So you’ve decided to sell your home. Great! Here are 8.5 tips to help you through what comes next: the selling process.
1. Plan ahead. The sooner you get started on those small house projects, the better. You’d be surprised at how much time they will take. When you put your house on the market, you want it to be ready.
Not sure what projects to do? A real estate agent can provide some tips on what areas to improve, and a home inspector can identify items for your fix-it list.
2. Get a real estate agent. A good real estate agent will make the difference between a quick sale with a decent price, and a long, drawn out wait with an unsatisfactory end. Your agent will expose your house to the maximum amount of buyers, negotiate a deal in your best interest, and help protect you from all the potential liability issues that are involved in selling a house.
Interview a few local agents to see who you feel comfortable with and who has the knowledge and expertise to represent you the best. Once you feel comfortable with your choice of an agent, take their advice. You are hiring them because they are professionals, so make use of their experience and expertise.
3. Price your house realistically from the start. Why? Because the largest number of showings will occur in the first three weeks. Oftentimes, if you set the price too high (“just to see if someone will bite”), buyers will write it off as “not worth the price.” By the time you decide to lower the price, they’ve moved on to another house.
Ultimately, your house is worth what buyers are willing to pay. Not what the tax assessed value is, what Zillow says it should be, or what you bought it for/put into it. I know that’s painful, but it’s true. If your house is still sitting on the market a year down the road, it didn’t start at the right price. Remember, it’s your agent’s job to provide you with strong sales data to price your house competitively and appropriately.
4. Throw in extras. Is your potential buyer trying to shave a few thousand off your asking price? Offer them the washer/dryer, fridge, or mounted flat screen you didn’t want to take down anyway, if they give you full price.
5. De-clutter your home. I don’t mean just cleaning….pare down your stuff. You’re moving anyway right? Start the packing process early and eliminate clutter. Your home needs to feel open and spacious, not cramped. But don’t pack away everything just yet, people still want to see a human touch (a few family photos strategically placed, rather than covering every wall).
6. Appeal to lazy buyers. Take some time to tackle all those little maintenance jobs you’ve been putting off (more reason for tip #1). A fresh coat of paint on the porch or a rust-free gutter, will do wonders for attracting a buyer. Most buyers don’t want a list of repair projects for when they move in. Think presentation.
7. Use upgrade money wisely. Ask your agent about low-cost things you can do to capture the highest value for your home. A fresh coat of paint, new carpet, and curb appeal are the biggest areas for inexpensive improvement with the highest return rate. There’s no need to sink thousands into remodeling the kitchen.
8. Negotiate. It’s not always about money. Maybe you want a few extra days to move out after close of escrow. Or maybe the buyer cares more about getting a home warranty than a lower price. Use your agent to find out what is important to the buyer so you can use non-monetary perks to negotiate a win-win deal.
8.5 Relax! You’ve now done all you can to make your home attractive, presentable, and available. So take the dog for a walk while your agent shows the house and start planning your new life!
Sara Wolters is a Realtor at Realty Concepts, Ltd., in Oakhurst. firstname.lastname@example.org