Holding an open house, working with a real estate agent and staging your property are all ways to ensure that your home doesn’t stay on the market too long. (Photo Courtesy of Robert Linder/Unsplash) https://unsplash.com/photos/DbHe-Cw5r2A

By Kara Thompson, Special to the AFRO,

Selling your home can be something that takes a lot of time, energy and effort, especially if you’re a first time seller. But luckily, you don’t have to do it on your own. Whether you’re downsizing or upsizing, moving across the country or down the street– these tips from real estate professionals can help you to ensure your property is sold efficiently and effectively. 

  1. Look at other homes within a one mile radius

Shalynn Mills-Arasanmi, a broker and realtor with Integrity Home Team, said the first step to selling a property in any town is to have a “realtor do some research to see what other homes have sold for in the last four months, typically in a one mile radius of that home to help determine what that home is worth.” 

Looking at the selling price of properties in the neighborhood where you aim to sell can help to give a realistic idea of what your property is worth, and what consumers are willing to pay in that area during this specific time period in the market. 

It can also help with deciding whether or not repairs should be made to the property before it goes on the market. Look at the features and amenities surrounding properties have and what their value is before making any changes.

“We don’t want our sellers making $50,000 worth of repairs if the house is not going to be valued at this $50,000 mark,” said Mills-Arasanmi. 

  1. Do a pre-listing inspection

Before putting a house on the market, a seller should make sure everything is alright with the property, and that no extra work is needed that potential buyers might generally want fixed– like roofing, electrical wiring and plumbing repairs.

“It doesn’t cost a lot of money just to take a look and see exactly what’s going on with the property to avoid any negatives we could potentially catch before we list,” said Krystal Leonard of Harris Hawkins & Co. 

  1. Work with a real estate agent that you like

“I recommend researching a real estate agency that’s reputable,” said Mills-Arasanmi. “Google reviews [are] a good place to start to see the reviews from other customers who they’ve worked with in the past.”

With Google and similar review platforms,“the company doesn’t have the ability to edit those [reviews],” said Mills-Arasanmi, adding that the consumer is able to see a realtor’s “actual results from working with the customer.” 

Brittany Campell, of Harris Hawkins & Co., agrees. 

“Partner with a professional,” she said. “Pricing your home right is the key to making a working sale. If your home is overpriced, a lot of people will skip over it, a lot of people will never see it and you may miss the market because you’ve priced them out.” 

  1. Depersonalize your home

When getting a house ready to sell, there should always be some amount of preparation and cosmetic work done to make the house look lived in, yet presentable. But Jadaya Cason, a realtor at Harris Hawkins & Co., recommends sellers take it a step further, and remove any overtly personal items from the home.

“That way, when people are coming in, it’s obvious that somebody still lives here, but they don’t know who still lives here,”  said Cason. “[This way] there’s no appraisal issues because they may see pictures hanging on the wall and they want to determine their value based on who they see who is currently living in the house.”

  1. Prep your property to be on the market

Homes can rarely go on the market as-is, with no minor repairs or changes in cosmetic detailing.

“I always recommend doing a deep cleaning of the house if possible, and then staging,” said Cason. 

“Staging” is the process of cleaning and decluttering a home to make it more appealing to buyers. This process includes rearranging furniture and swapping personal photos and tokens with neutral, clean-cut designs.

“We kind of know what today’s buyers are looking for, and sometimes some light staging or sometimes heavier staging is necessary to really make your home pop and stand out.”

  1. Hold an open house

An open house is a time where buyers can experience a property in-person and get a feel for the amenities and features of the home. Typically, a real estate agent holds open hours for the public to visit or schedules tours. 

“Open houses increase the visibility of the home,” said Leonard. “Anybody can come to an open house and if they see it, and nine times out of ten they do, you’re going to increase the [property] traffic.” 

  1. Be flexible and prepared to negotiate

When you think about selling your home, you might think you know how much your house is worth – or expect to get around the same amount that your neighbor sold their house for last year. But that may not be the case. 

“We are not in the same market that we were three months ago, six months ago, or eight to 10 months ago,” said Cason. “Be flexible in the pricing of your home. You’re still going to get what you need to get to sell but this is the market where we just have to be flexible and willing to negotiate.” 

This is not to say the amount you think your home should be valued at is necessarily inaccurate, just that you may have some bias about the rooms where you grew up with siblings or raised children. 

“Everyone loves their home,” Leonard said. “I know that you believe that your home is the most beautiful home on the block and you’re right– it is. But there is a process of appraisals and valuation and steps that we follow in the industry that gives us the ability to list at a proper price.” 

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