As soon as you start to think about selling your house you probably feel pretty confident that you’ve figured it all out…right? Just call your realtor, put it in the MLS system, and put up a sign. Simple. Or, maybe you’re the daring type that wants to save all those selling fees and sell the house yourself. You, my friend, are exactly who I need to clarify a few things for before you begin the process.
Selling a home takes science in the form of researching the market to determine pricing, developing a pricing strategy based on comparable homes on the market, and putting together the marketing plan. Yes, marketing is the second most important aspect of selling a home…second to pricing…but arguably, is more important because the right marketing plan can bring a higher selling price. So, before you list your house, check out this list.
Myth 1. You Can Sell It Yourself
The first thing sellers think about is the cost to sell. Realtor commissions, closing costs, home warranty. All those expenses typically add up to about 9% of the selling price on average. So you decide to tackle it yourself. Put a sign in the yard and watch the buyers just line up and offer top dollar.
Selling a home takes a lot of hustle. The marketing takes hustle. The showings take hustle. The negotiating takes hustle. On top of that is the legal aspect and contractual law that comes into play. Are you prepared to negotiate a legal, binding contract? What about allowing the creepy people walk through your house? Then there’s the cold hard facts. Realtor sold homes sell for, on average, 13% more than For Sale By Owner homes according to transaction records.
Bottom line, use a realtor, make more money on the transaction, and save yourself a lot of headaches along the way.
Myth 2. You Know Best What Your Home Is Worth
This summer I had two instances where I asked the seller what they wanted to sell for. The first home we sold for $6,000 more than what they wanted to list for and the second was $11,000 more. Normally, however, home owners think their home is worth way more than it will actually bring. You put in the blood, sweat and tears to make your house a home! The effort, the expense, the sweat equity should make it more valuable, right? Not necessarily.
A realtor should take your emotions out of the equation and give you a fair market analysis based on recent comparable sales. Pricing should also contain a bit of strategy based on your motivation and urgency for selling. Do you need to sell fast? Are you more concerned with getting top dollar? Are there any issues that compromise price? Your real estate professional can help determine the absolute best price based on your motivation.
Myth 3. It’s Fine To Sell “As Is”
Your home, I’m quite sure, is just fine the way it is. Certainly someone will want to paint, re-carpet, change the counter-top’s, etc. when they buy the house. Just sell it “as is” and let them make the changes. Well, it doesn’t exactly work that way. Sure, most people will do a little changing to personalize the home once they move in but it’s important to do some things to get it sold first.
Painting is the first and best return on investment item to check off the list. A fresh coat of neutral color paint on the walls and trim will go farther than any single thing you can do to prepare for market. Secondly, consider the flooring. If not changing the carpet, at least have it cleaned. Hardwoods should be buffed and cleaned. If the kitchen is very dated, changing the cabinets and counter tops will go a long way to getting more money out of the house.
Myth 4. Upgrades Should Be BIG
The simple things go a long way in selling a house. Increase curb appeal by sprucing up the front lawn. Put down fresh mulch. Plant a nice variety of flowers. Sharpen the edges around the lawn. Inside, declutter and remove personal items. Make all “style” décor neutral and not personal. There IS a point of diminishing return when it comes to redecorating or renovating. If you go too far, you’ll not realize a sizeable enough return in the sales price.
Myth 5. Spring Is The Best Time To Sell
Historically, Spring and Summer have been the most desirable time to sell a house. A lot depends on the market, your home, and the location. If you have a home in a particularly “hot” part of town, you might get more during the Christmas holiday than you would in summer. Demand is high and inventory is lower which might yield a higher return than selling in the typical moving months.
The reality is there are home transactions every week of the year. A licensed realtor can advise on the best timing and strategy based on the location, motivation, and market conditions you’re faced with.
Myth 6. The Internet Value Is All You Need
I’m on a mission to curb people from depending on the value placed on their home by real estate web sites! Both of the sellers mentioned above that wanted to sell for less than what we sold for had pulled the value from a real estate web site. Those sites are often WRONG! There are dynamics at play in the market that can have an effect on the price of your home. Those web sites don’t factor those dynamics into their estimate. Maybe you could start there but it’s best to consult a professional when it comes to pricing your home to sell based on your motivations.
Remember, selling your house is a rigorous experience. Use a licensed professional to make the process easier. Save the stress for purchasing your next home…