Congratulations! You’re about to sell your house. This can be a daunting process, especially if you’ve never done it before. Things will go more smoothly for you if you don’t let it overwhelm you, breaking the process down to a few manageable steps. Follow these tips and selling your house should go smoothly for you.
Get a realistic estimate of what your house is worth. To come up with a selling price for your house, you’ll want to develop what are called comps (short for comparables), a term which refers to properties that are similar to your house. You can use websites like Zillow.com and Realtor.com, along with listings in your local newspaper of recent and pending sales, to come up with comps. Remember, you want to track actual sales prices, not asking prices.
If you partner with a real estate agent, they’ll perform a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). A CMA provides relevant data about recent home sales, such as price, size, and number of days on the market, along with information about houses that are on the market but haven’t sold yet.
Have your home professionally inspected. While some say an inspection is unnecessary because a buyer will opt for one before closing on a house, an inspection gives sellers a valuable “heads up” on any needed repairs.
Get the word out about your house. This is when the investment of hiring a realtor can really pay off: a seasoned, knowledgeable realtor can develop and implement a winning marketing plan that will target active, interested and qualified buyers who are searching for homes in your area, both online and in person. A realtor will place your home in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which reaches millions of buyers around the world.
Prepare your house to be shown. Outside, raise your home’s curb appeal by making sure your front yard is mowed or raked, and consider planting seasonal flowers and trim hedges, trees or bushes in both the front and back yards. Inside, clear out clutter to make your home more appealing to potential buyers.
Staging your house involves more than just making sure things look nice and tidy. Well-placed furniture can open up your rooms, making them appear larger and more inviting. Something as simple as opening drapes and blinds and turning on lights can really make your home seem more livable.
Be patient! The average listing time for a home can vary from 14 to 90 days. The greatest number of showings will happen when your house is first put on the market; that’s when people who have been pre-qualified for financing, are knowledgeable about the market and have been working with their realtor for a while to find the right home at the right price, are looking. By the third week of marketing your house, the number of showings has typically dropped off, as potential buyers are just learning about your property and probably won’t be ready to pull the trigger on buying a house for several weeks. The longer a house is on the market, the more likely buyers are to think sellers are anxious and willing to negotiate a lower price.
Prepare to negotiate a sale. Review offers from prospective buyers. If you’re working with a realtor, get their input on which buyers would be best. Consider creative and flexible ways to meet the needs of your buyer, such as offering a home warranty, appliances or assistance with closing costs. If you offer a short escrow, you’ll attract buyers who are ready to move in immediately; cash incentives will entice first-time buyers who need assistance with a down payment.
Selling a house can be one of the most exciting and rewarding things you’ll ever do. We hope these tips will make it a smooth process for you!