The following is a contribution from Tali Wee at Zillow. If you’d like to contribute to Wise Dollar, please contact us.
Homeowners sell their properties for a variety of reasons, sometimes willingly, other times under pressure or on short timeframes. If you’re selling your home, regardless of your motive, you want the highest return possible on your investment; you want to get the best price possible on your home. Get the greatest resale price on your property by cleaning up, making necessary upgrades and professionally marketing your home.
That’s what you should do. Here are three ‘don’ts’ to keep in mind when you’re trying to sell your home.
1. Don’t Ignore Basic Home Improvements
Homebuyers look for the best deals they can afford. Almost every buyer hires an inspector to evaluate the structural integrity and safety of the homes they are interested in buying. If water damage is prevalent, homebuyers eventually find out and either back out of pending sales, negotiate seller credits or reduce their offers. Therefore, it’s in your best interest as a seller to hire an inspector to examine your property before you list it. If the inspector uncovers damages, you have an opportunity to correct them and charge higher prices for newly-updated components.
Repairs might include minor fixes, such as loosening jammed windows, patching a hole in the wall, cleaning out air ducts, shampooing carpets or replacing a screen door. These corrections cost less than $500 each and might help you avoid a few thousand dollars of credits for buyers requesting new carpet, window replacements or new air duct installments. Even larger fixes such as septic system cleaning and electrical corrections are worth the costs. By making home improvements prior to selling, you broaden your audience of potential buyers and ensure a better price for your home.
2. Don’t Disregard Professional Advice
Although For Sale By Owner properties can be successful selling opportunities without real estate agent commission costs, navigating a successful selling process without professional advice can be detrimental. Real estate agents know their markets well, and can help you set your home at an appropriate and competitive listing price. A real estate agent can help you avoid unrealistic pricing strategies that sometimes arise from emotional attachments your home. Overpriced homes sit on the market without offers. Buyers then assume stale listings must be poor purchases if they’ve been unpurchased for weeks.
When homebuyers visit open houses, they want to visualize their futures there. If current owners are present or showing spaces, it makes honest consideration awkward. It’s hard for buyers to imagine spaces as their own when they see current owners’ lifestyles, including residents, family photos and pets. Plus, honest conversations about home details between couples buying homes is challenging without offending owners showing their homes.
Beyond real estate agents, you should consider hiring a professional photographer to take high quality, flattering images of your home. Again, homeowners become attached to their houses, often unable to highlight features buyers are looking for without personal bias. Plus, most sellers don’t own the equipment to properly illuminate small spaces or translate the true dimensions into photographs. Because most buyers start their house searches online, quality marketing images can be the difference between buyers visiting an open house or skipping it.
3. Don’t Assume a Lengthy Sale Process
You might have owned your home for more than 30 years before deciding to sell it. You may have experienced enormous costs of mortgages, paid for continual upgrades and maintained your property through long, cold winters and dry, stifling summers. Between the happy memories of raising kids, the pride of ownership and major financial investments, it can be an emotionally conflicting experience for homeowners to sell their properties. Unsurprisingly, many sellers list their homes expecting sale process to take time.
When sellers receive quality offers immediately, they’re often unprepared to accept sales so soon. One misconception sellers have is that more buyers will offer even higher prices if they wait a while longer. Unfortunately, the first offer is often the best offer from extremely serious buyers. Passing on the first offer can leave you disappointed and force you to accept a lower offer later. Instead, be prepared to show your home within 24 hours of listing it.
Make all the necessary property improvements, get professional photos taken of your home and list your property online. In competitive markets, agents might recommend listing homes online mid-week, opening homes on the weekend and accepting offers the following Monday. Although fast, you can yield an impressive return on your home if you wait to list it until you’re fully prepared to let it go.
Have you ever sold a home? What things caught you by surprise? Would you ever consider selling a house on your own or would you prefer to go through a real estate agent?
Photo courtesy of: Daniel Moyle