Category Archives: tips for selling your home

6 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home


puzzle in shape of house for saleYou’ve heard of ‘must-haves’ during a home search? We’re turning the table on this common saying, and delving into the ‘must-nots’ of home selling; you know, the mistakes a seller makes when listing their home for sale—and how you can avoid them when putting your home on the real estate market.

Making decisions based on emotions

To be fair, most homeowners don’t intend to make emotional decisions when selling their property. If you want to get the best sale price for your home, and not get stuck with a house sitting on the market, you need to shed all of the feelings you have for your home. Listen to your real estate agent’s advice, and make as an unbiased of a decision as possible.

Using the wrong numbers to price your home

This is the most common home selling mistake by far; sellers want to use the amount they owe on the property, the numbers listed on their property taxes, or the selling price their neighbor’s house sold for. The latter item is the closest to the right way to price a home, if the neighbor’s house is a comparable property. A comparable property is a home that is similar in square feet and lot size (as well as few other factors). If you contact a realtor, they can compile a list of comparable properties in the area that have sold and make a suggestion for a fair selling price based on local sale prices.

Figuring “we can always lower the price later”

Yes, you can drop your selling price later, but you’re missing a prime opportunity to set a good impression with potential buyers. A property that is not priced fairly is a home that sits on the market, making potential buyers wonder what’s wrong with it—or if you’ll accept a low ball offer. Find an excellent local real estate agent that can help you determine the right price for your home, and take their advice right away—as soon as you put your home up for sale.

Not preparing your home for sale

The perfect home for sale is clean, staged for a quick sale, and clear of any red flags that could kill the sale. Clean your home with a white glove approach. Scrub your toilets, sinks and tubs. Mop and vacuum your floors. Carpet clean any carpets that are stained. If you have a lot of “stuff” in your home, rent a storage unit for personal effects, knick knacks, large items that take up a lot of floor space—anything that fills up a room and doesn’t allow buyers to see the size or selling features of a room. Resist the urge to throw all of those items in one room; you’ll repel potential buyers who are intimidated by your pile of stuff.

Choosing the first real estate agent your find

Don’t just flip open the phone book, close your eyes, and randomly point to the name of a realtor on a page. Use our tips for selecting the right real estate agent to sell your home. A good realtor is experienced, familiar with your area, and has good communication skills. Don’t wait too long to bring the right real estate agent on board; contact a realtor via phone, email or social media right away so you can use their advice to prepare your home for sale.

Ignoring red flags

The scary part of this mistake is that you can’t always see red flags that could kill the sale of your home. Hire a home inspector to find those red flags before you put your home on the market. A good home inspector can pinpoint any problems that could turn off a potential sale, such as foundation issues, electrical problems, water damage—the list could go on and on. If you find these problems before your home hits the market, you can control how much it costs for repairs so you don’t have to deal with delays to your closing date or a loss of a potential sale.

Ready to move? 8 Tips for a Smooth Home Sale


For Sale Sign Under Home Showing Selling PropertyHave you outgrown your current home? Do you need to move to be closer to a new job or family? You’re not alone.  There are millions of homes sales in the United States every year. Though each sale is different, there are ways you can use to make your home sale process smoother from the day you put your house on the market until your big closing day—and less stressful if you follow the tips in our recent post.

Get a pre-listing home inspection.

Even if you think your home is perfect, and ready for the real estate market, red flags can still come up. For one homeowner, it was a leaking gas line to the furnace that he had to repair. You don’t have to see the problem for it to be there, and you don’t need the stress that comes with surprise issues that could delay, or even kill, your home sale. Hire a home inspector before you put your home on the market. If the home inspector does find an issue, you can control the cost of your repairs and the timeline to get it done—without any pressure to get it done before your closing date.

Find the right realtor for your home sale.

When selling your home, a realtor is your primary source of information and expertise so choose carefully. Talk to past clients about their experience with your potential realtor. Contact an experienced realtor who knows your area to ensure that you list your home at a price that’s fair and sells quickly. For more signs of a good (and bad) real estate agent, read our recent post about selecting the best agent for your home sale. If you don’t want  any financial surprises when you put your home on the market, contact your agent before you list to your home to get a free estimate of what your home is worth.

Give your home a good cleaning, or find someone that can.

gloves and cleaner for getting home ready for saleScrub your tubs. Sweep your floors. Clean your carpets. Give your home a deep clean before you list because cleanliness does matter to potential buyers. If you don’t have the time to give your home a deep cleaning before you put your home on the market, contact a local home cleaner or cleaning service so potential buyers are impressed—and not repelled—from your home.

De-clutter for a good showing.

Rid your home of extra knick knacks and personal items. As precious as those keepsakes are to you, “extra” items in a room can make it appear smaller or inhibit a potential buyer from imagining their furniture and items in the home. Make sure you put those items in a storage unit or another off-site place; don’t put it all in your garage or storage area which could have the same effect on buyers.

Set a fair selling price up front.

Many a buyer has set a selling price saying, “we can always lower the price later.” The truth is you don’t always get a second chance; if your home sits on the market, potential buyers may wonder what’s wrong with it and why it has sat so long on the market. How do you set a fair price? Choose a real estate agent that is knowledgeable in your area and can find a fair sales price from comparable sales prices (we’ve written more about the process for determining a fair price here).

Worry about curb appeal, even during the winter.

Curb appeal is an important part of selling your home; this is, after all, your chance to make a good first impression on potential buyers. While this can seem like an impossible task during winter, make sure your driveway and walks are clean and free of snow. Pressure wash your home during the fall to make sure it looks its best. During spring and summer, keep your flower beds clean and lawn mowed. In essence, keep your home looking neat and clean so buyers want to come in and see more.

Trust the right professionals.

Your home inspector, mortgage lender, and real estate agent are three of the most important professionals in your home sale. The first step in any home sale is to contact a mortgage lender to discuss your financials after you sell your home. If you are purchasing a new home, this is also your chance to discuss the budget of your next property. A good mortgage lender gives you not only a loan, but an education and a smooth home sale process. There are a lot of options for mortgage lenders, so start sifting through your home lending options by asking yourself questions about your expertise securing a home loan, your preferred method of communication, and what lenders can help if you if you have a unique situation (i.e. military or need a specific kind of loan). We’ve outlined the process of picking the right lender in this article.

Your home inspector is invaluable in preventing any unpleasant, pop-up surprises that could arise during your home schedule. We’ve seen home inspectors that have saved home sellers thousands of dollars in time and repairs, so be selective about the home inspector you choose. A good home inspector has past experience in construction, can provide samples of their home inspector report, is a member of a professional association, and can provide testimonials from past clients.

Have your documents ready.

You can cut down on delays and processing time by being one step ahead. There are two separate times during the home sale process when you need to ensure that you have proper documentation: through the pre-approval process and before your closing date. When you first apply for a loan for your new home (if applicable), make sure you have all the necessary documents appropriate for your documentation, such as:

  • Past tax returns
  • Proof of income (W-2, pay stubs, proof of Social Security payments, etc.)
  • Bank statements
  • Any documentation pertinent to your debts, renting history, spousal or child support, or any other information pertinent to your situation as requested by your lender

Just days before your closing date, contact your mortgage lender to make sure they have all the documentation need for your home sale. Your mortgage lender may need another document, pay stub, or guarantee for your closing. Now is the time to find out—before your closing date is canceled or delayed due to inadequate documentation.

5 Must-Follow Curb Appeal Tips that Sell Your Home


curb appeal tips for selling your homeThere are so many things to worry about when listing your Wisconsin home for sale on the real estate market. It’s easy to focus on the inside, and ignore the outside—even though that’s the first thing a potential buyer sees when they pull up to your home. So how do you make a good impression on potential buyers so how they want to purchase your house? Use these must-follow curb appeal tips:

  1. Make sure your lawn, hedges and trees are well-trimmed. Get out your lawn mower, pruners and weed eater. It’s time to keep the lawn neat and mowed, remove those stray branches and get rid of the weeds. You want your yard to show that you take good care of your home. Remember this is your chance to make a good impression from the moment a potential buyer drives up; if you can’t keep up with the yard work, ask your realtor to recommend a yard service that can.
  2. Check for cracks. Inspect your driveway and sidewalk for cracks. Make repairs as needed, and replace serious cracks in concrete and asphalt areas. Seal your asphalt driveway to give your curb appeal a finished look.
  3. Wash or paint your house. Yes, your house is judged by the peeling paint or mold growing on the siding. Wash or paint your house, or ask your realtor for a recommendation of a good local contractor that can make your home look new again. Don’t forget to wash your garage door, which is easy to forget and can build up with dirt over time.
  4. Make sure your deck is ready to wow the buyers. If you have a deck on the front or back of your house, wash or stain your deck to make sure it looks its best. If your deck has been around for awhile, have an inspector check the deck during a pre-listing inspection. You don’t get any surprises when the buyers’ inspector finds cracking supports or sinking footings, which could delay your closing date or drop your selling price.
  5. Check your lighting. What does your outdoor lighting say about your house? Does it say, “I’m outdated on the outside, just wait until you get to the inside?” or “My owners didn’t check the light bulbs out here, so they must have forgot to do other maintenance?” The good news is that updating the lighting on the exterior of your house is pretty inexpensive (especially if you shop around). Make sure the lights inside the exterior light fixtures all work, so you can turn on all the lights for a night showing.

If you need any other tips, or want to get an idea of the value of your home before you list, contact one of our experienced real estate agents on Facebook. An agent can come to your home, give a realistic selling price and give you tips to increase the value of your home. They can also answer any questions you have about preparing and listing your home for sale, so you can get your house on the market—and get the best possible selling price.