Nailing It Down
By Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty
It’s a seller’s market for Grays Harbor residential housing right now. With extra low interest rates and many hungry buyers, if you’ve considered listing your house, you may want to make your move soon.
Last week we talked with several area real estate agents about the clear seller’s market — especially for a three-bedroom, two-bath house priced right. Today we’d like to share some tips for sellers to attract those serious buyers.
Preparing to sell
Like we said, the selling part of residential real estate around here has gotten a lot easier because of so many hungry buyers. However, it’s still good to know ways to improve your chances to sell your house quickly and for top dollar.
“Before you put your house on the market, the main thing is to make sure everything is in good repair — especially the roof, windows and siding,” said, broker Jill Warne, of Century 21 Real Estate, whose office is in Elma. “Other than that, spend time cleaning, decluttering and painting.”
Other area real estate agents agreed.
“I always advise sellers to declutter and depersonalize as much as possible,” said Travis Jelovich, broker/owner of Windermere Real Estate, Aberdeen. “For instance, remove personal pictures from your walls. The idea is to help the buyers see themselves living there instead of feeling like they are in your home.”
Also, Jelovich advised, “Make sure to take care of any visible signs of rot or peeling paint.” Tackling those kinds of repair issues before an inspector takes a look saves everyone time, he said.
The agents we talked to said repainting the interior typically isn’t necessary, but it is important to make sure to touch up paint so the house doesn’t look beat up.
“If you do have to repaint, do so with neutral colors. Gray tones are popular right now,” Jelovich said. “But if the paint is in good condition, it’s also OK if it’s colorful. Buyers can look past that.”
Jason Atwood, owner/broker of Oly Pen Real Estate in Montesano, said homes that are clean and move-in ready are in high demand.
At NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor, we’ve seen that it’s often the little projects — sometimes the ones that take more elbow grease than money — that can make the biggest difference in curb appeal.
Try to see your property with fresh eyes. Your half-finished projects, piles of wood or extra vehicles around will detract from the look of your home. Along the same lines, a freshly mowed lawn, trimmed trees, and a pot or two of flowers on your porch near your freshly washed windows can make a world of difference to someone viewing your house for the first time.
You know we’re advocates of washing exteriors of houses, too. Scrubbing off mold and mildew on your siding is far cheaper than repainting your whole house — and often has remarkable results.
Those touches tell the potential buyer that someone who cares for their property has been living there, which gives them more confidence that other aspects of your home are in good working order.
In today’s seller’s market, even the classics of updating a kitchen or bathroom may not be worth the seller’s money — unless you are doing a “flip” of a broken-down house that you got for a song and then renovated.
Again, certain rooms might need a coat of paint, and everything should be as neat and clean as possible and in good repair. But other than that, major bath or kitchen updates — something that used to be advised — are most likely not worth your time, effort and money right now for most homes in Grays Harbor.
Pricing it right
Even a lovely home that has been depersonalized, decluttered, cleaned and repainted will not sell — or at least won’t sell quickly — if it’s not priced right.
“We are seeing that everything that is priced right sells quickly and often has multiple offers,” said Warne. “But you do have to find the sweet spot on the price. And, it is still common for buyers to need some closing cost help from sellers.”
She said that when sellers price their home a little lower, it can draw more interest and a bidding war that brings the purchase price up to what the sellers were hoping to get.
Helping determine the best price as well as designing a good marketing strategy are areas where the expertise of a real estate agent can make a great difference.
We have some tips for people who are hoping to buy a home in Grays Harbor.
Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction specialists at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor County, where Murnen is executive director. This is a nonprofit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing for all residents of Grays Harbor County. For questions about home repair, renting, remodeling or buying, call 360-533-7828 or visit 710 E. Market St. in Aberdeen. Our office is fully ADA-compliant.