Part 1: Top tips for marketing and selling your home

 In Moving

I’ve seen them from time to time and I’m sure you have too: those “for sale” signs that seem to stand the test of time, only to be topped off by new signs that say things like “price reduced.”

It’s by far the fear that most homeowners worry about the most, yet one that rings true more often than it should. I’m talking about homes that don’t sell, allowing a property to stand vacant for weeks or even months on end.

While there may be lots of reasons why a home isn’t selling: the market, the neighbourhood itself, or perhaps the price of the home, there are some things you can do to generate some momentum in selling your home, all while keeping yourself sane during the “big move”.

That’s why I truly think that if you’re about to put your home on the market, or even you’re just thinking about it sometime in the future, it really pays to do your homework from the start.

That’s well before you place the “for sale” sign in the yard, or put your home online for everyone to see.

I’m certainly not suggesting you become an expert overnight, but there are definitely some things you can do to help market your home successfully, whether you go it alone or hire a real estate agent to help you do the job.

That brings us to one of the biggest decisions out there: whether to sell your home yourself or go with a Realtor.


Why hire a Realtor?

To make it simple, I’ll start with some of the big benefits of hiring a real estate agent. Obviously it will take some of the pressure off of you. Sure you’ll need to keep a tidy home, but you won’t necessarily be the one driving in all the potential buyers. A good agent knows where to list your home to get the most foot traffic.

An agent:

  • Knows the local market
  • Can connect with other brokers or agents who have potential buyers
  • Knows where and how to list your home

Online sites are great to use and so is social media. Your agent can help you put together professional photos of your home and maybe even a digital video tour that really shows it off to potential buyers.
They also know to navigate all those tricky contracts, deal with home inspectors, help you come up with counter-offers, plus
cruise through the inner-workings of an auction, if you go that route.

It’s your agent’s goal to help you get a great price for your home because it benefits them too. As I said earlier, many times a home sits on the market because of the price.

If your home is overpriced it either won’t sell or you’ll start getting discouraged by some low offers. An agent can help look through comparable listings in your area to help come up with a fair price.


Why choose sale by owner?

On the flip side, I find that some sellers are more comfortable going it alone, potentially making more money by marketing a home themselves.

You could:

  • Save on agent commission costs
  • Try out more alternative marketing methods

When you sell yourself you decide where to put a listing. You can also contract with a photographer for professional photographs if you want, and list your property on
one of several alternative real estate-related websites designed to help the seller with some of the legwork.

While you may be a little, or maybe even more than a little, biased about how much your home is worth, you can still stand to make a profit by marketing and selling your home yourself.

That brings us to another decision:


What’s my home worth?

Probably one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is figuring out how to price your home. If you’re doing it yourself you can look at the accessed value and compare that to what other comparable homes in your area have sold for in recent months. While a real estate agent makes this easy, the information is out there.

Be sure to take into account things like:

  • Square footage
  • Number of bedrooms/baths
  • Location
  • Any recent updates/upgrades that may bring more value to your property

Here’s where you’ll also want to take a closer look at your home.

Walk through your home like you’re a potential buyer. Look for things that may need some quick updates or even some that may be more costly and then make a list of what you need to do.

A quick paint job can really freshen up your home, and new fixtures can help your old home from looking dated. A home inspection will, of course, turn up any major issues that need immediate attention.


Before you sell

Whether you hire a Realtor or go it alone, I suggest you take a good look at other things that may turn a seller off.

I’m referring to:

  • Bulky furniture
  • Personal pictures/mementos
  • Extra stuff that just takes up space

Things like these may actually prevent a buyer from visualising their own belongings in your old home.

Instead, think about de-cluttering your home. Try storing your items with options such as a POD in order to better show off your home’s best attributes, while at the same time making it easier to make your next move, whether across town or across country.

Some sellers find that a property stylist can also help you see the big picture by staging your old home with new furnishings or even helping you with making last minute renovations.

A stylist can even come up with new and creative ways to use space in a home.

Have an awkwardly shaped extra bedroom or an open floor plan with little definition of living space?

A stylist may be able to rework the space into a home office or show a new way to divide up a large room for multiple uses.

That’s why it’s a great idea to include things like storage and home staging or styling in your overall marketing plan.

Remember: a home that shows well is more likely to sell!


Where do I begin?

If you’re still not exactly sure where to start I’ve come up with a handy checklist before you sell your home. They’re all things you need to decide early on:

  • Sell yourself or hire an agent
  • Agree on price
  • Stage or make renovations
  • Make a marketing plan
  • Put house on the market



Do your homework!

Before you even think about putting your home on the market and making a move to a new home, you need to take inventory of what you have and what you want out of the home sale.

Compare the pros and cons of selling a home on your own to hiring an agent.

Is a marketing plan necessary? I absolutely think it is.

Use any home marketing to your advantage. Use photographs, videos and think of creative places to show off your property online, through social media or through traditional methods such as newspapers, flyers or even postcards.

Keep in mind that no matter how good your home looks to you, potential buyers have to be able to see it.

If you do all of these things and price your home right you’re already on the right track to selling your home quickly and hopefully at a great price to put more money in your pocket and potentially in your next real estate investment.

And that’s a great outcome when you’re trying to stay sane during the sometimes crazy process of selling a home.


This post is part 1 of a 3 part series. Read the rest of the series:

Part 2 – How to effectively declutter and present your home

Part 3 – The house sold, now what? 7 helpful moving day tips 

  • B. Johnston

    I have recently sold my home of some forty years. having been widowed and with children all left home, I found myself with a very large family home and using only about 20%’of the area on a regular basis.
    I was fortunate in choosing an Agent who came recommended by someone close to me and who proved a good fit for me. She managed to get a couple of interested buyers without me paying for advertising or having those exhausting open houses.
    There was some initial bargaining with lower offers but in the end the ultimate sale price seemed reasonably fair to me. The most difficult parts of the exercise were making the decision to sell a home with so many memories attached to it and then downsizing and deciding what next. Downsizing is such a trite word with overwhelming implications for someone of my age. Without my family I doubt I could have done this thing.
    Well I finally made my decision for my next move and only time will tell if it was the right one, but I do know I feel I made the right decision to sell.
    The next chapter of my story would be my experience after so many years of furnishing a new smaller place and how service and supply has changed since I last did such a thing.

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Better Homes and Gardens home makeover with a PODS moving container