Sell a Home, Not a HouseOne of the great ironies of selling your house is that you must get it in such great condition that you may ask yourself why you would even want to move out. Your focus right now may be on your own dream home, but consider your current house as someone else’s dream home, and start preparing it for them. Putting a little work into it now makes the entire process of selling your house much more profitable for you in the long run.
Who Else Do You Need On Your Team?While a great real estate agent is key to selling your home, you will actually be employing a team of specialists to get you through the process. Your real estate agent is well-connected and in many cases they will be able to recommend people who will handle all the services that go with fixing-up and selling your home, including: lenders, pest control specialists, home warranty companies, inspection companies, contractors, and plumbers.
Timing It RightWhen you are selling your home and buying a new one at the same time, the ability to juggle the responsibilities of both can protect you from headaches. Avoid having to handle two giant chores at once by starting early. Make a list of whom you need to notify about your change of address, including utility companies and credit card companies. Start packing the knick-knacks and off-season items you won’t be needing before the move. If you can start doing repairs around the home as early as possible -- even a full year prior to the sale of your home -- you will be able to avoid a huge bill right before the sale.
Lighten The LoadAs you begin packing to move to your new home, the realization will probably hit you like a ton of bricks: You have a ton of stuff. Rather than packing it all and lugging it to your new house just to stuff it into the garage and closets, lighten your load and make your move easier. A garage sale is a great way to unload lots of your little-used items and make a little extra cash to spend on decorating your new home. You can also sell some of your rarer possessions on auction sites such as Ebay. You may get a pretty penny for old toys and books which might have sold for a lesser price at your garage sale. Also consider donating furniture and clothing to charity. You’ll be doing something good for yourself and for others.
5 Mistakes Home Sellers Make
THE REAL ESTATE MARKET may be slowing, but that doesn't mean you can't sell your home. It just means you need to be savvy and not fall prey to the common mistakes that home sellers often make.
Asking Too Much
The single biggest mistake folks make is setting their asking price too high. In a softening market homeowners need to price conservatively or they risk turning off potential buyers.
How should you set the price? Gone are the days when you can expect to sell your home for more than your neighbor did last year. Single family home prices have fallen for three consecutive quarters and are now down 6.5% from their peak in 2006, according to the National Association of Realtors. So rather than looking at how much homes in your area sold for six to 12 months ago, compare prices for similar properties currently on the market. If you see a listing for a house that's just sitting unsold for a few months, chances are the owners are asking too much and you'll want to set your price a bit lower.
Questioning the First Offer
Too many sellers say no to their first offer, even if it's close to or at full asking price. Holding out for more money is a strategy that rarely works, especially at a time when interest rates on mortgages are in flux and a potential buyer's purchasing power could decrease.
The reality is that in any market a home's first offer is often its best; that's because educated buyers will pounce on a property they like -- with a competitive bid -- as soon as it comes onto the market. And don't forget that the longer a home sits unsold, the greater chance a seller will have to reduce his price to sell.
Not Responding to All Offers
What if you get an offer that's simply too low? Many homeowners will reject it outright. But it's a mistake not to respond to all offers. Here's why. First, you can't blame someone for testing the market -- after all in today's market many buyers are confident that they have the upper hand. Second, just entering into negotiations with one party gives you leverage with other potential buyers. Most importantly, it allows you to tell brokers that your property is in play and sends a message that if someone is interested he had better act quickly and present a very competitive bid. Chances are the second offer will be close to your asking.
Using a Home Stager
Unless you're trying to sell a multimillion-dollar dwelling, you don't need to pay a professional to stage your home. There are a number of free or cheap things you can do on your own to get your house into show condition. Most importantly, paint the walls - nothing does more to brighten up a place! Next, get rid of all the clutter, excess furniture and family knickknacks. Finally, make all the necessary repairs before your first open house. If a buyer sees a small problem, say, a leaky faucet, he's likely to wonder about larger issues like the furnace or roof.
Picking the Wrong Buyer
Now more than ever, sellers need to select their buyers carefully. Thanks to all the defaults in the sub-prime market, lenders are tightening their lending practices, making it more difficult for consumers to qualify for mortgages. So it's critical to find a buyer who's pre-qualified for a loan.
Next, watch out for buyers who need to add contingencies to the contract, including a clause stating that the deal won't close until they sell their own home. A better bet is to look for cash-flush first-time home buyers or someone who has already unloaded his existing house. In a slowing market it's difficult to estimate how long it could take your buyer to find someone to purchase his dwelling. And if that property doesn't go for as much as he expected, that person may no longer be able to afford your agreed-upon price.