Several months ago, Evan and I started to toy with idea of moving out of our starter home. Late last summer, we actually had looked at few homes we thought we were interested in. We knew that as soon as we decided to have a second baby, we would have already outgrown our starter home. With that time coming probably in the next year or two… we needed to get a move on moving on to a bigger home.
When the homes we looked at were either not in our price range or not what we thought they were going to be, we ended up being a little disappointed. Suddenly, we had the itch to move but we decided to put that itch on the back-burner for a bit. This would give us time to get our house “ready” to sell. When this past February came around, we kept our eyes peeled for any possible homes that peaked our interest. Sure enough, we struck gold… well, not gold, but we found a home we liked that was in the area we wanted to be in and for a great price. Next thing you know, we’ve got an accepted offer that is contingent on selling our sweet little starter home.
Talk about a stressful situation! You find a home perfect for your family but you can only have it if you sell your first home… in 45 days. Yeah… that’s the kicker. 45 freaking days to sell our home… What the eff?? Guess what? We did it in six days… and I’m going to tell you how!
Find a realtor you trust.
First and foremost, find a realtor you trust. You will be spending a lot of time with this realtor and he/she is basically representing your house. If your realtor is shitty that may reflect back on your house or the sale of your house. Evan actually has a friend who is a realtor and he knew from the beginning of our house-hunting process that he wanted to use him. Personally, I was nervous mixing business with pleasure. However, I was pleasantly surprised with our friend/realtor.
I would say my biggest concern was I was scared our friend/realtor was just going to tell us things that we wanted to hear so that he could save hurting our feelings and possibly hurt the sale of our home. I was pleasantly surprised when I was repeatedly proved wrong. There were certain things that our realtor had to be painfully honest about that probably made him uncomfortable (I’ll explain below).
It is so important to find a realtor that is willing to be honest, upfront and mostly helpful to you during this stressful time.
Price it right.
Statistics show that a house will sell faster if it is priced correctly from the beginning. Duh… don’t price yourself out of the market. Yeah, you may find that random person that absolutely LOVES your (over-priced) home and wants to offer you a full-price offer but that is the exception… not the rule. I have spent lots and lots of times in my life hammering into my head “I am the rule, not the exception”. It is what it is.
Our realtor was quite honest with us when advising that the price we wanted to list our home at was slightly off and it would be best for us to adjust accordingly or we would risk pricing ourselves out of the market. I am incredibly thankful for that advice. Sure… our cute little starter-home may attract some showings by sheer curb-side appeal but being over-priced could just as easily turn off serious buyers.
Declutter and clean.
Messy and cluttered homes are not attractive. Bottom line. Evan and I spent an extensive amount of time decluttering and cleaning our home in hopes to get it ready for showing. Areas that we spent most of our time: kitchen and the living room. Think about your home… where do you spend the most of your time? I don’t know about you but we spend most of ours in the kitchen and in the living room.
Our kitchen was super limited when it came to counter space and when you add in all of our kitchen gadgets (Kuerig, electric wine opener, utensil crock, etc.) we seriously had no space. We made sure to declutter those kitchen countertops and remove as many of those gadgets as possible. Cleaning off countertops seriously made the biggest difference.
Next up, the living room. Kids seriously take over your life and everything in it. I’m not complaining by any means but just because I don’t mind my living room being littered with colorful and large toys doesn’t mean every potential buyer will be as turned on as I am. Evan and I worked to find places to organize (cough…hide…) Rory’s toys. Some toys we put in her closet, some under her crib and some were even moved into the garage. We also had an extensive amount of picture frames on the wall and I decided to remove some of those too. Declutter the wall, if you will.
After a good declutter, all that was left was a good deep clean. In all honesty, we really did take good care of our home and I wanted to make sure that reflected in each showing. People are hesitant to buy a home that wasn’t kept well. During our deep clean we cleaned walls and baseboards, dusted ceiling fans, cleaned windows, cleaned tile grout, cleaned appliances, and thoroughly cleaned bathrooms and the kitchen.
Before each showing, we would make sure to do a good clean throughout the house. Bathrooms, floors and kitchen were thoroughly cleaned and bedrooms were kept neat and tidy. We also would hide trash cans, dog toys and dog bowls and turn on scented wall plug-ins.
We were highly motivated to sell our home and the last thing we wanted to do was turn away a potential buyer because we were too busy or needed our home for some other function. When the realtor called and said someone wanted to see the house, we made sure to have the house ready.
It wasn’t always convenient to clean up and get out of the house on short notice but we were dedicated to make it happen. We convinced ourselves that being available at the drop of the hat would help sell our home.
Our realtor was not shy about telling us that our home smelled like dog. He was also sure to let us know that our home didn’t exactly smell bad, but the house smelling like pets could turn off a potential buyer. Evan and I are definitely dog lovers and have opened up our home to our two Bassett Hounds without many limitations. As much as we love our pups, we also realize that there are people out there that do not want to have pets in their home.
We worked very hard at erasing all traces of our dogs when it came to showing our house. We cleaned extensively and deodorized as much as we possibly could and hid the dog bowls and their toys. When the phone call came that someone wanted to come see the house we made plans to have the dogs out of the house. Some days we took them on a long walk and there was a day where we actually paid to have them boarded at the vet.
Hopefully, some of these tips will help when you start to get your home ready for the market. Sometimes, I feel like we got lucky when we sold our home in a week but I also remember all of the hard work that was put in by Evan and I.