Insight is Everything!
Selling your home is just as intricate a process as buying one; you certainly have to be prepared mentally and financially. When my husband and I were looking for a home we made several observations that would be key points for sellers. We learned a few things along the way, both having owned homes in the past, we thought we knew a thing or two, but things have changed over the years – here are some insights from our experience.
One thing we found was that many homes were priced way above market and we couldn’t understand why. It seemed sellers were not doing their research on the market and just throwing out numbers that they WANTED to get for their home. But that, my friend, is not how it works! Especially when we would view it and find:
- It isn’t nearly worth what they are asking for or
- There may have been a lot of nice updates, but way too many that aren’t worth overpaying for
- Updates made are nice, but not everyone’s taste
For example, suppose a home is listed for $350,000 in an area that normally sells for $300,000. The first thing buyers are going to do is look for how much similar homes sold for in the same area, with the same number of beds, baths, square footage, etc. You’d have to blow me away to pay $50K more than the market price. (well, no, I wouldn’t ever lol) I really don’t know anyone who has done this, if you do, shoot me a message, I’d love to hear why. As you prepare to start the process of selling your home, be mindful of this, you will not recoup the money you spent on top of the line updates.
Now, if the house appraises for the $350,000 the buyer is asking for, that makes sense. The home may have more amenities than other homes in the area. In some instances, the buyer will agree to put an offer on a home that is overpriced for the area with the thought that the appraisal will report less value. Let’s stick with our example and say the home appraises for $320,000. That is the price that a seller would be able to get for their home, not the $350,000 listing price.
Don’t Take It Personal
Don’t take your home personally, but think about it from a buyer’s perspective. So what if you spent $30,000 on renovating the basement, adding a beautiful bathroom and another bedroom with top of the line materials? Your buyer may not need all that and won’t care necessarily. More of a nice to have, but not needed and the buyer is not going to pay more than the appraisal says the home is worth so that you can recoup what you’ve spent.
Everyone’s desires in a home are different. For me, I need to love the layout, kitchen, main and master baths. Some may want a large garage, nice family room, large lot. If a senior is buying or will be living in the home, a first-floor bedroom may be key. When your thinking of selling your home, think generic taste, stay away from your personal taste and crazy colors.
Tip: Don’t rely only on your agent, do your own research. Know what has sold in the area, what updates are necessary to make the house attractive, best ways to position your home to sell, etc.
One Year Ahead…
During our home buying process, there were several instances where an appraisal was lower than asking price or the inspection revealed some repairs that caused the sale to fall through or be delayed. I wondered why the seller wouldn’t just get an appraisal and home inspection before listing their home for sale. Makes perfect sense to me, but all the advice given to sellers says not to do this – why should they pay up front when the buyers are going to have to do this anyway?
Personally, it makes sense to me for the seller to get an appraisal and home inspection at least a year before selling. They average about $400 – $500 each and can give the seller an idea of what the buyers will find. Again, I’m not a real estate professional and all professional advice says no, so this is just a common sense opinion from yours truly. An early inspection can let you know what repairs or updates may be necessary before you try selling your home. You would then have a year to work on getting these repairs done versus having to rush to do this when you are in a crunch to sell. An appraisal allows you to see what the market price of your home is and give you a reasonable idea of what to list your home for.
Whether you do this or not, start working on minor fixes, paint all the rooms a neutral color, getting the carpet cleaned, etc.
Showing Your Home
Find agents that others rave about, referrals are always the best way to go. If there is a real estate agent in your family, think long and hard before you go this route. Family dynamics can get in the way of handling your sale. Whether family or not, the moment you feel like you don’t like your agent, switch. Be reasonable, of course, but don’t prolong a bad relationship.
Ask your agent to attend all your home showings and offer some talking points. Do this gently so you don’t offend your agent, we’ve found all agents are different. To be honest, most homes that we looked at, the seller’s agent was not there. But the agent for the home we eventually purchased was there EVERY time we went to see it (3 times). Come to find out, she was there for every showing. This stood out to us, she was able to tell us everything about the house and answer all of our questions. I walked away thinking, every agent should do that.
Share Your Home’s History
One thing some sellers did that was smart was have a nice table display with information about the house that you could take with you. Just a one-page paper with a home ‘timeline’ of repairs, landscaping, and new appliance purchases, etc.
Make sure people respect your home, buy footies and put them in a basket by the door for people to put on. Place a sign in the basket and make sure your agent enforces their use.
These tips should get you started… but WAIT … there’s MORE! Remember that agent I spoke of who was at every showing? Welp, next week,for Part 4 she’s going to give Sellers Tips from an Agents Perspective! So be sure to check back in & share this series with your friends!
Are you planning on selling your home soon? What are the top 5 things you are doing to get your home ready?