A Seller’s Guide to a Smooth Sale

I have a friend who recently bought a beautiful, pre-lit artificial Christmas tree. She was hoping it would not be too complicated to put together. There were 4 parts of the tree, with attending electrical cords. The instructions to the new tree owner were astoundingly simple: “Put the tree on the stand. There you have the tree!” The instructions left her with more questions than answers, and that is often the way we feel when we decide to sell our homes. We know it is a complicated process, and we need someone to give us a good road map on how to proceed. That’s why at Desert North Realty, we wanted to give you a Seller’s Guide to a Smooth Sale. There is no reason for you to wonder and guess when our expert real estate team has put together a map for you to follow.


Getting Prepped For the Sale

Have you heard the phrase: “You have to spend money to make money?” Never is that more true than in preparing your home for a “For Sale” sign. We know it is ironic: you’ve lived with that chipped paint or drafty window for years, but now is the time to fix it. According to recent studies, 4 of every 5 home sellers make renovations or improvements before putting their home on the market. The most common repairs including painting either the inside or outside or both, adding curb appeal, landscaping, installing new carpet or flooring, and renovating the bathrooms. How do you know where to best spend your money on renos? Our team at Desert North Realty know the market, and can guide you on what you need to do with your home to make it stand out from the rest.

Another reason our team is invaluable to a home seller: we know where your dollars with go the farthest. If you are selling in an upscale neighborhood, and your home lacks curb appeal, you’ll want to invest in some landscaping. If, on the other hand, you are in a first-time home buyers neighborhood, the landscaping may not be as important as new interior paint and flooring. Here are some well-tested ideas if you are looking to sell your home quickly and for top dollar.

Kitchen: the Heart of the Home

Speaking of interiors, the kitchen usually gets the most attention from a buyer, but it is a huge out-of-pocket expense if you aren’t careful. So instead of an entire kitchen redo, maybe you freshen up the look with a new farmhouse sink, new light fixtures or a new backsplash. It won’t break the bank and jobs like the backsplash can be weekend warrior projects.


Bathroom Break

One of the best Returns On Investment is a mid-range bathroom remodel project. If you replace the toilet, light fixtures and sing and refinish your cabinets and upgrade hardware and lighting, you’re talking about $3K-$5K, and it may make the difference in a buyer’s interest in putting in an offer.


Kick it to the Curb

You cannot have a second chance to make a good first impression. Now we know very few people like spending all day in their yards sprucing up. So put on some energetic music outside, grab some water and sunscreen and make a day out of it. Do the dusty stuff first, like trimming bushes and trees, mowing the lawn, weed-eating and edging. Then sweep the sidewalks clean, and weed the flower beds. The fun part is adding new flower pots on your entryway to make your home more inviting. Now that the dust has settled, time to tackle the windows to get them clean and shiny. So how is your front door looking these days? Paint is an inexpensive fix and can transform the look of the entryway to your home. How about your mailbox? Has it seen better days? Something as simple as replacing your house numbers or a fresh coat of paint can make a world of difference.

Not Everyone Likes Chartreuse

Color is very individual. What may be exciting and invigorating to you may be off-putting to a potential buyer. So less is more. Choose neutral colors for the exterior and interior of the house, if it could use a fresh coat of paint.

Just Step on It

Take an honest look at your floors. Sometimes we can just overlook the scratches in the hardwoods or the stains on the carpet. Check into getting your well-worn floors refinished and who doesn’t love the smell of new carpet?

Timing is Everything

Around the country, spring is a great time to get your home ready to put on the market. The sunshine is lasting longer every day, but it is not blazing hot. However, in sunny Scottsdale Arizona, our calendar could shift a bit. If you want to get your home sold quickly, maybe you should consider listing it in the fall, right as the snowbirds arrive. It depends on your needs and our team can help you figure out the most advantageous time to put your property on the market. Don’t discount the emotional factor of moving, either. If your children have grown up in your home, you may have a very strong attachment to it, and it might take some time to decide to put it up on the market. Our team of professional real estate agents at Desert North Realty can help walk you through the process.

Pricing Your Home

Having an experienced real estate team on your side is one of the most important decisions you can make. They are experienced in knowing what your asking price should be, and steering clear from listing your home either too high or too low. Home buying is different from car buying, for example. If you are looking to buy a car, you know there is wiggle room (some time a great deal of wiggle room) in the price. But in home buying, if you price your home too high, potential buyers (with experienced real estate agents armed with comparables in the neighborhood) will pass on your property. Time goes on, and the greater the number of days on the market, the less attractive it becomes.

Be Strategic

Say you are in a hot real estate market. If you price your home at the comps, or just below it, you would be extremely attractive to buyers. If you get several buyers looking at the same property, the bidding can go up as they fight each other for the winning bid. Again, an experienced real estate team can help guide you through the process to make the right decision for your unique situation.How to Get Noticed

So you and your agent have agreed on the best pricing strategy, and you are ready for the “For Sale” sign in your front yard. Not quite. Time to stage your home to help make those first impressions good, lasting ones.


You don’t need to move out of your home, but you do need to get rid of the personal items that will keep potential buyers from seeing themselves in the space. Plus, the practical added benefit is that you will have already started the process of moving and decluttering the space. Family photos, memorabilia? Time to pack them away. Your artwork on the walls is great, as long as it isn’t off-putting or edgy.


Once the de-cluttering is done, time to deep clean. Window cleaning, wipe the baseboards, clean any smudges on the walls, clean the bathrooms. It tells potential buyers that you care about your home and have taken good care of it. If you aren’t a cleaner, there are a number of companies you can hire who will do the ‘dirty work’ for you. If you have pets, do your best to get rid of any signs of their existence before a showing. That means getting rid of pet bowls, litter boxes, and nose smudges on the glass doors.


Make sure all of your light bulbs are working well. Potential home buyers notice how much light is in a home, so be sure your light fixtures look up-to-date and are well lit!

First Offer

Everyone wants top dollar for their home, and that’s what our team at Desert North Realty works to get you. Often, the best offer is the first one, even though it may be slightly below your asking price. The reason is that the longer your home stays on the market, the less attractive it becomes to potential buyers. Is it too high? Is there something wrong with the property? Our team can help you negotiate the best deal in the shortest amount of time. Buyers expect a counter offer from you. Even if you feel the original offer is extremely low, that doesn’t mean that the two sides can’t reach a number that works for everyone. Also, if you keep the negotiations alive, it gives you a few more days to keep the house on the market for other potential buyers. So if you have a couple of offers, consider how much earnest money each is willing to put up. The stronger the earnest money, the more serious the buyer.


Show Me the Money

If you have a buyer who is willing to pay cash (and can document that the funds are there) then that saves you time and money. Barring that, only deal with buyers who are pre-approved. That way, you know there won’t be any financial hiccups on down the road to closing. Speaking of closing, the seller has closing costs, including the cost of real estate commissions. Buyers do as well. In a hot market, or if you have multiple offers, the buyer may be willing to shoulder some of these costs. That is another negotiation our team takes up on your behalf to get you the best deal to close on your home.


Contact us and allow our team to help you sell your home!