Most sellers have an idea of what the home should list for, but the savviest sellers check comparable home values. Give yourself a quick refresher on your local market, as conditions have likely changed since you bought. Sometimes you will find conditions will be in your favor, and sometimes you may be disappointed with the current market. Regardless of what you discover, your research will help you and your agent create a realistic plan for selling your home.
It is helpful to look at recent comparable sales (known as "comps") in the neighborhood. You should be realistic, using homes with comparable square footage, the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and a similar level of amenities.
To receive a free comparative market analysis of your home and market report of your neighborhood, please fill out the form below.
You should have a rough idea of what you owe on the mortgage. Pull your loan documents and turn that estimate into a precise figure.
This calculator allows you to create a chart that shows how much you have paid and how much you still owe, based on the original loan amount, interest rate and when you got the loan. It's important to work with precise dollar amounts to help get a better estimate of what you stand to make from the sale.
Ture enough, you can sell your home by yourself, if you can do research and list your home on Multiple Listing Service (you need to pay fees), take professional photos, make floor plan, be available all the time to show your home and answer questions, hold open house on weekends, negotiate price, etc.
While doing the work yourself can save you commission rates many real estate agents command, for many, flying solo may not be the way to go–and could end up being more costly than a realtor’s commission in the long run. Buying or selling a home is a major financial and emotional undertaking. Find out why you shouldn’t discard the notion of hiring an agent just yet.
Before skipping a full-service agent, think hard about the time and effort you want to spend, particularly if the process drags on. The average home takes about four months to sell (six in the slowest cities), according to National Association of Realtor statistics. If costs are a concern, you should feel comfortable having a frank up front conversation about how and how much the agent expects to be paid.
Your agent will take care of everything from here: get professional home photos and floor plan, market your home online, hold open houses, get feedback from potential buyers who toured your home, handle negotiations, monitor inspection and appraisal process, etc. Your work is to get your home ready for your agent to show.
The first impressions will either make or break a buyer’s opinion of your home, so make sure you put your best foot forward. Take the time to make the home bright, clean and smelling great.
The fewer things there are in the home, the larger it will look. Also take down family photos, religious items and political posters so prospective buyers can envision their own items, their family, and their life in the house. If they can't make the imaginative leap because the house is too cluttered, dirty, colorful, or quirky, you've probably lost their business.
The kitchen is the heart of any home, so it’s worth it to spend some money on upgrades if necessary. Showcase how much space is in your closets and cabinets by clearing out old clothes, toys, pots and pans. Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of.
After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.
Give yourself a timeline to lower the asking price if no serious bids have come through. Many sellers price their homes too high. And then they keep them too high for too long, all while paying for maintenance, upgrades, and property taxes. Before you start in earnest, set a timeline for how you'll lower the price of your home if you're not getting any bids: "If I haven't gotten a bid within two months, I'll lower by $25k; and if I haven't gotten a bid within 6 months, I'll lower by another $75k," for example. Having a pre-determined outline of how you'll lower the price in the absence of bids will help take emotion out of the decision and ultimately help you sell your house more quickly.
Find a way to sweeten the pot a bit. Don't underestimate the power of a small rebate, a security blanket, or simply a kind gesture. Here are some things that you can do to make the deal more attractive:
You must be aggressive about weeding out unqualified buyers. If you accept an offer from an unqualified buyer, you'll delay the sale of your home and need to start the sale process over again. But you can prevent this by asking potential buyers to contact a lender and become prequalified before accepting their offer and taking your home off the market. If a potential buyer claims to be prequalified already, contact the lender and verify the terms of the approval.
When buyers already have letters of approval from lenders, determine if they're preapproved -- meaning a lender has examined their finances and believes they can secure a loan -- or prequalified, which means the lender has agreed to finance a certain amount.
You need to pay for a real estate attorney or title company whether you sell you sell your home with an agent or not. Hire an attorney as soon as you move into the closing phase. An attorney will guide you through the paperwork, ensuring that you are complying with state law every step of the way. Your real estate attorney will also work closely with the title or settlement company and the buyer’s attorney to make sure that the transaction proceeds smoothly. A local real estate attorney is likely to have worked with the title company and opposing attorney on past transactions, making it even more likely that your deal will move forward without complications. The last place you want to be is at the closing table with a professional closer and your buyer’s attorney staring at you and expecting you to respond to a legal question that you are not prepared to answer. You need an experienced advocate on your side to be certain that your interests are always represented.