We are now living in a buyer's market and buyers are smarter and the fact is that most of the homes listed for sale never sell for the initial asking price. It's even more critical than ever before to understand and avoid costly seller mistakes so that you can sell your home for more money and in a timely manner.
1). Know why you're selling, and keep it to yourself.
The answer to this question will affect almost everything in your decision to sell. What am I going to initially sell my house for and how much am I willing to discount it before it sells and what is behind that decision? How much time do I have to sell my house, do I need to sell it quickly or can I wait it out? How much money am I going to spend to get the house ready to sell? What's more important to you, the money you walk away with or the length of time your property is on the market? Depending on what your reasons are for selling your house will determine what strategies you will use in the sales price, the length of time you set to sell your house and how much money you want to make. However, it is very important that you don't tell anyone about your intentions so that you can become your own savvy seller. Anything that you reveal to anyone can and will be used against you when it comes time to negotiate. If you are asked about your decisions on any of these major decisions just simply say that your housing needs have changed and you want to get something different depending on your circumstances.
2) Do your homework before setting a price.
There are several things you can do to set your price so that your home will sell in a timely manner and you will get the most money you could possibly get for it. Do your homework and drive around your neighborhood and pick up flyers or call the agents for prices. Some agents tend to be a bit aggressive, so just tell those agents that your relative is an agent and he is going to list your house. Go on the internet and get estimates online at places like MarketAnalysisForFree and especially at Realtor.com. Look in newspapers for homes in your area and prices. Once you've set your price, you've told buyers what you want to sell your home for, but remember that pricing too high is as bad as pricing too low. The things you must understand is that buyers are out shopping and looking for the best deal they can possibly get and they may have looked at 10 to 20 homes including your home. This gives them the ultimate chance to compare everything that is out there that they could possibly be interested in.
If the price of your home does not compare favorably to their expectations then you will be one of the many sellers that will be passed over by many buyer's prospects or agents won't take you seriously. Because of your pricing decision, your home could sit on the market for a long time, as a result, new buyers coming into the market will think there must be something wrong with your home if it is too low or they won't even look it if it is too high. Do your homework. That is why if you have an agent and he knows the market and the neighborhood he should be able to tell you exactly what the price of your home should be set at. By the way, don't ever fall for the line from agents that will tell you that you can get more money if you list with them. Find out for yourself first what homes in your own and similar neighborhoods have sold for in the past 6-12 months and research what current homes are listed for. This way you can weed out the agents that you interview who you feel have overpriced your home to get the listing. Know how much homes in your neighborhood are selling for and make sure you keep that number to yourself.
3) Find a Good Real Estate Agent to Represent Your Needs.
I gave you some suggestions on how to select an agent in the last section on pricing but there are other ways to select the right agent. Price is important but if your agent lives in the same neighborhood that you do that is the optimal way to know that he will price your home at the optimal price. Since your agent lives in your neighborhood he will not jeopardize his own home by selling for less since he will someday want to sell his house for an optimal price. Homes are appraised according to what they are selling for within a certain pre-defined area and if you are in the same neighborhood as your agent than go with him if all the other qualities you look for in an agent are equal. Make sure that your agent is timely when you set up that interview and that he/she is available when you try to locate him or her. The interview process is very important so make sure you do some homework and ask the right questions. The selling of your home is not only the most important price decision you will have to make but could be the most costly.
4) Maximize your home's sales potential.
In order to sell your home you must do everything possible to get it into the best possible shape that it could possibly be. Cleaning is one of the most important aspects of getting your house ready. If you have any clutter whether inside or out get rid of that first. keeping your yard nice and trimmed and having your home clean with no dishes in the sink are optimal things you must do to sell you home. If you need to paint and you have no money to get painters out there to paint, look at what needs painting and tackle that job yourself. Real Estate has a saying that "Location, Location, Location", but if you are not able to change your home's location or floor plan, you can certainly do a lot to improve its appearance. When people walk into your home you want them to feel the warmth and comfort that you feel about your home. Pick up, straighten, un-clutter, scrub, scour and dust. Fix everything that needs fixing, no matter how insignificant it may be. Present your home as if you were selling a personal product that you are proud to be the owner of and would hope that the next owner will feel the same way.
5) Allow the buyers to imagine themselves living in your home.
People buy homes not because it's a logical decision but because of the emotion involved. Prospective buyers want to know if their furniture will fit in the living room, whether the king size bed fits in the master bedroom. Because of this emotional connection a good thing to do is to tell them of any improvements that you were thinking of doing but never got to it. Maybe you can knock down a wall and make the family room bigger so their couch will fit, etc. You can give them ideas on how they can paint it to their tastes and change carpets, change floors, or change the décor.
6) Make it easy for prospects to get information on your home.
It is a known fact that Open Houses are a marketing tool for Real Estate agents ( tool for agents to find buyers ) and not necessarily a tool to sell your home. It is estimated that only 1% of people purchase their home because they stopped at an open house.
It is estimated that only 1% of people purchase their home because they stopped at an open house. The percentages for classified ads selling your home are even less. When choosing an agent get information on what things he/she will do to market your home. More and more people are looking to the internet before even getting a real estate agent when purchasing a home. Make sure your selling agent belongs to the local MLS ( Multiple Listing Service ) and make sure that if they are members that they will list your home in it. Many agents hold home listings so the can double end the sales, this delays the sale of your home or it may take longer to sell. To ensure that your home is listed on The MLS, connect to Realtor.com and look for it there. Also, make sure that your selling agent is technologically challenged and that they know their way around the internet.
7) Know your buyer.
In order for you to be able to control things in the negotiation process, your objective should be to control the pace and set the duration of the selling process. The things you need to know in order to control that process are what? You need to know what your buyer's motivation is for buying your house. You also need to know how quickly they need to move in the buying process. Other things are, how much money do they have and how much can they use for a down payment and for closing costs? If you know this information it will help you have the upper hand in negotiating price because you will be able to dictate the terms on sales price thus ensuring that you will meet your goals on the bottom line.
8) Make sure the contract is complete.
If you are doing a FSBO ( For Sale by Owner ) make sure that as a seller, you disclose everything. If you have a good Real Estate agent he/she should know everything that needs to be disclosed. Smart sellers most certainly will do more than is required by the law to disclose all known defects to their buyers in writing. If the buyer who buys your home suddenly discovers a problem with your home and you've disclosed that in writing, he can't come back with a lawsuit later on. Be absolutely sure that all terms, costs and responsibilities are spelled out in the Sales contract and and whatever you do try not to diverge from the contract. One of the liable consequences of some sellers is to let the buyer move in before the close of escrow. Make sure that this is absolutely not allowed under any circumstances. At his point in the process of closing the sale, it is no time to deviate from having an unforeseen circumstance cause it to fall through.
9) Don't move out before you sell.
The factors that will delay the sale of your home are tenfold but one is that if your home is empty it takes longer to sell. The cost of selling an empty house could cost you some money. If you move out and you have the funds, staging your home could help sell it faster. If you move, you're also telling buyers that you have a new home and are probably highly motivated to sell fast. This will give them an advantage at the negotiating table.