"In today's real estate market it's a competitive market so consumers are looking for ways to rule out your house," said Angie's List Owner Angie Hicks. "So you really need to get back to the basics and make sure your house really shines, Is your house clean, inside and out? Is everything organized? A lot of times people think that their own interior design is a selling point, it usually isn't."
Jennifer recently listed her house. She's hoping the updates will entice buyers.
"As soon as we bought the house we started trying to think of improvements to make from a new roof to a new heating and air condition, water heater, things of that nature," said homeowner Jennifer. "About a year and a half ago, we started really thinking about putting it up on the market. We got more serious with the interior cosmetics. So we've done granite in all the bathrooms and the kitchen, we've redone flooring, added a new shower, new toilets throughout, we're about to put new carpet in downstairs, we re-carpeted all the upstairs last year. So we've did quite a bit of work."
When people are thinking about buying a house they are looking for reasons to rule it out. Simple things like a leaky faucet or bigger issues like a faulty water heater can be a turn-off for buyers.
"I hate that my sellers are surprised often when the inspection happens that they had no idea that that was happening," said Real Estate Agent Paula Smith. "And then they are stuck with a bill of fixing it that they weren't expecting and they have already agreed on a sales price. My advice is a lot of times if they haven't done anything with the mechanicals and they haven't had yearly HVAC inspections and they haven't checked their water heater, it's been a long time, that they go ahead and have somebody out to do that so they are not surprised."
"When shopping for a realtor you want someone that is going to get your house sold quickly and at the price you are looking for, so you want to do your due diligence and ask them questions," said Angie's List Owner Angie Hicks. "How long as their average house been on the market, how close to the original asking price did the house sell, and what is their expertise in your neighborhood."
"About a year and a half ago when I brought Paula in, our real estate agent, to go through the house and tell us what things we needed to fix," said homeowner Jennifer. "She went through the house. There were some minor fixes here and there, but when she got to this room she was like 'Jennifer, this is a deal breaker you have got to fix this room.' It was very dated, we had the gold shower, brass. It had the regular glass doors, but with the hard water that we have here, it was just limed up, it was very hard to maintain."
You also want to work with real estate agent who has online listings.
"Online photos, in today's society and the real estate market, is the only way that houses sell," said Real Estate Agent Paula Smith. "Most people will automatically assume if there is one picture on the Internet that means the inside of the house is not in good condition. That's not necessarily true, but it is for a lot of homes."
In years past, open houses were a popular way for would-be buyers to see properties they were considering. But with the rise and convenience of online listings, featuring photo and/or video tours, experts say open houses are just not as necessary.