Last month, I put my beloved BLB on the market. It was a very bittersweet time preparing to say goodbye to the house I’ve called home for 3-1/2 years and San Antonio that has been my home away from home for the last 5 years.
After a week preparation, my house officially went on the market on Friday 7/5 and was off of the market and under contract by that Monday 7/8! Crazy right!? I’m so grateful and blessed that the house sold so quickly. Thanks to great marketing through my own Instagram and Coldwell Banker courtesy of my Realtor®, Rose Snow, I literally had a line of interested agents and prospective buyers down my driveway for both open houses that holiday weekend. Rose told me that she’d never seen that many people at any of her open houses. She even ran out of listing flyers for attendees! Rose also went on and on about how everyone raved over the aesthetics of my home and the furnishings and décor, with many inquiring if the furniture was for sale or if the house was being sold furnished.
So what was the key to my house selling in three days and over asking price? Well there were a few factors that were in my favor. For one, it’s summertime! Selling your home in the spring and summer months is key, as it’s the prime time that buyers want to move. Kids are out of school and moving is less of a hassle with everyday lives, routines and schedules. Second, it’s currently a seller’s market. Interest rates are low, the number of houses available is slim and the demand for homes is high! Many buyers are frustrated by bidding wars and homes that are off the market within 48 hours of the “For Sale” sign hitting the front yard. Lastly, I think the key to my house selling was the time and effort I put into preparing my home to go on the market and ensuring the selling process go smoothly once under contract.
If you are thinking about selling your house, here are a couple of tips to getting it ready to sell:
If you’ve been reading my blog over the past couple of months, you know I’ve been on a Tidying Up spree! I’ve gone through every room, closet, nook and cranny eliminating junk, clutter and unnecessary belongings from my home based on Marie Kondo’s KonMari method. Because of this precursor, cleaning up my house in the way real estate agents suggest took less than a week. When prospective buyers enter your home, they want to get a feel for the square footage and be able to see themselves living there. It’s pretty hard to do that when they can’t see past the previous owner’s junk. Minimize the amount of furniture and décor so every wall and floor is clearly seen. Make a point to remove anything that may be distracting to prospective buyers. Sometimes sellers also remove personal photos and items like family pictures and religious items, but that’s a decision I’ll leave up to you (I left all of mine out – a Black Christian woman that loves her nephews and dog lived there and I didn’t care if they knew! LOL). Make sure closets aren’t more than two-thirds full and sanitary spaces like the kitchen and bathrooms are sparkling clean. After decluttering the house, I spent about $200 hiring a cleaning company through Thumbtack to clean BLB for a few hours. This saved me some time and labor.
2. Curb Appeal
Now that the inside of my house was tidy, it was time to give a little TLC to the exterior. My house, deck and sidewalks hadn’t ever been powerwashed in my 3-1/2 years of living there and doing so was well overdue. I hired Rightway Cleaning, a local veteran-owned business in San Antonio, to powerwash it all for about $600. Could I have purchased or borrowed a powerwasher and supplies to do it myself? Sure, but again, time was of the essence. I saved time by outsourcing this work to professional. I also made sure my lawn guy cut the yards every two weeks and I purchased pruning sheers from Lowes to trim the out of place branches and leaves of my beautiful crepe myrtle trees that lined my fenced backyard and adorned my front porch. Lastly, I took the time to clean and add fresh plants to my front porch bistro set and back deck patio furniture, adding a new outdoor rug to complete the space. Not only would this add value to my real estate listing photos, but it would also present a warm welcome to those viewing the home in person once on the market.
Any real estate agent will tell you that staging your home will increase the chances of the house selling, and it’s likely to sell much faster versus the space being completely empty or poorly furnished. Luckily BLB’s furnishings were pretty perfect and my real estate agent didn’t offer any recommendations to remove or modify the placement of my belongings. A few things to keep in mind when staging your house for photography, showings and open houses is that you want prospective buyers to feel right at home. Allow them to envision their own belongings and families in the space easily with transitional furniture and minimal décor. Make sure features like quartz countertops and hardwood floors aren’t covered up and natural light comes into the space easily. The home should also look and smell clean without pet odors or rings around the tub and toilets. If you’re trying to sell a vacant home, inquire with your real estate agent about using a staging company should they believe this will help you sell the house faster.
4. Move-In Ready
So a lot of what I’ve mentioned are obvious things potential buyers can see, but what about the unseen? No one wants to move into a house with issues or pay for things to get fixed and updated. Most buyers, especially first-time homebuyers are “cash-poor,” meaning they are reserving their funds for their down payment, closing costs, new appliances and furniture and/or moving expenses. With this in mind, save yourself the pain of satisfying the Inspection Report later by getting a head start on those easy fixes. For BLB, I hired an electrician to repair some of my GFCI outlets I knew were loose around the home and two of my kitchen’s recessed lights that weren’t working. I also had recent damage to my siding from a tropical storm that was repaired quickly for $300. Lastly, I made sure I located the termite treatment receipts and annual contracts, as well as engineer certificates from the foundation work I had done two years prior. With all of these documents within easy reach, I made both my life and my Realtor’s job much easier and I didn’t have to rush to make these improvements once the closing clock began to count down.
By following these easy steps, you too can sell your house quickly in the hot housing market we’re currently living in. Selling my house in three days and moving out in less than a month was hectic, but it could’ve been a lot more stressful had I not taken the liberty of preparing my home for sale as shared.
So where to next? Well, it’s always been a dream of mine to live in NYC or California for at least one year (you can do anything for a year, right!?). So I’ve decided to take the next step in my full-time financial services marketing career leaving the traditional corporate America for a start-up in the Silicon Valley. I’m also ditching my 1600 square foot, 3 bed/2 bath home for a 450 square foot, 1 bed/1 bath shoebox a.k.a. apartment! LOL! Although this will be quite the transition, I’m excited to share my experience with you all over the next few weeks and months. Stay tuned for more personal blog posts as I move from Texas to California August 1st!