There’s more to Washington D.C. than its quaint historic neighborhoods, chic urban pockets and its efficient public transport system. At a time when the rest of the country is struggling, D.C.’s economy is still puffing up steam because of the host of government jobs and political internships. So, if you are selling a Washington D.C. home, you are at an advantage. But, don’t be too ambitious on the price tag. While home prices in the metro area and Montgomery and Fairfax counties have inched upward 15 months in a row, it’s still not an absolute sellers’ market, says Donna Evers, owner and broker of Evers & Co. Real Estate Inc. The Washington D.C. housing market took some beating in June, according to a new S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report. Prices slipped 1.2 percent when compared to the previous year. Here are some valuable tips from Evers on selling a Washington D.C. house.
Selling Tip #1: Be Reasonable With Pricing
Make sure your asking price mirrors tags on properties similar to yours and in identical neighborhoods. Do your homework thoroughly on how to price your home competitively. Every seller wants his or her home to fetch top dollars, but you don’t want to be too ambitious and lose out to rivals who are more realistic in their pricing. Houses end up sitting in the market because of pricing and presentation, Evers said. If your house is on a busy street or too small, offer some concessions and you will have better luck.
Selling Tip #2: Hire a Good Real Estate Agent
Let a professional handle the task. Most often, sellers have a hard time cutting the umbilical cord between them and their homes. That’s why you need an objective, informed, third party to guide you through the process. Ask friends, neighbors and relatives for references. Go out and interview a couple of realtors® until you find someone you can trust and be comfortable with. “It’s always good to get professional advise before getting the house ready for the market,” Evers said. “People are not good about handling their own property and they can get emotional if a prospective buyer says something negative about the house and may end up losing someone who could have been the best buyer.”
Selling Tip #3: Work on Presentation
A realtor® can tell you how to present your house. For example the important areas to focus on are the kitchen and the master bedroom, Evers says. But quite often sellers, who are on their own, pump their money into making that insignificant bathroom in the basement super glamorous. That distracts the buyer and offers a bigger contrast to other bathrooms which were left untouched. Be sensible in where you invest for presentation. The first impression always stays, Evers said. “The single largest boo boo is not trimming the front lawns,” she said. “It’s like the hair covering your face. The buyer shouldn’t have a hard time seeing the house from the street.” Invest in manicured lawns with trimmed trees and polished fences.
Selling Tip #4: Hire an Inspector
Depending on what your realtor® says, you can hire an inspector to scour your home for maintenance projects. “Having your own inspector find things wrong with the house will allow you to fix them before the buyer’s inspector sees it,” said real estate agent James Downing of Coldwell Broker Residential Brokerage in a story on dcrealestatenews.com
The flip side of it is, if you can’t afford to fix what he suggests, you may have to disclose it to your potential buyer thereby jeopardizing a deal, Downing said. Inspector or no inspector, fix that leaking tap and broken tile and paint that peeling wall. Maintenance is very critical. You need to have a polished, spiffy and good smelling house ready for show. “You have to present the house in its best possible form so it gets you the highest possible price,” Evers said.
Selling Tip #5: Depersonalize
Take down those wedding photos, the cute baby pictures and those memories from your vacations spanning 50 years. You want the potential buyer to imagine himself and his family in that space. Having your personal things there could pose some challenges, intrude and make it harder for the buyer to imagine himself in his future home. “When you put your house in the market, try not to think of it as your beloved home, but think of it as a product you are trying to sell,” Evers said. “You wouldn’t wear a scruffy suit for an interview, likewise, you would want to polish up that house for its interview with the buyer.”