Thinking of selling your home? Start with these 6 steps

Sponsored by: Daniel Ravenel Sotheby's International Realty

The Charleston housing market is hot, with homes selling quickly and median sales prices climbing. In this market, many people start considering what it would take to list their house for sale. Homeowners who are considering putting a “For Sale” sign in the front yard, need to start early in the preparations. A successful sale depends on sellers getting their homes in the best shape possible for showings.

First, work with an experienced real estate agent like those at Daniel Ravenel Sotheby's International Realty to set the right price. Of course every seller wants top dollar, but pricing the home too high leaves it languishing on the market for months. It is important to hire a veteran, full-time real estate agent who can assess current market conditions, review comparable recent home sales and make a truly knowledge recommendation on a realistic and favorable price.

Take care of any unfinished projects. Is the family room half painted? Are you in the middle of installing a new sink in the guest bathroom? It’s time to wrap up those to-dos. Many buyers aren’t interested in “projects,” so don’t turn them off with a readymade set of chores.

Start cleaning and de-cluttering. Sure, everyone has a “toss it in there closet” but that’s not what you want to showcase to potential buyers. If it’s springtime, go ahead and pack up your winter clothes so the closets have more space. Keep the floors clear and uncluttered of shoes and boxes. Go through each room and remove one piece of furniture – a bookcase, nightstand or chair. You want the house to appear spacious and roomy.

Pick up the pets. Pet owners consider their furry friends just another member of the family, but not everyone loves dogs and cats. It’s best to remove signs of pets from your home. Put the food dishes in a box, stash the dog beds under the master bed and make sure all the chew bones and scratching posts are hidden from view. Some potential buyers may automatically assume pets have caused problems (chewed up trim or had accidents on the carpet) so keep pet evidence hidden and make sure the pets are out of the home during showings.

Assess your home from the curb. When perspective buyers pull into the driveway, they will make a snap judgement about the house – all based on the color of the front door or the plants in the flowerbed. Give your house a critical look from the curb and determine if there are ways to spruce up the curb appeal, such as having the house pressure-washed, adding pops of color to the flower beds or repainting the front door.

Make the space a house, not a home. It’s time to remove many of your personal items such as family photos, your collection of snow globes and the kids’ artwork from the refrigerator. When people are looking at houses to buy, they want to picture themselves – and their personal items – in the space. It’s harder to do that when another family’s photos are staring them in the face.

It’s not easy to get a home ready to sell and the showing process requires a commitment to keeping the house neat, clean and ready for visitors at a moment’s notice. Especially for sellers with children, it’s important to explain the process and give them some daily tasks such as making their beds and clearing the breakfast dishes so everyone is contributing to a successful sale.