How to Sell Your Home Fast and for Top Dollar

By Kerry Knight

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Whether you're moving out of state or just across town, when getting ready to sell our house, it seems most of us are in a hurry to do so.  We want to get away from its financial encumbrances so we can open up a new chapter in our lives, but not at the expense of selling out too cheaply. Having recently sold my house in Jacksonville and moved to the mountains in Alabama after retiring from as cofounder of Tub King earlier this year, let me offer some tips on howto do it right.

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Choose a real estate broker who can offer the best services to get the job done.  Ask for an appointment to talk to a couple of them before making a decision about who you’re going to hire.  Ask questions and be specific.  For example, ask them what they can offer that is unique with their realty office and skills.  Make sure they’re up-to-date on MLS offerings.  Ensure they’re tech savvy so they offer the latest in online services. And it’s also very important that they have a good track record of closing sales within the listing period.  Also see how they advertise on the Internet.  If their company pops up near the top of Page One when you google real estate offices in your area, this means they’re spending money on advertising and they've been in business for a good while with a proven track record.

Price your home right. Your real estate agent will help you with this.  They will perform a comp evaluation to see what similar properties have sold for in the last six months.  Then they can add or subtract value based on how your house compares.  Keep in mind, today's buyers are researching the buyer’s market.  They want to get the most house for the least amount of money. Understanding this will help you to price your home for a quick sale, and you have to worry that you’re giving your house away.  Just a little adjustment here and there can help tremendously.
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Be ready to show your home on short notice.  Don't be difficult.  Don't leave the impression that you’re being inconvenienced when someone wants to see the house.  Be available at all times, and have the house “show ready.”  That means each and every morning, you’re going to clean the house first ... no dishes in the sink or clutter on the floors.  If you have to leave the house, leave it looking like a model home.  You never know when the real potential real buyer will walk through your front door for a look-see.

The first impression is the only one that matters.  If you knew that a willing and able buyer was about to come to your house to buy, wouldn't you make a little extra effort to make it feel warm, welcoming and safe?  Wouldn't you also want the exterior landscaping to look fantastic, because that would give the buyer a positive impression before they walk through your front door?   By planting a few inexpensive shrubs and some colorful flowers near the front door, you’ll get your money back many times over.

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Hide the dogs and cats.  Maybe you think that adorable kitten will make a positive impression on your potential customer, but be warned, not everyone is a dog or cat lover.  Walking into a kitchen and seeing a bowl of dog food, with the hound spreading it across the floor doesn't create a good impression.  The same goes for the objectionable smell of cat litter.  Cat hair and dog dander can kill a sell quickly, especially if there is an allergic reaction.  Put the pets outside or in the garage, or better yet find a pet sitter.

Don't have full, cluttered closets.  I never thought about this when selling one of our homes some years ago. We were crowded and in need of more space, and that's why we were moving. We had every closet full to the hilt, and the garage was running over with the excess.  The real estate agent recommended we remove some of our things and move them into a rented storage unit.  We then had closets that were only half full, and it made a difference.  I discovered that people viewing the house wanted to be able to imagine their own belonging in the closets and they wanted to perceive the current storage areas as large enough to handle their belongings. It all made sense.

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Take all your family pictures off the wall.   One of our favorite things in decorating the walls is to put up pictures of our grand kids.  Not just any picture, I mean all of them.  Now that's fine if you're planning to live there forever, but if you're trying to sell your home, the photos have to go.  Why?  Because, just like the cluttered closet, customers want to be able to envision their own family photos ... not yours.  Offended?  Sorry, that's just human nature.  They have to see themselves in your house, as if it was their own home.

Focus on your kitchen and bathrooms first.  You can easily transform your  kitchen with a little paint and cleaning.  If you have the money for it, try for granite countertops or ceramic tile floors, however don't spend money that you think you can never get back in the sell.  The agent can help you with this one. 

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The bathrooms are easy.  You can tile them for much less money.  Vinyl flooring now has patterns that look a lot like more expensive ceramic tile.  And here again, a little paint can go a long way.  Another good idea is to invest in a beautiful cast iron/porcelain Clawfoot tub to replace the out-of-date drop-in tub.  Also, make sure, especially in the bath and kitchen, that you have plenty of light.  Did you know that after “location,”  the number one thing that customers site as a positive characteristic is “good lighting”?

Add a nice deck to your exterior.  People want to see themselves grilling on their new porch and having company over.  If you have a small concrete pad for a patio, consider investing in a nice wooden deck and furnish it with some comfortable, weather-resistant lawn furniture.  Also, landscaping in the back of the house is just as important as the front.  A screened-in deck or patio is a great addition because it offers protection from pesky insects.  This is very important if your home is in the South.

Selling your home involves some careful study and planning.  Do it right and you can see a quick sale for the price you need.

In this article, I provided ― from recent personal experience ― some of the best tips and practices homeowners can do to ensure their house sells quickly and at a good sales price. I mentioned various to-do’s and not to-do’s such as upgrading the bathroom by installing a cast iron/porcelain Clawfoot tub, ensuring this room and the kitchen have adequate lighting, temporarily removing pets and family photos and other useful tips.

If you’d like some suggestions and professional advice about what type of bathroom upgrade would work in advance of selling your home, whether it’s a Clawfoot or Pedestal tub, a Walk-in tub or a Safety Suite Shower, Tub King’s experts are here to help.

If you found this article useful, please share it with your family, friends and co-workers. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the Comment section of this blog. Thanks again for visiting with us.

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Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and my brother, Alan, who heads up Tub King, will personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you. 

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Kerry Knight is the former co-owner of Tub King, Inc., and  in Jacksonville, Florida. Together with his brother, Alan, they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products, they are also multi-award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you’d like to contact Tub King, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to