HOME: Top 5 Tips for Selling Your Home

A casual survey of news reports and census data reveals that about 45 million Americans relocate each year. Do the math, and you’ll find that about 15 to 20 percent of you reading this article will move in the next 12 months. On average, Americans move every five to seven years, according to the same reports. That means a significant percentage of us haven’t bought or sold a home since we were deciding between Kerry and Bush in the ballot booth.

So, what’s changed? We asked a few local professionals to shine some light on the subject. The tips they shared may surprise you. More importantly, they may help you in your next relocation.

1. Buyers shop online
Just a few years ago, a home listed on the Web often included minimal information with perhaps only one exterior picture. Now, the vast majority of buyers go online, especially during the early phase of their home search and a typical home listing often includes a dozen or more professional photographs. “It is extremely important that the Realtor you are working with is technology-savvy,” says Donna Kincheloe of Metro First Realty. “I set up websites for my buyers with the specific criteria they are looking for and the website automatically updates daily and emails the buyer information on a new listing fitting those criteria. Many buyers use this site for months until they are ready to buy.” In short, get your home on the Web and have photos taken by a professional.

2. Price is king
“Eighty percent of selling your home is price,” says Cindy Cook of Keller Williams. “You simply cannot market an overpriced home.” Over the past decade, the local market has not seen the same wild swings that national analysts talk about on cable news outlets. Although the local market has fluctuated, it has remained among the most consistent in the country. As Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas continue to grow, the number of homes on the market give buyers many choices in all price points. If your house is priced correctly, it will sell.

3. Update, update, update
Five years ago, it was a seller’s market, and demand for homes was substantial. Many sellers only needed to put a sign in their yard in order to capture the eye of a buyer. Now, it takes more to make your home stand out. Steve Reeser of Keller Williams says start by looking at three specific areas of your home: walls, floors and countertops. “Five years ago, a seller could sell his or her home without updating a thing. This is no longer the case,” says Reeser. “A seller should at least get estimates for any of these areas that need to be updated … especially granite countertops. An investment of a few thousand may be well worth it.”

4. When staging, it’s what you take out
Cable television programs that emphasize selling your home with a lot of artistic touches are a bit “over the top,” says Kini Gainer, owner of Show and Sell, an Edmond-based home staging company. “Instead, go ahead and box up everything you don’t use on a daily basis, like books, DVDs, toys and knickknacks. And take them to a storage unit, not the garage!” she says. Also, don’t be afraid to store some furniture. When decluttering, many people focus on pictures and other personal items, but they don’t take the time to remove an item of furniture or two. Doing so can make your home seem much more open.
Gainer also says that buyers are always interested in closet space. But, many sellers don’t give closets a second thought. Instead, try removing two-thirds of everything. Once you can see the walls, consider painting them. It will give the closet a crisp, clean look. White paint will make the space look as bright and expansive as possible. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference something like a closet can make.

And finally, a tip for buyers:

5. Get preapproved
Before you are ready to make a home-buying decision, make sure you are able. “The earlier you can get in touch with a trusted mortgage adviser, the better chance you have of getting exactly what you want,” says Brian Bomar, branch manager of Cornerstone Home Lending. Sometimes, people who are “just looking” stumble upon their dream home, only to find that it will take several weeks to get preapproved. You can eliminate a lot of stress by having that letter in your pocket when you make an offer. You also will find sellers more willing to work with you as you negotiate the many elements involved in buying their home. Plus, preapproval often is free.

To contact Donna Kincheloe with Metro First Realty, call 843-7761. For Cindy Cook at Keller Williams, call 625-6951 or for Steve Reeser at Keller Williams, call 476-6572. To reach Kini Gainer with Show and Sell, call
919-9101. To contact Cornerstone Home Lending, call 445-5445.

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