Four years ago our family bought our first home as a family of five. We loved it. It was small but cute. It had recently been renovated so it had all of the style we wanted, a huge fenced backyard and a lovely neighborhood. We moved in and fell in love with our neighbors and while it was small and cramped, it was cozy and ours. We would occasionally dream of maybe someday, but really we had no intention of going anywhere. Until… Covid.
In response to the pandemic, my company sent all employees home. At first, we thought it would be a week or two and I made do at a console table in our tiny bedroom. Then they said it would be a few months. So I agreed with hubby on the purchase of a desk and to move to the family room. It was fine, it was temporary. Until it wasn’t. When the company announced our site would be permanently working from home, we knew something had to change. We tossed around a lot of ideas, but ultimately we knew a bigger house was what we needed.
So we decided to sell.
Dayton has been a hot home market for a few years now. But this year, it’s been absolutely insane. You can’t wait until tomorrow to go tour a home, it will already be under contract. You typically can’t offer asking price; three other people will have already offered more than that. It’s insane to say the least.
While houses are selling like hotcakes, there are still a few things you can do to help your home sell, sell quickly, sell for the best price and also make life easier for you along the way. Here are a few of my personal tips. I’m not a realtor or any type of expert. Just a mom who recently sold a home, and maybe spends a little too much time on Redfin.
Budget. Budget. Budget.
Shockingly, it is not cheap to sell a house. We all know about realtor fees but you’re going to need money to buy extra cleaning supplies. You will want to invest a little in fixing minor things. You’ll be required to spend a little more to fix anything that comes up in the inspection process. We needed the money to rent a PODS for storage. We accepted an offer from a buyer with a VA loan, which meant we covered the cost of the termite inspection at closing. And the biggest thing we had to budget for was food. When you’re spending every moment you have cleaning, scrubbing, packing, organizing, etc, you’re going to find yourself eating out a lot more. If you budget and plan on it, it won’t be so much of a burden.
I know immediately I don’t want to purchase a house that has carts in the kitchen full of stuff on them. That tells me there’s not enough storage space. If the rooms are messy and cramped and so full of STUFF, it’s hard to imagine this space being mine. Our little three-bedroom home was better suited for a young family with one or two children. But it housed five5 people, a dog and a home office. We had a lot of stuff. We put probably 80% of our belongings in a PODS unit to allow people to really be able to see the potential our home had.
This seems like a given and I think most people do. But I’m not sure everyone REALLY cleans. When I tour a home and the microwave is full of fingerprints and the doors and baseboards are super dusty, I have to wonder what lies beneath the surface that I can’t see in a 15-minute tour.
Hire a professional photographer.
Looking at a house online is everyone’s first glance at your home when it’s for sale. If I have to drop everything and run to look at the house today before it sells, I have to REALLY like what I see. If what I see are dark pictures, close-ups of a sink, no pictures of half the rooms listed in the description, or grainy pictures, I’m probably not going to be interested. A professional photographer can make all the difference.
Do your homework.
While most people have a realtor, and realtors know what the market in your area is like, it’s still helpful if you know what is out there. And really take the time to look. Don’t assume that if one house that is 3,200 sq feet and selling for $350,000 your own 3,200 sq ft house will as well. If your home hasn’t been updated since 1977, you’re not going to get as much out of it. If you have a little bit of time before you sell, this is also a good time to get a feel for what’s out there and make small cosmetic changes to your home before listing it. A fresh coat of neutral paint will go a long way in helping your home sell at a good price.
I know the housing market is always changing. Today’s hot market may look completely different next year. But there will always be reasons we may have to move on and hopefully, some of these tips will help!