27 Quick & Easy Fixes to Sell Your Home Faster and for More Money
Your home is your largest asset, and as such, selling it is one of the most important decisions you will make. Your home is an investment – through these 27 tips, you will learn how to protect and capitalize on it, reduce the stress of selling, be in control of your situation, and make the most profit possible while selling.
Understand why you are selling your home: your motivation to sell is the biggest factor as to how you will approach your sale. It will affect things such as your asking price, the time frame you’re aiming to sell in, and how much you’re willing to invest in the sale. For example, your approach to a quick sale may be different than your approach to a maximized profit sale.
Keep the reasons you are selling to yourself: your reasons for selling may affect the way you negotiate the sale. You will want to keep this to yourself, so as not to give any more negotiating power to your potential buyers. When asked, simply say “my housing needs have changed.”
Before setting your price, do your homework: when you decide on a listing price, you’re setting a guideline for what your potential buyers will have to pay for your home. If you set the price too high, you run the risk of buyers not bothering to even look at your property. If you set the price too low, you may end up receiving lower offers than you’d like. Here’s how to do some homework to ensure the price you list your home at is the best for you.
Subdivision – if you live in a subdivision where your home is compromised of similar or identical floor plans, built around the same time, look at the recent sales in your neighbourhood. This should give you a good idea what people are listing and selling for.
Older Neighbourhood – most older neighbourhoods have houses that aren’t necessarily comparable to your own, as housing styles change overtime. You may want to consult a realtor if this is the case.
Do some “shopping” yourself: don’t be afraid to hit the pavement and go see some houses yourself! You can gain a lot of valuable insight on what buyers like, do not like, and what houses are being listed at. Pay attention to floor plans, condition, size, upgrades, etc.
Get an appraisal: sometimes getting an appraisal from a realtor or appraiser can benefit the marketing of your home. It’s a good way to show buyers that your potential buyers that your home can be financed. However, appraisals aren’t free, and have a limited life.
Tax Assessments – what do they really mean?: while some people believe that tax assessments are a way of evaluating a home, they may not necessarily reflect the true value of a property. They are based on a number of criteria, some that are not related to property values – an appraisal is a better assessment.
Choosing a realtor: Nearly two-thirds of people who have sold their own homes surveyed said they would never do it again themselves (National Association of Realtors,) the main reasons being setting a price, marketing handicaps, liability concerns, and time constraints.
Ensure you have room to negotiate: before you set your price, give yourself a range to work in. Decide your lowest and highest price, and use that to decide if you want to sell higher for maximum profit, or lower for a quicker sale.
Appearances matter!: first impressions are important in every aspect of life, and very much so in real estate. The look and “feel” of your home will be a selling point and will generate an emotional response more than any other factor. Pay close attention to the appearance of your home.
Invite the honest opinion of others: one of the biggest mistakes people make is relying solely on their own judgement. Since its your house, you may not be able to be objective about it. Luckily, realtors will be unbiased in discussing the good and bad points about your home, and it will help you to improve where you need to.
Clean and fix everything you can see: remember that you’re not only competing with resale homes, but brand new builds as well. You want your house looking as clean and new as possible! Clean everything you can think to, repair anything that needs repairs, and when you think you’re done, clean again! Have someone else come through the house and ask them if they can see any spots you may have overlooked.
Let them see themselves in your home: the best way to get an emotional reaction from potential buyers is to have them picture themselves in your home. The thing is, they cannot do that if your home is full of very personal affects. Avoid clutter and remove knick-knacks, family photos, children’s toys, or clothing left out on chairs. Try to decorate with neutral colors with a few carefully chosen accent items to create warmth. If you feel a bit out of your depth in this regard, your realtor can help guide you, or even just browsing through decorating magazines.
Deal-killing odors: another aspect of the appearance of your home is the smell of it, and you may have become so used to your own home smell that you don’t recognize it anymore! If you smoke, or have pets, it’s a good time to work on eliminating those odors.
Disclose everything!: be proactive in disclosing any and all known defects to your buyers in writing. This reduces liability and can prevent lawsuits later on.
The more the merrier: its much better to have several prospective buyers, because they will compete with each other for your home. If you only have one, they will be competing with you.
Keep emotions in check: it’s easy to get emotional during this process – after all, this is your home. However, you will be at much more of an advantage if you can be more detached and business-like in your negotiations.
Learn your buyers’ motives: the better you know your buyers, the better you can negotiate. As a general rule, buyers are looking to purchase the most affordable property for the least amount of money. Knowing what their driving force will help you negotiate better and put you in the driver’s seat – do they need to move quickly? Do they have a specific date they need to move buy? These can help you control the transaction.
What can they really afford?: as soon as possible, try and learn how much of a mortgage the buyer is qualified to carry and how much they can afford as a down payment.
Closing deadlines: often the date a buyer would “like” to close is when they need to be out of their current home. Knowing this deadline will again benefit you in the negotiation process.
Never buy before you sell: having a closing date on a home purchase puts you at a disadvantage in selling your home; you now have to be out by a certain date and lose that negotiation power.
Don’t move out before you sell: vacant houses can look forlorn, empty, and forgotten. Also, if buyers think you already have a home, they may think you are very motivated to sell and therefore have the negotiation power in their favor.
Don’t give yourself deadlines: do not give yourself a sell-by date. This adds unnecessary pressure and disadvantages in negotiation.
Don’t take low offers personally: it is very likely that the initial offer is below what both you and the buyer knows they’ll pay for your home. Don’t be too upset, rather look at it as a starting point for negotiation.
Turn around a low offer: you can counter a low offer to let the buyer know their initial one isn’t being seen as serious. In doing this, you are communicating that you will now only be entertaining serious offers, and this may prompt them to put their best foot forward.
Qualification: if you feel an offer is inadequate, this may be the time to ensure the buyer is qualified to carry the size of mortgage they would require.
Read and reread the contract: to avoid issues down the line, ensure that all your terms and conditions are laid out in plain writing in the contract. Your contract should include all the names of the parties, the date it was signed, the closing date, purchase price, deposit amount, etc. Your realtor will guide you through the contract step by step.
Resist deviating from your contract: if your buyer makes any requests, such as moving in prior to the closing date, you do not have to and should not agree. Now is not the time to take any chances, and contracts are legally binding for a reason!