Hey guys! Thanks for hanging in with me over this extended break. I’m going to write a separate post about this little break and what I’ve learned, but as promised, here is the post on how we sold our house so quickly, and above asking price.
I’m gonna tell you, the secret lies in 3 things that we actually got right. It’s 1- finding a kick-booty agent that knows your local market; 2- awesome listing pictures; and 3- making your house feel like home for potential buyers
A little background. Our area is in a bit of a revitalization right now. Our school system is amazing. In just a few years, through the dedication of our truly wonderful school system staff, our graduation rate has increased from the mid-50’s (yes, only around 50% of students in our school system graduated) to over 90%! Now, because of the excellent schools and still affordable real estate, people are flocking to this area. So that definitely helped us sell.
That being said, there are many houses around of similar size, price, etc., that have been on the market for months. So let’s get to how we sold so quickly and above asking!
The power of local agents
So you always see advertisements for these high profile real estate agents who have a million listings. I see these ads for agents that are all the way in Atlanta, an hour and a half away from here. Then I see folks with their signs in the yard, and they sit forever.
We’ve sold 3 houses, and each time we’ve used the same agents, who are from our community and have worked here for years. They know our area. They know what’s important to area buyers and how we should and shouldn’t spend our money in preparing our home to sell. And, they know how to price homes competitively so they sell fast, but for top dollar.
With this house and our last house, I was ready to put some money into improvements that I thought would be really important- but they talked me out of it because they knew that stuff isn’t important to local buyers. And they were totally right! Had I done what I had planned (based on generic advise from HGTV, Realtor.com, etc.) it would have been a total waste of money.
Our last home actually sold BEFORE it even hit the market because our local agents had clients that were looking for a house like ours. We had multiple offers and sold over list price then, too.
If you’re local to the Athens, GA, area, I highly recommend Christy Sapp and Stanley Thomas, a father-daughter team who is truly amazing!
Awesome listing pictures
It makes me crazy to see listing pictures of a perfectly beautiful house that are clearly done by either a very amateur listing agent, or one that just doesn’t care about selling the house. Pictures that are dark, from crazy angles that don’t make sense, showing “features” that just make the house look weird, etc. I just don’t understand it. In this age of Pinterest, Instagram, etc., agents should know how important a good picture is!
For our house, I asked our agents if we could use some of my own photography in the listing. I’ve gotten pretty good at interior photography just from the blog, not as good as some of the professional pics I’ve seen, but MUCH better than the clearly amateur phone photography that a lot of real estate agents use.
I really believe this made a difference. The day that our listing hit the market, we had several requests for showings. In addition, because we went under contract 24 hours from listing, we had several offers from people WHO HADN’T EVEN SEEN THE HOUSE YET. They were offering purely from the pics. These offers were even over list price! This kind of stuff just doesn’t happen in our area.
I don’t care what your agent says, insist that they get good photography of your home for the listing pics. I promise this makes a difference.
Make your house feel like a home
So, conventional wisdom states that you should completely de-personalize your home before you list it. Remove rugs if they are covering hardwoods, take down all personal pictures, remove any extraneous furniture so you can show off room size. I feel like doing this can make a house feel cold.
That wasn’t what we did. Pretty much, the only things we did were to de-clutter and clean. We left all of our artwork and family photos (probably close to 50 pieces). We left all rugs in place.
Our house, for the pictures and the showings, looked almost exactly like it does for the blog pictures. Basically, the best version of itself, clean and shiny, but still like our house. I wanted it to feel like a home, like real people could live there.
I don’t think that doing this makes people not picture themselves there. Honestly, buyers are smarter than that. I think it makes the house feel warm, like a place you’d want to call home and raise a family. In fact, the buyers, in a letter to us with their offer, stated, “It really felt like home to us” and a place they want to start their family.
The other stuff
Definitely clean your home from top to bottom. If you have a lot of clutter, get rid of that. Broken stuff, fix it. But you already know that 🙂
I hope this was helpful for you! If you are selling your home, good luck on your home selling adventure!