When you’re selling your house, you want it to sell quickly at the best price possible. While the real estate market in Austin is in better shape than most cities in the country, it still takes time and patience before you can put up the “sold” sign. It also takes a lot of preparation. The best chance you have of selling your Austin home quickly and at a price you can live with is to make it market-ready before you have it posted in the Austin Multi-listing Service (MLS). There are three important steps to take before putting your house up for sale.
1. Use a Real Estate Agent
While some people prefer to first attempt to sell by owner, there are many reasons why it’s not the best tactic. For starters, real estate professionals know the market. They know what works and what doesn’t. They can look at your property with an objective eye and help you determine the best selling points, what needs improvement and how to price it. They have marketing programs that work well and can help you achieve your goals. If you need special work done on your home or you’re interested in staging it, your Austin real estate agent can make recommendations. Being objective about your house is difficult to do. Homes that are for sale by owner also turn off many would-be buyers who are concerned about the sale going through properly.
2. Make it Saleable
Start by cleaning your Austin home from top to bottom and make any obvious repairs or hire a professional to do them for you. Take the time to replace torn screens, apply caulk and paint where necessary. If any of your rooms really need fresh paint, opt for neutral colors. Put seldom-used items into a storage until you are ready to move out. Remove items from sight that make it personal, such as photos and hobby collections. It’s also a good idea to clear all of your kitchen countertop space of small appliances, like coffee makers, can openers and toaster ovens. Keep them in a cabinet until you need to use them, then put them away as soon as you are done. This not only emphasizes the amount of countertop space you have, but it makes the kitchen look cleaner. Your home should be ready to show the day you put it on the market.
3. Price It Right
The bottom line on any home sale is price. Try to get it right from the very beginning. Ask your real estate agent for recommendations and look at recently sold comparables in the area for guidance. Be sure that you are not trying to sell it for more than its probable appraisal. The idea that you can start high and lower the price later is not as effective as it used to be. Don’t shortchange yourself on amenities, either. For example, if you have two automatic generators in your home, don’t forget to tell your real estate agent. Make a list of recent improvements and include anything out of the ordinary in its structure, such as a skylight, green materials, a swimming pool or a security system. If you’re flexible when entertaining offers, you’ll probably sell faster.
Before you list your home on the Austin MLS or put a sign out front, make sure it’s ready for that first potential buyer. You never know when someone will see it and be ready to make a reasonable offer. A half-hearted effort will discourage potential buyers and lengthen the number of days your home is on the market. Always remember, you can’t make a second first impression.