Home Selling Tips and Advice
Home Selling Tips and Advice: Home For Sale
Focus on the home selling tips and advice that are going to give you the best bang for your buck. It is important not to waste time on unnecessary upgrades that do not entice buyers when selling a home. A seller's focus needs to be on the home selling tips and advice that provide the most bang for the buck.
Selling a home can be a challenging and difficult task, mainly because it is something most people rarely engage in, and therefore know little about. Taking the time to read an article or two, or even a book, that provide home selling tips and advice is well worth the time and effort to avoid home selling pitfalls and to put your best foot forward when placing your home on the market.
There are many things a seller of a home can do to give themselves a leg up in any real estate market. The following home selling tips and advice are based on the experience of this writer. Please feel free to add any of your own in the comments section below.
Home Selling Tips and Advice: Get Your Home Ready To Sell
No matter what kind of real estate market exists when you are trying to sell your home, it is always a good idea to get your home ready to sell by sprucing up the home’s exterior and interior prior to putting your home on the market. It does not take a great amount of money to spruce up your home and make a big positive improvement regarding how well your home shows and is perceived by potential buyers.
Making your home’s exterior more appealing by trimming the hedges, cutting the grass, and fixing any eyesores will increase your home’s curb appeal. Home buyers form an initial impression about a home they are considering buying based on a home’s curb appeal that they see from the street. Pay special attention to the front entrance, and do not forget to also spruce up the backyard.
Making your home’s interior more appealing by thoroughly cleaning it, painting or touching up walls and ceilings, cleaning carpets, replacing faucets and door knobs, removing clutter and personal items, and fixing any eyesores, will increase your home’s perceived value, as potential buyers tour your home. Sprucing up the interior of your home could also help sell your home faster, as buyers may view your home as "move in ready", due to its good interior condition.
It is important to make sure you remove clutter and personal items to de-personalize your home. When a potential buyer is touring your home, you want them to be able to see it as their home, not your home. Make sure you also remove clutter from kitchen cabinets and closets throughout your home, so potential buyers can see how much storage space is available.
Work With a Local Real Estate Agent
Many people want to do a realtor friend a favor by working with them to sell their home. However, besides possibly putting your friendship in jeopardy, if the sales effort does not go well, you may be putting yourself at a distinct disadvantage in your effort to sell your home as quickly as possible and at the highest price possible.
To sell your home relatively quickly and receive the best price possible, it is important to do some homework and find a reputable local realtor who knows how to sell homes in your area. Local realtors understand how things work in the area in which they work and know other local real estate agents, which can be a great advantage when selling a home and negotiating the price with the buyer. Since a local real estate agent knows other local agents, they may be able to quickly find a buyer through their network of contacts. Also, a local real estate agent will know how to get other agents over to see your home, how to market your home in the local area, and how to deal with local rules and regulations that apply to the sale of your home. The time and effort invested in finding a good local real estate agent can make the home selling process easier and faster, and may even pay off handsomely on the closing day, when you finally sell your home.
Select the local real estate agent who provides the most realistic listing price for your home, based on your own research regarding what your home is worth in the current housing market (see below: Do Research and List Your Home at a Realistic Price). If a realtor tries to appeal to your ego and suggests that you should list your home at higher price than the current market can bear, then you may find your sales listing will receive little interest and no offers to buy. If you want to sell your house, price it to sell, and work with a local realtor that is motivated to sell it.
When signing the sales contract with the realtor, make sure it clearly states what the sales commissions will be for your realtor and the buyer’s realtor. Also make sure you understand the type of real estate sales contract you are signing and when the contract expires. The most common type of real estate sales contract is an “Exclusive Right to Sell” contract that makes your agent your exclusive sales representative until the contract expires. A ninety day contract is the most common length. Make the realtor put in writing what services they will provide you, such as: listing your home on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that other realtors use to search for homes in your area, listing your home elsewhere on the Internet in places such as Realtor.com, advertising, doing a realtor’s open house to show your home to local realtors, and doing an open house that is open to the public.
If your realtor does not offer to list your home on Zillow.com or Trulia.com, it is well worth the nominal cost and effort to list your home on these two websites, which will advertise your home to people looking for homes via flyover views of your neighborhood. Uploading pictures of your home to Zillow.com or Trulia.com and providing a description are good ways to enhance your listing.
What to Include in Your Listing To Sell Your Home
Provide your real estate agent a lot of input regarding what you want to appear on your home’s listing. Think about what made your home attractive to you when you bought it. Make sure the listing includes a description of local transportation options and amenities, since the proximity of your home to transportation people need to get to work and amenities for relaxation and entertainment could attract buyer interest. Also, ensure that the listing spells out any items that are excluded from the sale, such as an attached shelf organizer that you intend to take with you. Ask your real estate agent to show you a draft copy of your home’s listing before it goes live, so you can review it for accuracy and ensure you are in agreement with everything on the listing.
Listing a Home as “For Sale By Owner”
Listing a home for sale by oneself, as a “for sale by owner” property, can work out well in some circumstances and save a great deal of money on realtor commissions; however, if you need to sell your home quickly and the home selling market is weak, the “for sale by owner” route may be a dead end. It is not unusual to see a “for sale by owner” sign in front of a home replaced by a realtor’s sign a few months after it is posted. That says a lot about how successful people are with the “for sale by owner” route. A realtor can ensure that a home’s “for sale” listing is available to many more people and qualified buyers than a typical “for sale by owner” effort can achieve, which can lead to more buyer interest in your home and potentially a faster sale at a higher price. The commission paid to a realtor may be well worth the cost, if a qualified buyer is found quickly and pays at or near the asking price for your home.
Do Research and List Your Home at a Realistic Price
The biggest mistake that home sellers make is falling into a line of thinking that their home is worth a certain amount of money, regardless of current market conditions and comparable home values. Home sellers need to remember one important fact: your home is worth what someone else is willing to pay for it, not a penny more. The market of home buyers will decide what your home is ultimately worth. It is this market that you want to target when setting the listing price of your home. If you fail to target the buyers in the market by pricing your home based on what you think it is worth, rather than what the research says it is worth, your home may sit on the market for a long time with no offers, wasting precious time that you could be using moving into a new home and getting on with your life. Pricing your home too high could even eventually cause you to sell it in desperation at a price much lower than you were anticipating.
Home Selling Tips and Advice: How to Figure Out A Realistic Price to List Your Home
The Internet is a powerful tool that can be utilized by home sellers to research what their home is realistically worth. Websites such as Zillow.com and Trulia.com provide home valuations based on a number of proprietary factors. They also provide information about what similar homes in your area are selling for and past sales information for your home and nearby homes. The one variable that is hard to nail down is the condition of the homes you are doing comparisons to, since a home’s condition does affect its value in the marketplace. Getting a sense of the average asking price of similarly sized homes in your area that are in similar condition as your home should be enough information to provide a realistic valuation for your home in the current housing market.
When determining a listing price, factors such as the type of real estate market that exists and the fact that many home buyers will set upper limits in their home searches, should be considered when you decide on the price to list your home to sell for. In a soft real estate market, where buyers are few and far between, you may want to list your home to sell slightly below what your research is telling you to list it at, so you can capture a price point that will interest potential buyers. For example, if your research is telling you your home is worth $310,000 and the housing market is slow, with few buyers looking at homes, you may want to list your home to sell at $299,500 to attract buyers who set $300,000 as their upper limit in their home search. In a hot housing market, with many buyers bidding up the prices of homes on the market, you may want to list your home at $310,000 or even slightly higher, since there will be many more potential home buyers in a hot market that might look at your home and agree to your asking price.
How To Handle Price Negotiations
Once all the hard work pays off and you have an interested and qualified buyer that has made an offer to buy your home, you will now be relying on your real estate agent to negotiate on your behalf to get the best price for your home that they can get under the circumstances. It is a mistake to put all of your trust in your real estate agent to get you the best price for your home. Your real estate agent has a strong financial incentive to ensure that the negotiations result in a signed agreement to sell your home, regardless of the final price agreed to, since they will only get paid their commission if the home is sold. Make sure they understand clearly what price you will accept from the buyer. Be prepared to be assertive when instructing your real estate agent what to tell the buyer’s real estate agent. While you do not want to lose the buyer by being inflexible, you also do not want to aggressively meet their price demands and show signs of desperation. If the offering price and asking price are within $5,000 of each other, as the negotiations drag on, consider splitting the difference to get the deal done. Never let an offer to buy your house fall through due to haggling over a few hundred or a few thousand dollars.
The real estate market conditions and the motivation of the buyer will ultimately determine how close a buyer will come to your offering price. A slow housing market, with a limited number of buyers, requires more flexibility on the part of sellers. Accept the real estate market for what it is during a slow market. If a fair offer is made that allows you to move on, take it. You may not see another buyer make a better offer for a long time. Ask yourself: Is it worth holding out for another offer?
This will likely be the biggest financial transaction of your life, until perhaps you sell another home in the future; therefore, it is important to be firm but reasonable during the price negotiations. Leaving an incentive or two out of the negotiations until the end of the negotiations to use as bargaining chips, such as offering to throw in some appliances or offering an appliance repair insurance contract, is a good way to close the deal in your favor.
Hire an Experienced Real Estate Lawyer
It is important to hire an experienced real estate lawyer to review the contract that you sign to sell your home and to represent you throughout the home selling process. A seasoned real estate lawyer will make sure that the sales contract includes protections for you in case you must terminate the deal and that all the customary legal protections are in the final contract, upon completion of the attorney review process. A real estate lawyer will also be available to answer any questions that arise during the sale of your home, represent you when you are negotiating with the buyer regarding any requested credits for repairs, and ensure that the money the buyer puts down to buy your home is held safely in an escrow account, until the sale of your property has been completed.
Home Selling Tips and Advice: Home Sold
Home Selling Tips and Advice – What It All Comes Down To
Home selling tips and advice can be summarized as: preparing your home to sell, doing the homework necessary to find a good real estate agent, listing your home at a price that will attract buyers in the current real estate market, and being reasonable during the negotiations. Keep in mind that to sell your home you need to get prospective buyers in the door to look at your home, and you need to impress them and make them feel as though they could make it their home. Even in a slow real estate market, a well kept home that is priced right, often finds willing buyers. Hopefully, the home selling tips and advice outlined in this article will help you sell your home relatively quickly and at a reasonable price.
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