Savvy home buyers and sellers often have the same goal: to get the best price possible for and out of their biggest investment. For many sellers specifically, it means selling their home for top dollar and within their predetermined time frame.
To achieve this, it's necessary to implement the right strategies to make your listing stand out and stay ahead of the competition while spending as little extra time and money as possible. Here are five best-kept tricks of the trade to ensure you get the most out of your home sale:
1. Work With a Local Real Estate Agent
The main thing to remember when listing your home for sale is that your time is money. So even if you've done it before (unless you’re an investor), you will likely benefit from the talent, expertise, and guidance you can get from a local real estate agent. They can steer you in the right direction to help you get the most money possible. And with the unpredictability of the current housing market, it’s even more critical to work with an expert so you can stay on top of things.
With a realtor by your side, it will be much easier to navigate the ins and outs of the selling process. They also have the know-how when it comes to staging, marketing, reviewing offers, handling negotiations, explaining the complicated terms in legal documents, and more. Before deciding to sell your home, make sure you connect with a local and experienced real estate agent.
2. Time Your Sale
Timing is critical when selling your home to maximize your sale price. Generally speaking, spring is widely considered to be the best time to sell since many people want to move during the warmer months when the kids are out of school. However, seasonal trends vary by market so it's important to do your research. You’d want to make sure that the conditions of the market where you’re selling (and subsequently buying) are working in your favor.
Likewise, there are other factors to consider as well to maximize your profit. For example, is the sale of your home going to conflict with other life events like relocating to a new job, retirement, or other family milestones? If that is the case, even if it’s already the peak selling season, you might want to consider before listing especially if there will be a negative financial impact. Other factors to consider are whether you have built enough equity in your home to offset buying, closing, and moving costs, as well as the current condition of your home, from which you can decide how much time and effort it will take to prepare it for sale.
3. Price Your Home Right
Think you can make more money on the sale by placing a higher price tag on your home? Here's the thing: an overpriced listing deters many prospective buyers. And because of that, your home is more likely to sit on the market longer or be compelled to drop the price later, which could raise questions or skepticism about whether there’s something wrong with the property. On the other hand, price your home too low and you risk leaving money on the table.
This is why it's crucial to set a fair but competitive price right from the start. And this can only be achieved by enlisting the help of a real estate professional. Your agent will perform a complete comparative market analysis (CMA), which will show you what similar properties in the area have sold recently and for how much. This will give you an understanding of the price that’s appropriate for your neighborhood while also considering the current condition and value of your home. Setting a realistic initial asking price will attract more buyers that will help you sell quickly, maximizing your return.
4. Spruce Up Your Home
Many prospective buyers appreciate a clean and well-maintained home. Even with a limited budget, doing a thorough cleaning, as well as completing some minor repairs and upgrades before listing your house, can go a long way to helping it sell for more.
Don't forget to do a deep clean on both your property’s interior and exterior to give it that much-needed refresh. A fresh coat of paint, preferably on neutral colors, can also give it an instant facelift. Fix minor issues like leaky faucets and cracked windows, or replace any loose hardware like cabinet pulls and doorknobs. Improve your home’s curb appeal by trimming the hedges and trees, pressure-washing the driveway, cleaning and repainting the mailbox, etc. Doing even just some of these budget-friendly projects depending on what your home needs can help make a good first impression when it’s time to list it for sale.
5. Negotiate the Best Offer
If you're on your own, you might be tempted to immediately grab the offer with the highest price thinking that it was already a good deal. But with an experienced real estate agent on your side, you’ll be guided on the ins and outs of the offer process and be advised on when to negotiate prices and terms. While the highest offer price seems good enough, it doesn’t mean it’s the best offer, especially if you’ve got multiple bidders on your property.
There are other things to evaluate in an offer aside from the asking price to make sure you get the best deal, such as contingencies clauses or a set of terms in the contract that allow the buyer to cancel the agreement if those terms aren’t met, target closing schedule, seller concessions, financing, etc. With the help of your agent, you can negotiate to limit the contingencies to what you feel comfortable with or choose only from offers that match your target closing date. Just remember to review those things carefully and understand that the most important figure is your net proceeds, which tells you how much you’ll walk away with from your home sale after paying your expenses.