There are a number of things a smart seller will do to prepare their home to bring in top offers quickly. Currently in the East Bay, Compass has the lion’s share of listings. Many of these listings are what we call “Coming Soon” which means they are not on the open market yet but are available exclusively to the local, national and global network of Compass clients. We are seeing many of these “Coming Soon” homes receive offers over the asking price and well before they hit the MLS and other public sites. Here are the best things a seller can do to prep their home in advance - because in this market, you may not have time to fix, update or adjust once your home is listed as “Coming Soon” and first impressions are everything.
1. FIND A GREAT REAL ESTATE AGENT. Your agent is going to be a guide over complex hurdles and doors in one of the biggest transactions of your lifetime. Your agent should be well connected and adept at making the process as transparent and efficient as possible. Take your time to interview Realtors. Find one who is knowledgeable about your area and tuned in to your needs. See how Realtors communicate. Are they going to be properly responsive to you?
2. DECLUTTER & DEPERSONALIZE. This is essential. Yes, you love the photos of your kids, their art or the nursery with your baby’s name in large wooden letters on the wall. It’s adorable but inappropriate for a house on the market and honestly, do you want your child’s name photographed for the internet and listed with your address? NO! All visible areas from countertops and window sills to closets should be swept clean and organized. Remove or securely hide valuables – jewelry, art and prescription medication. Buyers look in drawers and closets – if they are overflowing a potential buyer may think there is not room for their own things. This is a great time to clean out and donate items. Getting an off-site storage space is also a great idea. The goal is to create a clean slate so that buyers can see themselves living in the space.
3. RETOUCH & FIX IT. A fresh coat of neutral paint goes a long way to freshen up a space. Your 14 year-old’s neon green and purple room may be super “rad” but a buyer will see that as a hassle to have to fix. Touch-up scuffs, broken handles, replace burned out lightbulbs. There will be a ton of little tasks for your “Honey-do” or “you-to-do” or “find someone to-do” list. Minor broken items indicate to a buyer you aren’t taking care of the space – what else might be in disrepair?
4. HIRE A STAGER. You may think this is optional, it is… however, staging truly worth it and then some. The fact is, according to The Real Estate Staging Association, staged houses spend 73% less time on the market and they sell at the maximum price. Our stager, Ashley Provost of Ashley Provost Design will come to your home at no cost to you and she will provide a list of everything that should be done to make the house absolutely perfect. You get to choose what of that list works for you. According to Ashley, “Spaces must be ‘visually digestible’ – that is, instantly and easily understood, with the right color ratios, scale of items, etc. to allow the buyer to feel good when viewing the home. This is especially important when considering how a space will be photographed. Nearly all your potential buyers will preview the home online before deciding whether to visit it in person. They will look at many photos very quickly. It’s important they understand what they are seeing in photos and feel good when they see it. This process becomes more like merchandising and advertising a product than like decorating a home for a client. When buyers walk into a home it is so hard for them to see everything at one once. Staging trains the buyer’s eye to see what we want them to see, one feature/room at a time.” Additionally, Compass offers a Concierge program that will cover the upfront cost of staging. Learn more about Compass Concierge here.
Image: The Bay Area Team