TOP HOME SELLING TIPS
In order to get your home sold, you must learn to think like a buyer. It’s only human nature to think that, all things considered, our home is worth more than our neighbors. After all, we have so many emotions wrapped up in our real estate. Maybe it was our first home, or we’ve raised our family there and made many memories. In any case, it is worth noting that buyers buy for their reasons. Once you decide to sell your home, it is helpful to think of it as a product on the shelf. Here are some no nonsense tips to help you get it sold smoothly.
Take your time and price it right from the start
Have your real estate agent run comparables of similar type properties which sold in the last 6 to 12 months. This will give you a pretty good idea of what the current market pricing will bear. Also take note to the time each home sat on the market, how many times the price was reduced. There are a lot of reasons why one house will move quickly and another will languish on the market for a year, and price is definitely right at the top of the list. One fear of sellers is that they’ll list their home too cheaply. Believe me, if this happens, you will know it right away! You’ll have several full price offers to pick from and then you can decide if you’ll accept one of them, or whether you’ll make a counter offer for more than your original asking price. Either way, it’s a great problem to have. Also when you overprice your home, interest wanes as time goes on and you usually need to do something to renew interest. Again, pricing is a key issue.
Deal with a reputable agent
You’ve heard the saying, “if it sounds too good to be true…..
Realize that agents are competing for your business and that it’s tempting for an agent to think that he can get the seller more money for a property than the next agent. At the very least, question the reasoning before listing with a real estate agent who seemingly makes outlandish promises. It’s tempting to think for a moment that you might get a crazy offer, but wouldn’t you really rather stick with someone who offers a realistic plan that adds up on paper. Selling is house is a process and all good agents know this. A good agent will have a realistic plan to get your home sold.
Create “curb appeal”
Yes, I know, you’ve heard it again and again and there’s a good reason for that. If it’s not appealing from the street, no one will want to come inside and see more. Fix up your front door, screen and garage doors. Clean up outside, cut the lawn, paint the trim, put flowers on the porch, sealcoat the driveway, fix the door latch, caulk the front window, clean the windows, replace or paint the mailbox. Take a photo of the front of your home and then spend a good day or two sprucing up. It will save you money in the long run and get your home sold quicker. If your shutters are falling off, there’s a good chance a potential buyer might notice it. Take the time to look at your home from the buyers point of view and your sale will be that much closer.
Consider using a full service broker/agent
Here is where the discount broker or agent strategy backfires. Real estate agents are human too and like to earn a fair wage for their efforts. All things being equal, if there are two similar homes for sale and one is offering a 5% commission and the other is offering 6%, which home do you think will sell first? Common sense right? You’d think so but not always the case. Since commissions are often split between the buyers brokerage and the sellers brokerage 3% and 3% customarily, sometimes an aggressive home seller will offer to pay the buyer broker even more to lure that buyer in. It does sometimes work. But pricing your agent out is usually a sure fire way to get less support, less marketing, and a longer sale time as their focus may wander elsewhere.
Leave your house when an agent is showing your home
You’ve lived in your home a while and who knows its best features better than you. True? Maybe, but realize that that potential buyer sees things a little differently. They may be planning on doing major renovations and don’t want to tell you that they really don’t like popcorn ceilings or your moss colored wallpaper will be coming down. Buyers need time to envision a home as they see it and that’s very hard to do when an eager seller wants to “show them around.” Let your agent do what you are paying them to do, which is to show the home. A professional agent knows how and when to give a buyer space and room to breathe so they can make those decisions So go enjoy your walk. If they buyer has questions, or an offer comes in, you will be the first to know.
Offer to pay some closing costs or give something of value
Even with 3 to 5% down FHA loan programs available, many first time home buyers are short of cash when buying their first home. In lieu of offering a greater discount on the price, make a counteroffer that offers to cover some of the buyers closing costs. Since they are most likely financing a good portion of the balance, that extra money you save them might be for their furniture, lawn mower or other initial move in expenses so it may be much more valued than a price concession, since it is essentially money back in their pocket, versus financing it over 30 years. Remember, everything is negotiable so don’t be afraid to bargain.
It pays to be flexible
It may be much cheaper to spend 30 days at a relative’s house or local hotel to accommodate the buyers move in date. Be flexible and assure yourself the sale and money in the bank rather than risk your potential buyer moving on to another property because you wanted to close on the last day before school starts. This will not always be possible but if it is, make it a point of negotiation in instead of a lower price. In general, having some degree of flexibility will help your negotiations move along in the right direction. If you constantly find yourself playing “hardball” with every offer, you may be on the market a while and learn a lot more about real estate than you actually wanted to. Again, let your agent guide you.
Be honest and have a realistic attitude
There are always a lot of gray areas and many things in a real estate transaction revolve around trust. Most buyers realize that not every house is perfect, and there will likely be some things that need fixing. They will also feel a lot better about moving forward in the transaction when they are made aware of those things in a truthful way. Do not lie on the seller’s disclosure. If there is a problem, you need to disclose it (or you may be held liable legally)
Be a smart seller, invest a little to return a lot
Do a reasonable job fixing the house up and getting ready for sale. Listen to the suggestions that your real agent makes. They know what gets a home sold quickly. Keep your house clean while you are on the market. You could have a showing in an hour. Sure it’s a little work, but you’ll get it sold much faster. Paint rooms neutral colors, clean windows, replace a worn out carpet with a cheap neutral carpet, clean, freshen up your bathrooms and kitchen, don’t display ALL the family pictures, put unnecessary items in temporary storage, get rid of things that are broken, fix that hole in the wall from the door handle, fix the leaky pipe, declutter rooms and closets, rearrange furniture to show off the space in the house, and consider keeping your pet somewhere else when the house is being shown can all help you sell your home with minimal expense.
Sure, you can bake cookies for your open house, bury a St. Joseph statue in the yard, throw a house party, host an art show, throw salt over the doorway, display oranges, and a host of other old tricks, but nothing will get it done as quick as these tips.
Click to see our reviews
Mike and Jill Kohler
Listing your home for sale
Preparing your home for sale
Is now the right time to sell?