We’ve all heard home seller horror stories - offers that fall through; long delays in the home selling process; sellers who change their minds or can’t agree on the best outcome, leaving others to deal with the fallout. Whatever the story, the reality of selling your home is there’s a lot to think about and with multiple parties to please, a lot that can go wrong. Never fear though! With the right preparation and resources to guide you through the home selling process, you can sell your home smoothly and create a win-win situation for everyone involved. Continue reading for our top tips to sell your home successfully.
Stay Focused on Your Goals
Before you decide to sell your home, it helps to determine what’s most important to you. Do you need to sell for a specific price? Do you need to sell your house quickly? Is minimizing the number of repairs and work put into your house before you sell your house most important? Whatever it is, when you identify what’s most important to you, it makes it easier to make decisions objectively. Selling your house can be a stressful and emotional process. When buyer emotions run high and the market is more competitive, selling your house can be even more challenging. You care about your house and you care what happens to it. You may also be struggling with fears of where you’ll go and what’s next for you. These are all reasons to clarify and prioritize what you need, communicate what you need to your real estate agent, and ensure everyone understands what success looks like for you. If price specifically is most important, you can also request a personalized home valuation and we'll walk you through what your home is worth and why.
Hire the Right Agent for You
Not everyone chooses to hire a real estate agent to sell their home, though most do. In fact, just 8% of home sales were For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sales in 2020, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Hiring the right real estate agent is akin to finding the right mountain guide; someone to alert you to possible pitfalls before you start your journey, ensuring you avoid as many of them as possible upfront, while also helping you navigate unexpected problems that arise during the process. It’s important to take your time when deciding whether to hire an agent and also which agent to hire, because the experience and commitment you get will likely vary widely. You can find seasoned professionals who are skilled at each of the primary real estate agent responsibilities and you can also find the opposite. Below are the primary areas of responsibility your agent will be taking on, about which we recommend you interview anyone with whom you’re considering working:
- Listing marketing, including staging, photography, creating the listing, sharing the listing, and attracting the best buyers
- Managing the appraisal and inspection process
- Manage the closing
Also keep in mind when evaluating options that there are hidden costs to selling a home yourself and working with a less experienced agent, as well as trying to manage the process yourself, may very well cost you more in the end. Attorney’s fees, buyer’s agent compensation (the seller typically pays 1% to 3% of the home’s sale price to the buyer’s agent), unnecessary repairs, and more can really add up.
Prepare for the Sale
There are a couple of things to consider when preparing to sell your home; mainly, how others perceive the property. It’s almost impossible for us to detach ourselves from our experiences, emotions, and expectations; however, to sell your home successfully it’s necessary to do just that. That’s where a professional can really help.
Preparing your home to sell and preparing yourself to sell are equally important. In preparing your home, make sure you’ve fixed any noticeable issues (and possibly more). Seemingly trivial things like a missing cabinet handle may cause potential buyers to pause and ask, if they never fixed that, what else has gone unfixed? Similarly, because most people look at properties online before they ever physically see them, and buying homes sight unseen is becoming increasingly popular, the property photos you post online and how you showcase your home to those interested in it should have the same attention to detail. Photos of bathrooms with toilet seats up or dingy shower curtains; unkempt yards and photos where you can see the agent’s reflection in a window or mirror are all examples of photos that would invite questions and potential concerns from buyers. Check out this stunning comparison of a property without quality listing photos and a property that was professional prepared (called "staged") and photographed to see the difference yourself.
Hiring a professional to take photographs that attract interest is key, and ensuring your home is staged properly can go a long way. Staging is the process of making a home more appealing by doing things like redecorating, decluttering, landscaping and more. Too often do people keep personal elements in their homes, which combined with missed repairs can make it difficult for potential buyers to envision themselves living there.
Finally, in addition to preparing the home for the sale, it’s important for you to be prepared as the seller. The number one mistake most sellers make is setting a price for their home that doesn’t match the market and set you up for success. Pricing a property too high, even in a seller’s market where buyer demand far outweighs the number of homes available to purchase, can lead to trouble if you need to reduce your price as people view price reductions as possible reasons not to buy in and of themselves. Pricing a property too low can also have downsides. The value of working with someone who has experience with a variety of home sales and is going to dedicate the time and attention to you and all of the intricate details of your home and your needs cannot be overstated.