Selling your home can be an exhausting, daunting, and emotional process; especially if it is your first time doing so. Not only are you processing years’ worth of memories, but you also need to deal with the financial and legal aspects of prepping your home for someone else while ending up with as much money as possible.
Are there any best practices for selling a house that will maximize your profit and expedite the process? While it’s not a science, real estate specialist Joseph Pingaro has a few tips for setting you up for success:
Hire an agent
While it is possible to sell your house yourself, doing so necessitates a high amount of research and effort. What are recently sold properties in your area like, and what are the prices of houses currently on the market? How can you promote your listing so as many people hear about it as possible? Even if you don’t use an agent, you might still need a real estate attorney to help you with the escrow process and a few other details.
Not hiring an agent can save you thousands of dollars (agents typically ask for five to six percent of your home’s sale price), but first-time sellers can benefit from their ability to navigate the home-selling-and-buying landscape. Skilled agents will help you establish a reasonable and competitive selling price, interact with potential buyers, negotiate the ending price, and assist with an array of paperwork.
Be realistic with your price
Your agent will create a comparable market analysis to determine what your house is worth. Agents of home buyers will do the same, so it’s advantageous to price your house lower than the initial calculation. This way, multiple buyers will be attracted to the lower cost and place bids that will hopefully reach the home’s value, if not surpass it. Don’t expect the asking price from the get-go; you are going to have to go through a few bids and negotiations before you and a buyer arrive at a number you are both happy with.
Remove as many of your personal items as you can
When people visit your house for a showing, they want to imagine what their lives would look like in that space. You can make this task easier for them by removing some of your personal items. Not everything, of course, especially if you are still living there; and it may help to have a few belongings in place to give newcomers some ideas. However, having too many personal items might make it harder for them to envision where their own possessions would go. Organize your closet and remove a few things, too — people are always looking for storage space, and it’s possible that they’ll snoop.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the kitchen
According to HGTV, you’re not selling your house — you’re selling your kitchen because it’s one of the most essential rooms. If you are going to make home improvements to increase the property’s value, emphasize remodeling your kitchen (and you’ll most likely get at least 85 percent of your money back). You don’t want to over-upgrade — massive makeovers might not pay for themselves — but paint your kitchen a neutral color to give movers-in a fresh canvas and consider updating it with new appliances.
Don’t neglect high-quality presentation
When people browse listings online, photos play a vital role in catching their attention. High-quality images that show off your house from a variety of angles will pique shoppers’ interest. Most listing agents already provide professional photography, but if not, make sure that photos are well-edited and enticing to look at.
As for property showings, home staging can make a tremendous difference. Besides removing your personal belongings, it might also help to put a few pieces of furniture in storage so that people can see how much space there actually is.
Be honest about flaws, though. You might be tempted to hide a crack in the wall with a table or picture frame, but buyer’s inspections will uncover the problem — and if you are caught trying to conceal it, you might lose out on a deal. Fix the problem as soon as possible. If you cannot, adjust your price to account for the issue, or offer the buyer credit to address the flaw if they decide to move in.
Selling a house requires more work and thought than you may imagine. If you were buying a house, consider all the thought that you put into it — with a purchase as high-stakes as a home, the slightest detail can make a difference. Put yourself in a buyer’s shoes and accommodate what they are hoping for. What steps will you take before selling your house?