Whether it’s an investment property or your family home, selling a real estate property is no simple undertaking. Besides the high stakes involved, there are various logistical steps to address, from sprucing up your property’s appearance to planning your marketing campaign. To help you make the most of your property sale, we’ve asked five Diamond Certified Expert Contributors in the real estate field to provide some tips.
Presenting your property
In order for your property to stand out in the competitive Bay Area real estate market, you’ll need to get it looking its best. This consists of several steps, most of which fall under the category of “staging,” an industry-specific approach to home presentation. According to Patricia Scott Winslow, a real estate agent with Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty, staging goes beyond merely making the home appear clean and tidy—it also involves strategic use of light, color, foliage and furniture to achieve a desired aesthetic effect.
A key goal of staging is to create a neutral environment in which buyers can envision themselves living. That’s why Ms. Winslow recommends removing any personal items and clutter, as well as painting and decorating with neutral tones and decor. Additionally, she says staging can broaden a home’s appeal to buyers who might not have otherwise considered it due to certain factors. “For example, if your home is small in size, good staging can interpret this characteristic differently and show it in a more positive light.”
In addition to enhancing your property’s interior, it’s important to address its exterior—particularly the front yard and façade. Christine Stahl, partner at Lommori Stahl Group of Re/Max Star Properties, defines this crucial element of property presentation as curb appeal. “Think of it as the ‘face’ of your property—the first thing potential buyers see when they drive up,” she explains. “Maximizing your property’s curb appeal involves several steps, from general upkeep to adding colorful flowers or repainting your front door, all of which help furnish a good initial impression.”
Performing pre-sale inspections
While it’s wise to invest in your property’s aesthetic presentation, if you want to win over buyers, you’ll need to show proof that it’s really as good as it looks. That’s why David Kerr of Kerr & Jones – Terra Firma Global Partners recommends performing pre-sale home inspections. “Having general home and pest inspections done in advance boosts buyers’ confidence by giving them critical information about your property up front,” he says. “Additionally, pre-sale inspections will allow you to understand what you’re selling, which means you’ll have the opportunity to address any issues prior to putting your property on the market. By taking care of these things in advance, you can expect a quicker, cleaner sale.”
Establishing your property’s value and price
Besides getting your property market-ready, you’ll also need to establish its market value. As Jeffrey Marples of Square Foot SF explains, this starts with looking at comparables, or “comps” as they’re know in the real estate industry. “Comps are valuable tools for determining a property’s value because they compare recently sold properties in the neighborhood based on criteria such as sale price, age, size and square footage. Depending whether it’s a house or a condo, the goal is to establish a price that’s in accordance with what the market demands.”
Once you’ve determined your property’s approximate value, you might assume you should list it at the maximum possible asking price. However, according to Mr. Marples, this isn’t a wise strategy—in fact, he recommends listing it at just below its market value. The idea is to attract a greater number of buyers, which will lead to multiple offers and create a bidding war for your property. The intended result: a higher closing sale price than you expected.
Planning your marketing campaign
Once all the details regarding your property are set, it’s time to launch your marketing campaign. To maximize your reach, plan on utilizing every available platform to spread the word about your property, from newspaper and real estate listings to open house events. However, the most important aspect of your marketing campaign may be your digital presence. Nowadays, the bulk of buyers browse real estate listings online, which means they’re likely to see your home on the Internet before they see it in person.
Due to the prevalent role of digital marketing in modern real estate, Bryan Van Heusen of Van Heusen Real Estate Group recommends enhancing your digital presentation with professional photos. “Following a recent poll, the Wall Street Journal found that, on average, buyers perceive homes portrayed in professional photos to be worth 12 percent more than their actual price,” he says. “In addition to accurately capturing the wide angles of your home, a photographer can bring out certain colors and features in the editing phase. By showcasing your home’s aesthetic strengths, a professional image can substantially boost its appeal to potential buyers, resulting in a boost in offers.”
While it’s helpful to educate yourself about the process of selling a property, keep in mind there’s no substitute for the expert guidance of a real estate professional. To find a Diamond Certified real estate agent in your area, visit www.diamondcertified.org.