To make the most of your real-estate dollars, follow these tips:
1. Check out the competition.
The easiest way to know what your house is worth is to look at what has SOLD in your neighborhood. Sold properties set the market value in your area. Curious to see how your house measures up? Our complementary Market Snapshot allows you to see the homes on the market and homes SOLD in your neighborhood in real time.
2. Make the price tag pop.
We suggest pricing a residence just below what the market will bear. For instance, for a $1 million home in Long Island, we would ask for $995,000. This small change in price will open your home up to a much larger pool of buyers who are trying to stay under a magic number. You want to be perceived as a real seller. No longer can sellers set a price and wait for the bidding wars. If a home is overpriced, a buyer will dismiss it and move on to the next one.
3. Market your property.
Instead of just letting us do everything, we suggest using the Internet and some networking to locate a buyer. Encourage friends and relatives to talk up their house to anyone interested in purchasing a home in the area. For the internet savvy seller, social media is a great place to spread the word that your house is on the market. Ask your realtor for a link to pictures of your house on their website.
4. Count your costs.
Don't turn down your first offer. Typically speaking, the first offer is often the best. Also, when you factor in mortgage and tax payments, the longer your house takes to sell, the more money you stand to lose. Sellers often get emotional when it comes to selling their house. Evaluate ALL of the numbers, not just the offer price and see how it all fits into your long term plan.
5. Make minor fixes before you sell.
Offer concessions to potential buyers, such as making minor fixes. These gestures will repay you and may earn you more money in the long run. People have to weigh the cost of doing minor repairs. All those little things, especially now that there is more inventory, are things that make a house more appealing. Clean out the closets and the garage and send it to storage, donate it to charity or have a garage sale. You want to enhance your home's appearance and make it look bigger. Pay for landscaping, but not too much. Use the cheapest thing you can find. If you don’t make these minor changes before your house is on the market, buyers may build these into a lower offer.
6. Play up assets.
Now that there are more properties on the market, sellers must impress buyers, The strategy is to allow a new owner to imagine himself in the place.
To attract buyers, determine what the popular "look" for houses is in your area is and mimic it. As a general rule, neutral paint colors and streamlined décor will appeal to the most buyers.
7. Light it up.
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable. On showing days make sure blinds and curtains are open.
8. Take the money and run.
If selling is something that is necessary for you rather than optional, it is important to get the facts from a realtor. Look a pricing trends over a period of several years. In a declining market, time is of the essence. Your house may not be worth as much as it was 4 years ago, but it may be worth more than it will a year or two from now. People don't know when it's time to take a loss and move on. If a cooling market translates into a smaller gain than you expected upon the sale of your home, consider relocating to an area with cheaper housing prices to make your money go further.
9. Gain in a sell-buy scenario.
If you'll be buying another home at the same time you're selling your current one, the price reduction on the new one can compensate for the "loss" you're taking on the old one. If you plan a "move up" to a better neighborhood and are paying 10 percent below list after selling your old home for 10 percent below list, your net dollar savings will actually be more.
10. Choose the right agent.
When it comes to choosing an agent- DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Research their online presence. Meet with them to determine the amount of sales volume they do in a year. This is usually indicative of the service you will receive from them. Ask about their marketing strategies and what sets them apart from the rest. Just because someone is a good friend of yours doesn’t mean they are the best agent out there. When selling a house you need a qualified, full time real estate broker.