STEP 1 Preparing your home
When presenting your home to prospective buyers, first impressions are crucial. Buyers begin judging your home the moment they see it and, unless they’re looking for a deal on a fixer-upper, they prefer homes that are well-maintained, clean and clutter-free. That’s why home improvements, particularly if they address the anticipated needs of buyers, can boost your home’s saleability and sale price.
Renovations – which ones are market-smart?
Generally, few home owners renovate their homes in order to sell them because they know they won’t recoup the full cost of the renovations in the sales price. However, in some cases minor renovations can really improve the overall impression of a property’s character and quality and, as such, will more than pay for themselves.
Small upgrades and repairs can make a big difference
There are few things that put buyers off more than viewing a home that screams of being uncared for. If you want to maximize your chances for getting top dollar, you might need to make some minor upgrades, but you’ll definitely need to make all necessary repairs – even those that are “out of sight, out of mind”.
Reorganization and maintenance – the obvious that needs doing
Similar to necessary repairs, basic reorganization and maintenance tasks are “must-dos”. While buyers might not notice such work when it is done, they’re sure to notice when it isn’t. This impression of neglect will make it more difficult for them to comfortably project themselves into your home’s living space.
STEP 2 Strategically pricing your home
Determining the best asking price for a home is one of the most challenging, and also important, aspects of selling it. All the more reason why, when you make your decision to sell, you should do plenty of research as well as seek out the advice of one or more experienced real estate and financial professionals.
So what’s your home really worth?
In a perfect world, your home’s value would be everything you think and need it to be. Perhaps you have specific financial goals or you’ve just made an offer on another home that’s is dependent on selling your home at a certain price in a given time frame. However, simply put, your home’s value is not determined by you, but by what the market is willing to pay for it at a given time. These days, the market increasingly includes home buyers who have researched property values over the internet for months, have already viewed at least 10 homes, and are not under any pressure to buy. Indeed, they may be quite hesitant in hopes of missing out on one of those unbelievable deals that continue to pop up.
The bottom line: realistic pricing is strategic pricing!
STEP 3 Effectively marketing your home
The successful marketing of a home, like that of any good or service, is a multi-faceted process that includes nearly every activity involved in getting it sold.
In fact, marketing encompasses just about every topic covered in this Guide – home preparation, pricing, presentation and even negotiation, as well as strategic advertising and networking.
All these activities are undertaken with one aim: to maximize your home’s market exposure, and with it the number of showings and offers you get so that you ultimately sell for top market value. An experienced real estate professional has the knowledge, expertise and resources to implement a plan that will effectively coordinate all of these activities so you do just that.
How buyers find out about homes for sale
As we’ve seen, strategically preparing and pricing your home are master keys to attracting serious, financially-qualified buyers. However, in order to maximize the impact of these preparation and pricing strategies, your home needs to be effectively exposed to the marketplace through a variety of advertising media.
Currently, the internet (including realtor.com®, real estate professional websites, social media, blogs, etc.) and direct contact with real estate professionals are far and away the main sources of home information for buyers (at 90% and 87%, respectively)*. Other sources are yard signs, open houses, newspaper and real estate magazine ads, home builders and television.
STEP 4 Setting the stage to sell
Having invested in some of the effort and expense of preparing your home to sell, you’ll certainly want it to take full advantage of it when you open up your property to prospective buyers and other agents during open houses, agent tours and showings.
That’s why making sure your property looks its very best can give you that little extra competitive edge that will help get it sold.
Keep in mind that many real estate professionals have, through education and experience, mastered the art of home staging. Make the most of their skills – and impartiality – to create that “buying feeling” in your home.
STEP 5 Successfully negotiating the deal
With rare exception, negotiating the transaction is the most complex part of selling a home. At the same time, it’s the one that can involve the most creativity.
That’s why it’s important to have an experienced and savvy real estate professional who has successfully worked through many different transaction scenarios.
This includes: keeping in mind your situation, priorities and needs, not giving your situation away to the buyer and buyer’s agent, trying to understand and respect the priorities of the buyer, being creative and, where necessary, willing to compromise to get the deal done.
STEP 6 Closing the deal
If you and your buyer have both efficiently taken care of your respective contractual obligations associated with finalizing the sale, the process of completing the transaction – known variously as the “closing”, “escrow” or “settlement” – will go smoothly with no surprises.
A pending sales agreement nearly always includes contingencies and special conditions that have to be fulfilled by the buyer and seller by the closing date, which usually falls 30 to 60 days after both parties signed the agreement. It’s important to review the sales agreement with your real estate professional so you understand your obligations. Any shortfalls or mistakes at this point can be very costly.
In most cases, the buyer’s Possession Date will fall within a couple days of the Closing Date, at which point your former beloved home will have a new occupant.