Before you sell your home, you want to ensure you have enough reason to sell it. Have you paid it off? If not, do you at least have enough equity in the house? Can you afford the upgrades, advertisements and professional help in selling your home? Do you often consider renovating your home instead of moving to a new one?
If you decide you are ready to list your home, this article is for you. Many things affect whether or not your home will sell, including timing, home staging, home upgrades, landscape and curb appeal, whether you choose the right listing agent and how you market your home.
It is probably best to not sell during the holidays, especially in the winter when families are enjoying the warmth of their home while preparing for Christmas and the summer when kids are out of school and on vacation.
Another important aspect of timing is whether your market is hot now. Research the state of your area’s housing market. If buyer demand is high in your neighborhood, you will likely sell in under a month or two.
People will be more willing to buy your home if it’s staged properly rather than empty. If you want, you can hire a professional home stager. You may even buy furniture for the staging process that you end up taking with you to your new home. Home staging can also include downplaying less attractive qualities of the house.
Cleaning your house and rearranging furniture is the most obvious part of home staging. Trash any furniture you won’t be bringing with you to your next home, and maximize your storage spaces by moving some of what’s in them to storage units until you arrive at your new living space. This will prepare you for any showings. In addition, remove photographs of your family from tabletops, ledges and fridges. Erase any personal mark you left on the home.
If your house is older, you may benefit from making modern upgrades. Replace your honey oak cabinets, remove vertical blinds, scrape off your outdated wallpaper, remove wood paneling, replace carpet with wood flooring, paint neutral colors over pastels or bright colors and replace unattractive plumbing fixtures. Be sure to replace any lights that are dim, and remove curtains and blinds that keep out the sunshine. The kitchen and bathrooms are focal points of a house, so remodel these if you must.
Take care of more pressing matters like HVAC units that aren’t working, plumbing issues, roof leaks and foundation issues. A way to find out if you have problems in these areas is to hire a home inspector. Your buyers will likely have one too. Do not hide any major problems with your home, and make sure you have homeowner’s insurance. Major problems, for one, can cause accidents when prospective buyers are viewing your home that they may sue you for. Secondly, if you price your home dishonestly, you will not get many offers.
Landscape and Curb Appeal
You may want to hire a professional landscaper to help spruce up your front yard. Ensure any fencing you have is even and no planks are missing if it’s a wood fence. Trim any trees you have in your front and back yards. Pressure wash your sidewalk and driveway. Consider painting your house’s exterior. When a buyer pulls up to your house, the first thing they’ll see is the front of the house and the front yard, so make sure these are in pristine condition.
Choosing the Right Agent
You don’t want someone to just list your home, you want them to sell it. Ultimately, the listing price and the condition of your home are up to you. But a listing agent can certainly help guide you in attracting buyers. One of the ways they can do this is by showing you homes in your neighborhood comparable to yours and what they are selling for. This is called a comparative market analysis.
Send out cold emails to your choice of realtors asking them a couple of interview-style questions. The first should ask them why you should hire them. See how well they can market themselves first. You should also ask them how their approach at selling homes is different from other real estate agents. Ask them to send you a portfolio of a few of their listings that include pictures, descriptions and video tours for each home.
After you’ve chosen a handful of realtors that you think can do the job, have them come over to your home for an interview. Here you will ask them for examples of their negotiating skills. In addition, ask them for their marketing plan for your home.
Ensure they have a vested interest and experience in your community or area. If they know and care for the local area, they will be prepared to factor in the area as a selling point.
Make sure they’re willing to host open houses. You’re more likely to sell your house if potential buyers see it in person, no matter how good the photographs of your home on the real estate portals are.
You should also test to see if the agent has a communication style you will like. Good real estate agents are respectful listeners who ask a lot of questions. They will always tell you when someone makes an offer or requests a showing.
There are, however, some red flags to watch out for when choosing a real estate agent. One red flag is that your listing agent doesn’t have statistics to back up the listing price they are suggesting. If they do not have a net profit range, including a high-end price and a low-end price, but are overconfident in a high listing price, they may be only focused on trying to compete with other agents and earning the largest commission. Also, if they do not have enough infrastructural knowledge of the area you are selling in, they won’t be the right marketer of your home.
Whether you or your real estate agent are listing your home on a real estate portal or Multiple Listing Service, try to avoid buzzwords in the home description. Additionally, try marketing your home on social media.
You can opt to market and sell your home yourself. This is known as For Sale By Owner. However, it helps to have someone who doesn’t have an emotional attachment to your home appraise its worth. This way, you will not spend all of your energy and resources advertising your home based on your emotional attachment to it and then be disappointed when offers are lower than you expected. Agents are also helpful because they have connections to other agents and their buyers.
A trick to selling your home faster and receiving more offers is to underprice your home. After you receive bids, you can negotiate the price upwards.
Closing the Deal
Once you’ve found a buyer and are looking to close your home’s sale, you’ll need a title company. This company will act as an escrow, which is a third party that ensures the trade goes smoothly. They will hold the money involved in the transaction, examine the documents granting the buyers ownership and issue title insurance. Lastly, hire an attorney to prepare a contract of sale.