3 Steps to Put Your Hawaii Home on the Market

As 2013 approaches, some may be inclined to come up with a list of “resolutions.” One of mine is to cut out refined sugar and gluten. Cutting out sugar is bad enough, but gluten…really? I did this because sugar and gluten are common ingredients together. My weakness is sweets of all shapes, sizes, and types.

I tried this a while back, but had to give it up when I started culinary school, particularly the baking section. For a couple of years, sugar, butter, cream and flour was a staple. Now I’m out of school and ready to see how this is going to play out. So that is one of my resolutions, what are yours?

If putting your home on the market for sale is one of your resolutions, you should definitely read on. I read an article by Camilla McLaughlin of the Associated Press a while back and fortunately kept it. I’ve digested bits and included some of my own personal experiences as an agent and a seller.

Step 1: Things to do Before You List Your Hawaii Home For Sale

There is always a list of things that you need to do to maximize your bottom dollar, but did you know that there should be time frames when these items should be done in order to relieve your pre-listing stress? Here is a suggested timeline:

3-6 Months Before Listing:

If you have a dated kitchen or bathroom(s), consider a minor face lift. Refacing or painting cabinets, replacing dated appliances, install a new counter top, replace old fluorescent or incandescent lighting with updated, energy efficient recessed and pendant lighting.

Be careful not to over improve compared to similar homes in the neighborhood. Start to work on your yard. Fertilize your grass and start to plant new hedging or perennials now so they will be greener than your neighbors when your home is on the market.

3 Months Before Listing:

1. Begin to declutter and clean. Don’t forget the garage! Less is more especially in terms of marketing your house. Don’t skip the windows. Clean windows bring in more light than you think.

2. Painting can be the best investment you can make to a quicker and more successful sale. Traditional advice was to paint white or neutral, but I like to advise my clients to include a pop of color in an accent or a wall to give rooms some character.

3. Start your market research now. Check out some open houses to see what your competition is. Begin to talk to Realtors about their marketing strategy. Sellers often get caught up with signing an agent on who says your home is worth the most. Price should be a factor, but not the most important. See how your potential agent will market your home.

4. Markets and times change. Lawn signs, print ads and sometimes open houses worked in the old days. They may not be effective in today’s market where online presence is king! Ask for your agents’ input as to how to best stage your home for sale. We see homes daily and can tell you what works and what doesn’t.

1 Month Before Marketing:

With the major cleaning and decluttering done, it’s time to fine tune. If you haven’t cleaned your windows yet, now is the time. You may want to remove some where it is practical to do. This lets in even more light. If you have carpets, now is the time to have them professionally cleaned, especially if you have pets.

If you have a cat, be vigilant about litter box maintenance. As a pet owner myself, we are accustomed to their daily smells, however, the buyer may not be and that could be a turn off. Keep the kitchen counters clear. Stash small appliances in cabinets and don’t leave mail lying all over the place.

Step 2: Have a Plan in Place with Your Agent

Have a plan in place with your agent about how each room will be staged. Do you have little vignettes in certain rooms? This encourages lookers to linger a while.

Be certain that your agent will have all lights turned on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown houses with every light off and the agent is on their phone or outside. Bright houses sell. Your goal is to have your house portray a lifestyle that your buyer can’t live without.

Step 3: Your Hawaii Home For Sale Should Have Internet Exposure

Remember a while back when I mentioned that marketing trends have changed? There was a time when you stuck a post sign in a yard and waited for your phone to ring. That no longer happens. We also relied heavily on print media, however, the numbers on return are quite low.

(Here’s a little inside secret: The expensive print ad that your agent placed in the paper or a magazine rarely, if ever, works in selling your home. They do it to make you feel good and to let you know that they are doing their job. I don’t dispute that, but there are other ways to market which will net higher returns.)

A National Association of Realtors poll showed that 90% of home buyers (96% of buyers aged 25 – 44 years) used the internet to search for a home. They most commonly start their search online, then contact an agent. That is the point at which your home should be marketed. When a buyer is searching online. This is where we, at Hawaii Life, can help you sell your home for the highest price, in the least amount of time.

With over 150,000 monthly visitors and promotion for over 30,000 keywords, HawaiiLife.com is like no other real estate search engine in the Pacific, much less the world. I invite you to Google “Hawaii Real Estate” and I’m certain that we come in first on the results page. When you are ready to get serious about selling your home, I’ll be ready to advise you and show you what we can do to market your home. You just have to call!


Ken Molina

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