Thursday, June 12, 2008

Q: We’re getting ready to sell our house and keep getting very conflicting advice.

One agent had this huge list of things she wanted us to do before we put it on the market. Some of it was expensive. We are selling to buy down in another community and really don’t have money to spend on lots of fixing up. One of the other agents we talked to said to wait until the market is hot again. We just can’t do that. Any thoughts?

A:
No one can tell if and when the market will be “hot”. Our local market is relatively stable and houses are selling quickly if they are properly priced so this is not a bad time to sell. You need to do what works for you and it sounds like selling is what you need to do.

As for fixing up, I would recommend you do the following, instead. Have the house cleaned or do it yourself. I mean cleaner than it’s ever been! Store most of your personal items so that it appears open and tidy. Wash the windows, cut the grass, weed the yard, and just do a general sprucing up. Get rid of any extra stuff in the yard or garage.

A tidy, really clean house that presents a good picture as a potential buyer drives up will always be appealing. If you have any really dark rooms, paint them a lighter color. Sometimes just washing the walls will restore brighter color. Have the carpets cleaned. If you can’t do all this yourself, ask friends to help. It really is that important.

When you interview prospective listing agents find one that is enthusiastic about your home and gives you good, inexpensive hints on making it show better. Be sure they do a market analysis for your home and price it to sell. Even if you have a number in your head that you “need to get out of the house” remember that your needs are not the deciding factor here. It has to be attractively priced to catch the buyer’s attention.