Making sure your home sells

My opinions on how to stack the deck in your favor.  Use this basic strategy and you will have a much better chance at selling your home fast and for the highest and best price.

Price is the most frequent reason why your house does not sell.  
Do a CMA ( Comparative market analysis) and then set the price at 2% less than market value for the property.
In my research as a real estate agent it seems to me that usually someone who wants to sell their house figures it’s worth about 5 to 10% more than market conditions indicate, so in a majority of cases homeowners will overvalue their home. Often they will point to a home that has been sold in their neighborhood and say “Hey if they got $500,000 for that house I should be able to get $600,000 for my house.” But these kind of shooting from the hip analyses do not make for accurate comparative market analyses. The last thing you want to do is price a house too high from the start.
Much better to price a house low.  Just under market value is my preferred starting point.  This ensures multiple bids and a higher selling price in my experience. If you happen to be using me as your agent I have real estate software that pulls information from all over the Internet to get as accurate a price as possible for your property. It takes about 10 seconds to get the initial value estimate.  I will often take the price offered by the real estate program and then I will compare it to the price that I come up with after hours of research trying to perfect a comparative market analysis and often the software nails it right on the money from the beginning. That’s a good starting point to find out how to price your home.  Note: If a home is on the market for more than 7 days I’m going to guess that you have lost 80% of your interested viewers. After 14 days you’ve lost 90%.  After 21 days you’ve lost 95% and after 28 days you’ve lost 98% of all people who might be interested in your property.  So you can see how important it is to get the price in the sweet spot from the very beginning. Lower is better than higher. Listen to what your real estate agent tells you is the proper price. Try not to get emotional due to your attachment to the property.  Usually the real estate agent is lower and the owner of the property is higher when it comes to determining the selling price.  Once the price is set being flexible is extremely important.  If you receive an offer that is lower than your desired price, by all means make a counteroffer.  I have watched a seller decline an offer that was $5000 under his $400,000 asking price, only to have that be the only initial offer…3 months later the property sold for $379,000.  Give all offers careful consideration and stop and try to imagine what happens if this is the only offer you get.
 Cleaning your home.
Cleaning your home is excruciatingly important.  Your home needs to be completely clean, decluttered, and it needs to smell nice ( like flowers ). I recommend hiring a professional cleaner to go through the entire property before your first showing.  Get the rungs shampooed – all of them.  I also recommend renting a storage unit and putting every single thing that is not life support, every single thing that you could possibly live without, in a storage unit so there is virtually nothing left in your house. Live out of your suit case as though you were on vacation.  Clean out your garage, your attic, your basement, your closets – everything.  An empty house is what you want. If a house has personal items or any kind or any clutter it will alienate buyers quickly. The other benefit you enjoy when the house is super clean is that your photographs will be breathtaking.  Photographs and Video often do sell your property.  It’s what brings your buyers, so by all means get the house very clean before you take your pictures. Photographs are absolutely crucial, so make sure a professional takes crisp, bright photos of your property. Statistics show that the vast majority of buyers use Google to do real estate research and they view properties before they go see them.  If you have average or lousy photographs potential buyers won’t even stop by and see your home. The 1000 word description on MLS is important.  When your agent uses 1000 words to tell everybody how wonderful your property is that helps sell the property, but the description doesn’t mean anything if the pictures aren’t great.  People will skim over the description, and they will laser focus on the photographs.  It’s extremely important that nothing religious and nothing political be seen anywhere on your property.  If somebody sees a presidential campaign sticker or any kind of a religious statue or photograph on one of your walls it can stop the sale dead in its tracks.
Access to your property
It’s also very important to make your home extremely available to your real estate agent for showings and other necessary invasions. Be prepared to be invaded at all hours without notice.  That is the nature of the biz.  Be ready to  have your privacy destroyed and have your life tipped upside down while preparing to sell your home.  Everything needs to be immediate and this is especially true with showings. The most frequently used expression in real estate is time is of the essence. And that applies to everything. When a buyer says to an agent “I’d like to see this house”, the time frame from then, until they are in the house is absolutely crucial.  The real estate agent will press the button that asks for a showing in the property showing software.  Your Property needs to be what real estate agents call Go and Show. This means that all appointments confirm immediately. This further means that the owner of the property is not consulted and asked if it’s okay that there is about to be a showing. Rather the owner of the property is informed that there is about to be a showing.  So that means if you are the owner you need to scramble. All the counters must be Windexed, all the chairs must be pushed in, air freshener must be sprayed in every room, every single light in the property must be turned on, every single door propped open if it is spring, summer, or fall. Multiple windows should be opened so that the air flows through the house.  And then get out before the Buyer and Agent arrive.
Never ever let any potential buyer know that there is or was a pet associated with the property you are trying to sell. When you clean the house get it completely cleaned and then make sure there are no litter boxes no leashes no food dishes nothing that could ever tell a prospective buyer that there has been a pet in their future home.
Never attend a showing of your home and never ever allow a pet, regardless of the type of pet, be at a showing of a property. Some people are deathly afraid of pets and that one person could be the person that would have bought your home. Even a hamster or a salamander will scare some people to the point of heart attack. If there has been a pet in the home when the showing is scheduled, when you get the text message that says the home is about to be shown, grab your vacuum and get every possible pet hair on the property.  Remove all of the collars, toys, water and food dishes, leashes, and hide them in a closet in the basement.

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Curtis Knight is a Real Estate Agent and REALTOR in Billerica, MA, USA, serving Tewksbury, Billerica, North Billerica,  Chelmsford, North Chelmsford, Woburn, Carlisle, Concord, Burlington, Wilmington, Bedford and Lowell, MA as well as all of MA and NH.


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