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Selling Property in the Texas Hill Country – Secrets to a successful sale
The Three Ps
From setting the right price, to promoting the property to potential buyers, to preparing it for sale, selling your Hill Country home or land can be a complicated process. Working with an experienced Realtor can help you meet your real estate goals.
The price is right
One of the most important factors when selling your property is pricing it right. A price that’s too high and unrealistic for the market can leave your Hill Country home or homesite sitting on the market while others around it sell. Price too low in an effort to try to drum up a bidding war and you may end up with a low offer—and nothing else.
Marketing your property
Some might think selling a property is as easy as putting a sign outside, especially in a competitive market where there is limited inventory. But the truth is that well-connected Realtors make sales happen through their experience and expertise.
Preparing your home
There is a saying that any home will sell if it’s priced right, but a home that is not properly prepared for the market may be the exception. At the very least, it can take considerably longer to sell and fetch a lower price. Your Realtor can guide you toward the most important steps to take to improve the presentation of your home prior to listing it.
The reality of real estate
Selling a home or piece of land is full of challenges and potential landmines, which is why it’s so important to have a Realtor advocating for you. Your Vintage Oaks Realty agent helps keep everything running smoothly, which has the added benefit of helping keep your emotions at bay during what can be a highly charged process.
Keeping it local
Wondering how the right real estate agent can help you sell your home? Consider these three very important factors from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):
- The average home sells for $230,000 with an agent
- The typical for-sale-by-owner home sells for $184,000
- Homes sold by owner take longer to sell
Working with the wrong agent can also cost you a sale, not to mention time and money. On the other hand, working with the right agent can help you secure a quick sale at the right price while helping you manage the process effectively.
The same goes for land sales. Trying to navigate a land sale introduces other issues, which makes it especially important to work with a Realtor with experience in this area.
A focus on service
The desired end result for any home seller is a profitable sale. But you also want a high level of service along the way. A quality Realtor will listen to your needs and respond to your requests. Everything from pricing discussions to marketing to negotiations should be geared toward professional service and your ultimate satisfaction. Selling a home can be stressful; a Real estate agent’s commitment to sellers should be to simplify the home selling process and guide you through to a successful closing.
Developing a pricing strategy
Real estate buyers and sellers today are better informed than ever, but that doesn’t necessarily mean their price estimations will be correct. It can be easy for sellers to overvalue their property based on what they think it’s worth, what they owe on it, or what they’ve seen online. A quality real estate agent will develop a Competitive Market Analysis based on:
- Local market values
- Recent sales in your area
- Comparable properties
- The condition of your home and any factors like a larger lot, recent updates (or the need for updates), and upgraded features that might set it apart from others
- Desirability of a location that might give it an edge over other properties
- How quickly prices are rising and properties are selling—there may be room to continue an upward trend
Promoting your property
Marketing is an important tool that exposes homes and homesites to larger groups of potential buyers. Networking allows your property to be seen by other Realtors and therefore their buyers. Homes and lots that are represented by Vintage Oaks Realty are sometimes sold well before they hit the MLS because of the layers of networks our Realtors have access to.
GETTING MARKET READY
Staging your home is a critical part of the sales process. Perhaps your home has fallen into a bit of disrepair or your land is unkempt and not showing off its best attributes. Maybe your home is in need of serious updates or just needs a little bit of tidying. No matter how much—or how little—attention you think it needs before being listed for sale, getting your property into tip-top shape is paramount. And that’s where your Realtor comes in. Knowing that buyers will nitpick ever spec of dust, every errant weed, every cluttered closet, Vintage Oaks Realty will give you a top-to-bottom list of recommended tweaks so that your home will be market ready.
From the first look
The importance of good curb appeal cannot be overestimated. If a potential buyer is turned off by the first thing they see, they might not stick around to see more.
You can make sure the first impression is a good one by:
- Raking leaves and giving the yard a good mow
- If you have extra hoses, shovels, or other items lying around, relocating them to a garage or storage area.
- Removing any junk or clutter from the yard
- Trimming bushes and cut back trees if needed
- Laying down a new layer of mulch—a great quick fix to make your yard look well kept
- Changing any burned-out bulbs in outside lights
- Cleaning windows and clearing out any visible muck from gutters
- Clearing walkways if needed
- Giving your front door some attention—a new or repainted front door offers some of the highest return on investment of any home project
If your home is just needs a few simple fixes, a Realtor can point out those that make the most sense. Often, getting your home to the point where it will impress buyers doesn’t take much. Think about:
- New paint—If your home’s walls have seen better days or if the colors are outdated, a few cans of paint can transform it. This is also true of the home’s exterior. Chipped paint is a turnoff for buyers.
- Your floors—Getting your floors in great shape is always recommended. Buyers will fixate on features that obviously need to be replaced, and flooring is a big one. If you can’t replace or refinish, at least clean wood floors and repair any big gouges. Investing in a few throw rugs can also help. For stained carpet, a steam cleaner is imperative. And don’t forget to deodorize, especially if there are smokers or pets living there. A stinky house is an unsold house.
- Your mess—Decluttering your house will cost you nothing, but it will have a tremendous impact on the home’s impression. When you’re done clearing off your surfaces, clean everything. And then clean it again.
- Your personal taste—An abundance of personalized décor can keep buyers from actually seeing the home. Boxing up personal photos and paring down collections can help the home be the star.
- Your closets—Buyers will open every door, drawer, and closet. This is not a place to stuff everything you can’t find room for elsewhere. If a buyer thinks there isn’t enough storage in the house, that might be enough to run them off.
- Your land—If it’s a homesite you’re selling, make sure it’s showing in its best light. You might not want to go to the expense of clearing the lot, but at least make sure you walk the lot to make sure there are no hazards or trash on the land. Checking to see if there are any large trucks impeding the path to the land because of construction nearby would also be helpful.
DOING A WALK-THROUGH
Sometimes the easiest way to get a feel what might need to be addressed in your house is to walk through it like a buyer would, starting at the front door and going room to room.
- Remove jackets, shoes, and any other items that can go in a closet
- Place fresh flowers on a table if possible
- Make sure everything is clean and tidy and the area is well lit
- Make the bed and replace dated bedding with something neutral if needed
- Remove any laundry or other clutter in the rooms
- If the rooms are too crowded, remove extra pieces of furniture
- Your Realtor will be able to help you arrange the furniture to maximize the space and traffic flow
- Add inexpensive window coverings where needed. This simple fix can be high impact.
- Make sure all light bulbs and switches are functioning.
- Clean floors, tabletops, and fluff pillows.
- Remove any clutter from coffee tables and dining tables.
- Paint cabinets if needed—It can give your whole kitchen a lift. New hardware is another inexpensive fix that can make a big change for little money and effort.
- Clean and remove fingerprints from the exterior of appliances
- Clean the inside of appliances. A dishwasher full of dishes is fine; an oven full of pots and pans is not because it will give the impression of insufficient cabinet space.
- Tidy up inside cabinets. Buyers will look inside.
- Take almost everything off of your countertops and box up. The more space buyers can see, the better.
- Remove magnets from the front of the refrigerator and relocate any bills or other paperwork that gathers in the kitchen.
- Make sure floors are clean and shiny.
- Paint cabinets that are worn, scratched, or chipped.
- Repair dripping faucets.
- Put down new fresh new bath rugs.
- Consider replacing tired light fixtures—This inexpensive fix can freshen up your whole bathroom.
- Put out clean towels and check to make sure there’s toilet paper.
- Clean tile, floors, and glass shower doors.
THE LITTLE DETAILS
It never fails that you’ll get a call to do a home showing for a prospective buyer as soon as you’ve starting baking cookies with the kids and turned your kitchen into a warzone. You never want to feel like you can’t live in your home while it’s listed, but there are ways to be prepared, and a few tricks that will help tip the scales in your favor in a pinch.
Lighten up—Natural light is universally appreciated, so make sure you open all the blinds and curtains in the morning so you’re ready for showings. You’ll also want to turn on all the lights in the home to make it feel more inviting.
Stock up on sweet smells—Even though you’ve cleaned and deodorized your home, a little extra doesn’t hurt. A couple of lightly scented vanilla candles can provide a soft scent. And one of Realtors’ favorite tricks is to bake cookies right before a showing. It fills the house with one of the best scents around and provides a tasty treat for buyers.
Get out of the house—Your might want to shadow buyers while they walk through your house, but this is never recommended. It could make them feel uneasy and also make it more difficult for your Realtor to conduct a professional tour. Make sure to take the animals with you. Storing a few treats and a dog bed in your car can help.
Keep the trash empty—Getting in a habit of regularly taking your trash out to the cans can help the house continue to smell good.
Turn off your alarm—Nothing like a blaring alarm to make buyers feel at home!
GETTING AN OFFER
Getting an offer is thrilling. But is it the right offer? Your Realtor will be able to weigh in your best strategy for accepting, rejecting, or countering the offer and counsel you on next steps. Whatever you do, you’ll want to make sure you do it quickly. Capitalizing on a buyer’s interest is always a smart move. Give them time to change their mind…and they just might.
The period between accepting an offer/signing a contract and the buyer closing on the home is called escrow. This can take one month or more, and will encompass inspections, appraisals, and the gathering and singing of many pieces of paperwork by the buyer. At the end, the deed will be recorded, which transfers title to the buyer.
Getting a move on
You may have started packing up your things before you even listed your home for sale, or maybe you’re just getting started now that it looks like escrow is gong to close without a hitch. Either way, you’re likely to benefit from a few tips for an easy move:
Do your research—Ask friends, family, and your Realtor for referrals for moving companies and then check them out thoroughly. The Better Business Bureau is a good first step. Interstate movers must also be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Beware of lowball bids—It’s recommended you get at least three estimates from movers. One that comes in considerably lower than the others is probably not a good bet.
Pack an “essentials” bag—Important papers, a change of clothes, any medications you and your family need and any especially prized items should stay with you if at all possible.
Switch utilities—Don’t forget to turn on at the new address and turn off at the old, on the same day if possible.
Complete a change of address—Do this as soon as you know your new address so your mail is not delayed at your new house.
Label boxes well—It’s always helpful to be as thorough as possible.