10 Things Sellers Need To Do To Sell a Property for Top Dollar

Follow these steps to maximize your sales price

Declutter and depersonalize

You’ll want your home to give potential buyers a good first impression. Not only can a dirty home distract buyers from appreciating your home’s best features, but it can also give the impression that you haven’t taken care of bigger maintenance and upkeep tasks. Also, cluttered rooms do not photograph well.

Lastly, you want potential buyers to bethinking about the property, not you. It’s best to remove as many photos of you and your family as possible. People are naturally curious and can’t resist looking at photos... You want them envisioning themselves in the property, not you!

Professional floor plans

Buyers like to have the floor plans for properties to envision the placement of furniture, recall the layout, and plan potential alterations of the layout. Many condos will have older floor plans that were filed with the condo docs, but these can be difficult to read. And many single and multi family houses have never had floor plans made at all (as it’s not required for them to have them).

It’s worth the investment to have floor plans made to help buyers envision the space!

List it on MLS (whether you work with an agent or not)

You can hire a real estate agent to list the property on MLS without them actually representing you. This makes sure that the property gets the most exposure possible.

In this situation, you need to offer a buyer’s agent commission to incentivize the buyer’s agents to bring their clients, even if you are not using an agent to represent you as a seller.

Interactive 3D Matterport virtual tours

The Matterport technology is relatively new and truly mind-blowing. Like floor plans on steroids, this allows buyers to literally “walk” around the property.

It’s the closing thing to “being” in the property virtually. Matterport 3D tours are great for refreshing buyers as to how something looked, and also great for allowing them to share a property to distant family/friends.

You can even use virtual reality headsets to look around within the property. Very recommended.

Professional photographs

It goes without saying that if you value your property, and want to represent it in advertisements as best you can, professional photographs (with professional editing) are worth the investment.

Keep in mind that it should also reflect the property well. Sometimes sellers will go crazy with wide-angle lenses etc... I have seen situations where the photos looks so perfect that when buyers show up to a listing, they’re actually disappointed... Of course you want your photos to look great, but don’t falsely represent the property either.

Lastly, keep in mind that there are also virtual staging services that will use digital overlays of furniture on the photos rather than have to go through the cost of physical staging.

Prepare high-quality marketing materials

High-quality, glossy handouts with feature sheets and floor plans are a must to give to buyers at showings and open houses.

Obtain an updated market valuation from a neutral 3rd party

It’s difficult to be unbiased when it comes to your property’s value. It’s best to get a neutral opinion from someone familiar with recent sales in the area.

The vast majority of real estate agents will do this for free, whether you list with them or not.

Organize neighborhood/building and evening open houses

Often people in a building/neighborhood may want to move family closer, or are looking for a convenient investment property that they can manage nearby. Or maybe they want to stay in the same area, but also need to upsize/downsize.

So it’s useful to make sure everyone nearby is aware that you’re listing your property for sale. Evening open houses are useful as buyers will often go out of town for the weekend.

Making improvements and property staging

Get a consultation on simple improvements to be done prior to listing the property. Don’t overspend or over-personalize. Get opinions on what would be most broadly appealing-you may love that wallpaper or bright paint color, but the majority of buyers may not.

Some major improvements can be useful though. For instance, a new roof might only cost you $10-20k, but the peace of mind that it gives buyers could result in the property being valued for significantly more (in addition to making the property appealing to a broader demographic of buyers who are looking for “turnkey” properties—properties that require no significant work to move in).

But in general, keep it simple and make reasonable improvements that improve how the property shows.

When to list the property

When it comes to timing the listing of your property, you need to know the seasonality of your own market. In my market (Boston), we have rough winters and therefore there are fewer listings and sales during the winter months (especially from Thanksgiving through mid-January).

Additionally, lots of buyers go out of town during the middle of the summer (late-July through Labor Day). That being said, there are advantages and disadvantages to listing at all times of year.

A property with a nice yard/landscaping will have more to gain by listing during nice weather, whereas a property in a large building may not reap the same benefits of nice weather. In my area, the spring market sees the most properties listed, but this also means that that is when there is the most competition.

If a property might have “challenges” competing with other properties, there may be incentive to listing at a time when there are fewer options.

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