How to Get your House SOLD

We often get asked by Sellers, when the inventory is as low as it has been recently, about pricing strategy. After all, Charlottesville has captured national attention because of its desirability as THE place to live – whether you work or retire here – and so Sellers can pretty much ask any price they want, right?

Not so fast. It’s true that location is a good indicator for what price a Seller can command, but condition, curbside appeal and proximity to amenities also play a role.

In a market where home inventory is low, Sellers may think that their home will move in mere minutes, with multiple offers, but the reality is that most houses that aren’t priced correctly and don’t make a great first impression will be passed over in favor of those that do.

It’s a great idea to make sure your house stands out from the rest of the listings on the market – here are some great tips for Sellers on how to make that happen:

Staging Matters

Every Solutions agent knows the old adage, “Homes that don’t show well, don’t close well.” But still, time and time again, we see Sellers get upset about the time and cost associated with staging a home.

After all, if they love their home as it is, why shouldn’t everyone else? Their decor may be a beautiful expression of their personality, but sometimes less is more.

In order to help them see the difference for themselves, we can take Sellers on a two-home showing; one where the home is staged and one where the home is not.

The Market Sets the Price, Not the Seller

It’s understandable that many Sellers think that their home is above the price that the market dictates. Sentimental value often translates into an inflated sense of the home’s worth, but when it comes price, it’s always the market’s opinion that matters most.

Solutions agents know it’s impossible to effectively price a home without taking into account the competition. Unfortunately, too many Sellers don’t.

First, it’s essential to determine how much the Seller thinks their home is worth. If their expectation is wildly inappropriate, we will take them to see a home that is on the market and priced at their expectation.

Then, we can take the Seller to a comparable home that is priced similarly to where we feel their home should be priced. We take the time to both educate them on the competition and give them expert home pricing tips to help them understand pricing strategy.

Small Renovations May Mean a Higher Price Later

In many cases, the cost of a home repair is less than a potential Buyer thinks it should be. If Buyers overestimate the cost of fixing the problem, it may negatively impact the offer amount and end up costing the Seller more in the long run.

We’re upfront with our Sellers when we spot unsightly blemishes that could cost them the deal. Before listing and starting to market a property, we counsel our Sellers on the improvements we know will make a difference when it comes to price.

Incentives Can Help Close the Deal Faster

Offering practical incentives – like a Home Buyer Warranty or a carpeting allowance for example – might not sound like they would make a difference, but those that fill legitimate Buyer needs have the power to differentiate a listing from the competition and attract just the right attention needed to get the home sold for the right price.

By talking with Sellers early about how they might be prepared to sweeten the deal if the right offers don’t come rolling in, by building them into the marketing plan, can arm both agent and Seller with the ammunition to jump potential marketing hurdles and beat out the competition for a fast sale.

Serious Buyers Never Stop the Hunt

Too many Sellers see the winter months as the slow season. The reality is, there are plenty of upsides to listing and marketing a home when everyone else is taking a break.

Real Estate Is a Local Business

The last few years have turned real estate headlines into high-profile news. Home prices are on the rise. While this is great news for the country as a whole, we also remind Sellers that real estate is a local industry and that asking price isn’t everything.

To do this, we at Solutions post local market updates on our personal real estate blog. In addition, we are prepared to show our clients the difference between asking and listing price in our local market.

For many Sellers, seeing the numbers is just the ammo they need to agree to the right price.

Other tips

The first impression is the ONLY impression

No matter how good the interior of your home looks, Buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door.

You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house.

Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal.

Entryways are also important. You use it as a utility space for your coat and keys. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some cookies.

Be “Show-ready”

Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times – you never know when your Buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape.

Don’t leave dishes in the sink – make sure you keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.

Spruce up the kitchen

You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back.

It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops, but keep in mind that a Buyer may knock as much as $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware.

Use a neutral-color paint so you can present Buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive, too, and it updates the kitchen.

Don’t over-upgrade

Quick fixes before selling always pay off, but you probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market.

Instead, do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.


One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential Buyers can imagine themselves living there.

Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.

Half-empty closets

Storage is something every Buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will look, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

Light it up

Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every Buyer cites that they want in a home.

Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.

Conceal pets

You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential Buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes.

It will give Buyers the impression that your house isn’t clean. If you’re planning an open house, send pets to a pet hotel for the day.


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Charles McDonald
Charles McDonald
Charlottesville Solutions
2013 Woodbrook Court, Charlottesville VA 22901
REALTOR® - Licensed to sell Real Estate in Virginia
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