List of Real Estate SELLER Secrets
In Chronological order – Click on “+” to see more information
Here is a list of some great “secrets to success” for someone selling their home. Take your time and read each secret.
Seller Skills – Secret: Why do People Sell Their Homes
American homeowners are a restless lot, moving every five to seven years on average. Ranging from personal relationships to physical surroundings, there are many reasons why people sell their homes.
The motivation for a move often reflects the residence itself, or the area around it. This does not always mean there is something wrong with the home or the area, but the situation for the homeowners may have changed, requiring something different.
Home is Too Small
Increased family size is the most common rationale for selling a home. First-time home buyers often outgrow their starter residences. As the kids grow, people say they need a larger place.
Made a Mistake
Maybe they thought they could get by without a front yard, but the noise from the street is just too much. Maybe the pool is proving a pain to maintain—and they never use it anyway. Perhaps they’re sick of tripping over the steps to the sunken living room. Whatever the reason, homeowners might believe they made a mistake when purchasing their present place and want out.
There Goes the Neighborhood
The neighborhood might have changed economically, socially, or in terms of infrastructure. Perhaps the overall area has developed in a way not to the residents’ liking: grown too commercial, too busy, too young, or too quiet.
Money matters are another common motivation for moving. Not only do people’s incomes change over time, but the values of homes also change over time, introducing another factor.
Moving on Up
People outgrow their homes in a figurative sense as well: Their careers are flourishing or they’ve come into money and can afford a bigger, grander, more expensive residence.
Some people don’t want to put on a new roof, replace the siding, or buy a new furnace, so it’s easier to buy a newer home. When you figure the life of most residential infrastructures is about 15 years, it could make sense to get out before it’s time to spend the big bucks.
Cash in Equity
Some homeowners can’t stand the fact their place is worth all that money and they can’t, as the saying goes, eat the house. Rather than stare at four walls with empty pockets, they find it more financially expedient to sell and use the funds for other things. So they cash in, taking advantage of the appreciation in property values.
Life changes in a lot of ways that have little to do with money or the size of one’s family. When owning a house is the only thing keeping a homeowner tied to a specific area, it might be time to consider cutting ties to the house as well.
New Job or Transfer
Obviously, work-related relocation makes it necessary to pull up roots—and it doesn’t have to be a full-fledged move to another town or state. Many people draw the line at a commute that exceeds a certain distance, especially if it means driving in heavy traffic.
See Family More Often—or Less
People frequently move to be near relatives, especially as they age. Conversely, some homeowners move to put distance between themselves and their kin. Dysfunctional and fractured families have been known to grow closer after being separated.
Need a New Challenge
Some people enjoy fixing up a home—spending time, money, and effort on remodeling. But once the work is completed, they become restless because they have nothing left to do. They like nothing better than selling up and moving on to the next fixer-upper.
Different Interests and Priorities
Some folks are simply tired of owning a home and would prefer to travel, pursue a hobby, or be less responsible. So, for these people, homeownership loses its priority status and selling a home turns into the ticket for realizing dreams.
Life Cycle Reasons
As people reach significant milestones in their lives, their residential preferences and needs often alter.
Changes in Relationships
Moving in with a partner or getting married usually means selling for one or both of the homeowning parties. Conversely, breakups also are a common reason for people to sell homes. One party may need to buy out the other and not have the cash available, the place may not be affordable to sustain on a single income, or the home simply holds bad memories.
Downsizing a home is a key reason why empty-nesters move. The kids have grown up and moved out, and now the parents want a smaller place. Plus, the older you get, the harder a big house is to maintain, and the better an apartment or townhouse looks. Physical ailments make it difficult to climb stairs, walk long distances, negotiate narrow spaces, or do yard work. Since refitting can be expensive, it’s often more expedient to move to a place with a preferable layout or a condo complex with maintenance staff.
Active-adult communities are attracting many buyers over age 55. These planned communities offer golf courses, clubhouses, workout and recreational facilities, social gatherings, and health and medical facilities, making it easier to age in place.
Death in the Family
When one half of a couple dies, the survivor often finds the home too big or too full of sad reminders to remain there. Maybe grown children find the familial home impractical to keep after their remaining parent goes. Estate planners often recommend that homeowners transfer title to a property into a trust, which allows their heirs to avoid probate proceedings and sell a home more easily.
Seller Skills – Secret: Really Ready to Sell Your Home?
So you feel like it’s time to move, but you keep asking yourself, Am I ready to sell my house? After all, there’s so much history packed inside those four walls—not to mention, it’s the most expensive possession you own.
Asking yourself if you’re ready to sell is an important question to answer since selling at the wrong time can cause trouble for years to come. But no worries. We’ll help you walk through everything you need to consider so you can have full confidence that you’re ready to sell.
Let’s get started!
Signs You’re Ready to Sell Your House
The decision to sell your house isn’t based solely on market conditions. You have to take your personal situation into account—and that’s where expert advice comes in handy.
Here are seven signs you’re ready to sell your house:
1. You’ve got equity on your side.
For most homeowners, being financially ready to sell your house comes down to one factor: equity. During the housing meltdown of 2008–09, millions of homeowners found themselves with negative equity, which meant they owed more on their homes than they were worth.
Find expert agents to help you sell your home.
Clearly, selling your home when you have negative equity is a bad deal. That’s called a short sale. Breaking even on your home sale is better, but it’s still not ideal. If you’re in either situation, don’t sell unless you have to in order to avoid bankruptcy or foreclosure.
For the last several years, home values have been on the rise and that means most homeowners are building equity. Their homes are now worth more than they owe on them, and that trend will persist as they pay down their mortgages and home values continue to increase.
Figuring out how much equity you have may sound complicated, but the math is actually simple. Here’s how it works:
First, grab your latest mortgage statement and find your current mortgage balance.
Next, you’ll need to know your home value. While it’s tempting to use figures from online valuation sites to determine how much your home is worth, they’re not always accurate. If you’re considering selling, ask an experience real estate agent to run a free comparative market analysis (CMA) for the best estimate.
Once you have those two numbers in hand, simply subtract your current mortgage balance from your home’s estimated market value. The difference will give you a good idea of how much equity you have to work with.
So how much equity is enough? At the very least you want to have enough equity to pay off your current mortgage with enough left over to provide a 20% down payment on your next home. But if your sale can also cover your closing costs, moving expenses and an even larger down payment—that’s even better.
Plus, putting 20% or more down on a home keeps private mortgage insurance (PMI) at bay. That could save you hundred—or even thousands—of dollars each year!
2. You’re out of debt with cash in the bank.
If you didn’t have all your financial ducks in a row your first time around the home-buying block, you probably learned a few things the hard way. Like the fact that Murphy can smell “broke” from miles away. If it can go wrong, it will! Put those lessons to good use and be a money-smart home buyer the next go-round!
Start by taking a hard look at your finances. If you’ve paid off all your nonmortgage debt and have three to six months of expenses in your emergency fund, that’s a good sign you’re financially secure enough to purchase a home again.
3. You can afford to buy a home that fits your lifestyle better.
Another factor to consider is how well your home meets your everyday needs. Perhaps you could use another bedroom (or even two) for your growing family. Or maybe your kids have all moved out and you’re ready to downsize. It’s freeing to sell a large home, pay cash for a smaller one, and invest the rest for your retirement.
4. You can cash flow the move.
Don’t get so carried away by the excitement of your next home that you forget to account for the cost of moving out of your current one. Hiring professional movers? Save up cash to cover the cost of packing up and hauling your stuff away.
You should also invest a little to stage your home so that it’s ready for prime time. Focus your home improvement dollars on paint, curb appeal, plus kitchen and bath upgrades. A little bit of fresh paint and elbow grease can go a long way into making a great impression—and getting your home sold fast!
Want a bonus tip that doesn’t cost a dime? Clear out the clutter. Neat closets and tidy shelves make your home look larger!
5. You’re emotionally ready to sell.
If the numbers show you’re financially ready to make a move, great! But don’t forget—selling your home is an emotional issue too. Before you plant the “For Sale” sign in the front yard, take a minute to answer just a few more questions:
- Are you ready to put in the work to get your house ready for house hunters?
- Are you committed to keeping it ready to show for weeks or months?
- Are you ready to hear the reasons why potential buyers believe your home is not perfect?
- Are you ready for honest—and sometimes hardball—negotiations over what buyers are willing to pay for your home?
- Are you really ready to move out and leave the place where your family has made memories?
Don’t get us wrong—we’re not trying to talk you out of selling your home! We just want you to be completely ready when you do decide to move on to the next stage of your family’s life.
A qualified real estate agent will give you a clear picture of what it’s like to sell your house, and also help you decide if now is the right time for you, both financially and emotionally.
6. You understand the market (a little bit).
No one can predict how the housing market will perform with 100% accuracy. But the National Association of Realtors expects price growth to continue in 2020. As home sales in 2020 are forecasted to decrease by 11%, the median price is projected to increase by 4% overall.1
Remember the law of supply and demand? When supply is down and demand goes up, prices tend to go upwards as well. That means your home might be worth more than you think. Consider these trends:
- The supply of homes for sale has been significantly down (-19% in May 2020) compared to last year.2
- Potential home buyers who had to put their plans on hold due to the challenges of 2020 are now experiencing an urgency and a pent-up demand to buy.3
In other words, the market’s hot for just about any home seller.
7. You have a real estate agent.
Okay, maybe all the signs are saying it’s time to get your home on the market. Just remember that your real estate market is unique—and so is your financial situation. Consult an experienced real estate agent to find out how the current housing market is shaping up in your area so you can decide if a sale makes financial sense for your family.
Partner with a pro you can trust to provide honest advice so you can do what’s best for you and your budget. A good agent puts service before sales—but knows how to get things done when it’s time to sell.
A real estate agent does more than just schedule showings of your home. They bring experience and confidence to the table when they handle their many job duties, which include:
- Giving you advice about updates or repairs that will make your home more attractive
- Helping you set the right price for your home
- Marketing your home so it receives as much exposure to potential buyers as possible
- Scheduling showings with potential buyers
- Advising you as you negotiate offers
- Handling all the required paperwork
Don’t trust an amateur with one of your biggest financial investments. Work with a top-performing agent who knows your market.
An experienced real estate agent can help you navigate the search for your next home too. Be sure to have some backup options ready in case your home sells quickly and you can’t find a new place you love right away. You don’t want to rush into a home you can’t afford or don’t really like just because it’s available.
Seller Skills – Secret: Prepare your Finances
Have you heard the saying “It takes money to make money?” It’s abundantly true when you’re preparing to sell your home. Take a deep breath, and get ready. Pricing and determining the following items will help you budget accurately when you’re ready to sell your house.
Repairs and projects costs usually fall to the seller’s side during a home sale. Talking to an experienced realtor and investing in a pre-listing inspection will help you assess the costs accurately.
The home inspection is normally the buyer’s responsibility, but again, that pre-listing evaluation can help save money down the road. Your realtor will have recommended inspectors – ask them.
Costs for staging your home are inevitable. Consult with your agent to decide which rooms will need to be staged for maximum appeal to buyers. Getting your home staged might include painting, purchasing new accessories, or hiring a professional staging service.
Taxes are also inevitable, but you can plan ahead.
Capital gains taxes will be based on the differences between what you paid for your home, and what you sold it for. Talk to your agent about any possible exclusions you may be eligible for.
Transfer taxes can vary by state and are a fee for transferring homeownership to the buyer. Again, your realtor can advise if this will be applicable in your case.
Mortgage payoff costs cover the amount needed to pay off your mortgage balance, as well as any associated fees, such as document preparation fees.
Title insurance may be required by your state. If so, you’ll be asked to cover the buyer’s title insurance at the closing. It can vary from title company to title company.
Broker commission/fee is normally a percentage of the selling price – and that percentage can vary. Your agent can also estimate this for you.
Escrow fees can vary, but will generally be at least $800, depending on your location.
Seller Skills – Secret: The first impression is the only impression
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression.
It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers.
You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal.
Entryways are also important. You use it as a utility space for your coat and keys. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some cookies.
Seller Skills – Secret: Spruce up the exterior of your home
You’ve heard it 100 times before, and it’s still true: Curb appeal matters. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
A new or freshly painted front door, new house numbers and a new mailbox can breathe life into your entryway. Fresh landscaping and flowers in beds or in pots also enhance your home’s first impression.
Trim trees and bushes, tidy up flower beds, remove dead leaves from plants, clear out cobwebs from nooks near the entrance and pressure-wash walkways, patios and decks.
Leave the outdoor lights on, too, because prospective buyers may drive by at night.
Seller Skills – Secret: Get a Pro Inspection Done
Pros For Having a Presale Home Inspection
1. You find out what condition your home is in.
One of the biggest fears of most sellers is that when a buyer does get the home inspected, something will be discovered that kills the sale. This concern is undoubtedly justified. The home inspection is often the point where sales fall apart – leaving the seller to pick up the pieces.
But as the seller, you don’t have to wait for the buyer’s inspection. You can have your own pre-inspection done and get ahead of any issues before listing the property for sale.
By having a home inspection before hitting the market, you’ll find out the exact condition of your home. Make sure; however, you pick an excellent home inspector.
Like any other business, some are considered exceptionally thorough and others who are not. There is no point in having your home inspected if the home inspector only catches a fraction of the issues.
In the reference above, you’ll see some of the best ways to find a top-shelf inspector.
2. Pricing the home accurately is much easier.
Choosing an accurate price for your home is one of the most challenging parts of the home sales process. It takes experience and skill to find the sweet spot – too high, and buyers will stay away, too low, and you miss out on money from the sale.
The best way to choose a price is to work with a Realtor experienced in your market, but even the best real estate agent will struggle with pricing if the state of the home is unclear. Having a pre-inspection before your house goes on the market ensures that you have all the facts, which makes setting a price much more straightforward.
3. You’ll Minimize stress.
Not knowing if there is something wrong with your home adds a lot of stress to the sales process. Selling your home is never easy, to begin with. Worrying that the sale will fall through because of something that turns up during an inspection adds a thick layer of anxiety to your life that won’t go away until the sale closes.
Fortunately, you can wipe away that anxiety pretty easily. You just have to get your own pre-inspection before listing. Something may or may not need to be fixed. A pre-listing inspection will let you know either way.
By getting the inspection done, you can feel much more confident about your home’s current condition.
4. You can make repairs for outstanding issues.
Most agents will tell you to make major repairs before you list your home. The buyer’s inspection will uncover significant defects, and you will be expected to repair them if you want to get full price for your home. The problem is that you will only have until closing to get the repairs done if you wait until the buyer’s inspection.
The limited time frame tends to put sellers on edge and leave them scrambling to get everything fixed in time. With a pre-listing inspection, you set your own schedule for repairs. There is no rush to list the property until you have made sure the home is in good shape.
You’ll be putting your home on the market with the confidence you’ve corrected any significant problems.
5. Less likelihood of negotiations.
Quite often, buyers will use the home inspection as a point of asking for additional concessions. They will use the home inspection as a means to renegotiate the sale. That’s because they know that there will probably be one or more issues that will come up warranting reconsideration of the price. Negotiating home inspections is a common hurdle in the real estate process.
Not many people enjoy it, and for some, it can become extremely stressful. You’ll find this to be especially true if the buyer and seller don’t see eye to eye, which isn’t unusual.
Quite often, buyers ask for inspection repairs they shouldn’t because they don’t get proper counseling from their buyer’s agent. There will be a long list of knit picking.
A pre-listing inspection helps you avoid the typical interactions that follow the buyer’s inspection. You are unlikely to learn anything new about your home from the examination, and neither is the buyer because you have already had an inspection done.
Both you and the buyer have been aware of any issues and all repairs from the beginning of your interaction. Negotiations still may occur, but they will probably be minimal.
6. Help improve the buyer’s confidence.
Anytime you can hand a buyer an inspection report that details the present condition of a home, you’re probably going to make them feel more confident about the purchase.
Buyers naturally are skeptical about a home’s condition until their home inspection is completed. For many folks purchasing a home will be the most money they will ever spend on a single Buyers will calculate what they can afford now combined with upkeep in the future.
If a buyer suspects that the house might have hidden problems, the offer he or she makes could reflect that. An inspection done before listing for sale can help eliminate much of the doubt about the home.
Knowing that a professional has already looked over the home carefully allows the buyer to make a confident offer.
7. Make your real estate agent’s job easier.
Real Estate agents are used to selling homes without pre-listing inspections. Of course, most would prefer it if sellers did get a pre-listing home inspection. Knowing the actual state of the house allows the Realtor to do a better job for the client.
The agent can price the home more accurately, negotiate more confidently, and attract buyers more easily because buyers like homes inspected before listing. Ultimately, making the Realtor’s job easier brings financial benefits to the seller.
The home inspection is the most prominent hurdle to clear in a real estate transaction. Once that is done, most will breathe a sigh of relief.
Even Kramer gets pumped when he knows a home is in great shape!
Cons For Having an Inspection
Many people wonder about the drawbacks of having a home inspection before putting your home up for sale. Here are the primary reasons:
1. You will have to pay for the pre-listing inspection.
Inspections are not free, and just because you get a pre-listing inspection does not mean you will not have to go through a buyer’s inspection. The pre-listing inspection costs will come out of your pocket. The price is arguably worth it for the benefits it offers, but some sellers may not have the funds to cover a pre-listing inspection.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $400-1000 for a general inspection depending on the area of the country you are located in. There are also additional things you may want to inspect for which the inspector may charge other monies, including:
- Testing for the presence of radon both in the air and water.
- Doing a well test for both the quality and quantity. See the guide for buying a home with well water.
- Testing for mold present in the home. See the guide for selling a house with mold.
- Checking for the presence of lead paint. Look over this guide for testing for lead paint.
2. Disclosure laws may require you to disclose any issues.
Depending on the disclosure laws in your state, you may be legally required to disclose all the problems the inspection uncovers to the buyer. Whether disclosure puts you at a disadvantage largely depends on your finances.
If you have the money to make repairs, disclosure is not much of an issue. But if you cannot make necessary repairs, the defects you find through the pre-listing inspection may make it more difficult to sell your home.
What you have to disclose to a buyer when selling a home varies tremendously from state to state. Some states require full disclosure; others do not.
For example, in Massachusetts, where I am located, we are what’s known as a Caveat Emptor state or “let the buyer beware.” The seller does not have to voluntarily disclose any defects with their home other than lead paint.
The seller must, however, answer a buyer’s questions accurately and honestly. So if a buyer asks if there is water in the basement, the seller cannot lie.
However, it should be made clear that Real Estate agents are held to a much higher standard. An agent must inform a buyer of any problem they know exists with a home.
By doing a home inspection before listing for sale, you would know about a significant percentage of problems. If you live in a state that requires disclosure, you now must let the buyer in on these issues.
Some would argue, who cares, as they will find out anyway once they do their own inspection.
Whether it is the law disclose or not, how would you feel if someone concealed problems from you? Do the right thing and reveal any issues you know about.
3. There will be two inspections of your home.
The inspection should not be too worrisome if you have had a pre-listing inspection and made appropriate repairs before listing. However, it is worth noting that you will still need to go through the buyer’s inspection regardless of whether you get a pre-listing inspection or not.
Make Your Real Estate Agent Attends The Home Inspection
When you hire a real estate agent, you want someone who is with you every step of the way. Your real estate agent should be your eyes and ears. With a home inspection being one of the most substantial hurdles to a successful sale, it makes sense that the listing agent should be at the home inspection.
Even though you have had your own inspection, don’t assume that the buyer’s home inspector doesn’t come to the table with different thoughts and opinions. Frankly, the chances are very high the inspector tells the buyer something very different than your inspector did.
Over the years, I have seen the same home inspected multiple times, with each inspector representing problems very differently. In fact, I have written about how some home inspectors explain issues in a frightening manner. On occasion, this is done intentionally. Remember, every industry has folks who aren’t very professional.
You want your real estate agent to attend in order to have a complete perspective of what was represented by the buyer. Far too many times, problems are blown out of proportion.
For Most Sellers, a Pre-Listing Inspection Makes Sense
While certain situations make a pre-listing inspection undesirable, a pre-listing inspection offers too many benefits to ignore for most sellers. It is a proactive step that puts you ahead of the curve, allowing you to see the path ahead of you much more clearly.
You can plan better, rest easier and possibly get a better price on your home.
You should speak to a few real estate agents in your area and get their thoughts on having a pre-inspection done. More than likely, the agents will look favorably upon doing one.
Seller Skills – Secret: Don’t over-upgrade
Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Mammoth makeovers, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.
Seller Skills – Secret: The kitchen comes first
You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back.
It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated.
The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style.
If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.
Seller Skills – Secret: Take the home out of your house
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there.
Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. Remove political and religious items, your children’s artwork (and everything else) from the refrigerator and anything that marks the house as your territory rather than neutral territory.
The same goes for any collections such as figurines, sports memorabilia or kids’ toys that can make a buyer think less about the house and more about you.
Family photos can be replaced by neutral art or removed entirely – just be sure to remove any nails and repair nail holes where any hanging photos used to be.
Seller Skills – Secret: Stage your home to sell
Nothing turns off buyers like a dirty house. Hire a company to deep clean if you can’t do it yourself. “When the (home) is on the market, no matter what time of day or night, it should be clean and neat,” says Ellen Cohen, a licensed associate real estate broker with real estate brokerage Compass in New York City.
Key places to clean while your home is on the market include:
- Kitchen countertops.
- Inside cabinets and appliances.
- Floors and room corners where dust collects.
- Bathroom counters, toilets, tubs and showers.
- Inside closets.
- Windows, inside and out.
- Scuffed walls, baseboards and doors.
- Basement and garage.
Seller Skills – Secret: Light it up
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine.
People love light and bright, and the best way to show off your house is to let the sunshine in. Open all the curtains, blinds and shades, and turn lights on in any dark rooms.
If natural light is lacking in any room, strategically place lamps or light sources throughout to set the mood. And while your house is on the market, open all curtains and turn on lights every time you leave your house for work or errands in case you get word that a buyer would like to tour the space before you get home.
Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.
Seller Skills – Secret: Stage your home to sell
Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.
While you may have a fun sense of style, your furniture may make it hard for buyers to see the home as a blank slate. When that happens, it may be better to have the home staged with furniture that’s brought in.
Many real estate agents will use a third-party staging company. An example might be; we recently re-staged a home that has been on and off the market for five years with white linens and clean, simple furnishings. Almost immediately, the house had multiple offers and it sold for above the asking price. “That’s the power of staging,”.
Seller Skills – Secret: Stage your home to sell
Beyond professional photos, a digital 3D tour of your house is quickly becoming standard for properties on the market.
Video tours and virtual offerings by your agent can also help potential buyers feel they know a lot about your property without even visiting it.
Keep in mind, however, that 3D tours and video tours of your property will show many flaws that may be easy to hide in photos, so have your house in pristine condition before shooting a tour.
Seller Skills – Secret: Use Professional Photography
top-notch photos can make your house sell 30+% faster than a house with low quality or average pictures. That’s not just for million-dollar mansions, either.
Not only do professional photographs help you sell your home quickly, but it can also help you get a better deal, too. For homes in the $200,000-$1 million range, those that include high-quality photography in their listings sell for $3,000-$11,000 more.
According to NAR’s 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 84% of recent buyers used the internet to search for homes. Of those, 89% found photos very useful in their home search.
If your listing photos don’t show off the features of your home, prospective buyers may reject it without even taking a tour or going to the open house. Hiring a professional photographer and posting at least 30 photos of your home, inside and out, is a good way to attract buyers.
Photography is often free for home sellers, as shoots are often conducted at the expense of real estate brokers as part of marketing the property.
Seller Skills – Secret: Always be ready to show
Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.
Seller Skills – Secret: Confirm Value of Your Home
Anyone with access to the Multiple Listing Service, which includes your realtor, can determine what price a house should sell for. The real answer is to confirm the sale price of all the home identical to the one you want over the last 90 days.
Appraisers make adjustments for age, size, condition, etc. You can get a good idea just seeing the list of homes sold in the last 90 days.
Seller Skills – Secret: Pricing it right
Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids — even in the worst markets — and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.
Seller Skills – Secret: Need to Hold Open Houses?
Seller Skills – Secret: Half-empty closets
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.
Seller Skills – Secret: Conceal the critters
You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If you’re planning an open house, send the critters to a pet hotel for the day.
Seller Skills – Secret: Play the agent field
A secret sale killer is hiring the wrong broker. Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to get your house sold.
Seller Skills – Secret: Time your sale right
Seller Skills – Secret: Take a fast close, cash offer?
Sounds good, but the bad news is the will only offer you 90% of the retail value or less.