Moving on Your Mind

Are you considering selling your home? If so, you may be wondering what to do in today’s market. These days, stressful decisions — like whether or not to move — can seem even more stressful than before.

To help ease some of that anxiety, we’ve interviewed two local realtors who offer some tips that will help you prepare your home for the day when the For Sale sign is up and the showings begin. Liz Lemon has a sellers representative designation and has been a full-time realtor for almost 17 years. Debi Gerbus began her real estate career in 1995 and is a sales vice president and honored to be a past Realtor of the Year in Cincinnati. Both Lemon and Gerbus work with Comey & Shepherd Realtors.

What is the No. 1 suggestion you have for someone who is trying to sell their home right now?

Gerbus: Professional photography is more important than ever. How buyers shop for homes has changed drastically over the past few years, and having the best online presence utilizing things like virtual tours and drone videos is key.

Lemon: Having a team of people you trust around you is critical. From your realtor, to a staging and design person, contractors to title companies finishing a sale, you want to have experienced and honest people on your side. Real estate transactions are exciting and most of the time provide a desired outcome. But, they can also include moments of stress and overwhelm. The people involved make all the difference!

What home projects will get you the most bang for your buck?

Gerbus: Minor updating will reap huge benefits when getting your home ready for the market. Minor bath and kitchen updates, such as new lighting, fresh paint and new cabinet hardware go a long way in giving your home a trendy and updated feel. If you are financially able, you’ll also realize a great return for items like granite counters and stainless steel appliances.

Lemon: While location, location, location is still an appropriate motto for real estate, I would say that condition, condition, condition is a very close second. Provide a clean, tidy and neutral slate for potential buyers so that they can envision their own belongings and life in your space. Sparkling windows, fresh paint and things like fresh caulk and minor repairs can go a long way. Curb appeal is a big deal! New house numbers, fixtures and mailboxes are a smart idea and cost relatively little. The same with a new door (including garage door) or newly refurbished one, and fresh landscaping. First impressions are everything!

What home projects do not usually get the best return for the investment?

Gerbus: When getting ready to sell, making major renovations don’t always realize a huge return on your investment. Doing a total kitchen or bath renovation probably won’t pay for itself in the end. Follow the guidance of an experienced realtor who knows the comps in your area and can guide you accordingly.

Lemon: Anything too taste-specific can backfire. Also keep in mind that older mechanics or a roof may need to be replaced just to sell. They are often considered maintenance by buyers. While you might get some return, don’t expect to get dollar-for-dollar back on some of the home improvements that aren’t as fun. Too much landscaping or pools often hurt more than they help.

Any other words of advice?

Gerbus: With interest rates at historic lows and low inventory in our market, there truly has never been a better time to sell. We are finding the most difficult part is finding your next home without your current home being on the market. Sellers are afraid to sell and not have a plan for their next move, and buyers are frequently losing out in multiple offers because of the lack of homes on the market.

Lemon: Now is a great time to sell. There are plenty of buyers out there looking for homes, especially with such favorable interest rates. Get completely ready for the market before trying to market your home and listen to your realtor about how and when to market to potential buyers. Too early on social media can add stress and net you less in the end. Also, try to see your home through a buyer’s eye and don’t take things too personally. Also, do renovations for yourself and enjoy them for a while before you sell, if at all possible. I often have sellers say, “This wasn’t as hard and time consuming to do as I thought. Why did we do repairs and updates just to sell?! Our home looks so good now.”

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