There is a smart way and a not-so-smart way to get the best price for your home in the new year. Selling is both a price war and a beauty contest, and to win both you should check these nine tips.
We talked about five tactics on TODAY, and I promised you a more complete list online. Here it is:
1. Time it right
Wait a few more weeks to put that "for sale" sign in front of your home. Few houses sell until after Super Bowl Sunday. If your house has been on the market for more than four months, take it off the market and re-list it in two months as "new."
2. Price it at exactly what it’s worth
The most influential factor in selling a home is always price. Don't build "wiggle room" into the asking price. There's a price war out there and you have to win it from the get-go. Shop the competition to see what similar homes are selling for and price your home 10 to 15 percent lower so it's the first house shown. Or you can get price estimates from three good brokers and go with the lowest. If you've overpriced your home, then make one big reduction. The worst thing you can do is make a series of small price reductions along the way — it's the equivalent of chasing the tide as it rolls out.
3. Get your home inspected before you list
Don't wait for the would-be buyer to discover the problems you could have fixed before selling. When they're discovered, buyers will just move to the next house or rack up reasons to expect price cuts.
4. Offer financial incentives up front
Don't wait for the negotiations to throw in extra price incentives — offer them up front. Offer to pre-pay the first year of property taxes, pay closing costs, include free cleaning, lawn care or snow-removal services for a year. If you're moving and have no place to put your money, the best incentive out there today is "seller financing." Make sure to put your incentives front and forward in the listing information.
5. Wage war online
A whopping 89 percent of buyers start their home search online. How your house looks online is the modern equivalent of "curb appeal." Rent a wide-angle lens and good lighting, get rid of your clutter and post at least eight great photos to win the beauty contest.
Don't just rely on your broker to post the listing in all the high-trafficked websites. The most visited home sale websites today are:
6. Use the best broker
The top 10 percent of sales agents generate 90 percent of the sales and they're the ones most likely to sell your home. To find a smart broker, go to a reputable firm and ask the sales manager for a broker in the top 10 percent.
7. Spend money on the three key spaces:
- The front of the house
Buyers decide in the first eight seconds of seeing a home if they're interested in buying it. Get out of your car, walk in their shoes and see what they see within the first eight seconds. Edge your lawn, mulch your flower beds, trim your bushes, steam clean your driveway and paint your door and trim.
- The living room
Get rid of ALL your clutter, including a third of your furniture. Paint the walls a neutral white and add touches of color. If you can afford to stage one room, this is it.
- The kitchen
Invest in cheap expenses like changing the cabinet fronts, new lights and fixtures, new knobs and drawer pulls, installing a chic new backsplash, resurfacing the floors and getting one new, fancy-looking appliance.
8. Lighten your house
After location, light is the second-most cited reason buyers choose a particular house. Paint the inside walls white, clean the windows, trim back shrubs and trees, replace heavy drapery with sheer curtains or shades, put sheer white shades on your lamps and higher-wattage bulbs.
9. Stage your home
The typical cost of staging a house is $1,500. If you can't spend the money, visit more expensive model homes in your area and try to mimic the look. It's what today's buyers want.