Everyone talks about buying homes and how difficult it can be – there are so many checks to go through, so much due diligence to be done, and all the hoops to jump through to get a mortgage. Then we’ve got the bidding process, with all the stress and tension of not knowing, followed by the sale itself and all the attached paperwork.
When this is all done, you’re finally handed the keys and given your place – and hopefully, all is exactly how it should be – because if it isn’t, this is a pretty bad time to find out about it.
You know what I don’t hear as much of? How to sell your home.
Selling Your Home
When it comes time to sell your home, unless you’ve been through the process, your knowledge is likely to be limited. In fact, most people would tell me to just go to the estate agents and let them handle it – especially if you go back a couple of decades. These days we have a few more options. Just going to the estate agent isn’t even that simple anymore. Which agent do you use? Do you use a local one, or a widely known chain agent? Do you go to your town center and check there, or do you look online?
After finding the right agent, there are other questions too. What are you going to price your home at? Are you able to take emotion out of the equation and look at the deal objectively, giving it an appropriate value? Or will sentimental value and emotion lead you to price too high, or be too picky in other ways?
You might also need to make some repairs or might just want to improve the place a bit before putting it up for sale. The key factor in decisions like this is to figure out the cost of the improvement vs the increase in price. If you can increase the price by more than what the work would cost you, then it’s probably a good deal. Keep in mind that some features won’t actually add value anyway. When you want to sell your home, it’s only really worth what a buyer will pay for it, not what a textbook or salesman tells you.
With that said, there are plenty of smart ways to increase your home’s value. Look into them and see which are appropriate for you.
Choosing Your Agent
Selecting an agent to handle your home sale is a big responsibility. Remember these agents are auditioning for you, not the other way around. Treat it as if you are the boss of this operation and ask any questions you find relevant. The biggest factors are usually going to be what fees are being charged (lump sum or percentage based) and how successful the agent is at actually selling homes. Ask specifically about your area and what knowledge they might have that could contribute to the deal. Local agents, for example, tend to know the market very well and can sometimes accurately predict the highest amount a house could go for in its’ area.
Having good performance is only one factor though, you still need to have a good working relationship with this agent, so make sure you can get along on a personal level and that communication flows easily on both sides. This can be extremely important to have a happy sales process.
Of course, you can list the house yourself and forget about the agent entirely. This means a lot of work for you though. Avoiding this commitment of time & effort is why most people prefer to use an agent.
Preparing For the Sale Itself
Once your agent is set, it’s time to get started on the house. Deal with any work that needs doing or any improvements you decide to make. Make sure the place is as clean as possible – using a professional cleaning service is usually a good choice. Take a look at your house in the way a prospective buyer would. Work on making the outside look appealing and welcoming. Get rid of any eyesores and make a real determined effort to make everything look neat & tidy.
Now start working on the most visible parts of the house. Try to accentuate the positives, highlight things like spacious rooms or convenient features and try to downplay any negatives. You shouldn’t outright hide anything because it can come back on you and cause the sale to fall through, but there are ways to make negative features look a little nicer to the viewer.
Redecorating might be needed depending on the condition of your home. Moving furniture around is another common tactic used by sellers. It’s amazing how much of a difference the furniture layout can make on the overall look of a house! This is an often overlooked aspect, make sure you take advantage of it when you sell your home!
With the layout ready, you can start to work on what you will say when showing people around. You shouldn’t be going word-for-word from a script but it helps to have a general flow in mind and to prepare answers to any common questions, and any difficult ones too.
With the house all ready to go, it’s time to determine your asking price and get the house listed for sale. From here, the estate agent will take over as they start marketing your place and pushing for interested buyers. Check in with the agent regularly to find out how the process is going and whether there has been much interest or not.
From here you can adapt to the situation but don’t be too hasty. It can take a while for a house to sell because this is a HUGE purchase and most people are going to think real hard before taking the plunge. A few months without a bid is no real reason to start dropping your price suddenly. Sometimes though, that might be the case. As long as you selected a good, trustworthy agent, you can discuss the situation with them and get some good advice on how to proceed.
Once interested parties are viewing your home and leaving impressed with your informative guided tour, it’s only a matter of time until the bids start coming in and the eventual sale occurs.