You’re either biting your nails as a first-time home seller or you’re promising yourself that you’re not going to make a mistake as you sell your home again. Regardless of your current situation, here are some of the best tips for selling a house.
Best tips for selling a house
First things first: get an honest value on your home property. First time home sellers often underestimate the value of their home. Think of your home as your largest asset. While you can pay upfront to get your home appraised, that’s typically the buyer’s responsibility. It’s fine to be proud of all the improvements you’ve made, but you might be overestimating what they’ve done to the value of your home. There are excellent websites that can provide an approximate home value (Zillow.com, Remax.com, Redfin.com).
Better yet, opt for a comparative market analysis (CMA). This is a customized value based on the average price of recently sold homes or properties in your area, similar to yours. A good CMA will gather prices from properties that are within a mile of your home and be properties that have sold within the last six months.
To get a reliable CMA, find a real estate agent. You’re going to want an agent who is acting on your behalf, not someone who focused solely on their commission. The agent should be able to navigate through the emotional waters of selling your house — especially if you’re a first-time seller. Agents also have access to larger networks and more refined buying and selling mechanisms than the average homeowner. Your agent can send out an email blast to her 1,000+ contacts, who are themselves representing clients looking for a home in your area. The best tips for selling a house often come from a good agent. They’ll also be able to let you know whether or not a potential buyer is qualified, saving you a lot of wasted negotiating time.
Expect the unexpected. How are you going to pay for the costs associated with the sale of the home? After you factor in closing fees, which are usually 1–3% of the home price including any repairs or other costs (e.g. concessions to a buyer), the final cost of selling your home is about 10% of the sale price. So if you have a $200,000 home, it will accrue about $20,000 in costs. Will you add that to the asking price? Or will you set aside a fund to offset those costs? This is when you don’t want to bust your budget. Aside from buying, selling your home is going to be one of the biggest budgeting concerns of your life. Consider a certified financial planner.
These experts aren’t just for retirement planning. They’ll help you look at all your options, whether it pertains to selling your home or starting your taxes. They will give you guidance on how you can withstand the unpredictable life events like death of a spouse or job loss. Maybe now isn’t a good time to sell your home. CFPs can also help you maintain a healthy credit score which is critical for becoming eligible for mortgages. A good CPA may even be able to share their best tips for selling a house. They can even advise you on refinancing or obtaining a home equity loan, should you need them.
Be a legal beagle. The sale of your house includes the property and the sale of land is governed by state laws. This means you need a written contract and witnesses. As such, a lawyer is a must. If you decide to renovate or perform major repairs to your home before selling, will you need permits from your local township? Find out your responsibility for things like cracked sidewalks, sinkholes, and potholes. The best tips for selling a house incorporate a working knowledge of the local ordinances.
Accentuate the positives. The old cliché is true, it’s all about location, location, location. That’s not just great schools. Impress buyers with your home’s proximity to other important features such as hospitals or medical care clinics.
Even if your house is out in the country, folks still want to know where they can get immediate treatment. Highlight the surrounding pet-friendly community with the nearest dog park or veterinary clinic. Make sure your agent mentions the local parks, lakes, or rivers for activities. You never know when a potential homeowner will be interested in nearby fishing spots, jogging areas, walking paths, or biking trails. Also include the local day care centers and playgrounds. Another nice selling point is the local meet up groups: from hiking to bird watching, it’s worth a look.
Make it safe. Maintaining a safe and secure home is appealing to potential home buyers. If you haven’t already, install simple things like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, sturdy fencing, and security cameras. The simpler and user-friendly smart locks also help the average home buyer feel secure in their new home. You won’t be able to play down any crime in your community. Local police reports and registered sex offenders’ lists are available online.
Do a systems check. The best tips for selling a house always presumes your house is functioning properly. An examination of your home’s heating and air conditioning systems before you show your home is critical. You don’t want to be embarrassed when buyers are in your home and the AC balks as you flip the switch. Nor do you want to have a broken air conditioning unit become a concession. Seller concessions or seller contributions must be paid for in order to close on the sale on your home. Otherwise, the sale won’t go through.
Make your own listing. One the best tips for selling a house that’s gone unrecognized. It’s possible that in addition to your agent’s listing on her company’s website that you could do your own “welcome to my home” website. A website design agency is equipped to take your listing, photos, and house description to create a professional presentation for online viewing. Tech-savvy home buyers will be able to view your home for themselves. A website design agency can help you avoid the cost of staging your home. According to HomeAdvisor.com, depending on where you live, it can cost up to $1,000 to reduce clutter, reorganize your home, and replace window treatments in order to stage your home. If you choose the website option, make sure you include all the appropriate contact information for your agent.
According to the American Moving and Storage Association, moving can cost you anywhere from $2,300 to $4,300. That range is based on weight, not the number of rooms you need to pack up. The best tips for selling your house includes doing your homework on moving companies. When you’re trying to figure out where to start, here are six strategies for hassle-free moving:
- Is the mover close to where you are and/or to where you are relocating? This is important when calculating fuel or mileage costs. About 85% of Americans move within their state. To get more information about the market, you can always rely on sites that utilize search engine optimization tools to stand out. You can even use a local SEO company when it comes to optimizing your own home listing.
- How much of the move is my responsibility? If you are moving because of a job transfer, your employer may cover some or all of your move. It’s also likely that if you do it yourself and keep good accounting of moving expenses, packing, and truck rentals, your company might reimburse any costs you accrue.
- Bill me now or later? Reputable movers do not require payment in full until after delivery. It’s legitimate for a moving company to ask for a deposit or down payment (a percentage of the entire moving cost). But it’s not standard operating procedure for all. It might be a good idea to use a credit card to prevent any fraudulent behavior.
- What kind of insurance do the movers offer? Companies either offer released value coverage, which is free (and only requires a signed contract) or full value protection coverage. In the latter example, this is not free and you’re charged. But it will cover the cost of replacing or repairing damaged or missing items. These types of programs are very different than a homeowner’s insurance policy. Homeowner’s insurance covers personal property (within a predetermined limit), but it won’t cover damages such as chips or dents to specific items or furniture.
- What are your options? Moving is a unique experience; not everyone does it the same way. Ask if the mover is comfortable with hybrid moves. A hybrid move is where the homeowner and the company work in tandem. It helps reduce costs and gives the homeowner more control over the move. Some companies like PODS can move your stuff and store it until you’re ready to move into your next home.
- Who can help? You are not alone, about 40 million Americans move annually. There are plenty of organizations and companies that can get you started. You can simply hire someone to help you pack up your belongings, load up the truck, and then you can drive the U-Haul yourself.
The Outside Counts
Simple fixes on the outside of your home create a good first impression. It can range from a fresh coat of paint to a nice green lawn.
- A green lawn may get you more “green” in the form of a better offer when selling your home. There’s no need for you to add lawn chores to your long list of home fixes. Leave it to the professionals. The National Association of Landscape Professionals reported that 67% of Americans concede that professional landscaping would do wonders for their yard.
- Keep your pond or birdbath cleaned and cleared of debris (same goes for your pool). The best tips for selling a house include clean water features.
- Weed any beds that are near the house. And add a few flowers.
- If your garage door is older than five years, consider a new garage door installation. This should also be a part of your home security plan.
- Painting the outside of your house could be the best investment you can make before selling your home. On average, painting a 2-story home (2,500 square feet) costs about $3,000-$5,000.
These are not the best tips for selling a house. They’re now closer to urban legends.
- Baking bread or cookies just before an open house to give the potential buyer a warm-fuzzy feeling. Real estate agents nix this one. It’s an old and obvious sales ploy.
- Pools pull down your price. This one is not necessarily true. Above ground pools are not permanent and can be removed, but are expensive to maintain. In ground pools in sunnier areas of the U.S. can actually boost the price of a home. Hint: make sure when you show your home the pool is operational.
- Cats are cute. Sure they are, but a survey by ScS (a UK sofa and carpet specialist) found that 40% of prospective buyers are dissuaded by pets, bad pet smells, and general pet messiness. You may want to board Fluffy before your next showing.
- Kids are cute. You bet they are, but the dirt they live behind…not so much. Realtor.com advises that while few potential buyers expect your child-filled home to be pristine, they do want to see a clean home that’s well-maintained.
- Soft gray walls enhance your home’s architecture. Nope. It’s actually colors like beige and white that not only appeal to potential buyers, but augment the angles and flow of the interior. Painting your walls either of those colors is at the top of the list of things to do when prepping your home for sale.
- Older buyers (baby boomers) and younger buyers (millennials) move for different reasons. Surprisingly, this isn’t the case. Both segments of the population cite their top reason (33%) for moving is wanting to be near family according to Realtor Magazine.
- Spring is the best time to sell your home. Houses sell well all year long. It depends on the market. Spring and summer often meant holidays and vacations. While fall and winter were thought of as being busy with holidays and family gatherings. Thanks to technology, the best tips for selling a house starts with the internet, social media or other selling platforms to list their homes.
- An “open house” will sell the home quicker. Not so fast. Sure, buyers love to walk into a real home, but according to the National Association of Realtors, 50% of home buyers begin their house hunting online. Shrewd home buyers are using apps like Redfin and Zillow to refine their search.
- Selling it myself will save me money. Maybe not. The best tips for selling a house should be gleaned from experts. About 89% of home sellers enlist the aid of a real estate agent. A for sale by owner or FSBO selling experience does give you more control of the seller-buyer negotiations. But ask yourself, do you have the time to devote yourself to the grueling process, while trying balance job and family obligations?
Selling a home isn’t always easy. When you want the best tip for selling a house, rely on these examples to get started!