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Listing my home in Old Town Alexandria

Listing my home in Old Town Alexandria

House for sale


Often times I hear the following.  What is the process of listing my home in Old Town Alexandria. What should I do first?

The process is essentially the same for all locations and types of homes.  No matter where you live the following  list of tasks will apply to your situation, like in Old Town Alexandria, Alexandria, Arlington, Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Potomac MD, Chevy Chase or many others.

I created the following check list, I think you will find it useful

1 (2)Talk to a REALTOR®.

  1. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. And your thought might be “but I don’t want to talk to a sales person” to what I have to respond. Don’t consider your real estate agent as a sales person, consider him or her as your consultant. If the agent is really good then that will be his/her main focus, helping you decide and sort things out for you Check out this post for more on this.
  2. Their knowledge of the market will help you decide your next steps and determine the current market value of your home. Correctly Pricing a home from the beginning is extremely important

2Review your Motives.

  1. Re-think and test your motives. Do you really need to move? If you are not quite sure, or you are just trying to “test the market”, my suggestion is you review your decision. For most people the chore of moving is a necessary “evil” when you have to make a change.  There are plenty of  good reasons to move, a job relocation, life changing situation, lifestyle change or financial issues, all of  which will make Selling a home the Only option. But there are a few other options, depending on your personal and financial position and a consultation with a real estate agent that is also an architect will help you explore those options.
  2. Have a heart to heart conversation with your family and review your situation one more time. Are you ready for this change? Have thought about renting your house for a period of time as an alternative for you? Or may be remodel your existing home to better suit your needs?
  3. Now if the reason for listing your home in Old Town Alexandria is because you believe you can get an incredibly high price, then you might be wasting your time. The market will determine the price of your home, a good marketing program and good market conditions in your area will be the determining factors. Buyers are very savvy these days and have a lot of information at their disposal (good or bad) so they will not be over paying.  Again, before you decide to sell, consult a Real Estate Professional

3Start packing

  1. If you’ve decided that moving is the right thing for you, then start packing. Although this is generally an unpleasant chore, it is un-avoidable, but is a process that will help you start to focus on your new goal, declutter your house and mind, plus make room for staging elements that will help you sell your home faster.
  2. If you can’t move to your new location ahead of time and need to stay in your home until it sells, a continued review of the old piles of stuff you’ve accumulated, saving, selling and eliminating, will help you get organized and arrive at your new home making your new environment look roomier and cleaner

4Fix things

  1. Little fixes.  Those pesky things that we all learn to live with because we can’t seem to find time to fix them, you know what I am talking about, “leaky faucets, non-functioning electrical outlets, that lock that won’t open until you jiggle the key a little, the ice maker that no longer makes ice….and the list goes on!
  2. Major projects. Replacing the roof is only necessary if there is a leak or is in obvious need of repair/replacement. Replacing windows is also necessary if they are broken or very old and non-functioning. Same goes for replacing the heating and cooling systems. These major issues are really maintenance issues, things that are part of the delight of being a homeowner and need to be maintained. Replacing a roof or all the windows in your home because you believe will add value to your home will certainly make your home more appealing, but all buyers expect a good roof, working systems and windows in good condition and rarely are willing to pay for perfection or even consider paying more because you just replaced the roof.
  3. Remodeling a kitchen or updating a bathroom may OR may not be a good idea. You will not get ALL of the money invested back in your sales price. The return on your investment has more to do with what is available in your neighborhood, the existing conditions of the comparable rooms in those homes, coupled with how fast you want your house to sell. Go back to Step One.

5Talk to a REALTOR®.

  1. If you didn’t do this at the beginning of the process, PLEASE do it now. An agent will not be able to help you with Steps Two and Three (though they most likely have great references for moving companies), but definitely will come in handy for Step Four


  1. If you have moved out and your house is empty I strongly suggest you at least stage the most important rooms. Marketing is all about peoples perceptions, the more a prospective buyer feel this could be their home the better your chances of selling it to them. Read more on my post “how to sell a luxury home faster – staging tips”
  2. If you need to stay in your house while it is on the market, then consult a real estate agent to discuss what stays, what goes and what needs to be added and how they should be positioned in the house. Go back to my staging tips blog where I talk in extent about this subject. Of course it helps if your agent is a Certified stager, Designer and Architect 🙂
  3. If your home is a luxury home then staging is not optional. You likely already have beautiful and house appropriate pieces that can be used for staging.  If I am your agent I will use as many of your current pieces as warrants to meet our staging goals, but sometimes personal belongings might need to be curated. It just depends. Give me a call to discuss 703-472-5439. or if you prefer SEND ME A NOTE

7Photography and Video

  1. Photography : With 90% of buyers starting their search on the internet, beautiful pictures are of the out most importance. Talented photographers will provide you with exquisite photography of your home and showcase your house so it can be listed and sold faster. More visits online equal more visits in person which directly results in more offers.
  1.  Video : When listing a high-end property a video is sometimes necessary. In large estates showcasing a property is better shown with a video rather than only still pictures. Make sure you hire a professional that has experience in producing real estate related videos and your luxury agent will be able to provide you with those resources

8Floor Plans

  1. There is no need for floor plans if your house has a standard layout, although many on-line lookers like to have a floor plan in order to get a better idea of the homes characterisitcs.
  2. Floor plans for luxury homes are a must. Most distinctive luxury properties have large rooms and intricate layouts and understanding the layout of the home and its position on a large lot is facilitated by floor plans and site plans

9Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  1. SEO is a new buzz word these days. Internet searches have become the most used method for finding (buyers) and marketing (sellers) homes. You need to set up on your home’s web site or page with SEO.  This helps to “steer” prospective online buyers to find your home first. An agent versed in these techniques will be of the upmost help in getting your house sold in less time, and for more money.

10Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

    1. This is the final step when listing your home in Old Town Alexandria.
    2. If your home is a luxury estate then the local MLS is just one of the many recognized listing services where your home should be listed. Another services of importance is Proxio which helps international brokerages find your home and showcase to their international buyers, those pages are usually translated in many other languages.  This final step is just the beginning.


We talked about the multiple listing service (MLS) and I want to emphasize  why listing your home in the MLS is important.  Not all properties are listed on the MLS, a very small percentage of owners prefer not to be on the MLS and they have various reasons for doing so.

When you list your homes information on the MLS, its available for viewing by the widest possible audience of potential buyers. All real estate brokerages subscribe to this service because its a fantastic way to share information, any agent that has access to the MLS can “sell” any house listed. Once a property is included on the MLS then there are strict compliance rules that brokers must follow, for instance, methods of uploading  pictures, compensation for cooperating brokers, etc.  Think of the MLS as the ONE AND ONLY place where EVERY LISTINGS is uploaded this is THE SOURCE of listing information..

Once your homes’ information is uploaded to MLS other syndication sites will distribute the MLS information through their own portals, Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com are three well known examples of these syndication sites.  They display the MLS information reformatted for their web sites in different ways, some might add or subtract elevation shots, pictures or neighborhood information. Most of these syndication sites do NOT update the information frequently, so if those sites are your primary real estate search site you might find that the price listed may not be the current or perhaps the square footage is wrong or worse, a property that shows as Active has already been Sold.

A positive aspect of the syndicated sites is that once you list your home on the MLS the syndicates pick up the information automatically and distribute it to a potentially wider audience of buyers (more eyes = more foot traffic = faster sale).  Another positive aspect of the syndicate sites is that if an owners doesn’t agree with automated property VALUE estimates that some of these sites calculate owners can decide to withdraw their homes’ information.  The automated pricing calculation is a problem because a price that is incorrect (too high or too low) attracts potential buyers who are looking for a specific combination of price and location and will waste their time and your time contacting you and your agent based on an erroneous listing price.

As I said earlier, some homes might never be listed on the MLS, a decision that is purely at the owners discretion.  Some owners prefer to list their homes as “POCKET LISTINGS” in which their Realtor presents their home to a select group of brokers and buyers

“POCKET LISTINGS” are common when listing luxury homes and large estates. In this case the seller relies solely on his/her agents’ connections and unconventional marketing to sell the house. Generally this approach is used when the owner is concerned about privacy and would prefer not to have unqualified buyers walking through their home.

A variation is the “COMING SOON” signage approach, which is now also available on the MLS.

This could be used when an owner is still in the process of doing repairs and is not ready to show the house, but wants to let people know that their house will be available soon. The intention is to create a buzz and add heightened expectation for a new listing coming on the market. You should know thought that the MLS rules for “COMING SOON” listings are fairly strict.  When you list your property as “COMING SOON”, if a potential buyer sees the signage and convinces you to show your home early, then you have to show the property to ALL people that ask to have an early look.  So once you decide to show early, the flood gates are open, you can’t pick and choose who gets an early look.

If you have more questions about this feel free to call me at 703-472-5439 Or drop me a note 


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