The residential real estate market isn't very different from country to country. It can be as hard to sell a dwelling in the U.S. as it is to sell one in France—unless you know a few secrets that can help you do it the right way and in any language you choose. Some of the following advice may be familiar, but it bears repeating. Other ideas might not have occurred to you, so start reading now!
Image source: MarkMoz12 via Flickr
Make the Decision to Sell
Let’s say you have been mulling selling your home for a while, but a concrete reason to do so just popped up and you’d like to turn your thoughts into action. Time to put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and do a little sleuthing. Begin your spy mission by grabbing a tea and planting your derriere in front of your computer. Input the parameters of your home—Condo? Single family? Estate?—to assess selling prices in your community only.
Next, check out your latest mortgage statement. What's your equity situation? Are there liens, seconds or other legal claims on your home that aren’t factored into your monthly first mortgage? Match up your equity with an average selling price for a comparable home based on age, condition and features, plus the ever-important interior and curb appeal. If the net figure gives you the profit you desire or require and sale prices in your community are healthy--what are you waiting for?
Pick the Right Agent
I don’t have to tell you that when it comes to personality, you’re going to immediately feel comfy with one real estate agent over another, but hold onto your horses! There’s a lot to be considered when you jump into this arena. Here are a few questions to ask realtors you audition to help you choose the right one:
Fix up, Spruce up, Change up!
Yes, that lovely shade of mauve that was all the rage a decade or two ago—along with those equally quirky patterned drapes that brought compliments galore at the same time—needs to go. There’s no gentle way to say it. If just the thought of having to re-do your interior and/or exterior to pump up interest makes you break out in hives and you are happy to write a check to someone who dreams of paint swatches are dancing in her head, hire a professional to “re-do” and stage your home to maximize its’ appeal both inside and out.
People appear to be wild about professional home stagers if the number of designers popping up across the globe is any indication of the popularity of this emerging profession, and there’s even an institute devoted to training creative types to turn ugly rooms into traffic-stopping ones.
Your realtor may already have one or more home stagers’ phone numbers on speed dial, so ask before you start looking for one and she might be able to hook you up with an expert. Your ego could take a hit when a stager scans your rooms and delivers a verdict, but be of good cheer; she may also compliment you on the off-white walls you chose that have the potential to showcase for every style of furniture on the planet.
Need more inspiration? Troll Pinterest and other sites for ideas on how to revamp your home or start from this interesting infographic, and keep going. The more time and interest you spend seeking creative solutions, the more invested you become in the sale process. What’s your overall goal? To give your home such a warm, distinct and unique personality, it launches a bidding war between interested parties!
Choose Your Selling Style
If you’re a real estate newbie, you might be surprised to learn that there are multiple ways to undertake a home sale and your realtor will walk you through detailed explanations of each, but if you’ve just started your home sale journey, these brief descriptions can introduce you to your options:
You can auction your property by setting a price and putting the process into the hands of your agent. Don’t dismiss the psychological effect of an auction on bidders: auctions convey a sense of urgency and can trigger competitive bidding, but auctions aren’t for everyone, so follow your realtor’s lead if you need encouragement.
Alternately, a fixed-date sale is a popular way to undertake a home sale because buyers invited to tour your property are already aware of the fact that your home has yet to be advertised or shown to buyers. This type of sale is most successful when the real estate market is slow.
Finally, an asking price/private sale is your third option. Be forewarned that bargain hunters love these, and as your realtor will advise, it’s important to be confident about the lowest selling price you’ll take before buyers start coming. Since this type of sale is devoid of urgency, if you've all the time in the world to sell, it may be your best bet.
Is there more to know about putting your home on the market? Of course. But that’s why God created professional real estate agents. The right one can make all of the difference in the world and frankly, you’ll be able to make that determination as soon as your sale is history, at which point, the ultimate compliment for any post-sale meet up between seller and agent are the words: “I hope we can turn to you next time we sell; you’re amazing!”
About the author: Bob Gorman is a contributing writer for Realty Biz News