Tips, Advice and Guidance for the Home Seller

Real Estate advice can be found everywhere, whether you are looking for it or not. National real estate websites, your local Realtor®, friends, neighbors, family, the newspaper, television networks, web videos; they all have something to say about buying and selling a home. Information overload can be reached in a matter of hours, and then more time can be spent sifting through the sometimes conflicting information to try and draw an actionable conclusion. Before this becomes another piece of information overload, the purpose of this guide is to focus on the five main topics to keep in mind while preparing to sell your home. These five topics will help you put a plan in place to make the best move and come away with every last dollar from your home sale.


Tip 1: Know Your Competition

The best way to know what buyers in your area are looking for is to see how other homes for sale are presented and how the buyers are responding. Spending a few weekends visiting open houses in your neighborhood can show you what other sellers are offering and even give you the opportunity to hear other buyers in the Open House discuss what appeals to them.

Be careful not to carry in any preconceived ideas about what buyers are looking for – TV networks may be airing old episodes of their home buying shows, magazine articles may be summarizing national trends and what appeals to you may not be what appeals to your potential home buyer. This is an information gathering phase and it's important to connect with the local buyers looking in your neighborhood, your school district, even on your street and see what they respond to.

To adequately gather enough information on the other homes for sale in your area, you will need to allocate a significant amount of time for a few weeks. Adding this process into an already busy schedule can be cumbersome for most. Consulting with a Realtor® who knows your area can cut this time commitment down drastically. A Realtor® who knows your neighborhood, the unique features of other homes for sale in your area and how other homes are selling will be able to summarize for you what's important to your potential buyer.

Debbie Dogrul Associates' Realtors® bring you the benefits of hyper local, neighborhood expertise and an understanding of the market beyond your neighborhood, which combine to tailor a marketing plan for your home that will attract the highest number of potential buyers. As many potential buyers for your home will be coming from outside your neighborhood, having the added reach of Debbie Dogrul Associates' marketing and experience will give you the additional information on competitive houses listed in areas you may not have considered.

Once you have gathered this information, either on your own or with a Realtor®, you will be able to factor it into the pricing of your home when it is time to sell. Knowing what updates have been made to other homes and how they are selling can help you determine if putting money in now to garner a higher sales price is the right decision, or if your home presents beautifully now and only needs a good cleaning before the buyers start coming through. Having enough information before setting your price will help you set the best price to reach your best bottom line once all is said and done


Tip 2: Planning is Everything

Once you've started to think of selling your home, the planning has already begun – congratulations! But you're not done yet. With all the factors that go in to selling your home, you will need to take time to consider a plan for each of them. Some of the major factors to consider include:

The condition of your home – now that you know how other homes in your
area are selling and what they look like inside, you are ready to decide what changes you will make to the condition of your home.

Is it all cosmetic, with a little paint and carpeting; or is there more to be done with the systems of the home?

How is your curb appeal, should the landscaping get a professional sprucing up or should you have a regular lawn service come through while you are on the market so it looks its best at all times?

The timing of your move – this is going to be unique to almost every person moving, but you will need to think about more than just your ideal moving timeline.

If you are living in this house while it is on the market, what is the plan for keeping it show-ready?

If you are moving out of the house while it is on the market, will there be anything left in the house for staging? Will there be someone to check on the empty house when bad weather moves through?

The team to help you move – the real estate industry has blossomed with an array of professionals in related services to help you every step of the way, but knowing who is out there and who is right for you can be a mystery.

Will you need to declutter anything before the house is show ready? If so you may need a professional organizer, though many staging
professionals can also offer this service.

How much help do you need to make the move? Full service moving companies can do it all from packing boxes to doing the heavy lifting; while other companies will help with just the heavy items for an hourly fee if you want to do a portion of the move yourself.

Is everything in the house coming with you? Or will you be making trips to local charities for donation, a friend's house to rehome some items or even the dump for things that are no longer usable? Some services charge hourly fees for the labor to help with hauling items, while a truck rental company can provide you the flexibility to do it all on your own. Before you spend a dime on updating, decluttering, or professional packers; you want to make sure you have the right people on the job. Online reviews, referral services (like Angie's List or HomeAdvisor.com), friends and neighbors may all have their two cents about who you can use.

Debbie Dogrul Associates has a network of connections that our clients have happily worked with in the past. Debbie Dogrul Associates will not only provide you with the names of these service providers, but also help you coordinate schedules and can advise when it is time to make decisions on what materials or finishes to use with your updates, all designed to maximize the return on your investment.


Tip 3: Expect the Unexpected

Inevitably, something will occur during your home sale that you had not expected. With all of the planning you've done until this point, don't beat yourself up for not planning for absolutely everything. No one can. The planning you've done up until now will make navigating any unexpected turn that much easier. And keep in mind, unexpected events are often the ones that are also outside of your control.

What if your new boss needs you in town three weeks earlier than planned, so you're moving that much sooner.

What if unseasonal weather moves through – snow in April after you've already put away the shovel and salt. Or a heat wave in November that is melting the snow and turning your yard into a muddy wonderland.

Not everything unexpected will make an impact on your finances, but some of them will. Calling in someone to shovel the driveway on short notice or arranging for a mover to change their schedule can lead to fees and surcharges. In order to really save money and walk away with a higher return from your sale, it is be best to have resources in place to handle an array of factors so whenever something does come up you have someone to call.

Working with the right Realtor® can help you avoid spending money on unexpected events by being prepared for situations that you had not already planned for and having affordable resources on call to help with an array of situations.


Tip 4: Beware of being "Penny Wise and Pound Foolish"

While you are calculating the fees for different aspects of your home sale, be judicious about where you decide to cut back. Cutting the budget for updating or cleaning by half may look great on paper, but the impact to your home's presentation, and ultimately the price you sell for, may take a larger financial hit. Working with a Realtor® will come with costs and/or commissions to be paid, and many real estate agents advertise their commissions at a discount or offer credits back to you. What these agents will not be so upfront about is what services they can't provide because of those low fees, or the fact that some services come at an additional cost. This is not to say that all agents with a discounted fee provide less service, or even that all agents who have a higher fee provide the same services. Rather, it is a word of warning that just because it's a discounted rate; don't be too hasty to take it without seeing what other options you may have.

The right Realtor® will be able to show you different options for preparing, marketing and selling your home that give you options of what to spend and how much you will make. They may have connections with contractors, photographers, stagers and movers that offer discounts exclusively for their clients without compromising service. They will help you decide where to best spend any budget up front to attract the most buyers and get the best sales price.

Is it worth it to you to pay the right Realtor® their commission if it means you save on contractors, have access to more service providers, get a higher sales price and walk away with more money in your pocket?


Tip 5: The Right Realtor® Makes All the Difference

It's not just any Realtor® that will save you money on your home sale, as mentioned previously, working with Debbie Dogrul Associates will afford you access to resources and professional connections to save you money; provide you services and information to help you make decisions, and save money; provide expertise and advice to show you how to realize the highest price; and give you support throughout the process that can not only save you money but give you peace of mind along the way.

Researching the competition, making a plan, running your calculations will all take time and expertise. While you can certainly do as much of this on your own, calling in a full time Realtor® who knows your area will give you a professional opinion and summary of these aspects, saving you the upfront time and giving you the opportunity to draw your conclusions. When it comes to choosing a Realtor® to represent you in your sale, you will again find yourself with information overload as friends, family and neighbors may know someone who dabbles in real estate and you see signs and other marketing throughout the area.


Working with Debbie Dogrul Associates provides you:

Knowledge of the competition – we have information about the other homes available for sale, those that have recently sold and any that may be coming on the market.

Resources and connections – In addition to services provided by your Realtor® and the team, Debbie Dogrul Associates has connections in other trades that come highly recommended from past sellers.

Access to the largest network of buyers - with proven techniques to reach potential buyers, Debbie Dogrul Associates' marketing reach means more buyers see your home, which means less time on the market and the best price for you.

Confirmation we are with you every step of the way – if something unexpected happens, we will be by your side to see it through to resolution.

Advice on where to best spend your money – We will listen to your needs and understand your situation enough to help you put together the best plan for you to get the most out of your home sale.

Reviews from other sellers – if you do not personally know someone who has worked with us in the past, we can provide you reviews and referrals from past sellers.


At the end of the day, there are ways to save money selling your home and there are ways to strategically spend money to prepare your home for sale so you walk away with the highest return on your investment. Working with a full time, professional expert will maximize your opportunity for that high return. There will be expenses and costs to face when you are selling your home, that is unavoidable.


The best way to cut down on unnecessary expense, spend money in the places with the best return and find resources to build up your bottom line is to hire the right Realtor®, one from Debbie Dogrul Associates, right from the start.

To start planning your next move, call us today - (703) 425-3582.