7 Secrets for Selling Your Home

Written by Posted On Friday, 24 January 2014 11:43

Selling a house is a complicated process, no matter how good the real estate market is. Whether you’re a first-time home seller or not, you’ll probably have a bunch of questions. Do I need a real estate agent? What’s “closing”? How much paperwork am I going to have to fill out? How can I get the best price for my house? How can I sell my house and buy a new one at the same time?

Secret #1: The kitchen comes first

You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace counter-tops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.

Secret #2: Take the home out of your house

One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Consider hiring a home "stager" to maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.

Secret #3: Audit your agent’s online marketing

92% of home-buyers start their house hunt online, and they will never even get in the car to come see your home if the online listings aren’t compelling. In real estate, compelling means pictures! Studies even show that listings with more than 6 pictures are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers as listings that had fewer than 6 pictures.

Secret #4: Renovate wisely

In fact, the average remodeling payback in the past 10 years has dropped from 82% in 2003 to 60.6% this year, according to Remodeling Magazine.Bringing up the rear are a dedicated home office (43.6%) and adding a sun-room (46.5%). Topping the list are steel entry-door replacements (86% return) followed by fiber-cement exterior siding (79%). Sellers routinely underestimate the positive impact of simple home improvements such as repainting and minor fix-ups, real-estate agents say.

Secret #5: Sweeten the deal

Another way to make the home and deal more attractive to buyers is to offer things or terms that might sweeten the pot. For example, sellers that offer the buyer a couple of thousand dollars credit toward closing costs, or offer someone cheap car insurance to receive more attention from house hunters looking at similar homes. In a down market, buyers are looking for a deal, so do your best to make them feel they’re getting one.

Secret #6: Make all necessary repairs

Even minor things, such as a leaky faucet or chipped paint on a baseboard, can suggest to buyers that you might not be maintaining the house well in other ways, too. So we tackled several small projects that, admittedly, we had been putting off. Luckily, my husband is handy, so we didn't have to hire anyone to make these small repairs. And we had already undertaken two bigger repair projects several months prior to deciding to sell our house. In the spring of 2012, we hired someone to rebuild the portion of the fence in our backyard that was dilapidated and a major eyesore. Around that time, we also hired an electrician to check all the wiring in our 100-year-old home, fix any problems, replace several light fixtures and add outlets to several rooms.

Secret #7: Focus on curb appeal

Admit it: First impressions matter. So a house with chipping paint, overgrown bushes and patchy grass won't make a good impression. So we painted the exterior of our house (because some paint was chipping). We weeded, trimmed bushes, added new mulch and put new flowers in the planters in the front of the house. We actually had sod installed in the spring of 2012, so the grass looked good when we decided to sell in the fall. Yes, you might have to spend some money to make the exterior of your house more appealing, but it's money well spent if it gets potential buyers in the door. Plus, if your house is in good shape on the outside, buyers will see it as one less thing they have to spend money on once they move in.


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