Listing and selling your home can seem like a very intimidating and daunting task when you’re unsure of the process and the cost involved. For this reason, we thought it would be helpful to explain the process and chart the course, which will empower you with knowledge and confidence from start to sold. In Step 2, we discuss the events happening between the time a seller signs a listing contract and when their home actually hits the market.
Step 2 – Setting the Stage: Sign, lockbox and photography!
Your Realtor will likely order a sign installation as soon as the listing agreement is signed. Some Realtors will even do the installation themselves. Putting a sign in the ground is relatively straight forward, however, there are a few things to be aware of. For one, many cities will not allow you to install a sign within the strip of landscaping between a sidewalk and the street. Many homeowners and Realtors would agree, that little strip of grass or landscaping is the best and most visible spot to put a sign. Unfortunately, it’s also usually an easement and some cities may fine you if you choose to place your sign there. Also, believe it or not, if your sign post is installed deeper than six inches, a utility locate must be ordered before the installation. Lastly, if you reside within a homeowners association, your Realtor will check with the HOA for any rules regarding your sign placement or restrictions.
Before your showings begin, an electronic lockbox will be placed on or near your front door. The electronic lockboxes will securely hold a key to your home. Realtors who come to show your home will be able to access the lockbox using an app on their phone. The phone and lockbox can communicate via Bluetooth. When the lockbox is opened a notification is sent to your listing agent alerting the agent of the showing. The showing agents name, contact info and time of access is shown on the emailed notification as well. Using the lockboxes, there will always be an electronic record of when and which agents enter your home.
Your Realtor will take care of the sign and lockbox, but the seller is primarily responsible for the next task, getting the property ready for photographs and showings! Hopefully this process has been started in advance as this is the biggest task for sellers – aside from packing and moving of course. Remember a few key things in this phase, curb appeal rules, less is best, and if it’s smellin’, it ain’t sellin’! We have several other articles on preparing your home for listing photos and showings on our blog so we’ll try to stay succinct.
Start with your front yard and entry. Make sure your yard is free of weeds, debris and not overgrown. The lawn should be mowed a day or two before pictures are taken. Parked cars should be moved down the street, hoses should be stored away, and any other distractions removed. Make sure the front door and entryway is thoroughly cleaned. Home shoppers want to be able to focus on the home and you want them to fall in love before they even walk through the door.
Your plan is to move, so start packing now. Gather up any unneeded items and remove them from your home if possible. The “less is best” motto applies to kitchen and bathroom counters as well as closets. Your kitchen will appear much more spacious in photos (and in person) if it is clear of all appliances and utensils. Keep some splashes of color, but you certainly don’t want all of your everyday items on display. Consider what a model home looks like in comparison. Prior to photography or any showings you’ll also want to make sure all window blinds and shades are open, and all lights are turned on. In addition, be sure to tuck away any extra cords, tissue boxes, soap dispensers and signs of pets – such as dog beds and litter boxes.
Speaking of pets… If you own pets, the only people who don’t think your home smells like pets, are the people who live with you. Odors won’t derail your photography, but they can be a lengthy chore to remove so it’s best to start now. Make sure all pet waste is picked up daily, litter boxes kept fresh, and carpets vacuumed regularly. The use of air fresheners or essential oils can be very helpful though you don’t want to overdo it.
We hope this article has answered a few questions or at least has clarified this stage of the home selling process. Coming up, in Step 3, we’ll dig in to the actual showings, from scheduling to feedback. If you missed Step 1, here’s a link, Step 1 – Contracts
Feel free to contact That Furrow Crew with any real estate questions or comments.