Determining Your Listing Price

When trying to determine the listing price of your home, remember that YOU are the boss!  A Realtor’s job is to gather all of the relevant market comparables, adjust those comparables to make them as similar to your home as possible (accounting for size, age, condition and improvements), and to boil down to a valuation window.  It is then your choice on where you set your listing price relative to this valuation window.


Home Staging Tips

This really is a simple topic, yet truthfully, quite challenging to execute.  I will assume for the sake of this article that being a homeowner, that you went through some sort of buying process when you selected (and purchased) your current home.  Okay, so what stood out about your home that made you say “This is the one!”?

This article is intended to guide you through the basics of how to stage your home for a successful sale.

  1. Sanitize!! – This is the number one item, no matter what!  Cleanliness sells. Plain and simple.  This means scrubbing floors, carpets, countertops, appliances, bathtubs, toilets, windows, basement spider webs, under the kitchen sink, repainting walls, washing & folding dirty laundry, putting away all dishware, etc.  Clean, clean, clean!
  2. Depersonalize – This is number two only behind CLEANING!!  Keeping the occasional family picture here or there is fine, but take down the family picture collage, wedding pictures, baby hand impressions, dog pictures, and college diplomas.  We don’t want prospective buyers trying to determine your specific motivation for selling.
  3. Declutter – This means remove EVERYTHING from the house that is not absolutely needed.  Exercise equipment, extra end tables, extra couches/chairs, trophies, any taxidermy trophies, religious items, clutter on the kitchen counters, clothing and the like should all find inconspicuous homes to open up the living spaces.
  4. Refrigerator Décor – We all love our greeting cards from friends and family, or keeping our favorite magnets on the fridge, but these all must go!!
  5. Kitchen Prep – Never leave any dishware or cookware in the sink or on the counters.  If you are in a pinch, try to place all dirty kitchenware in the dishwasher.
  6. Closets – Every single last buyer will open up your closet doors.  Not only is the goal to keep the closet as spacious-looking as possible, but don’t get caught/embarrassed by jamming everything into the closets in an effort to declutter.
  7. Bathroom Prep – Keep a fresh, clean, fluffy set of bathroom towels on call to throw into place for showings.  Light & bright bathroom décor with a complimenting towel set will add a nice touch.
  8. Easy Updates – Examples of some easy updates that will make a big bang for the buck difference are: new interior & exterior light fixtures, new outlets & cover plates, and new door knobs (especially for the front door).

If you follow these simple guidelines, no doubt you will have more productive and fruitful showings.  Good luck!

Items to Repair

Some would argue that prior to a home-owner selling their home, they should pay to have a professional inspection (who is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI) to conduct a thorough inspection of their home, much like a buyer will have an inspector do the same.  This is a valuable exercise especially for those home owners that may not know much about their mechanical systems, foundation integrity, and overall general health of their home.  Addressing any problem areas in advance (prior to listing for sale) could avoid costly and emotional challenges in the selling process.

In general, however, here are couple lists that will help you prep your home for a successful sale.

Keep an eye out for the following:

  1. Mold or water mineral stains present on wall board or on foundation walls.  Treat any minor moldy areas with a 25% bleach-water solution in a spray bottle, and ensure adequate air-flow to this troubled area to prevent recurrence of the mold.  Clean any mineral stains with the product “CLR” or similar mineral stain cleaning products.
  2. Test all outlets and switches for functionality.
  3. Replace all compact fluorescent light bulbs with conventional incandescent bulbs for the “instant on” convenience.
  4. Ensure the heating system is fully functional and is equipped with a new furnace air filter.
  5. If not already done, install carbon monoxide detectors within 10 feet of all sleeping rooms (Minnesota State Law).
  6. If your home has a septic tank and septic pump, ensure that both are working properly.
  7. Clean all debris out of the gutters (if applicable) and ensure that water runoff is controlled with proper grading and downspouting.
  8. If there is a water well on the property, proactively complete a potability and mineralization test of the well water.  Have these successful test results displayed during any property showings or Open Houses.


Offensive Odors

As a buyer in the past, did you ever walk into a home where offensive odors just engulfed you as you entered the front door?  If so, did this boost your interest in the home?  The answer is likely “No!”.

The same will be true for any Buyer coming through your home.  As I have mentioned in other articles, cleanliness sells.  So assuming that you scrub everything recommended, battling offensive odors should be a trivial last step as the source of the odor(s) should be eradicated.

  1. Last Night’s Dinner – Do you ever come home from work and you can still smell the remnants of last’s night dinner?  Well, so will your potential buyers!  It’s essential to air out your home with fresh air whenever possible, and to clean all dishware and cookware immediately after dinner to minimize food odors.
  2. Pet Odors – We all love our family companions, but with larger pets usually comes larger odors.  It has been statistically proven that dog or cat odors will result in a lower selling price and longer market time.  So it is worth your effort to clean and vacuum after you pet frequently while your home is for sale.  Also, if your pet has its own bed, remove this bed from the house during showings,  Lastly, invest a couple hundred dollars to have all of your carpets steam cleaned prior to your market time.
  3. Trash Cans – During your market time, you will want to empty your kitchen trash can daily, and you may even want to wash your trash can weekly.
  4. Cigarette Smoke – With Minnesota being a smoke-free state in public establishments, people are becoming more sensitive to cigarette smoke (and associated odors).  Smelling cigarette smoke in a home is a significant complaint by today’s buyers.  During (preferably months prior to) your market time, take your cigarette smoking outdoors.  Also, use ionizers and fresh air to minimize the odors in the house.

A clean, pleasant-smelling home, is a more attractive and better selling home!