For Selling Your Home
So, your ready to put your house on the market and pull out some major profits!
A quick read over of this article will certainly let you know if you are ready,
what steps to take, what to expect, and some helpful tips to get you going.
Why and Where?
Why are you selling?
If you are selling to relocate for work, or to be closer to family, or school, you may not have a lot of options as to when and how you sell your home. If you plan to sell for a quick profit and move a few streets over, there is something you should think about first. Local housing market. If your wanting to sell because you live in a high market area, you should think about what you plan on buying after your house has sold.
Even though you can sell in a high market, this means you will also be buying in a high market, so you may not profit as much as you might think. Before deciding to sell or not, you should search homes for sale in your area. While searching, you can compare your house with others in the area to give you an idea on what the fair market value for your home actually is.
A lot of people are completely out of touch with there homes current value is. We all tend to over/under value all sorts of things. You should get familiar with your surrounding area markets. Personally, I find a house that needs a lot of cosmetic work I can do myself that is priced at least 40% below average market price. This ensures you aquire instant equity and gives you a small safety net incase the market drops after you buy.
Picking the right agent:
This is perhaps the single, most important decision,
when selling/buying a home. Picking the right agent can mean the difference in a sale coming in your first week or being listed for 6 months with not even a single offer. The right agent will also get you a higher sales price. They work on commission and all take a similar commission percentage so you don't need to worry about the fees. Just get the best one you can find. Look for an agent that specializes in your home style and/or location. Don't hire a commercial agent for your personal home or an agent that deals with mostly outlying areas if you live in the city and vice versa.
What the GREAT agent does:
He/She will walkthrough your property and make a checklist of things you need to take care of. Lists can be simple tasks. From taking down artwork and rearranging furniture to bigger tasks like fence repairs and painting. If your not a DIY'er, a good agent will also have contacts with the top industry professionals in your area and will handle all of the communication and job oversight for you so you don't have to be bothered.
If you dont know someone personally, search for the highest selling real estate agent in your area with the best reviews. I suggest hiring the top agent in your area. If the #1 ranked agent and the #1,000 ranked agent are the same commission price, what is there to think about?
Curb Appeal Is A Must
Curb appeal is extremely important when selling a house.
Your homes curb appeal can usually be beautified over 1 weekend for a couple hundred dollars at most. Curb appeal is your homes first impression to a buyer. If you have green algea and pollen covered exterior walls, a jungle of uncut grass, fence boards missing and more weeds in your garden than you do flowers, then there's a good chance most people won't even bother looking at the inside. Try hiring the neighborhood kids for some weekend work. Keep the grass cut, change those few broken fenceboards, pressure wash the outside. Get the weeds out of your garden and plant some colorful flowers while your at it. Now buyers won't be so discouraged and will actually be excited to enter the inside of your home.
What About The Inside
When it comes to the inside of your home:
Do not pretend to know what buyers are looking for. This is why we hire the best agent. They deal with buyers every day therefore, they know exactly what buyers are looking for. They will give you a detailed list on your unique house needs and what has to be done to meet your potential buyers expectations. Typically, they will ask you to remove all personal items and pictures. Box them up and get a head start on packing.
Do a really good cleaning.
You can hire a proffesional that will go as far as washing your walls and steam cleaning your carpet areas for around $200. This is probably the cheapest most overlooked thing a seller can do. Trust me. Hire a professional to do this. You can probably find one company through your agent that will clean the inside and outside including pressure washing walkways and driveways for under $500. They will finish in 2 days what might end up taking you 3 or 4 weekends, many late nights and unexpected expenses on any cleaning supplies or equipment rentals. So in the long run it may actually be cheaper to hire someone.
If it sells your house 1 month faster that just saved you a month of interest payments on your mortgage. Not sure about you, but my interest on my mortgage is well over $500 a month. So for me, Spending $500 on speed and quality may end up saving me $1,000 in the long run.
Change those blackout curtains to a curtain that lets in natural light. They don't need to be expensive. The dollar store usually has plenty options for $5 or less.
Your wall paint should be a neutral color. At least in the main living areas. Check your local hardware center for mistinted paints. My local Lowes sells mistinted paints for $10 a gallon, and as cheap as $50 for 5 gallons every day of the week. Grab a couple whites and greys and mix them together in a 5 gallon bucket to give you a single neutral color if need be. You can get 4 gallons this way cheaper than you can buy a single gallon of paint at full retail price. As long as its a nice neutral color youll be fine. Most people paint there new house anyway. We just want that clean, fresh paint look, and new house smell.
Always discuss any of these ideas, or your own with your agent. They each have there own style and technique that works with there marketing and clientel.
When selling or buying a property:
99.9% of the time there will be a home inspection required. Don't worry. Odds are if you don't know of any major issues it's unlikely much will turn up. The inspection is usually paid for by the purchaser. A professional inspects the home for any and all issues.
Just like hiring a realtor. You want to hire the best. The better the inspector, the more in depth there findings will be. I have seen good inspectors go as far as pointing out dips in gravel driveways. A single loose outlet cover, or even more serious issues, like cracked foundation, and major termite, or rot damage are other common findings. Average cost for this service is around $350 - $400 for a reputable company.
Both the buyer, seller, and respective agents are usually more than welcome to witness the inspection taking place. Most inspectors will print out a detailed list of inspection findings and explain each finding. Feel free to ask any and all questions you can think. Good inspectors are pretty much experts in all aspects of general construction and can provide you with any information you may need.
Pack everything you can live without while your house is on the market.
If it's packed it can't be left lying out cluttering up your home. You don't want to be in a rush cleaning up before every buyer walkthrough. This will also be less stressful on you when your house sells because you have a given yourself a head start. Don't wait till the last minute!
Find a nice space that you can store your packed boxes. The best place would be a storage facility, but not everyone can afford an extra $100 a month. So what I do is stack them up really nice along my garage wall, or in my shed. Utilize any extra closet space also. People want to see how big the closets are not how clean they look.
Keep It Clean
Now, we have a newly packed, professionaly cleaned, freshly painted house.
The hardest part of this whole process is keeping it that way while it's in the showing stages.
It's important while your property is on the market. Your realtor will need access to your home at any time in order to show it to potential buyers.. People are buying at all times of the day, 7 days a week, so you have to be prepared.
Every morning before work you should make sure that everything is clean and tidy. No clothes on the floor, dishes in the sink or last nights pizza boxes still on the counter in the kitchen. This way your agent will feel confident in showing your home to anyone at anytime. If you work from home or have the weekends off be sure you can always be ready for a showing within a 1-2 hour notice. Find a place to go for 20 or 30 minutes while your house is being shown. Take a walk, grab a bite to eat, or do some shopping you've been meaning to get done. Let your agent focus on selling, and the buyer focused on buying. You will only be a distraction in the process. Trust your agent. They will provide feedback (good or bad) as soon as they can.
Negotiating is to be expected in any sale and/or purchase of any property. Especially in the housing market. As a seller, you should expect at least an offer of 3% - 6% less than your asking price. Even if your home is in pristine condition. This doesn't mean you have to accept that just don't get offended or discouraged by a buyer just trying to get a better deal. Another way you can utilize the negotiation practices in selling your home is if you have things that need to be fixed. Instead of changing your old carpet,
you might just want to negotiate the price of a new floor into your sale. That way the buyer can pick what they want when they move in, instead of passing on your house because they didn't like your carpet choice. You don't want to change the carpet twice just to sell your home, do you? This can work with all issues your house might have. Roofing, Appliances, Siding, Paint, etc. Just remember for everything you don't fix and choose to negotiate into the sale price your final sale price will be less and less with each item you don't replace. In many instances, a novice DIY'er will be able to fix many issues. Ask friends and neighbors for help or if they know someone trustworthy in that specific field. You can try and find some nice clearance appliances or search craigslist. Remember, it's not a new house so buyers aren't expecting brand new everything. Just has to be functional and look nice. If its a personal preference item, such as exterior paint color, flooring, or paint it might be a better selling point to get a few estimates in writing and negotiate that in the selling price. Buyers like this idea because it lets them pick the options they want and also gives them a chance to save some money and do it themselves if they choose.
If your home hasn't sold after the first couple months then you need to stop, reset and start fresh from the beginning. Did you do everything the realtor asked? Did you try and cut some corners or take the cheap route? If so, don't blame your agent. Instead, ask them to do another walkthrough and do exactly what they ask. Trust them. This is what they do and if you got the best one in your area you will have no problems if you follow there instructions.
If you did everything your agent asked with no results then talk with your agent and review the comps in your area again.
Price sells a home faster than anything.
So maybe you need to drop the price a couple thousand. Sometimes simply knocking off $3k of your asking price is all it takes. Only as a last resort should you fire your agent. Assuming they have done everything they promised they would to sell your home. Afterall, if you took my advice and hired the best the next agent you get will probably not do anything different or better.
So hire the best first and stick it out with them. They work on commission so it's in their best interest to sell your property as fast and for as much as they possibly can.