For many homeowners, their house is their biggest investment. And when it comes time to cash in, they want to sell their house for maximum value. When selling your home, avoid these costly mistakes to save you time and stress and help you find a buyer quickly.
Cleaning your home and getting rid of junk is one of the fastest ways to raise the value of your house. Buyers can’t “unsee” a dirty, cluttered house if that’s their first impression, so you’re better off keeping your house staged at all times for those last-minute showings.
When cleaning your home, it helps to think of yourself as the home’s “seller” instead of the home’s “owner.” Pretend you’re moving out and pack up all your personal items and put them in storage. Keep flat surfaces like countertops and tables clear of stuff. You want to make it easy for buyers to visualize themselves living in your space. Mop and vacuum hardwood floors. Shampoo your carpets. Keep in mind that some buyers are allergic to pets, so watch for bad odors and animal hair. This is a good time to clean out your closets too! Potential buyers want to see how much storage space your house has, and the more storage the better! Consider hiring a professional home stager to help you with the process.
Don’t forget to stage the exterior of your house as well. Curb appeal counts! Put on a fresh coat of paint, wash the windows, mow the grass, sweep the patio. Buyers want to see themselves enjoying time in the backyard.
Any problems with your property will be revealed during the buyer’s inspection process. To avoid surprises, consider having your home inspected by a licensed inspector before putting it on the market. This will give you a good idea of how much it will cost to repair the home, as well as which repairs are most critical.
Be conservative with your indoor and outdoor improvements. Focus on only the most critical things that get you the biggest boost in value. There’s a big difference between fixing something that’s broken and changing something that doesn’t need changing. Every buyer has their own taste, and buyers may not want to replace expensive, brand new stuff just because they don’t like the style. This holds especially true if the buyer feels like they will pay for those things in the purchase price of the home. Consider working with a local real estate agent to get a good sense of which improvements, if any, sell well in your neighborhood.
Most home buyers start their search online, and a great listing starts with great photos! Photos must be crisp and accurate. Take photos during the day, with plenty of natural light. Showcase your home’s best features. Use a wide-angle lens if possible. Show buyers the very best version of what things look like. Also consider posting a video about your home and the surrounding neighborhood. Video is a great way to help buyers connect with your house, the neighborhood, and what it might be like to live there.
Many sellers price their homes high with the expectation that buyers will try and negotiate for a lower price. This tactic doesn’t work. Savvy buyers will compare your price against other prices in the area and will walk away if your home is overpriced. You’re better off pricing your house near market value for your neighborhood.
Another option is to price your house below market value. Underpricing your home may generate strong interest and drive the price up with multiple offers. You can also consider including special items in the purchase price of the home. Things like stainless steel appliances, a giant flat screen TV, or a riding mower can all set your home apart from other houses.
Every market has a time of year where home buyers are most active. Selling your home during peak season will help you attract a competitive number of buyers and get the best price. Selling your house in the off-season may mean it takes longer to sell, or it may sell for a lower price. Consider speaking with a licensed real estate agent to help you figure out the best time of year to sell in your market.
Always speak with your accountant to go over all the tax implications of selling your home. Sometimes changing the closing date even by one or two days can make all the difference in how much tax you’ll pay on the sale of your home.
Disclose everything you know and don’t know about your home. Hiding information from buyers can derail the sale or result in a lawsuit. Buyers will discover the truth through inspections and title searches, so you might as well give buyers all the facts upfront.
Keep in mind that there’s a difference between disclosing facts about the property and sharing your opinions. A flooded basement two years ago is a fact. Your plan for a bathroom renovation is an opinion. For a potential buyer, opinions signal more upcoming costs that they may not want. As the seller, your best bet is to stick with the facts.
Potential buyers will want to walk through your home before they put in an offer. With so many people visiting your property, you need to make sure there are no obvious hazards and that you have enough insurance to cover accidents. Consider speaking with your insurance agent to review your coverage options.
Home sellers are usually responsible for paying some taxes and fees at closing, and many sellers forget to budget for these items in their sale price. Consider speaking with a title company or attorney to estimate the taxes, fees, and expenses you will need to pay at closing.
Selling your home can be stressful and you’ll most likely need to spend some money to get your house ready. As an alternative, consider selling your home to a professional real estate investor. Most investors can make you a cash offer for your property as-is, with no need for you to make repairs, and may also pay all closing costs.
Investors also work with a network of licensed real estate agents, contractors, and inspectors, and can help you find the best solution for your specific needs. If you’re not sure where to begin your home selling journey, real estate investors are a great place to start!