This is where an agent comes in handy. An experienced real estate agent will give your home a much-needed online presence through the Multiple Listing Service MLS , which will expose it to thousands of potential buyers. Plus, an agent will develop a targeted strategy to market your house to their extensive network of buyers and agents.
Can you save big money by going FSBO? Not really. A great agent will more than make up for that cost. Remember this: Your home is only worth what buyers are willing to pay.
So, stick to the facts as much as possible when you estimate how much your home could sell for. This free report compares your home to other homes near you that are comparable in size, have similar features, are currently on the market, or have sold in recent months. The comparison allows your agent to more accurately predict what buyers will pay for your home. Your CMA will offer several pages of information, including photos and a map of all the properties in the analysis. A true pro will take time to walk you through the results so you understand exactly how your home stacks up against the competition.
Make the most of the weeks and months leading up to your home sale. If you have an idea of when you want to list your house, break your to-do list into manageable bite-size pieces. Of course, you can adjust according to your own needs and personal timeline. Again, the key to keeping stress at bay during the weeks and months leading up to putting your home on the market is to make a plan—and then follow that plan.
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Working with a pro can help you relax and understand the selling process so you have realistic expectations. Most home buyers know it pays to get a home inspection. Because it can keep buyers from demanding big bucks during negotiations. These can scare buyers into asking for way more money than it actually takes to fix them. Your agent can help you sort through the inspection findings, but the roof, electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems typically take priority.
If you have room in your budget, see to those before you list your home. That starts with a deep cleaning. Here are some ways to make your house look great. Once you have a clean home, you can begin to stage. Take down most of your family photos so buyers can imagine their families enjoying your house.
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Closets are always important to home buyers, so create the impression of spaciousness by storing away out-of-season clothing and miscellaneous gear. Clean your front porch and place nice planters near your entryway. If you have a deck, pressure wash it and add a few colorful plants to give the space an extra pop.
Make sure your home is ready for photos.
Here are a few additional staging tips to get your home prepared for its glamour shot:. Keep in mind, staging should bring out the positives of your house without overwhelming potential buyers. When in doubt, less is more. The right real estate agent can help you know the difference between good and gaudy staging.
Home showings are hard to juggle regardless of whether your home is empty or full of kids. Surprise showings always seem to happen when your home is a complete wreck. Because fewer buyers are likely to be looking, it may take longer to sell your home, and you may not get as much money.
However, you can take some consolation in knowing that while there may not be as many active buyers, there also won't be as many competing sellers, which can work to your advantage. So many buyers look for homes online these days, and so many of those homes have photos, that you'll be doing yourself a real disservice if you don't offer photos as well.
At the same time, there are so many poor photos of homes for sale that if you do a good job, it will set your listing apart and help generate extra interest. Good photos should be crisp and clear, should be taken during the day when there is plenty of natural light available, and should showcase your home's best assets.
Consider using a wide-angle lens if possible — this will allow you to give potential buyers a better idea of what entire rooms look like. Ideally, hire a professional real estate photographer to get top quality results instead of just letting your agent take snapshots on a phone.
Consider adding a video tour or degree view to further enhance your listing. Your lender may have required you to acquire a homeowners insurance policy, but if not, you'll want to make sure you're insured in case a viewer has an accident on the premises and tries to sue you for damages. You also want to make sure there are not any obvious hazards at the property or that you take steps to mitigate them keeping the children of potential buyers away from your pool and getting your dogs out of the house during showings, for example. Any problem with the property will be uncovered during the buyer's inspection, so there's no use hiding it.
Either fix the problem ahead of time, price the property below market value to account for the problem, or list the property at a normal price but offer the buyer a credit to fix the problem. Realize that if you don't fix the problem in advance, you may eliminate a fair number of buyers who want a turnkey home. Having your home inspected before listing it is a good idea if you want to avoid costly surprises once the home is under contract.
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Further, many states have disclosure rules. Many require sellers to disclose known problems about their home if buyers directly ask, while others decree that sellers must voluntarily disclose certain issues. Sellers who do not clean and stage their homes are throwing money down the drain. If you can't afford to hire a professional, that's okay, there are many things you can do on your own.
Failing to do these things will not only reduce your sale price but may also prevent you from getting a sale at all. For example, if you haven't attended to minor issues like a broken doorknob, a potential buyer may wonder whether the house has larger, costlier issues that haven't been addressed either. Have a friend or agent, someone with a fresh pair of eyes, point out areas of your home that need work. Because of your familiarity with the home, you may have become immune to its trouble spots.
Decluttering, cleaning thoroughly, putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls and getting rid of any odors will also help you make a good impression on buyers.
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If someone wants to view your house, you need to accommodate this person, even if it is inconvenient for you. And yes, you have to clean and tidy the house before every single visit. A buyer won't know and care if your house was clean last week. It's a lot of work, but stay focused on the prize. It's more than reasonable to expect a buyer to bring a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender or proof of funds for cash purchases showing that he or she has the money to buy the home. Signing a contract with a buyer whose purchase of your home is contingent on the sale of his or her own property may also put you in a serious bind if you need to close by a particular date.
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Even if you make none of these mistakes when selling your home, it's best to prepare mentally and financially for less-than-ideal scenarios. The house may sit on the market for far longer than you expect, especially in a declining market. If you can't find a buyer in time, you may end up trying to pay two mortgages, having to rent your home out until you can find a buyer, or in dire situations, in foreclosure.
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