WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Kerry Fedigan got to practice what she preaches last year.
“I think every agent should put their home on the market every 10 years or so" Fedigan said, "just to remind us of what our sellers are going through."
With one daughter away in college and another commuting to school in Somers, Kerry and her husband Steve Cid, both real estate agents with Douglas Elliman, decided the time was right to downsize.
After making the decision last winter to list their Crestwood home, Fedigan officially put the house on the market in May. It was in contract in just 12 days.
“We followed the advice we give out,’’ said Fedigan. “We did the best we could to not have it sit on the market for any length of time.”
According to Fedigan, there are things every seller can do to help their home sell quickly, and they are very simple steps any seller can take.
Fedigan drafted a five-item list of things she did to help expedite the sale of her home. These tips include obtaining an owner’s appraisal, de-cluttering and staging the home, and investing in some smaller projects to improve the home's overall appearance.
“Sellers will frequently do their own inspection, to see what issues there are before going to market,’’ Fedigan said. "One thing they don’t often consider is an independent appraisal. It allowed me to show prospective buyers what the house was valued at. We priced our home slightly below the appraised value knowing there were immediate projects that would need to be addressed by the purchaser. We were very straightforward with all of the prospective buyers which allowed them the confidence that the house was priced well."
Buyers could not come in with ridiculously low offers, with a recent appraisal having been done. When working with a seller, the appraisal provides an independent evaluation of the current value of their home -- it sets up realistic expectations going into the marketplace. Of course, each appraisal can vary somewhat, but the seller has a solid ballpark number they can attach to their home during the negotiation process.
Fedigan said appraisals cost about $400, a cost seller's don't traditionally incur, but it can provide very valuable intel before going to market. She also invested in several smaller projects, which helped add value to the home.
"We owned a sideways house,’’ Fedigan said. "There was no true front entry, which could prove confusing to potential buyers coming to visit the home, and as Realtors we are highly aware of the importance of the first impression! We created a nice meandering stone path from the sidewalk to our entry. It cost us about $3,500, but it was one of the things people commented on when they came into the house. We took what was a negative to 'I love this little path entrance.' A Realtor can help guide a seller in wise changes, whatever the budget is.”
According to Fedigan, many sellers focus on the sale of their home to coincide with “hot” markets. “If your home is staged correctly and priced well, any time is the right time,’’ she said. “It’s about being staged and ready and having a price that is compelling to buyers. It’s about being prepared to bring it on the market and pricing it well. If you do your homework and are realistic, then there are always buyers out there.”
The transition has been a huge change for Fedigan, who plans to purchase a smaller home for her family in the next few years. Fedigan and her family have a temporary rental residence in White Plains.
“It’s allowing us the opportunity to decide what our next steps are going to be,’’ she said. “We’ll spend a little time thinking it through. For the first time in a long time, not having any homeowner responsibilities is nice. Not having to shovel snow is a good thing.”