used, the water in the trap can evaporate, allowing sewage gas into your home. Therefore, you should periodically run water in every drain in your home to prevent the traps from drying out.
If you are a smoker, try not to smoke in the home or garage.
Many prospective buyers will lose interest quickly if they smell the slightest hint of smoke in the home. Even if you only smoke in your garage, buyers will believe you also smoke in the house, even if they cannot detect it. If you or others smoke outside, clear your yard of cigarette butts.
If you have pets, hide the litter box, keep the floor & all other areas free of pet hair, & try to remove as many signs of pets as possible.
Prospective buyers may have allergies that could prohibit them from considering your home. Have your carpets and upholstered furniture professionally cleaned to remove pet hair, dander & odor from your home. When possible, never leave your pet in the home or garage unattended during a showing. This can cause a prospective buyer to lose interest in your home!
Pet or other odors.
Many homes have odors caused by pets, musty basements, or other causes of which the sellers are unaware. Overloading your home with scented candles is not a suggested method for “hiding” these odors. Try to get to the root of the problem to rid the home of these odors for good.
Fresh light bulbs.
Make sure all light bulbs work and that all areas of your home can be brightly lit … inside and outside of your home. We recommend bright white light bulbs versus soft white or warm white bulbs that can cast a yellow tint. Having your home brightly lit will enhance the appearance and make rooms appear larger.
Clean and fresh flooring.
If you have carpet or flooring that is dated, worn, or just plain ugly, consider replacing it. A buyer will always consider the cost of replacing bad flooring when they make an offer … and their estimates are usually higher than the actual costs.
If you live in the country and have a septic tank, consider having the tank pumped prior to the sale. This is often a question asked by prospective buyers.
Consider adding mulch, flowers, trees or bushes to the areas around your home. Creating an inviting appearance to your home will improve the buyer’s first impression.
Consider staining your wood deck. A well stained and cared-for deck can be attractive to a buyer who enjoys hosting parties or enjoys the outdoors.
Make sure all windows can freely open and close. Also, make sure your windows can stay open and do not fall. Falling windows with faulty springs can cause serious injuries to the elderly and to children.
Clean & useful basement.
Basements are often areas ignored by home owners. Buyers, however, view the basement as a possible storage area or secondary living space. Keep the basement clean and free of cobwebs.
If possible, show that your basement is usable as a storage area or living area. If you have an old couch and TV (even if it doesn’t work), place them in an unfinished (livable) basement to show buyers the potential for extra living space.
Exterior house siding.
Some exterior areas of your home (usually the north side) can have moss or algae growth. Try power washing or scrubbing these areas to give the exterior of your home a clean appearance. Also consider removing bees’ nests and other items from the rooflines and soffits around your home.
Clean your gutters & downspouts. Consider adding downspout extensions to the bottoms of your downspouts to keep water from dumping around the foundation of your home.
Consider having all mechanical systems like your furnace and A/C serviced prior to listing your home. A well operating furnace and other mechanicals can lessen the risk of post-contract inspection issues which can delay closings and ruin deals.
When your Listing Agent or a Buyer’s Agent shows your home, you want the prospective buyer to feel as comfortable as possible. Buyers will often make fun of your home, décor, or personal belongings, and you giving them the “royal tour” will often give them one more reason not to like your home. We strongly encourage you to leave while your home is being shown.
When preparing your home for a scheduled showing, it is best to turn on all the lights before the showing. A brightly lit home makes a home appear larger and more welcoming and eliminates the need for the buyer to search for the right light switches.
Consider re-caulking around your tub and sink. If the existing caulking is damaged, spotted with mold or in poor condition, consider re-caulking the area. Also consider cleaning all rust or lime build-up around the sink, toilet, and tub basins and fixtures. Buyers will usually pull back the shower curtain to see how the tub looks, and a poor looking tub can indicate a lack of attention to detail by the homeowner.
Small bedrooms can affect the marketability of a home. If possible, place the bed (especially in the master bedroom) on the wall opposite the entry door. Doing so will give the bedroom a larger appearance. If this is not possible, try placing the bed at an angle in the corner opposite the entry door.
For forced air furnaces, replace the furnace filter and clean all vent covers throughout the home from dust and cob-webs. A dirty wall or floor vent can be a deal killer to buyers susceptible to allergies.
Wall or plaster defects.
In older homes with plaster walls, defects or uneven walls are sometimes hard to hide. Some buyers may believe these defects are caused by structural problems when they are not. Try using a flat paint finish instead of a gloss or semi-gloss finish to eliminate glare that makes defects easier to see.
Dead trees and bushes.
The outside of your property is the first place prospective buyers will see and will create a first impression of the care you give your property. Eliminate dead trees, limbs, and bushes from your yard to improve the appearance, especially from fall to early spring when the lack of foliage makes these areas more noticeable.
Again, first impressions are so important! For those with gravel driveways, add a new layer of gravel to fill potholes and to brighten the entrance onto the property. For blacktop driveways, resurface the blacktop and fill cracks.
If you use a turn-around area in your driveway, clear it of obstructions so prospective buyers can easily maneuver when leaving your property. Again, make sure these areas are well graveled or paved, and eliminate tire ruts in your yard.
In early spring and late fall, consider using a lawn roller to flatten mole hills, tire ruts and other lawn problems. Also, consider overseeding your lawn and adding proper fertilizer to make your lawn plush and eye-catching.
Personal Items not included.
If you have keepsake items in your home that will not convey, remove them before showing the home. Antique light fixtures and painted glass are items that sellers in Ohio often want to take with them. Replace or remove these items before they are seen by buyers to eliminate unnecessary negotiation problems.
Appliances … do they stay or go?
If selling your property is your goal, do not let minor items kill the deal. Including appliances can put your home at the top of a buyer’s list, especially for first time home buyers. Even if you love your stove or refrigerator, plan on buyers asking for them, even if you do not offer them in your listing. If you have the choice of selling your home or keeping your refrigerator, decide what is most important early in the selling process.
Seller paid closing costs & other seller concessions.
To save cash, buyers often request that a seller pay some or all of their closing costs. As long as you receive your desired “net” price, it is acceptable to make these concessions in the contract. When your SHERIDANS real estate agent reviews offers with you, consider your Net Proceeds goal from the sale instead of the costs of individual items requested by a buyer.
If a buyer asks you to pay $3,000 of their closing costs, increase your desired price by $3,000 and negotiate with your net proceeds in mind.
Wall paper is out!
For most buyers, large amounts of wallpaper and wallpaper borders are unappealing. Tastes change over time and from one person to another. If your home has wall to wall wallpaper, call 911. If you are concerned about the time and cost involved in removing your wallpaper, rest assured that the majority buyers will have the same concerns and may eliminate your home as a prospect for this reason.
Who do I call?
Trust your SHERIDANS real estate agent to guide you through the process of preparing your home to sell. If you are unsure who to call to make repairs or alterations in your home, consult with your SHERIDANS agent to find the best person for the job. Your licensed SHERIDANS agent has experience working with many types of contractors and professionals in the area.
Trust the experience and knowledge of your real estate agent
Selecting the perfect real estate agent when you are preparing to sell your home is so important! Trust a SHERIDANS licensed real estate agent to guide you through this important process to ensure you maximize your value. By following these guidelines and tapping into the knowledge of experts at SHERIDANS, the sale of your home can be a smooth and rewarding experience.