Buyers have a lot of options—and they don’t have to buy what you’re selling. Your house is likely just one located in a sea of for-sale signs, so you can’t be sloppy about putting it on the market. We’ve rounded up the dos and don’ts that will help you collect thousands (if not hundreds of thousands!) for your place
1. Don’t … ask for too much money.
Yes, you know what you paid for the house. But that doesn’t mean that it’s still worth that amount—or that it’s appreciated in value since you bought it. Your house is only worth what the market is willing to pay you. It doesn’t matter what’s in it. And it doesn’t matter what your mortgage is. Your realtor has an eye on the market and knows what kind of prices homes—just like yours—are garnering now. Pricing your home too high will discourage interested parties from making an offer, and your property could sit for months, which isn’t your goal.
2. Don’t … skip the marketing.
You may think that all you have to do is take one photo of the house, stick a “For Sale” sign in your yard and buyers will come pouring in the door. The only way to guarantee that you’re going to get the highest price for the house is to use all of the marketing options available to you. This means Internet advertising, 30 pictures of your house and public open houses. The more people who see your house, the better your chances are of selling it. In an age when buyers start their searches online, counting on drive-bys and word of mouth isn’t enough anymore.
3. Don’t … go it alone, unless you know what you’re doing.
If you’ve bought and sold half a dozen homes of your own or you live in a sought-after neighborhood where they sell in two days, you might be able to pull off a For Sale By Owner. If you aren’t a seasoned pro, however, let a professional take the reins. Some people don’t buy and sell houses more than once or twice in a lifetime, and there’s a lot of money at stake. Lets not also forget there are so many disclosure laws now. Depending on the laws in your state, you’re really accepting some liability by trying to sell it yourself, unless you have a friend or an attorney who can guide you through the process. A realtor also knows what’s selling around you, and for what price. He/She can tell you whether an offer is reasonable, and help you negotiate smartly. Plus, you may not save as much as you think in the end.
4. Don’t … neglect to fix things that are broken.
If sellers walk through your house and spot a handful of items that need immediate repair, they’re going to wonder how well you’ve maintained the things they can’t see. The entry way is a big tip-off. Got a loose hand rail on the steps, sagging screen door or jiggly door knob? Fix them. Clear your gutters, patch holes in your walls and address dripping taps.
5. Don’t … get emotionally involved.
Yes, it’s your house. Yes, you sweated blood and tears to get it just the way you wanted it. But, no, that does not make it someone else’s “perfect,” particularly when you’ve made some unique decorating decisions. You want the space to look as neutral as possible, so buyers can envision themselves in the space. So even if those teal walls in the bedroom look knock-out great with your duvet, they probably won’t match anyone else’s things. Let go of the features you love, and make it a house most people could love—and that might mean painting all of the walls a soft, neutral colour.
6. Don’t … leave your stuff everywhere.
You want buyers to feel like they could move into your house tomorrow with their things. And your photos and utility bills make the space feel a little too personal. “That first impression is really important, and if they’re greeted with a huge photograph of you on your wedding day 25 years ago over the fireplace, that’s really distracting.
7. Don’t … get offended by a lowball offer.
Just because someone came in with a really low bid is no reason to walk off in a huff. Now’s your chance to negotiate. Buyers are trying to buy your house for the lowest price possible. Don’t blow them off. They might love your house. You can’t blame them for trying. In other words, it’s not personal, and it’s not a slam on your housekeeping. It’s a business transaction.
8. Don’t … lose a sale over something stupid.
It’s possible to get 99% of the way through a home sale, only to stall out at the end over a minor detail. Don’t be that seller. Let the minor details go and get your sale!