How much will your home sell for?
How can you make sure you get all it’s worth?
You not only have a lot of your life invested in your home, you have a lot of your income invested there, too. You want to make sure you get all it’s worth, and quickly.
You know that if a house sits too long unsold, the value drops, so you want to make sure that you get offers within the early days of listing, but without sacrificing any of your hard-won equity.
Here are 7 ways to make sure you get offers quickly, without dropping your price.
1. Price Correctly
Price too high and you risk scaring everyone off; price too low, or even right at market value, and buyers will still expect to haggle. You could end up with considerably less than you could have gotten. You need to price just right…in the Goldilocks zone for home pricing.
Where that zone is depends on the market conditions in your exact location. If it’s a hot sellers’ market, then the Goldilocks zone is at or slightly above market value. If it’s a hot buyer’s market, then the zone is at or slightly under market value.
Market value is usually the average price of homes that have sold in your neighborhood over the last three months. Your real estate agent (me, in this case) will show you all comparable properties (called a CMA—comparative market analysis), and review them with you to estimate a price for your home.
If you think your price should be higher than what the real estate agent comes up with, then discuss it, don’t simply demand a higher price or tell them to take a hike.
Pricing isn’t an exact science. Ultimately, the one thing that will absolutely determine the price your house sells for is what buyers are willing to pay. That’s why real estate agents look at SOLD comparable properties, not ACTIVE comparables.
Pricing is one reason agents hold an open house right after listing…if the price isn’t right, they want to reduce it within the first seven days, so that it doesn’t become seasoned at the wrong price. The only way to absolutely know if the price is right or wrong is to get the opinions of buyers.
The closer your house is in price to what buyers expect for that style, condition, and location, the faster your home will sell.
2. Choose your real estate agent wisely
No one likes spending money, especially as much money as it takes to sell a home. But if you are going to spend the money, then get the best agent you can. A great agent doesn’t cost any more than any other agent, and may save you a lot of money and aggravation.
A good agent will price the home correctly, or not take the listing. A good agent will have a marketing system ready to plug into, not be creating it as they go. A good agent will know what is hot and what is not in the market, and play to the right people by positioning your property through its marketing. A good agent will know a lot of other good agents, and your home will become part of the good-will network, where other buyer’s agents encourage their buyers to view a home, because they respect the listing agent. A good agent will spend a lot of time and attention on your property.
3. Put your house in order
While television programs such as House Hunters and Fix It or Flip It have left some buyers feeling that all properties should be immaculate, neutral shells with Pottery Barn furnishings, this is unrealistic for most people who have to live in their homes.
However, you can help buyers to see past your lifestyle so they can project their own lifestyle onto your home. Here are some techniques for doing that, without emptying your home…
People like brightly lit homes, so cleaning the windows and switching on lights enhances first impressions. Also a clean, clutter-free environment makes buyers feel as though they want to live in that space—even if they’re messy themselves. Painting can do wonders for a tired interior. Reorganizing your furnishings can enhance your space, and removing a few decor items that are extremely personal, such as a wall full of family photos, can neutralize it without much effort.
Also, good first impressions are vital, so don’t forget the exterior. Paint the trim, trim the plants, and plant some flowers. Add a new door mat, keep the walk swept, and consider sprucing up the front porch. Even in winter, you can add pots with evergreens and use whimsical garden balls to add a splash of color.
You definitely increase your odds of selling faster with a de-cluttered, fresher, and more well-lit home. None of these things takes a lot of money. But they do take time, so get started as soon as you know you’ll be putting your home on the market.
4. Avoid complicated buyers
Some home buyers will make an offer, then ask for the moon and stars during inspection negotiations. This is their right. However, you can’t afford to keep waiting, keep making things right, and keep wondering if they’ll pull out at the last moment.
Increase the chances of a faster sale by making sure your real estate agent is qualifying the buyers for you. This can include talking to the buyer’s lender, talking to the buyers themselves, putting stipulations into the contract to keep the buyers from dragging their feet, and more.
An experienced agent won’t just help you get an offer…he or she will help you get to the closing table.
5. Make repairs
Walk around your house as if seeing it for the first time. Even better, have your real estate agent walk around with you. Make a list of the little details that you only just now notice, such as a hole in the screen, a leaning gutter, a spot on the carpet, a bit of dangling drapery, mildew on the bath tile, etc.
These are usually very small items that
you don’t even notice because you live there and see them every day. But a buyer walking in for the first time will see them and immediately make judgements about the overall condition based on a few scraggly items.
By fixing all these little items, you increase the chances of a faster sale. If your neighbors’ homes were also in great condition when they sold, then yours will need to be in great condition, too, if you want to get a similar sales price. And if your neighbors’ homes were in worse condition, then you’ll be able to sell that much faster by being in better condition.
6. Consider minor upgrades
If your budget allows for it, then adding new light fixtures, kitchen and bath faucets, and even a new backsplash can make a big difference in how a space feels. As you go through your house looking for small repairs to make, also make note of areas that look dated and tired.
A simple upgrade in strategic spots can help a buyer feel that he’s moving up by moving into your house. Again, your real estate agent can point out the strategic places for enhancements that buyers will notice.
7. Consider staging
Even a tired, old house can be made to feel fresh and alive with the right staging. For instance, a house with old metal window frames might be a turn-off, but rich, fresh drapes can disguise those metal frames.
If you can’t afford full-on staging, then focus on your problem areas. If your dining nook is too tiny, put a properly small, proportioned table into the space. If your bathroom was new in the 1960s, then make the grout sparkle and get all new towel sets, matching soap dish, shower curtain, etc.
As with making small repairs and minor upgrades, staging can do wonders for speeding up the sale of your home.
Your Best Next Step
Call and set a walk through appointment with me as much as eight months before you plan to sell.
I’ll help you find areas where small improvements can make a big difference in the speed and price you sell for. While I’m there, I can gather the information I need to prepare an accurate CMA and value estimate for your home.
Then you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to plan your sale…to get the most you can when you finally put your home on the market.