Glenn Stok always examines methods to improve life and find better ways of doing things. He writes about what's meaningful to others.
When I recently sold my home, my Realtor pointed out some inexpensive improvements for me to make.
Read on to learn what I did to quickly sell my house.
What Buyers Want in a Home
Homebuyers always look for a beautiful clean place that has signs of having been taken care of over the years. They want a move-in condition so they don’t have a lot of work to do right away.
Many homes on the market are in poor condition. That makes buyers willing to spend more money when they find a gem.
Buyers are willing to pay a premium when they see value in a property, and they will want to reach an agreement fast before someone else beats them to it.
Update the Lighting Fixtures
The first thing my Realtor told me to do was to replace the chandelier in my dining room. She explained that a good-looking replacement is not expensive, and the investment for this would help attract buyers.
I had an outdated lighting fixture all the years I had lived there. A new one adds value to one's home.
I found a beautiful and expensive-looking chandelier at Home Depot for only $350 and installed it that same day. I didn’t want to wait for anything. I knew my Realtor was ready to start showing the house.
Paint All Walls a Neutral Color
One bedroom in my house had blue walls. My Realtor told me to repaint it with neutral colors.
Once again, I listened to her and quickly painted it. I used Linen White for the walls and Dove White for the trim. Simple. I used that same combination throughout the rest of the house, so it was a no-brainer, and now it all matches.
I knew it worked since neutral colors make it easy to furnish a home. You never have to worry about mismatching furniture colors with the rest of a room.
I painted it myself at the cost of around $100 for the paint and supplies.
Get Rid of Old Shabby Stuff
I had some shades on the windows in my kitchen breakfast-area that had yellowed over the years. Worn and yellowing shades create an eyesore, and they distract buyers.
My Realtor explained that no shades are better than worn shades to make an excellent presentation. Merely removing those shades made the room brighter and more inviting. There was no need to replace them.
She was right-on with that suggestion too, as you can see in the picture below. I wish I had removed them earlier. I would have enjoyed many years of a more delightful view of the yard.
There was no need for shades there anyway since it was the rear of the house, and I had a secluded yard.
Do Maintenance Before a Sale
Besides the few things my Realtor asked me to do, I had always taken great care of everything. Throughout the years, I had maintained the heating and electric systems, made minor repairs to keep up with normal wear and tear, and even replaced the roof.
I also bought a new dishwasher and refrigerator shortly before selling the house. The cost of these things comes back many times over when selling.
Respond Positively to a Buyer's Requests
Since I made the minor changes my Realtor brought to my attention, I found it was easy to sell. My home showed as well-maintained, which created a lot of interest from the buyers who were looking for a new home.
I quickly had several offers, and I accepted one of them. My buyer had a few requests, and that's to be expected. People usually make an offer contingent on the seller performing particular tasks. These things tend to be simple changes that are important to them.
I recognized the feeling behind it and had no problem as long as they were reasonable requests. I know, because I made similar requests when I looked for a new home.
What Are Reasonable Buyer Requests?
My buyer asked me to replace three hazy windows. I could never clean them since the haze was between the panes. Taking care of that was a no-brainer to sell the house.
A local glazier gave me a very reasonable quote. Since I had to wait until I knew the buyer would sign a contract, the glazier agreed to honor his quoted price later. Of course, I got that agreement in writing.
My buyer also found a door that was loose on its hinges and didn’t close properly. That was an easy fix that I could do myself by placing longer screws through the hinges to secure them better. Even if you feel you need to call a carpenter, it’s worth this simple, low-cost repair.
Buyers want to be sure that nothing is going to break after they move in. If they find something on the verge of failure, they may ask you to replace it. If it's a small job, do it—but only after a contract is signed. The attorneys can always add a clause to the contract stating what will be done.
I Had a Signed Sales Contract in Three Weeks!
You might say I was lucky, but as a businessman, I know what works to appeal to buyers: Give them what they want.
The little things that my buyer requested were a no-brainer. I realized that if it didn't cost much, I might as well do it to hook the buyer into a purchase.
I had a signed contract in three weeks because I priced it right and had listened to my Realtor about the upgrades.
When the buyer had their mortgage approved, we closed simultaneously on the same day with the sale, and the purchase of my new home, three months later.
How to Negotiate When Buying a New Home
Often people are looking to buy a new home at the same time as selling their present home. Here are a few tips to help you when you are the buyer.
The most important thing is to take your time. Don't be too quick to settle when negotiating.
If you found a house but things are not going your way, keep looking at other properties and buy yourself some time.
When you decide on a place that meets your approval, make an offer, and tell your real estate agent to present your offer to the seller.
If you’re negotiating with the seller’s agent, and they tell you that the seller won't go down below a particular price, don't feel that you need to come up to that price. Let it play out. You also have to realize that the Realtor is working for the seller, not for you as the buyer.
You can hire your own agent if you want someone working on your side, but then the two agents usually split the commissions. That leaves less room to negotiate a lower commission, which I found works well when you’re near an agreed price.
When you are just a little bit away from an amount both parties accept, a reduced commission can make the deal happen.
While passing offers back and forth, Realtors must present your offer to the seller. If they tell you the seller won't go below X dollars, then stop right there. Insist that they show your offer and let you know the results. Sometimes the seller will come back with a compromise.
You might feel that you want to get this thing settled. However, if you rush it, you will end up paying much more.
Time is on your side when going through the negotiation. Let it work for you.
Soon you will be closing on a new home, maybe even on the same day as selling your prior place as I had done.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2013 Glenn Stok
Mdcash Homebuyers on February 27, 2017:
Great and helpful tips to sell a home fast. I am planning to sell my old home and buy a new one. These tips are very useful for me.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on September 10, 2014:
brakel2 - Thanks, Audrey, for your comment on my success with selling my home so quick. Sounds like you did similar things since you sold your home in three days. When I tell friends what they need to do to sell their home fast, some of them don't want to bother and they end up getting a lot less money for it. I guess that's their choice!
Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on September 10, 2014:
Hi Glenn - You made good choices in your updates for your home. The house shines with the updates and colors. Your idea to use the realtor with her expertise were wise decisions. We sold a home once in three days. It makes you feel like a new expert in the field. Your ideas should assist others in selling their own homes. Blessings, Audrey
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 14, 2014:
CraftytotheCore - Those houses might sell better if the owners upgraded a few things. As you said, easy things like painting and making the outdoors more presentable go a long way to attracting buyers. Thanks for your comment.
CraftytotheCore on April 14, 2014:
These are really great tips and ideas. In my neighborhood currently, there are two houses that have been for sale for the past year. This used to be a very popular neighborhood. It's definitely a buyer's market and with right reasons, buyers are picky. The homes that are for sale have the original carpets and very little upgrades from the 1950s. With a little effort, paint, new appliances and a good outdoor cleaning these homes would stand out and may sell quicker.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on October 28, 2013:
MsDora - That was indeed my plan - to show by example. I find your feedback helpful, knowing that I succeeded. Thanks for your comment.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 28, 2013:
Great article! You not only told us how but showed us. Great presentation and also a teaching tool. Voted Up!
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on October 27, 2013:
Melovy - I'm glad I was able to help with those suggestions to include in your list of things to do before selling your home. As I learned from doing it, it really pays off well. Best of luck to you with your move. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on October 27, 2013:
Rock_nj - Yes, your experience sounds very similar. It goes to show that anyone who puts their attention to these simple upgrades can reap the rewards with a quick sale and a higher sales price. Thanks for your comment and for sharing.
Yvonne Spence from UK on October 27, 2013:
We're hoping to move house soon - if we can find a place we want to move to that is! We've been repainting and tidying and dong minor repairs and your suggestions regarding light fittings and shabby things will now be next on our list. Thank you!
John Coviello from New Jersey on October 27, 2013:
Good advice Glenn, and definitely useful information for anyone looking to sell their home. The small and relatively inexpensive fixes can make a big difference when it comes time to sell a home.
I did something similar in 2010 when I sold my townhouse. I knew in the real estate market at that time I would not get top dollar, so instead I focused on upgrading the kitchen and the furnace, and painting walls that needed fresh paint, so I could sell it quickly. It is a similar story as yours. Within 3 weeks, I had a buyer and was able to move on to my new home when the deal closed a couple of months later.
Other townhouses in the area that were in poor condition sat on the market for years. When it comes down to it, buyers realize that they may pay $20 to $50 more per month on their mortgage for a home that is in move-in condition. However, it is a small price to pay to move into a home that doesn't need a lot of work. Renovating a home is not much fun, especially when you first move in and just want to enjoy your new home.
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