Whether you are selling your home with an agent, or giving it a try on your own (FSBO), there are some universal truths when it comes to real estate and maximizing your profit.
One thing I know for certain: homeowners that sell their homes
quickly, easily and for top dollar are happy. Let’s face it, selling a home is hard work and nobody wants to be in that position for any longer than they
absolutely have to. Adding variables to the home selling equation, such as trying to sell a property with children and pets living in the house can make it EVEN more of a pain!
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to get in and out of the
selling process quickly and with maximum profit at the closing table.
Tip #1 – How to Maximize Profit
While it’s important to clean and stage a home to maximize profit,
it won’t get you anywhere if it’s akin to putting lipstick on a pig.
Squeaky doors, dripping faucets, torn window screens, damaged
baseboards, dirty walls, and shabby landscaping all add up to a price reduction. So before you get out the cleaning supplies (or schedule a cleaning crew) fix all the little things that buyers will notice. Trust me, they WILL notice. There is no one with a more critical eye than a buyer looking at taking on a 30 year mortgage. But, before you go crazy throwing too much time and money at a house you plan to leave, make sure you understand there is not a 100% return on investment for all household projects. Some projects are “smarter” than others (either a high ROI or a project that will make your home stand out amongst the crowd and lead to it being put under contract before the others). Learn about projects to increase your home’s value, and maximize profit, with my video here.
After the little repairs are done, then clean the house – from top to bottom. Make it look like you have a full-time cleaning staff with clean windows, floors and walls. Don’t forget to dust the ceiling fan blades, bleach or replace bathroom caulk, and wipe down switch plates. The details matter. Interested in more information about what turns buyers off? Check out my video, “5 Things Buyers Hate,” here.
Clean and organize cupboards and closets – yes, they will look inside. Clear the kitchen and bathroom countertops of anything that isn’t decorative.
Tip #2 – Think like a Homebuyer
Top notch, professional photography is a must. The vast majority of buyers begin their home search online, and if your photos don’t sparkle, your property will simply be swiped by for another house that “looks better” in the pictures. For tips on preparing for professional photography, check out my video here. Also, buyers won’t jump through hoops to get information about your house. Most give up after one or two phone calls. There’s always new properties coming on the market, and buyers can easily move on to newer options if gathering information about your home is difficult.
Don’t make it cumbersome for potential buyers to view the house.
Make the home available for showings; even at the last minute and even if it’s not a convenient time for you. That showing may be your ONLY chance to impress the buyer. Sellers tend to think, “Oh, if they’re interested in the home, they’ll try again to schedule a showing.” This is often not the case. Those buyers will simply move on to the next option.
If you’re looking to hire a real estate agent, does that agent answer the phone or return phone calls promptly? You should know this before you even hire an agent. It should be part of the process of elimination because buyers have such a short “window of opportunity” before they’ve mentally said, “NEXT!” and have moved on to other properties to consider.
Call each agent under consideration and never hire one that
doesn’t return your call promptly. If they don’t return a potential listing
client’s call they will certainly not return a homebuyer’s call in the necessary timeframe to strike while the iron is hot.
Tip #3 – Marketing
We live in a world of instant digital information. A sign in the yard is not going to cut it. Proper marketing of your property is key to getting the kind of exposure you need to bring in buyers. As mentioned previously, fabulous professional photography is the first layer of the marketing cake. What about video? A true video tour of your home will help buyers envision themselves in the space.
Social media is a ever-present force in many people’s lives. Savvy real estate marketers know how to use it to their advantage, and how to get their listings in front of a targeted audience who has the telltale signs of people likely to be in the market for a home soon.
The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is a powerful tool for reaching ready, willing and able buyers, and one of the many reasons people choose to hire a real estate agent. Think of it this way, if you need to catch some fish, do you go to a small pond with only a few fish swimming around, or do you go to the big, well-stocked pond of hungry fish? The more people you can interest with your home, the more likely it is to sell at a prime price.
Who’s your agent’s back pocket? People LOVE the feeling of exclusivity. Building a buzz about your listing happens BEFORE it even publicly hits the market. Each MLS has it’s own rules, but many allow for a few days between when listing paperwork is signed, and when that listing needs to be on the MLS. During that time, your agent may promote the property to clients or to his or her office. The advantage of this is that many buyers are “treading water” just WAITING for the right home to come along. Maybe they’ve already lost out on a few. When those buyers hear about a new property, not yet on the public market, and they have the chance to see it early, they’re are going to jump at the opportunity to have an exclusive sneak peek! Have you ever wondered how some properties seem to be instantly under contract the second they hit the market? Bingo.
Tip #4 – Price it to Sell
Although location, location, location is every real estate agent’s
mantra, price, price, price is that of every homebuyer – they simply will not
buy an overpriced home.
Determining a price range that will attract buyers while at the same time not “give away the farm,” requires the services of a real estate agent who is in tune with their market and local real estate trends.
Only with access to the local MLS and educated knowledge of current market conditions and the neighborhood can you be sure that your home is priced appropriately. Zillow is not an accurate source of information, and the “Zestimate” is oftentimes laughable. You can watch a video I made about why “Zestimates” are inaccurate here.
There is no substitute to having a real estate professional view your house in person and give you an unbiased opinion of it’s likely selling price range and what you can do to push it towards the upper end of that range. One important factor in pricing your home is knowing the current absorption rate. If that sounds like Greek, my video here will make it clear!
Pricing the property too high with the attitude of “I can lower the price later if I need to,” is like shooting yourself in the foot and then wondering why your hike to the summit is so unpleasant. This approach will NOT maximize your profit. When you price your home too high you miss out on your most likely buyers. They may come take a look, but more often than not, they’ll dismiss you and your home as unrealistic and undesirable– and then quickly move on to other options. Even if you lower the price later, those buyers are unlikely to return because they’ve already entered into a contract on a different property, or they’ve mentally dismissed your house.
I’m happy to meet with you to discuss what I do to sell homes quickly and for top dollar. As a full-time REALTOR®, I specialize in making the home selling process as easy as possible for you. Not only is helping you maximize profit my goal, I also strive to help you keep your time and energy focused on where it matters. A consultation is free, there is no obligation to use my services and it’s only a phone call or text away.