How To Sell Your Home For Top Dollar in Bucks County


So you're sitting there on Zillow looking at townhomes and condos that have recently sold in your neighborhood and you're trying to figure out where your home fits in.  Let's say you live in Makefield Glen and own a Lexington Elite with a loft and finished basement (an interior Spruce Mill townhome with 2.5 baths).  You see that other homes in the Spruce Mill section of Makefield Glen have sold for as low as $215,000 and as high as $269,000 this year alone.  Zillow puts a value on your home, but there's no explanation to the rhyme or reason. Usually, there are only a few different models of townhomes in a development and more than one of the same model is on the market at the same time so what can you do to make sure buyers choose your home over the competition and for the best possible price?




1. Take a Fresh Look at Your Home

Your love your home and why shouldn't you it's your nest.  You've got fond memories of family and friends there, but unfortunately buyers don't and these are the folks you have to appeal to if you want to sell your home for top dollar.  Your goal is to make sure buyers can see themselves making the same great memories you have so hop in your car, drive around the block, and then scrutinize your home as a buyer and pretend you are seeing it for the first time. First, consider what's called "street appeal"; does it need washing or painting? Could you add a few flowers for a more cheery spring time feel? Is your outdoor space ready to just come home and relax in? Remember, be very critical so buyers won't have a reason to be.

Next, walk inside and size up the interior as though seeing it for the first time. Take a tour and imagine what your buyer might say about each room, look into cabinets, open doors, check out the bathroom.

Then, make a mental note of the things that might put off potential buyers, along with another list of the things that first attracted you to the dwelling. This will help your Realtor write up a fantastic advertising piece to attract potential buyers and the photos will look great after all of the work you've done.


2. Clean Out the Clutter Before You Start to Sell

Before putting your home on the market, get rid of clutter in every area -- closets, attic storage, kitchen cabinets, drawers, bath vanities, and shelves -- everywhere. I know you love your grandmom, or your grandkids, but you don't want buyers focusing on your pics, or knick knacks.  You need them looking at the house and mentally hanging their pics on the wall.  On top of distracting buyers who should be falling in love with your home knick knacks and clutter make the home feel smaller.

Don't forget the furniture and fixtures when getting rid of clutter -- most of us put too much in too little space, which makes a buyer, think your home is too small.

Then, have a great moving sale with all the stuff you've collected and use the proceeds for paint or whatever other materials you need for repair projects. If you just can't bear to part with some possessions, store them in the attic or some other place that's out of sight to the buyers.


3. To Sell, Sell, Sell -- Clean, Clean, Clean

After you've cleared out the clutter, it's time to really clean. Have the carpets professionally cleaned, strip and polish the floors, scour the bathrooms, go over the laundry room, polish the furniture, scour out the cabinets, wash the windows and window coverings, and spiff up the ceiling fans and kitchen appliances. In short, clean everything.

Don't forget the exterior; paint or power-wash everything that needs the work. Remember, this is a ceiling-to-floor, roof-to-foundation clean-up project.  You want your home to shine every time a buyer walks through, and the last thing you need is them thinking is "that home looks like it is going to be a lot of work!"  You want them thinking only positive things so they can see themselves settling down and relaxing at the end of the day.


4. Get More for Your Home: Repairs Pay Off

After you've cleaned the place to within an inch of its life, the next project is making all the repairs necessary to attract a buyer.

So, patch up the roof, touch up all the paint, repair the screens, spruce up the porch framing, and make your entry area really shine. Don't forget to water the lawn and landscape beds, and take the time to trim, mow, edge and get rid of sick or dying plants. Inside, fix the grout in the bathrooms and on tile floors, adjust any doors that need it, fix any scratches on the walls, cover any stains, and be sure to fix any plumbing problems. Remember, do what your home needs before the first buyer appears at your door.

Also, it's a good idea to get a good Realtor who can advise you on what needs to be done.  You don't want to over improve because usually you don't get back the full cost in the sale.  So it's important to pick the areas where you'll get the most bang for your buck, and that will help your home outshine the competition.  Also, if you have friends willing to be brutally honest about what your home needs to sell, invite them to assess the fix-up needs.

There is, however, an alternative to the sweat equity you get from a total fix-up --but it carries a price. An "as-is" sale keeps you from doing all this work, but a buyer will assess about twice the price you would have paid for the repairs. Then, the buyer will deduct that amount from your asking price before making an offer.  Also, a buyer will conduct a home inspection where someone who gets paid to find any issues no matter how small will put together a report for them.  This is a second set of negotiations after you and buyer have executed an Agreement of Sale and you will be asked to either repair these items then, or to lower the price, or give the buyer a credit.


Another thing to consider is having one of the area's most respected Home Inspectors review your home so we can make the necessary repairs before you even go on the market.  You might be saying, "Hold on!  I don't want to tell the buyers what's wrong with my house.  It's their job to find out."  However, in today's market we are seeing more and more deals fall apart over inspection issues, and it is way more of a pain for the sellers than the buyers because now your home has been off of the market for approximately 2 - 3 weeks, and you'll have to disclose to the next buyer all of the inspection issues, and they will most likely expect you to fix them as well.  So, why not find out before you go on the market so you can disclose upfront what was wrong and how you fixed it.  Many buyers today are scared of purchasing their new home because of all the doom and gloom they hear on the national news so this is great way to relieve some of this fear and make your home stand out from the competition. 


5. Putting Your Home on the Market: Show It to Sell It

After you have cleaned, shined, mowed, and generally whipped your property into shape, it's time to attract a buyer.

Regardless of who markets your home, you or a broker, there are other, small things you must do to attract buyers. For example, even if it's bright daylight, open the blinds and turn on the lights. Also, open all the interior doors to make the home appear roomier. Be sure to remove all your kids and pets -- they're cute, but a prospect wants to see your home, not your pride and joy. In addition, make sure your pet's litter pan is clean so the home smells clean and fresh, not like air freshener. Remember, you need to make sure your home is available to be seen by a prospective buyer with as little notice as possible. That means less than an hour, or even five minutes, if possible.


6. Get a Sense of the Market

Before you put your home on the market, take a weekend day to check out the competition: homes with similar prices and in similar neighborhoods. Remember, you don't have to go out and buy new furniture just to look like that beautiful new model in the new development -- what you want is the feel of that new model -- clean, uncluttered, and fresh.

Remember, after location, the most important item to a buyer is a well maintained home. Many flaws can be overlooked if the buyer knows he can move in without a lot of trouble and expense.


The best reason for doing all of these things before going on the market is because it will help your home sell for the highest price in the shortest amount of time, and it will remove reasons for buyers not to make an offer. 


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When your ready to make your move give me a call to see how my expertise and marketing plan can work for you.

Dale Cosack

The Bucks Condo King

Direct #215-860-4067