Selling Your Home? Get the Best Price!
Selling your house is a huge decision. Naturally, you’ll want to get as much as possible out of the sale. Your goal might be to get a portion of your initial investment back, make a profit, or earn enough to finance another real estate purchase.
Regardless of your goal, you can get the most out of the sale by doing some research about the market and choosing the most lucrative way to sell your property. Doing some research will also give you a realistic idea of how much you can expect to get from the sale.
A number of factors influence the value of a property and what buyers will be willing to pay for it.
Your property itself and the shape it is in are important factors:
1. Location. A property located near a public transit hub, a grocery store, or in a good neighborhood with a highly rated school district is more valuable than those with similar characteristics but located elsewhere. Also, any businesses in the area that could be a nuisance, like bars or a landfill, can negatively influence the price.
2. The size and layout of your home. A larger home is worth more as long as the layout is convenient. Fewer but larger rooms and lots of open space are usually more desirable.
3. When your home was built. A recent home or a house that is old enough to be considered historical is usually worth more.
4. Upgrades. Adding a patio, deck, or upgraded appliances will boost the value of your property.
5. Repairs. Necessary repairs such as replacing the plumbing, air conditioning system, roof, windows, or re-wiring the house raise the value of the house.
6. Outside influences. Other influences like noises, traffic, and the view can also affect the price.
These factors influence the value of your property, but so does the current state of the local market. You’ll get more for your property if you sell it at a time when there are fewer similar properties available on the market. The overall state of the economy and mortgage qualification requirements also influence what you can get for your property.
The same property can be sold at different prices in different situations. It might only take a year or two for a local real estate market to change. It’s sometimes worth it to wait before putting your home on the market if you cannot get an ideal price right away.
The best way to get an idea of how the local market will impact the selling price is to simply look at transactions for similar properties in your area. This should give you an idea of how much buyers are willing to pay and you’ll see which other options are available to potential buyers in the area.
“Before you start trying to work out which direction the property market is headed, you should be aware that there are markets within markets.”
- Paul Clitheroe
Buyers need to have a property inspected by a professional before closing the sale. In fact, the inspection is usually included in the purchase contract. This is the best way to protect buyers from bad surprises such as pest problems, mold, structural damages, and other costly repairs.
As a seller, consider having an inspection and an appraisal done before putting your property on the market. Scheduling an inspection will allow you to ensure that there are no major issues with the property. Finding out about a major issue during the pre-sale inspection means that you will probably lose the sale or that the buyer will be able to negotiate a lower price.
Schedule an inspection with a professional licensed by the American Society of Home Inspectors. You can hire professionals who specialize in a specific type of issue, such as pest control or health hazards, if you think there is an issue with your home.
Once you know more about the overall state of your property, you can decide if fixing the issues is worth it. It might be easier for you to lower your price and let the buyer pay for the repairs.
Small issues like cracks in the walls, leaking faucets, or broken gutters are very easy and inexpensive to fix. Even applying a new coat of paint inside or outside of your home can make a difference. These small repairs will make your home look great and you’ll be able to ask a higher price. It also makes it easier to find a buyer.
The mortgage company that finances the buyer’s purchase will ask for an appraisal of your property. However, you can have an appraisal done when you decide to put your home on the market to get an idea of what its value is.
Look for an appraiser who is licensed and consider hiring more than one professional so you can compare their opinions. Provide them with details on repairs and upgrades you’ve made over the years.
There are state laws regarding what should be disclosed to buyers. It’s important to learn about the laws that apply to you. You might have to let buyers know about the repairs you’ve made, the natural disasters that affected the property, or if a violent crime was committed in the house.
“Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full, and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
There are different ways to list and sell a property. Your best option depends on how much time you have and how much you’re willing to put into selling your home.
Using a Real Estate Agency or an Independent Realtor
This is your best option if you want to have as little to do as possible with the selling process. The advantage is that there’s no work required on your part and you’ll save a lot of time. The right agency or realtor will promote the listing, show your home to potential buyers, and ensure that buyers are qualified and serious.
The downside is that you don’t know how actively an agency or a realtor will promote your home until you start using their services. You usually have to enter a contract with the agency or realtor you want to use so you might have to keep using their services for a certain amount of time.
Typically, using an agency or an independent agent will cost you 7% of the selling price, but the realtor who represents you might negotiate a lower price or even set a lower original price to sell the property more easily.
In the end, using a real estate agency or hiring an independent realtor means you’ll get a little less for your property. However, the right agency or realtor will make selling your property a lot easier, especially if you’re too busy to promote it and show it yourself.
Sell Your Home Yourself
An increasing number of homeowners opt to sell their home themselves since the Internet has made it easier to promote a property. There are many websites where you can list your home for sale. Finding a buyer is possible as long as you can dedicate some of your time to selling your home.
The downside is that selling your home by yourself can take some time. You’ll have to communicate with potential buyers, answer their questions, and show them your home. You might feel that you’re wasting your time when a potential buyer falls through.
This is a good option if you are patient and willing to learn about real estate. You will save the fees that a realtor or an agency would charge for their services and will have full control of the negotiations with the buyer.
“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”
- Zig Ziglar
If you decide to use a realtor, look for a realtor or an agency that is affordable and that will actively promote your listing.
Follow these steps to find the right real estate agency or independent realtor:
1. Research. Look for online reviews, ask for references, and find out how long they’ve been in business.
2. Look at the other listings they have in your area. Selling your home might not be a priority if an agency or realtor already has several other similar properties listed in your area.
3. Learn about their marketing plan. How will they promote your listing? Ask about the prospects who will likely be interested in your property, and how they will reach out to these buyers.
4. Ask about their credentials. If you want to work with an independent realtor, ensure they have a license and ask about their other credentials.
5. How much do they charge? Find out what percentage of the selling price they will take as a commission.
6. Ensure the agency or realtor you choose is easy to get in touch with. They should be willing to answer your questions and be open about the way they work.
7. Ask some questions about the local market. Avoid agencies and realtors who don’t seem to know a lot about similar houses for sale in your area and about the prices of similar properties.
It’s important to avoid feeling pressured to hire a specific realtor just because you called to ask a few questions. Also, avoid working with someone who is a part-time realtor since they might not be able to promote your home as actively as you would like.
It is best to choose a professional or an agency that is familiar with your local market and that has sold properties in your area. There’s no substitute for real experience!
Houses are like people - some you like and some you don't like - and once in a while there is one you love.
Selling your home yourself allows you to save that 6 or 7% commission. The downside is that you have to invest some of your time and resources into promoting your listing. Decide whether or not you want to sell your home yourself once you have a better idea of what promoting a property entails.
Selling your home yourself means you will not benefit from the advice of an experienced realtor to set your asking price. You can set a reasonable price by doing a lot of research and by having a professional appraise your property. Setting an asking price that is slightly under current market prices may make your home easier to sell.
Be careful not to overprice your property. Potential buyers won’t even look at your property if the original asking price is too high.
Consider implementing these tried and true ideas:
1. Use the MLS. Listing your property with the Multiple Listing Service is a good start since this network will share your listing with several outlets. You can also list your home on Craigslist and on other classifieds sites.
2. Take out ads. Local publications are another good way to promote a property for sale. Purchase an ad in a local newspaper and look for local publications that specialize in publishing real estate listings. You can also draw attention to your property by placing a sign in your yard or by printing flyers and asking local businesses to put them up.