6 Things You Should Know Before Selling Your House

Time to move on? Here are some things you should know before packing up the bookshelves.

Q: How do I determine how much my house is worth?

A: Look at what similar, nearby houses sold for in the last six months. This sounds simple, but figuring out what your house will sell for is a complex calculation and requires a solid understanding of local markets, trends, what buyers want, inspection and appraisal considerations, and other things. Valuing a house is a little like learning to play tennis—someone can teach you the basic rules in 5 minutes, and you can spend the rest of your life getting better at it.

Q: Should I put my house on the market as soon as possible so it will sell faster?

A: No. Don’t rush to market even if you are in a hurry to sell, because your house doesn’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Stage your house nicely, wait for a good time of the year (there are fewer buyers in the winter), and do necessary repairs before letting anyone in the front door. Buyers are looking at everything in your neighborhood that is comparable, so you’ll want to stand out.

Q: What are the most important things I can do to sell my house quickly and for the most money?

A: Price it right and stage it well. Your house is worth what comparable houses are selling for, and so you will sell your house faster and for more money if you start at that market value price and clean and stage your house like a showpiece. Many people say, “What’s the harm in testing the waters by starting with a higher price?” That approach is like a fruit vendor selling bananas for a dollar more than neighbor stores: buyers will discover that they can get something just as good nearby for less money.

Q: Shouldn’t I price my house a little high so there’s room to come down on the price?

A: No! There’s a market price for houses just as there’s a market price for other commodities. Pricing your house too high simply means buyers will buy someone else’s house. You get the highest price for your house by pricing it just right or even a bit low for your area. This may seem paradoxical, but houses that start out priced too high quickly become like stale, day-old bread. People will wonder, “Why hasn’t that sold yet? Must be something wrong with it,” and then move on.

Q: Does staging my house help to sell it?

A: Yes, because emotion matters to buyers. Pricing is critically important, but buyers make their decision based on price and how they feel when walking around the house. If you can, it’s a good idea to move out of your house and stage it as if it were a movie set or department store display window. You can’t afford to ignore the first impression that buyers will have when walking through your house, particularly if the market is not in your favor.

Q: My house is unique, so shouldn’t that mean I can get more money for it?

A: No. In real estate, unique is often a bad thing. There are rare exceptions to this rule, but by and large most buyers are looking for the same kinds of things in a home, as well as certain styles, colors and layouts that are in vogue. Being too far outside of the norm can actually lower the value of a house–especially because appraisers have a hard time coming up with comparable house sale figures.

Still needing more? Contact us to talk about how to set up your house for successful sale.