— A Complete Selling Guide For Homeowners —
How To Best Sell Your Home
by Chris Brown, President, CB Investments
06 March 2017
Selling your home quickly and effectively at the maximum price is about implementing a proven and necessary process.
With the correct approach, you can sell your home in record time. Setting the right price, marketing your home, and making an excellent first impression are essential to attracting buyers. The best way to accomplish this is to follow a proven process.
Do Your Homework
Before you start, set a timeline. Decide how you’ll lower the price of your home if you’re not getting any bids. Many sellers price their homes too high and then keep them too high for too long, all while paying for maintenance, upgrades, and property taxes. Having a predetermined outline of how you’ll lower the price in the absence of bids will help take emotion out of the decision and ultimately help you sell you house more quickly.
You should also consult with a listing agent. Listing agents help you price your home and prepare it for sale. Price your home too low, and you could lose out on a lot of money. Price your home too high and it could languish on the market for months or even years — making some buyers wonder if something is wrong with your home. Listing agents have many duties, but at the top of the list is to properly price your home.
Make your home look as clean and spacious as possible. Consider moving some items to a storage unit temporarily.
Clean Your Home
As soon as you decide to sell your home, thoroughly clean it from top to bottom. Don’t forget rarely-cleaned areas such as baseboards, blinds, and roof gutters. A clean home will help an appraiser see your house in a better light and value it more highly, as well as appealing to buyers. Spend some extra cash to hire a professional cleaning service, at least for an initial deep clean. And make your home look more spacious by getting rid of any unnecessary junk. Buyers want to feel like they’re purchasing sufficient space.
Appraise Your Home
As much as you’d like to set the price of your home as high as possible, you have to be realistic. Having a professional, third-party assessment of your home’s worth will help you get comfortable with a price range, in addition to providing you with a solid reference point if a buyer or realtor accuses you of setting the price too high. A certified residential appraiser will come to your house, measure the property, take notes and photos, research information about any land parcels, and assemble a list of comparable sales in your neighborhood to determine the value of your home.
A home inspection is conducted by someone who has the training and certifications to evaluate the condition of a property.
Inspect Your Home
Have your home inspected. Many standard real estate contracts are going to give the home buyer the right to inspect the property, so be prepared. Have your home inspected before you advertise. Under a general inspection you might be obligated to make major repairs to appliances, plumbing, septic, electrical and heating systems, etc. You can expect your home’s roof and foundations to be inspected, as well. Follow the recommendations and make necessary repairs. Additional inspections requested by the buyer are customarily at their expense.
Repair Your Home
As much as possible, get your home in move-in condition before you put it on the market. If buyers feel like they’ll need to do extra landscaping, plumbing, appliance and electrical work before they can enjoy the house, they’ll balk when it comes to buy, even if the rest of your house is an absolute steal. So make it easy for them. Hire a handyman or general contractor to get the home as ready to move into as possible.
Since most buyers are represented by an agent, it’s a good idea to draw as many agents as possible to view your home.
Market Your Home
Before you start marketing your home, write up a list of special selling points you think will attract buyers. Potential items include good school districts, recent renovations, benefits that have been grandfathered into the property, energy-saving windows or insulation and new appliances. Highlight these items in your ads, when you talk to people about your home or while you’re showing it. Memorize them so that you don’t forget anything.
You should also hire a professional photographer to highlight your home’s best features, add your home to the multiple listing service (MLS) so buyers and agents can view your property, create a website so people can share your home on social media, and hold open houses so potential buyers can walk through.
Show Your Home
When showing your home, a staging is especially important. During a staging, potential buyers begin mentally imagining their own items, and their lives, in your home. If they can’t make the imaginative leap because the house is too cluttered, dirty, colorful, or quirky, you’ve probably lost their business. It is best to stage the house to be as spacious, clean, and as typical as possible.
Once you get to the closing process you’re almost there, but you need to know what to expect so you can prepare.
Sell Your Home
Be prepared to negotiate. If a buyer says he or she likes your home but is not sure about buying it, again, this is your opportunity to sweeten the deal. Did you notice the buyer looking longingly at your new barbecue? Throw it in. Did they seem dismayed that the patio hadn’t been varnished for awhile? Say you’ll come down $500 to cover the cost of re-varnishing. Giving up an appliance or making a small concession for home improvements could cost you less than continuing to pay a mortgage on a house you don’t want.
Once the buyer is making offers and negotiating, try to close the transaction as quickly as you can. Make sure you’ve provided all the necessary disclosure documents required by the state. If you don’t like the buyer’s offer, don’t just say no. Always make a counter offer. Try to accommodate the buyer wherever you can afford to, and consult with your realtor about the best course of action.
When it comes to selling your home you may ask yourself, “do I need a real estate agent or should I list it myself?” With sites such as Zillow and Trulia available, the for-sale-by-owner process (FSBO) is increasingly popular today as more information is available online. One major pro of listing yourself is saving the 6% commission fee that real estate agents typically charge to market and broker a deal for your home. You can avoid paying this bill entirely if you sell it yourself. That’s quite a savings, but is it worth it? Let’s answer this question with a question: Are you a real estate finance specialist?