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How to Optimize the Sale of Your Home

Regardless if you're opting to list your home after one year or ten years of ownership, the goal is to get more out of it than what you put in. In certain markets, decent curb appeal and a well-priced home are all it takes; however, if you truly want to maximize your listing and generate a lucrative ROI from the sale, it's worth taking a few extra steps and investing a few extra dollars.

There's no need to spend thousands of dollars on a home you're set to leave, but to boost your home's value, you'll want to make sure it stands above its market competition. With that in mind, let's explore some ways you can optimize the sale of your home.

Partner with an Experienced Listing Agent

Speaking of that licensed real estate professional, seek out a skilled and savvy agent with experience in your specific market with your type of home. Need some feedback on what areas of your home will benefit from fixes and improvements? Want to know who the best photographer is for capturing stunning images of your home for its online listing? Don't know the best contractor, or lighting firms, or professional stager to address all of your home's listing needs?

A standout agent brings with them intimate knowledge of what it takes to ensure your listing success. They'll advise which path will increase your home's value and which steps are too much or unnecessary. They'll also have a broad network of professional vendors on call to help get the job done. 

Price it Right

While it's more inexact science than pure artform, pricing your home to sell is just as critical to optimizing its sale as anything else on this list. If you underprice your home, you'll leave money on the table. Conversely, overpricing your home could mean you risk that buyers will overlook your listing, forcing you to drop the price and lose considerable value. Buyers will become even more suspect of what issues the home may have once the price has dropped, even if it has none at all.

Understanding your market, researching past comp sales, and accounting for current listings all play a role in helping you set a price that will attract buyers' attention and promote favorable offers.

If the process seems a little daunting, a licensed real estate professional will make sense of even the most competitive or confusing markets. They can offer insight into what buyers are looking for and what they're willing to pay for it, and they'll recommend a price that serves your goals for the sale. 

Order Your Own Home Inspection

We realize that a buyer will eventually order their own home inspection during their purchasing process; however, when it comes to real estate, knowledge isn't just power—it's also value. Ordering an inspection on your soon-to-be for sale home will allow you to identify any potential problem areas that could sink or delay a sale. You can pinpoint areas needing repair and resolve any minor issues addressed long before potential buyers set foot in the home.

Further, you can utilize the report to develop a strategy for approaching the more significant concerns. Fix them on your own, disclose them during the sale, or leave them to be sorted out during negotiations. The inspection can also serve as a guide to potential updates to increase the home's market value. At the very least, you'll know what to expect when the buyer's inspection report comes back.

Upgrade Your Interiors

Once buyers move past the exterior of your home, they're ready to be wowed by its interior. Be sure not to disappoint, and consider a schedule of improvements or upgrades to give the home even greater character and an updated feel. Remember, there's no need for wholesale upgrades. A few strategic enhancements, primarily in those spots that stand out most to buyers, will considerably increase your home's value.

For example, enliven rooms and high traffic spaces with a fresh coat of paint in bright, welcoming neutral tones. Swap out old fixtures and hardware such as doorknobs and cabinet pulls in the kitchen and bathrooms for newer looks. Projects like a new steel front door or new garage doors are a big bonus too, and they can add the most value to your home with minimal investment.

Lighting—both artificial and natural—is a tremendous value add. If your home is older than five years, assess the impact of updating your home's lighting package. Not every room is necessary, but new ceiling fans with light kits or upgraded lighting fixtures in the kitchen, dining, or bathrooms will do wonders for adding a little more splash to the home's interiors. In addition, double-check that every light bulb throughout the house works, every window is cleaned, and every shade, blind, or drapery can be opened to allow for maximum light in your home.

Give Your Landscaping Plenty of Pop

When attempting to maximize your home's value, first impressions matter a lot. Right or wrong, a potential buyer will sum up the value of your home within the first few seconds of seeing it primarily based on its curb appeal. You don’t want to let that opportunity go to waste.

As little as a few hundred dollars can transform your home's exterior into a stunning showcase that demands a buyer want to see more. Rid your yard of any bare spots. Trim back trees and bushes. Plant seasonal flowers and fill in a tree or plant beds with fresh mulch. If you have a patio or wide walking path and front entry, invest in potted plants to enhance the aesthetics. Include the backyard as well, especially if it's a selling point of the home.

A beautiful landscape sets the tone for a buyer's tour, and that initial impression is one they'll carry throughout the visit. You may not earn the home's sale on its curb appeal alone, but you can certainly lose the deal if it's not up to par.

Stage Your Home

Beyond cleaning and decluttering, staging is the next step in giving the home a feeling of newness. To our earlier point on helping a buyer envision the home as their own, staging aids in crafting that illusion. When completed by a professional stager, the process will open up a house considerably. It will make a home feel larger, flow better, and feel like a place that is easy to live in and call home. More than that, staging can also show off a property's flexibility.

If last year's pandemic taught us anything about home buyers, it's that they appreciate flexible spaces, so show them what your home can do, or more accurately, what it can be. Have a den? Stage it as an office or movie room. Is there a fourth or fifth bedroom? Transition one into a playroom and the other into an exercise space. How versatile is your kitchen? Take the opportunity to create a warm, welcoming place to eat, visit or prepare meals.

Ultimately, staging doesn't show off the home as a place where you live—it demonstrates to a buyer the home's potential if they choose to live there.

Clean Your Home (and Keep It That Way)

After the inspection, this should be your top priority when working to optimize the sale of your home. While the mantra "clean is free" doesn't necessarily apply here, the less-catchy alternative "clean is relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain" does in this situation.

Cleaning, decluttering, and depersonalizing are key ingredients to giving your home the proper wow factor. Think back to when you first laid eyes upon a home you were buying, whether your current house or a prior residence. Consider the excitement you felt seeing it polished and dressed up to impress.

Recreate those same emotions for your potential buyers. Hire a professional cleaning service to perform a deep cleansing on the property. You want floors to shine, countertops to sparkle, smells eliminated, and carpet shampooed and vacuumed into neat and perfect rows. Decluttering and depersonalizing are critical too. The house should have a natural flow without furniture that’s too big for the space or worn pieces that clutter it. Removing the personal effects will help buyers envision the home as their own and not one that belongs to somebody else.

Once complete, do everything possible to keep the home spotless throughout the listing and sales process. You don't need to board your pets or boarding school your kids, but ensure the house is easy to straighten up should a potential buyer request a tour.

If you’re ready to explore the best of West Seattle real estate, contact Mara Haveson today to start your home buying or selling journey. From Belvidere real estate to North Admiral or West Seattle homes for sale, allow Mara and her team's years of experience and expertise to be your guide to luxury real estate in the Emerald City.


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Mara is one of few that can say that she really loves her job. It is her priority to learn and stay up-to-date in all the changing trends in the real estate market. Obtaining optional designations is one of many ways that she differentiate herself from other agents.
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