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13 Mar Selling Your Home For Top Dollar

When it comes to selling your house there are a number of items that need to be addressed to get the most out of the price. First and foremost you need an amazing real estate agent (wink, wink) that will guide you through the process and lead you down the right road. I hate to break it to ya, but there is no easy way to put your house on the market AND ask top dollar.

The good news is that a great agent will walk you through the process and help set you up for success in selling your home. The hard news is that there is going to be a bit of work involved.

The secret ingredient in a strong and powerful negotiation when you get an offer comes long before you put your house on the market. Read on for some insight.

The steps to get the most out of your house when selling:

  1. Hire an amazing real estate agent – it’s not as easy as you think. But hiring an agent to walk you down the right path isn’t as simple as using someone you know or even an agent that does a ton of marketing. Go ahead and interview a couple agents and go with who knows your area and can give you the best advise…not necessarily the agent with the slickest presentation.
  2. There will be prep work. If you really want top dollar then you need to be willing to do the work. I have yet to walk into a house that doesn’t need some work in order to get  top dollar. The work may not be extensive, but there is always work to be done. Get an agent involved from the beginning so that you are doing the right things and not wasting time, energy or money.
  3. Do the right things to get top dollar can vary from house to house. It can be as extreme as gutting a bathroom or updating a kitchen to something as simple as giving the main rooms a new paint job.  Hiring an agent that knows the area well will be the key to some of your success here. Make sure everything is touched up with paint or stain as needed.
  4. When making the updates know who your market is. Make sure you are doing the things that will speak to the potential buyer of your home. Talk to your agent and see who is buying in that area. What are they looking for? What is selling? Make sure you understand this before doing a bunch of updates that won’t catch a potential buyers interest.
  5. Your house is only special to you. I really hate to break it to you, but your house isn’t so special that you can ask top dollar without doing the work. I know…I know…I think my house is pretty freaking great and I feel like I have put a lot into my house over the years. I feel some of the amenities that my house has to offer is better and worth more. But none of that matters, what matters is what the market (meaning the buyers) says is special, valuable or unique enough to ask top dollar. Your goal is to make your house special to an entire market of potential buyers.
  6. Give it a ‘white glove’ cleaning. Seriously, from the ceilings down to the very back corners, make sure everything is wiped down. A white glove clean means that someone with white gloves should be able to walk in your house and touch every surface and still walk out with perfectly clean white gloves. I realize that if you have kids or dogs that it will be impossible to keep it this way…but trust me, people can tell the different between the kids and dogs messing things up and something that hasn’t been given any attention at all. And just to be clear, dogs and kids don’t create the dust and cobwebs…so not really a lot of excuses on this front.
  7. Update fixtures – both lighting and plumbing fixtures. It’s not exactly cheap, but it’s also not that expensive when we are going to be asking for top dollar.  Buying some updated lighting fixtures for the main areas of the home will go a long, long way. Same thing with the plumbing fixtures. It’s not terribly expensive to buy some updated plumbing fixtures to make a bathroom feel updated.
  8. Declutter, and when we say declutter, we mean get rid of 75% of your stuff. Your moving, so at some point it needs to be packed up anyway. So pack it up! IF and I mean only IF you have enough room in a basement or a storage room, then go ahead and neatly stack the boxes. But if you are trying to sell you basement as a finished livable space then don’t put the boxes there. It’s hard to see around them.

Now is a great time to go through your stuff. Do you really need it all? When is the last time you used an item?  Trust me, it feels so good to get rid of stuff that just clutters your home and life! It’s time to move on and give the stuff a new life…with someone else! Donate it. Sell it. Just get rid of it. If you think you really need it or it has significant meaning then, fine, keep it. Just pack it away.  

Keep out only what you need to live while your house in on the market. You want to make it look like there is so much space all around the house. You want people to see the home, not your stuff.  Don’t just throw the stuff in closets or cabinets, because guess what, people open those and they will see it and it will make it look like there is not enough storage space in the home. If there are items that you feel you want to keep available, go low. Put items under the bed…I have yet to have any client actually look under a bed.

13.Take a good look at your furniture. If you have outdated furniture or the furniture is looking a little rough, then go ahead and move it to your storage area. Buy slip covers. Going out and buying new furniture doesn’t make sense, however, having unattractive/outdated furniture really takes away from the appeal of the home. It makes it feel outdated, old and need of….well, something. Buyers have a hard time seeing past this.

While everyone realizes that your stuff is not their stuff and won’t stay with the house…doesn’t matter, remove it, touch it up or cover it.  Buying some new couch pillows, throw blankets, rugs and pictures can really make blah space feel fresh, updated and a place a potential buyer would want to live. It’s all about creating an image here, it has nothing to do with your actual furniture. It’s called staging for a reason.

If you have already bought a new place and plan to move in prior to putting the old house on the market, then I strongly recommend spending the money to have your home staged. Staged homes sell quicker and for more money than empty homes.

  1. How does the outside look? Does it need power washed? Buy some plants, buy some brightly color planters for those plants…making an awesome first impression is vital. Make it feel welcoming, someplace they want to see and be from the moment a potential buyer walks up to a home.
  2. Price your house right.  Getting top dollar does not mean overpricing or increasing your asking price because you put money into the house to sell it. The hardest thing for sellers to wrap their heads around is just because you spend $5,000 or $10,000 to make updates or prep a house for sale, this doesn’t increase your asking price. If top dollar in your area is $250,000 then spending $10,000 on updates doesn’t fetch you $260,000, it simply helps ensure that you can actually ask for that $250,000.

On the flip side not spending the money on the updates may require you to market your home at $235,000. In this case it seems like a good deal to spend the $5,000 in order to be able to ask for $15,000 more than if you didn’t make the updates. Be sure to talk to your agent about what you could get if you did and didn’t do the necessary updates. Maybe it’s worth it to you to ask less because you don’t want the hassle of having to do the work.

  1. Check out the competition. Look at the other houses on the market that offer similar features. You want to make sure you are in line with them as far as updates and pricing. If you overprice your property then why would someone buy your house over another one in the same neighborhood that is priced appropriately? Again, I know your house is special, but you have to remember what the buyers are thinking. If the houses are similar then it seems to be a no brainer to go for the house that is priced less…think about it, you would do the same thing.


Doing all of these items can help ensure that you get top dollar for your home and puts your agent in the best position to negotiate the best price on your behalf. It’s really hard for any agent to argue an outdated, overpriced property. We have to have some basis for our negotiations. But if you prep your home and price it appropriately then you are likely to get the most out of your house…assuming you have the right agent.

Questions? Great! Call me or any agent at Hermann London. We would love to chat with you, give you some insight and sell your home!

Shannon St. Pierre

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