With our years of home-selling experience, we have distilled that hard-won knowledge into five key steps to selling a home in a reasonable time, for the best price.
1. Get your home ready for the market.
Buyers worry about making a bad decision when purchasing a home. They worry about bad roofs, AC systems that might fail shortly after closing, and the money and time it will take to make it into their dream home. Step back and try to imagine it is not your house…look at it as a prospective buyer. And then clean it, repair it, make a minor improvement or two, so that each prospect who views your home can easily see how it could be their dream home. Pay particular attention to your roof, AC, plumbing and electrical system, which can be deal-killers by making the property impossible to finance. Warning – unless you are flipping a property you bought below market, do NOT invest in a complete kitchen remodel or other such improvements as preparation for selling. Statistics show that a new kitchen will not increase your net proceeds by the cost of the remodel.
2. Price your home correctly.
Nobody wants to leave money on the table, and sellers tend to want to price the home higher than other recent sales, thinking they can always drop the price if it isn’t selling. This strategy can work against you, even in a seller’s market. If a home is taking longer than average to sell, it can be viewed as a “stale” listing. Buyers and even agents assume it is not a desirable property, otherwise it would have sold already. They see all the price reductions and often assume you are getting desperate. There are some exceptions to this, particularly in very high-priced luxury homes, for which the market is much smaller. But the smart strategy is to look at the recent comparable sales in your area, and the homes currently for sale. Then put your price just below the (usually) higher-priced active listings, but just higher than the recently sold listings. That is the sweet spot for selling your home at a good price, before it sits too long and turns into an old listing.
3. Great photos are everything!
Well above 90% of buyers start their home search online. Make sure you are listing with an agent who markets properties using great photos, and puts them in the optimum sequence on the listing. Just imagine you’re a prospective buyer, your agent is emailing you dozens of listings to consider. For one listing, the first five pics are: front of house, south side yard, north side yard, backyard (no pool) and a pic of the hall bathroom toilet, in that order, and some pics are blurry. The next listing has these first five pics: front of house, stunning kitchen, spa-like master bedroom, stylish great room with fireplace and outdoor entertainment area. We’re an instant-gratification culture…if the buyer doesn’t get excited in the first five pics (probably the first two), that buyer is not going to keep clicking to see every photo provided.
4. Every day is showtime until you are under contract.
Yes, it’s hard, especially with our busy lives, kids, pets, etc. But the front and back yards should be tidy, the kitchen should be immaculate with a minimum of items on any counters. Bathrooms should be squeaky clean, with towels folded and no mildew or other odors. And of course, all beds neatly made, clothes put away…you get the idea. No clutter. If possible, have the lights on, turn the AC down, have curtains and blinds open, and maybe even soft music in the background. Prospects should walk in to your home and say “Aaahhh…”. You want them to fall in love and instantly imagine how happy they will be in your house and what great family gatherings or social events they might host. A good Realtor will advise you to plan to be out of the house for all showings. Most buyers dislike the seller being present at the showing, and will spend less time at your listing. It could cost you a sale, so follow her advice!
5. Try to be unemotional during contract negotiations.
In Florida, an agent is required by law to present all offers to the seller, even if he knows the offer is too low. Most buyers will make an initial offer less than your listed price. Realize that it is normal for both the buyer and the seller to want to get the best deal possible. The buyer is not trying to insult you with a low offer, they are just trying to keep money in their pocket if possible. We’ve seen sellers who were so upset by a low offer that they refused to give a counter offer. The buyer moved on and bought something else. Treat the sale as a business transaction, and try ignore the emotions that naturally arise with selling your home. It doesn’t cost anything to give a counter offer, and it often moves the negotiation into a price range that results in a contract.
We would love to be your real estate adviser and guide you through the steps listed above. If you’re thinking of selling, give us a call at 727.286.1249.Google+