As your home may be your most significant asset, selling it is likely one of the most important decisions you make. Learn how to protect this important investment, reduce stress, and maximize your home’s value.
1. Motivation and Timing
Your motivation and timing will greatly impact your marketing plan. Allowing enough time before your must move date, ensures you won’t be pressured into accepting a mediocre offer. And if desired will have time to prepare your home for sale.
2. Selecting a Realtor
The number one complaint from consumers against Realtors® is their lack of communication skills. Prior to hiring your Realtor® check online reviews. Ask neighbors and friends for their recommendations; ask how easy it was to reach their agent and how much support and advice they offered throughout the process. Hiring a Realtor® is similar to hiring an employee. There should be an in depth interview as there are numerous questions to ask:
- How long have you been a Realtor®? Obviously experience is good! How many sales did you complete last year? Of the homes sold in the last twelve months where you represented the seller, what was the average number of days on market?
- What was the original list price compared to the final selling price? A Realtor® who often sells homes well below list price may not be advising sellers to price their homes correctly or may do a poor job marketing their home.
- Were there any concessions made after the buyer’s physical inspection? If so, why and how much? You want to hire a strong negotiator, unless something major and unexpected such as a cracked chimney or foundation, there should not be much renegotiation after the buyer’s inspection.
- Do you have a partner or an assistant? Agents who sell a lot of homes typically have a partner or assistant who can pick up the slack. No one can be in two places at once, and that’s why a team with support staff can be an advantage. But be certain to clarify that your primary contact will be the Realtor® you hired and not an assistant.
3. Preparing Your Home for Sale
Once you and your Realtor® have addressed curb appeal, your aim is to make your interior appeal to as many buyers as possible. Neutralizing will achieve that. If you have walls that have been painted statement colors, you should consider repainting with a neutral color. Often sellers mistakenly believe a buyer credit enabling the buyer to select their own paint and flooring is the right choice. Purchasing a home is an emotional decision and buyers typically make up their mind within minutes. To get started:
- Depersonalize by removing photos, trophies, collections, etc. You want the buyer to feel welcome and able to picture themselves in your home; your Realtor can help you identify which items should be removed.
- Declutter closets, cabinets, countertops. Ideally you will consult with a home starter or an experienced real estate agent who will give you a punch list of simple things to do in order to sell your home for the highest price.
4. Determining Your List Price
Determining your list price is an art not a science. Achieving the optimal price is the result of both objective research into similar properties and instinct in determining how much a buyer will be willing to pay. The right price will attract showings, which will generate offers. The unfortunate fact is that price is the number one factor that most homebuyers use to determine which homes they want to view. It’s also important to remember that although you and your Realtor® set the asking price, the selling price is determined by the buyer. The correct price will:
- Result in a quicker sale, with less inconvenience to the seller
- Expose the property to more buyers
- Increase Realtor® response
- Prevent your listing from getting “stale” or “shop worn”
- Increase the likelihoods of multiple offers and a bidding war
5. Mums the Word
There is no reason for you to share your motivation with the buyer or their real estate agent. If you need to be in Boston by the end of the month, that is better left between you and your Realtor®. Sharing your motivation with anyone other than your agent may often weaken your negotiating stance.
6. Learn the Buyer’s Situation
The more you know about the buyers the better your negotiating advantage. Does your buyer already have their home in escrow? If so, depending on how far along they are may prove that they are very motivated. A buyer with limited cash reserves may not have the wherewithal to close escrow on a home when repairs are recommended by the home inspector. Also, keep in mind terms may be just as important as price paid. A buyer who can allow you longer to remain in your home after closing may be very important to you. Questions to take note of:
- How qualified is the buyer?
- Has your Realtor® reviewed their pre-qualification letter and talked with their lender?
- Has your agent verified the buyer’s down payment and cash reserves?