Tips on How to Sell Your Home
Selling your home by yourself can be tricky. While you will save thousands of dollars on real estate commission fees, you will also be assuming some risks. However, we’ve assembled some tips that will guide you through the selling process and help you maximize your gains at the same time.
Clean your house
When selling your house by yourself, you’ll need to get an appraisal, and nothing will make an appraiser lower a home’s value quicker than a dirty house. In this case, clean means CLEAN; every inch of the house should be spotless. Be sure to tackle the roof, gutters, attic, basement, and all the nooks and crannies that have likely gathered dust over the years. If you’ve lived in your home for a very long time, there will likely be spots that you no longer notice, but a potential buyer certainly will. To fix this, it’s a good investment to hire a cleaning service to give your house a deep clean.
Get an evaluation on your house
Many for-sale-by-owner houses go on the market and never sell. More often than not, this happens because the owner prices the home too high and then refuses to compromise. It’s not surprising, either; it can be very difficult to come up with an accurate, unbiased assessment on your home by yourself, which is why it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion from an appraiser before putting your house on the market. Don’t worry, appraisal services are far, far cheaper than hiring a real estate agent, and the peace of mind you’ll get from hiring one will completely justify the price.
Make your home as “new” as possible
In addition to getting an appraiser to assess your home, you’ll want to get a thorough inspection to make sure all the systems (plumbing, electrical, heating, etc.) in your home are up to date. It’s important to do this before you put the house on the market, as many real estate contracts allow the buyer to hire an inspector themselves. If the inspector finds any problems, you’ll likely be required to fix them, but it’s far better for you to fix the problem before a potential buyer finds it.
Make a list of positive points
Now that you’re ready to start the selling process, you’re going to want to put together a list of any positive points about your house, neighborhood, school district, etc. that will entice a potential buyer. Make sure to have these points memorized; professional real estate agents always do, and your goal should be to mimic their process.
Sell at the right time
A good rule of thumb to use when selling a home is to sell in the summer. As most real estate agents will tell you, home buyers generally prefer to move in when the weather is warm. In addition, parents prefer summer because their kids won’t have to switch schools in the middle of the year. This can be advantageous to you as well, since most houses look much better in summer, due to the green foliage and good lighting from the summer sun. If you really want to stand out, have a landscaper give your house a once-over to make sure it looks its best when summer rolls around. It’s a good idea to start the selling process in spring to maximize your potential during the warm days.
Economics can also play a huge part in the value of your home. If the market is down, your home’s value will go down. It doesn’t just have to be the national market, however. Your neighborhood can have an effect on your home’s value as well. If there have been a lot of foreclosures and short sales in your general area, you’ll see a decrease in the value of your home. If this is the case, you may want to hold off for a while until the market starts to go up again.
Staging your home
When you stage your home, think of yourself as a production designer and the potential buyer as your audience. You want everything to fit what they want; to help with this process, here are a few pointers:
- Paint your walls white: To keep your house neutral, it’s a great idea to paint your walls white. White walls also make the inside look brighter, which is always a plus.
- Get rid of unneeded furniture: A house that’s bigger is better, and while you can’t actually increase the size, you can get rid of unneeded furniture (or put it in storage) to make the house look bigger.
- Make the bathrooms and kitchen stand out: Too often, the kitchen and bathrooms of for-sale houses are ignored, often to the dismay of buyers. Make every surface spic and span, and purchase some fresh linens to hang in the bathroom. Also, bowls of fruit give rooms a comfortable, fresh vibe that buyers will love.
Market the house
While you might be content just with sticking a “For Sale By Owner” sign in your front lawn, there are additional steps you can take to make buyers flock to your door. These include:
- Online advertising: There’s no reason not to take advantage of sites like Craigslist when selling your home. Be sure to provide a photo, and be honest when describing the house’s features.
- Flyers: Of course, you can still go old school, and often to great effect! If it’s legal in your area, put up flyers on telephone poles, bulletin boards, etc.
- Word of mouth: Tell everyone you know that you’re selling a home, and word will spread in no time. If you really want to speed things up, offer friends a reward (bottle of wine, dinner) if someone they refer ends up making an offer. It’ll be worth it!
Selling Your Phoenix Home
Confidence is key to selling a home. Be sure to have everything about your home memorized, top to bottom. Do a mock showing with friends and family to be certain you’ve got it all down, and make sure to instruct them to ask you questions. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard with a question you don’t have the answer to.