Selling a Home in Tallahassee
Selling your home in Tallahassee is a lot like selling anything in the digital age. First impressions matter AND the first impression is online. Buyers expect high-quality pictures today. Research says that marketing matters too. Buyers want to picture themselves in your home. Make sure that your home is pleasing to all five senses, and it will encourage buyers to offer more on your home. Helping the buyers feel comfortable in your home while maintaining a picture-perfect condition can be a challenge – especially with young ones.
If you are thinking about selling your Tallahassee home, here’s where to start.
1. An Honest Evaluation
Take a step back and look at your house with the eyes of a stranger. Start a to-do list of items that need to be cleaned, fixed, removed, or freshened up before having strangers judge your house. Buyers rarely tell you why they were turned off. They do not want to be mean or offend you.
Have a friend walk through your house and open all your closets and cupboards. Sniff every corner and open every drawer. Make a list. Ideally, there should be space on every shelf. Aim to have at least half of the floor space free in every room. Consider hiring professionals to help you organize.
This is also an opportune time to interview Realtors. Have them come and make recommendations. The advice experienced Tallahassee Realtors give will help you earn more at the closing table. (We would love to hear from you!)
2. Clean, clean, clean, repair, replace, purge and pitch
Take the to-do list and start addressing what you found. There is no such thing as too clean – especially during this pandemic.
If you are handy, you will be able to complete some repairs on your own. If not, we have a list of handymen and general contractors who can help. Empty out closets and drawers. Donate any clothes you have not worn in the past two years. Shred any personal documents you have stored and do not need. If you have a lot of furniture (or belongings) you may want to consider renting air-conditioned space. You want to see as much floor space as possible.
In as many ways as possible, make it bright and airy. While you may like sleeping in a cave (we do), buyers respond better when rooms are filled with light. Wash all windows and curtains. Replace any low watt or burned-out lightbulbs. Remove any dead plants (inside and out). Trim trees from the roof. Clean gutters. Clean pet beds.
Gather your warranties and paperwork for all repairs and work you have had done to your home since your ownership. Make a list of the professionals you have worked with in the past that may be able to answer questions or supply documents (like paid invoices, permit applications, etc.). Replace or repair any appliance that is not working properly. Some funding requires working appliances.
Download our checklist for sellers. Seller Cleaning List
3. Paint and Freshen
New paint is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your first impression. Choose neutral colors for the inside. Repaint rooms with unusual or dark colors.
We had one listing in an extremely popular neighborhood that sat on the market longer than their neighbors. The buyers who toured it had pleasant things to say but did not make an offer. We had a feeling it was the bright blue kitchen. Once repainted, we had way more showings and offers quickly.
The most cost-effective way to increase curb appeal is landscaping – especially if you can do it yourself. Plants are inexpensive. Find blooming plants to add a spot of color to your home. If you have large trees close to your home, consider calling the arborist. They can evaluate the health of your trees.
4. Depersonalize and de-clutter
It can be difficult for buyers to see themselves living in your house if they get distracted by the photos of you on vacation, your trophies, knickknacks, etc. Pack that stuff away and get a head start on moving. We have worked with buyers who would not make an offer because they were sure that the seller would not be able to remove their things even with six weeks’ notice. Do not be that seller.
Your cupboards and bookshelves should have empty space on the shelves, and we should be able to see the floor of closets. Removing excess furniture and clutter will make your space feel bigger and provide a more inviting atmosphere.
The written description of a home can be more important than the pictures. Buyers want to see themselves in your space. Create as many inviting ‘settings’ as you can. Like a dinner table set with beautiful plates and flowers. Or pillows and a book in the window seat.
Unknown leaks can go years before being detected in an inspection.
Our noses are funny in the way that we do not smell scents we are used to, and pet odor is one of the best examples of this. (Smoke is another one!) Before you list your home, ask a couple of friends to be honest with you. (Ask your Tallahassee Realtor too!) Keep litter boxes clean and the backyard picked up. During showings stash the pet food bowls. There is little that smells worse than canned cat food.
You will need to decide how to make sure your pets are kept safe while strangers come and go viewing your home. Posting signs helps remind visitors to keep escape-minded critters inside.
Then there is Betty. Betty was buying her first home, for cash, at 65 years old. She refused to tour any home that had a dog. She was terrified of them. She passed on several homes that would not remove dogs for showings. Betty was a little extreme, but barking dogs are not pleasant to encounter no matter what.
6. Hire a Professional Full-Time Realtor
You knew this was coming – right? I am a Tallahassee Realtor. Many people want to try to sell their homes on their own and save the commission for themselves.
We can understand that. We did too before we were licensed.
However, studies have shown that experienced Realtors are worth more than that 6% you pay them to help guide you through the complex process, market the house, negotiate your contract, and get you to closing so can move on. Remember that commission you negotiate pays the buyer’s agent too.
Hiring a professional Tallahassee Realtor means signing a listing agreement. This will be your first experience negotiating for the sale of your home. How the agent handles this will tell you a lot about how they will work for you during the process.
The process of selling your Tallahassee home ready can be overwhelming and cause sleepless nights. It is worse if you do not feel like there is someone in your corner watching out for you. We believe in providing sellers with as much information as possible and guiding them through the many options available to them.
There is little in real estate that cannot be negotiated, and we have the experience to make your move easier. For us, it is always people over property. We look forward to hearing from you.