As the market changes and we are in a more challenging economy, people are relying on themselves to be their own Realtor. The draw of course is to save money on the commission. This is not for everyone. The vast majority of “for sale by owners” are not objective enough when it comes to the sale of their own home and therefore are unsuccessful. Like with any successful endeavor you need to first do your research and remember this is a business transaction and not a personal one.
There are a couple of key elements to consider when it comes to selling your home quickly and getting the highest price possible.
First you must price it correctly. There are many ways of doing your own market analysis. Some county assessor websites will allow you to access sale information in your neighborhood. This is a very good eye opener for you to get a realistic view of what the public is looking to spend when it comes to the purchase of your home.
Look at other homes in your neighborhood that are the same style and square footage as yours. Also keep in mind the time the home was sold. If you are looking at last year’s prices this my not be an accurate reflection of the current market. You should not go further than six months in the past. If there is nothing comparable, then you may have to look at similar neighborhoods that are close by to get an idea of the market.
You can also use a search engine to look up homes in your area. There are many websites out there that allow you to put your address in and pull comparable homes to give you a good idea of what is going on in your neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods. Some also allow you to view the homes on line through pictures so you can see what your competition looks like. If there are no pictures of a property, call the agent and ask if they are going to have an open house. Then you can see first hand the condition of the home. Once you have a realistic view of what you can sell your home for, you will be able to move forward.
The next thing you must do is to maximize the space you have in your home. When you are selling your home it is different than living in it. You have to keep a minimum amount of furniture to maximize your space and yet still leave the home looking appealing to live in. You may need to rent a storage unit for the time you are on the market, for any furniture that needs to be removed. Go to model homes to see how they are set up so you have an idea of how little furniture is actually in each room and how it is arranged. You must take personal pictures off the walls but still have enough to make the room look inviting. By depersonalizing your space it also makes it easier to remember your main objective and that is to get it sold. It also allows potential buyers to imagine what the house will look like with their own personal touch.
Remember the old adage of “It takes money to make money”? Well that still applies. You may have to change that orange shag carpet that has been in the living room since 1970. Or paint the room that you allowed your son to paint black when he was going through his “dark period.” Remain neutral when picking colors, but be sure to pick colors. Don’t go with white or off white just because you don’t want to pick the wrong color. Go to a paint store and talk with the people there to find out what the latest trends are in paint, but keep it simple. Don’t do an accent wall of a deep red and then faux paint over to make it look like wall paper. By keeping it neutral you will appeal to the vast majority of the market.
Check and see if your carpets can just be cleaned or if they will need to be replaced. If they need to be replaced don’t go too cheap, but you don’t need top of the line either. If you make it look like you cut costs your potential buyers may be wondering what else you cut corners on.
Get in contact with three different Realtors from different companies. Now I know you are saying “Why should I do this if I am going to sell the home on my own?” The simple fact is, once you have your home on the market you will be getting many calls and drop bys from many different Realtors. You may as well use their expertise to your advantage.
This will be to your benefit for a couple of different reasons: first, you have already done the research so why not get a professional opinion to see if you are on track? They will gladly meet with you and have a market analysis already done and go through the house to see what attributes you have in your home that you may not have taken into consideration. They will also go room by room to help you stage your home so you will be on the right track. The reason they are so helpful is obvious — they are hoping for the listing if you are unsuccessful at selling on your own. Secondly it doesn’t hurt to do your research and look for a possible Realtor if needed. Always have a backup plan, and talking with a professional that sells homes on a daily basis just makes sense.
Once you have your home ready for the market and priced right you will be well on your way to selling your home in the quickest time and for the most amount of money. The main thing to remember is that it is a business transaction. You are selling a house so you can buy a home.