Choose the right Realtor!
You are about to enter into one of the biggest business decisions of your life….choose accordingly! Just because a Realtor you interviewed suggested a higher list price does not mean they can get it! Remember, they are not the buyers and we are all working with the same facts. Our Realtor Code of Ethics tells us to “avoid exaggeration and misrepresentation” this applies to suggesting unrealistic sales prices to sellers too! Choose a Realtor with experience at the price level where your home is going to be sold. You want a Realtor with great communication and negotiation skills.
Price your home realistically!
Today the information available to buyers and sellers is amazing and that means the prices of past sold homes in your neighborhood and thus comparables sales when it comes time for the bank appraisal. If it does not ‘comp’ the deal fails!
Do not base your asking price on what you paid for the house or how much you need for your next move.
Unfortunately, the money you have invested in your home plays very little role in how much you can expect to get out of it. Home prices should be based on the sale price of similar homes (location, size, acreage, finish details) that have sold within the last 3 to 6 months. If your home is not priced relative to similar sales then buyers who are out looking will be seeing your home and comparing it to homes that sold for less and thus your home will not compare well. You want your home to stand out from the crowd and be the one they have to consider because it is the best value in the price range they are looking at. Incorrect pricing like this has buyers who should be seeing your house not seeing it because it is priced beyond them. The first step in determining an accurate listing price is a comparative market analysis.
The first offer is the best offer!
If you get your first offer in no time at all consider yourself lucky! This is what you are aiming for! Often sellers fail to take this first offer seriously and just assume there will be more to follow. However, my experience has shown me on several occasions that the first buyer is the one who has been out there looking for your particular home, knows a fair asking price when they see it and jump on it. That said, I have seen many sellers fail to recognize this and end up settling for far less later on. Negotiate the first offer….always!
Leave the house for all showings!
Buyers like to come into a house and “try it on” and they cannot do this if you are home because it is still your home. You want your buyers to mentally envision themselves living in your home and it is not going to happen if you are there in the same room with them. You want them to be invested enough in your home that they spend time “living there” and really have an opportunity to kick the tires so to speak.
Put your best foot forward
A home that is not clean, tidy and well maintained is a turnoff to buyers. If the buyer can see something as obvious as the gutters having not been cleaned then you can bet they are thinking of what hidden scenarios are lurking as well. Sellers who do not spend the time (and the money!) to showcase their home inside and out chase potential buyers away. This is a very costly mistake as buyers add another digit to the repair cost tab they are running in their mind and this translates directly to lower offer prices.
Consult with a Realtor and listen to their advice.
Often as seller knows a year in advance that they are going to be selling. Consult with a Realtor and ask them what upgrades or work should be done to showcase your home best. Many times sellers spend considerable money doing the wrong upgrades thinking this is going to add value to their home. The mahogany wine cellar and the home theater are more often than not for your own enjoyment as the buyers more than likely would have preferred upgraded kitchen appliances or a new roof. Realtors are knowledgeable and their advice is free!
Remember, you will not only be negotiating the sale price of your home but inspections open the door to more financial negotiations. Keep this in mind! If you are aware of issues about your home….disclose, disclose, disclose. In writing! This way, these issues that you disclosed do not rear their head again during inspections because you have disclosed them and thus you can respond that the buyer was aware of these when they made their initial offer. This said, my past experience working in the Quiet Corner tells me that there is a great deal of radon in the area. So I always advise my sellers to hold back $5000.00 to remediate potential radon issues. Later if inspections prove you do not have radon you have that much more in your pockets to take away from the sale!