Here are 27 tips to help speed the sale of your house and still receive top dollar:
- Understand why you are selling your home. Your motivation to sell is the determining factor for how you will approach the sale of your home. It will affect everything from what you set your asking price at to how much time, money and effort you are willing to invest in order to prepare your home for sale.
- Keep the reasons for selling your home to yourself. By keeping this information personal and private, you will not give the buyer negotiating leverage. If you are asked why you have decided to sell, simply respond that your housing needs have changed.
- Before setting a price, consult with a good listing agent. As a seller, you will want to get a selling price as close to the list price as possible. If you start out by pricing too high, you run the risk of not being taken seriously by buyers and having your house sit on the market for a long time. If you price the home too low, you could be costing yourself thousands of dollars.
- Do some home shopping for yourself. The best way to learn about your competition is to review a competitive market analysis with a good listing agent. Take note not only of the listing prices, but the prices that other comparable homes are actually selling at.
- Get an appraisal. A good appraisal can be a huge benefit in marketing your home. Getting an appraisal is a good way to let prospective buyers know that your home can be financed. A word of caution: an appraisal is not a guarantee that your house will sell for that price, and you also may not like the appraisal value you are quoted.
- Understand what tax assessments mean. Some people think that tax assessments are a way of evaluating a home. The difficulty here is that the assessments are based on a number of criteria that may not be related to property values, so they may not necessarily reflect your home’s true value.
- Find a good real estate agent. Upwards of three quarters of all home sellers say they would not work again with the agent who listed their home. Usually this is a result of poor marketing and communication on the part of the agent. Take the time to locate the agent who is going to best represent your needs during the transaction.
- Ensure that you have room to negotiate. Before settling on an asking price, make sure you leave yourself enough room to bargain. Remember, a buyer is more likely to make a full-priced offer on a home that is priced right before making a low offer on a home that is priced too high.
- Make the appearance of your home count. Appearance is so critical that you would be unwise to ignore this fact when selling your home. The look and feel of a home will generate greater emotional response from prospective buyers, more so than any other factor.
- Invite the honest opinions of others. The biggest mistake you can make is to rely solely on your own judgment. Don’t be shy about seeking the opinions of others. You must be objective about your home’s strong and weak points. Work with a real estate agent who will give you honest and unbiased opinions about what should be done to make your home more marketable.
- Clean everything, no matter how seemingly insignificant it may seem. Potential buyers are looking for excuses not to buy your home, and it would be a shame that they went another direction because of a tiny chip in a bathroom counter or some dirty dishes in the kitchen sink.
- Allow potential buyers to visualize themselves in your home. The last thing you want prospective buyers to think when viewing your home is that they may be intruding in someone else’s life. Avoid clutter such as too many knickknacks, clothing lying around, or dirty dishes in the sink. Decorate in neutral colors like white or beige and place a few carefully chosen items to add some warmth or character.
- Get rid of all offensive odors. Odd smells like traces of food, pets, or cigarette smoke can kill a sale quickly. If potential buyers see a dog or notice you smoking a cigarette or cigar, they’ll start seeing stains or smelling odors, even if they aren’t there. Don’t leave any clues.
- Disclose everything. Smart sellers are proactive in disclosing all known defects to their buyers in writing. This will reduce liability and prevent costly lawsuits later on.
- The more buyer prospects, the better. Work closely with your real estate agent to maximize your marketing. Having several potential buyers can only drive the price of a home up.
- Keep your emotions in check during showings and negotiations. Let go of the emotion you have invested in your home. Use a businesslike manner and be detached. This will give you an edge over someone who remains emotionally attached to the property.
- Learn why your buyer is motivated to buy. The better you know your buyer, the more leverage you have to negotiate. As a rule, buyers are looking to purchase the best affordable property for the least amount of money. If you know the buyer needs to move in quickly, this can help you get a better price.
- Find out what the buyer can really afford. Work with buyers who are pre-approved for a home loan so you know exactly how much they are going to finance and how much will be spent as a down payment.
- Find out when the buyer would like to close. Knowledge of a buyer’s deadline for completing negotiations again creates an advantage for you to get the most possible money.
- Never sign a contract on your next home until you sell your current one. Beware of closing on your new home while you’re still making mortgage payments on your current one. You may find yourself stuck with two mortgage payments.
- Moving out before you sell can also put you at a disadvantage. Empty homes can give the feel of being abandoned or neglected. Buyers who know you already have another home may feel they have an advantage to negotiate a lower price.
- Deadlines create a serious disadvantage. Don’t try to sell by a certain date. This adds unnecessary pressure to sell and can cost you thousands of dollars off the asking price
- Don’t take a low offer personally. Invariably the initial offer is below both what you were expecting and what they buyer is actually willing to pay. Don’t get upset. Evaluate the offer objectively. This is merely a starting point for negotiations.
- Turn that low offer around. You can counter a low offer with one that is just under your original asking price. This lets the buyer know that you don’t take their first offer seriously, but at the same time are going to be flexible.
- Find out if the buyer is qualified. If you feel that an offer is too low, find out if the buyer is qualified to carry a loan equal to your asking price.
- Be sure the contract is complete. To avoid problems, see to it that all terms, costs and responsibilities are spelled out in the contract of sale. Include everything. Leave nothing out. This will eliminate complications later on.
- Resist the temptation to deviate from the contract. Do not risk the collapse of the sale because of a single, seemingly insignificant deviation from the agreed-upon contract.
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