More Money. Sell Sooner. 5 Tips to Make It Happen

The dog days of summer are behind us. No more 90-degree weekends, vacations and summer camp. It’s back to the usual fair-weather, get-it-done grind. So, if you’re looking to get your home on the market soon, now’s the time to knock out a few things.

Before we get into the good stuff, let’s take a step back and share some stats. According to First Multiple Listing Service’s July report, the average “days-on-market” (DOM) from the point a single family, metro-Atlanta area home is “listed” until the day it goes “under contract” right now is 84. Let’s say you put your home on the market tomorrow: at 84 DOM, add a few extra weeks for your buyer to get their financing in order after you go under contract, have inspections done and have the home appraised, you’d be looking at mid-January before you back the moving truck down the driveway.

Our goal at Red Robin Group is to beat the Atlanta DOM average by half. If we help you price the home right from the get-go, and we work together to get the place spruced up, we’re creating a better opportunity to get your home sold in half the time.

Time and time again, our statistics have shown that in order to get your home sold, you need to be in the bottom 25% of price competitiveness and in the top 25% of showing condition to get the home sold.

In the past, sellers could make up for average or poor showing condition by lowering their price. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t cut it anymore. Today, buyers expect your place to show like a million bucks before they even consider submitting an offer. And you can’t reasonably begrudge them: buyers are still faced with an over-saturation of inventory (there’s just too much too see), they still have insecurity about the housing market (not sure if we’ve reached the “bottom” yet) and buyers have no disposable income after purchase to restore, renovate and remodel a home that needs help. They want something move-in ready or they’ll go down the street, skip to another neighborhood or even cross county lines to find the most home in the best condition for the money.

With these challenges in mind, here are a few suggestions that always seem to make a tremendous difference when it comes to getting your home in its absolute, tip-top showing condition without breaking the bank:

  1. Shine that floor! If you have hardwoods, heart-of-pine, parquet or any other type of wood floor that’s painted or stained, the absolute, hands-down best product on the market to freshen them up is Rejuvenate. We’ve used this on our own floors and it’s simply incredible. It’s cheap, it works, it’s easy to use. Every time one of Red Robin Group’s sellers uses this product, we ALWAYS get comments on the incredible “refinish job” on the floors from agents and potential buyers. Clean, shiny and “new” looking floors make buyers feel like you’ve cared for your home from, literally, the floor up. And this is why this product is at the TOP of our list when it comes to home fix-up tricks.
  2. Paint those walls and paint that dirty trim! You may have liked that lavender living room when you painted it a few years ago, and your 6-year-old may have really wanted Barney-purple in his room, but it’s not 1992 anymore and your kid’s in high school now — what’s more, Fido and Fluffy have done a number on the baseboards and door molding over the years. More important, when you’re getting ready to put your home on the market, it is absolutely essential to create a sense of unity in the interior structure of the home. The best way to create that is to pick one consistent, neutral wall color and compliment it with a light-colored, gloss enamel for trim, doors and windows.

    Our buyer agents consistently hear feedback from their clients that when the interior of the homes they see are painted one consistent, neutral paint color, they remember it as more spacious, cleaner and brighter. Plus, they tend to actually remember more about the house, which is important if they need to mentally “flag their favorite”. For houses with different wall colors in every room (especially darker, disparate colors), they tend to remember less about the home, including the floor plan, the size of rooms, and they may even forget altogether some of the rooms they saw.

  3. Clean that grout! Remember what you always hear on HGTV? “Kitchens and baths sell houses.” So if you can’t remodel, then give buyers a kitchen floor, a bathroom floor or a shower surround that they can eat off of. The trick? A grout pen. It’s no more than 10 bucks, it comes in many colors, there’s a million different kinds, and they make your bathroom floor or kitchen back splash look clean and new. These things are like magic. All of us have had that tile wall or floor that we just can’t get any cleaner, and we give up. Well, guess what? A buyer knows you’ve given up when they see it, and its not a project they want to take on, either. So whip out this pen and make some miracles happen.
  4. Plant those flowers! We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: a buyer makes a decision about a house within the first 10 seconds of pulling into the driveway. Tons of blooming flowers and lush, fresh ferns sure do help create a positive first impression. It shows that you have pride in your home, and that’s what buyers are buying – pride. Whenever our buyer agents take their first-time buyers out to a house, if there are no flowers and no nice landscaping out front or (heaven forbid) half the plants are dead and dying, the VERY first question they ask before the ubiquitous “How long has it been on the market?” is “Does anyone live here?” Don’t go cheap on this one – get some decent, fully-grown, blooming plants that would make a buyer say “WOW!” before they open the back passenger door and step out of their agent’s car.
  5. Declutter & stage! This is where most sellers need our help. We know your personal belongings are pretty hard to see past. You place more value on your stuff than a buyer would, and that’s understandable: that’s why it ended up in your living room and not theirs. And that’s why, when we get geared up to list your property, we’re going to walk with you from room while making a list of the things that should stay and a list of the things that should go. Bottom line, a buyer needs to be able to visualize their life in the house and not be bombarded with items that cloud that personal image. Some hints? TVs on top of dressers, out. Large wall paintings, in. Anything more than a dining table and four chairs in a 10’x10′ dining room, out. Fresh cut flowers, in. From time to time, Red Robin Group may even have some extra staging items to help, and we’ll go over all of this in detail when we do our staging walk-through together.


Take a look at all the photo of the home below where our sellers took every one of the above suggestions to heart…

See that shiny floor? That’s the Rejuvenate. The three pieces of furniture, large wall painting and the fireplace screen? Pared down from about 15 other items.

Now CLICK HERE take a look at a slideshow of the entire home, inside and out. You’ll see that the grout pen, the staging advice and landscaping tips all came in handy, too. It took the couple 3-4 weeks to get their house ready. Once it hit the market it was under contract in two weeks for more than we originally planning on listing it for.

They got THOUSANDS more and sold it faster by following the five suggestions above.

And who doesn’t want more money and less time on the market? All it takes is someone to give you the right suggestions, then when you put in a little elbow grease, good things happen!


For more tips on how to get your home ready for market this fall — including color choices, the right decorative items and affordable amenities that are in season for 2010 — contact a Red Robin Group listing agent at 404-254-5206 x2 or email

posted: Sep 8, 2010 | No Responses

Posted by:  Wakamo & Associates

Melissa Wakamo and her dynamic team of agents and support staff provide buyer and seller clients with exceptional service and proven results. Since the start of her real estate career in 2004, Melissa has proven to be a true advocate for her clients and has consistently performed in the top 1% of agents

“When I started my real estate career, I wanted to work in my local community and get to know my neighbors. Now, I realize how important that local expertise is to our clients. At Red Robin REALTORS®, all of our agents are specialists in working with buyers and sellers in Atlanta’s intown neighborhoods.”

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