Millions of homes are sold each year, and while each transaction is different every seller wants the same thing - the highest price with the least amount of hassle and aggravation.
Home selling is more complex than it used to be. As a seller you need to be aware of a range of issues and deal with many complex forms. You also need to know that buyer agents represent buyers and are working to get the best deal for their buyer clients.
Successfully selling your home requires experience and training in areas such as real estate, marketing, financing, negotiation and closing – this is the very expertise REALTORS® offer.
Know Why You Want to Sell Your Home
First, you should have a clear idea why you want to sell your home.
Selling a home is an important matter and there should be a good reason to sell, such as moving to a new community, needing more space, retiring to a smaller home or moving closer to family. Your reason for selling can impact the negotiating process so it's important to discuss your needs and wants in private with the REALTOR® who lists your home.
To get an idea of whether it’s a seller’s market or a buyer’s market, many people start by looking at online or printed real estate guides to research the current market and the price of comparable properties.
Is Your Home Ready to Be Sold?
The home-selling process typically starts several months before a property is made available for sale. For best results when selling your home, you need to look at your home through the eyes of a prospective buyer and determine what needs to be cleaned, painted, repaired and tossed out.
Ask yourself: “If I were buying this house, what would I want to see?” The goal is to show a home which looks good, maximizes space and attracts as many buyers - and as much demand - as possible.
When Should You Sell?
The marketplace tends to be more active in the spring because parents want their children to be settled and enrolled before the beginning of the school year. Spring is also when most homes are likely to be available.
Generally, the selling market is more active from Labor Day to early December, and then January to about May. Summer and Christmas are usually the slowest times of the year for house sales.
Owners are encouraged to sell when there is a need or desire to sell, the property is ready for sale and the seller has chosen a REALTOR® to work with.
How Do You Improve Your Home's Value?
Ideally, you want to be sure that your property is competitive with other homes available in the community. REALTORS® see many homes and can provide home-improvement suggestions that are consistent with your local marketplace and cost-effective in terms of what you will be able to recoup through the sale.
The general rule in real estate is that buyers seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can afford. In terms of improvements, this means you want a home that fits in with the neighborhood but that is not overimproved. For example, if most homes in your neighborhood have three bedrooms, two baths and 2,500 square feet of finished space, a property with five bedrooms, more baths and far more space would likely be priced much higher and would likely be more difficult to sell.
Improvements should be made so that the property shows well, is consistent with the neighborhood and does not involve capital investments that cannot be recovered from the sale. Furthermore, improvements should reflect community preferences.
Cosmetic improvements, such as carpeting, paint, wallpaper and landscaping, help a home " show" better and often are good investments. Mechanical repairs, which ensure that all systems and appliances are in good working condition, are required to get a top price.
Prepare yourself to sell your home by evaluating why you want to sell, and when to sell and by improving your home and property to enhance its value to buyers.
Working with an experienced REALTOR® will give you valuable expertise and advice to guide you through the complex process of selling your home.