All-in-One Guide to Making a Home Sale
Selling your home is surprisingly time-consuming and emotionally challenging, especially if you’ve never done it before. sometimes it’s going to seem like an invasion of privacy because strangers will enter your home, open your closets and cabinets, and poke around. They’re going to criticize an area that has probably become more than just four walls and a roof to you, and, to top it all off, they’re going to offer less money than you believe your house is worth.
With no experience and a difficult, emotional transaction on your hands, it’s easy for first-time home sellers to make many mistakes. However, with a bit of know-how, you’ll avoid many of those pitfalls.
Read on to understand the way to sell your house while getting the best possible price within a short time frame without losing your mind.
Keep your emotions under control and stay focused on the business aspect of selling your home. Hiring an agent may cost more, but it can take tons of the guesswork out of selling. If you opt to sell on your own, set a sensible sale price and keep the time of year in mind.
Understanding the Market
Before taking any action to sell your home, make sure you have an understanding of the current real estate market. It will have a large effect on the process of selling your home as well as the price you should set, so it’s crucial that you understand where you stand.
There are two types of real estate markets- a seller’s market and a buyer’s market.
In a seller’s market is there is more demand than supply. In other words, if there are lots of prospective homebuyers, but not a lot of homes, it’s a seller’s market.
Sellers are at an advantage in this situation- homes sell much faster and buyers have a much harder time finding a property. This means they are willing to spend more on a home than they would normally, allowing sellers can raise their asking prices. Buyers are also usually more willing to accept properties as-is in this situation.
A buyer’s market, on the other hand, is the opposite. When there are plenty of homes for sale, but a shortage of interested buyers (in other words, when supply outweighs demand), it’s a buyers market.
Buyers have leverage over sellers in this situation because, in a buyer’s market, home prices decrease, and homes stay on the market for a much longer time. Sellers compete with each other in order to attract buyers, dropping their asking prices to gain an advantage and being more open to negotiation in order to prevent buyers from walking away.
So how do you tell what kind of market you’re in? Google is probably your friend- real estate publications in your area will likely be covering the topic fairly frequently.
If you live somewhere more remote, though, indicators such as average sale price, listing prices of comparable homes, housing inventory, and the time houses spend on the market can help point you in the right direction.
Understanding Real Estate
Here’s a quiz for you- do you know the meanings of these terms?
If so, great! You’re a real estate expert. If not, you might want to do a little bit of homework and get a better idea of the process you’re getting into- being knowledgeable will give you leverage in negotiations and help you feel more comfortable when talking to prospective buyers, agents, or investors.
Dealing with Feelings
It’s easy to have bad feelings about selling your home, especially if it’s your first one. You invested time and energy to find your perfect home, saved money for your down payment and furniture, and created many memories.
People generally have trouble Restraining their emotions when it comes time to sell. There’s nothing wrong with getting emotional, but it can make the process of selling a home more difficult.
Once you choose to sell your home, start thinking of yourself as a businessperson and salesperson instead of just the homeowner. You can even try to forget the fact that you are the homeowner.
By thinking about the transaction from a financial perspective, you’ll distance yourself from the emotional side of the process.
The Agent Question
Even though real estate agents usually require a large commission—usually five to six percent of the sale price of your home—it might not always be a good idea to sell your home on your own, especially if you’re inexperienced in real estate.
Selling your house by yourself can be tempting, but does it pay to get help from an agent?
A good agent will probably be working in your best interest. They’ll help set a good and competitive asking price for your home, potentially speeding up the sale of your home.
An agent also can help tone down the emotion of the transaction by interacting with potential buyers and dealing with tire kickers. Your agent will have more experience negotiating home sales, which could help you get more cash than you would on your own.
And if there are any issues during the process—and there usually are—it will be nice to have an experienced professional there to handle them for you.
Finally, agents are accustomed to all the paperwork and pitfalls involved in these transactions.
After reading all this, need you really hire an agent? Only you’ll be able to decide.
Alternatives to Agents
So you’ve decided to not hire an agent. That’s fine because you still have plenty of other options. People sell their own homes successfully all the time.
Remember, though, you’ll have to do your research first—on recently sold properties in your area and properties currently on the market—to determine a reasonable asking price. You’ll be liable for your own marketing, so be sure to list your home on the multiple listing service (MLS) in your region to get your home seen by the widest number of buyers.
Since you’ve foregone the help of an agent, you’ll be the one showing the house and negotiating with buyers (and their agents), which may be time-consuming, stressful, and emotional.
If this all sounds like a whole lot of hassle to you, there is another way to sell your house.
Individuals and families are not the only people who are in the market to buy a house. Real estate investors or companies are also an option when seeking out homebuyers. Different companies will serve different needs or focus on certain types of properties, so do some searching to see if there’s a firm that can meet your specific wants and goals.
The reason that working with companies can speed up the process of selling your home is that many companies (including Win-Win) will send you a cash offer immediately rather than haggle for a price. Because these companies have deeper pockets than the average homebuyer, they can afford to send an offer and close a deal quickly without worrying so much about the details.
Setting a Realistic Price
Whether you’re working with an agent or going it alone, setting the correct price is vital. Remember the comparative market research you or your agent did once you bought your home to work out a good offering price?
Buyers will do that for your home, too, so you should always try to be one step ahead of them. You might think your house is worth more, but remember that a sensible price will be supported by comparable homes within the area.
Unless there’s a housing bubble, overpriced homes don’t sell. It may seem counterintuitive, but setting a price that’s on the low side can end up getting you multiple offers, and then bidding will raise the price back up to the home’s actual value.
There are few drawbacks to this method- you can always just turn away potential buyers who make low offers.
Setting Realistic Expectations
No matter the circumstances of the transactions, you’ll be doing some negotiation at some point. It’s important to understand that you probably think your house is worth more than it actually is.
This is normal- it’s an emotional response to how difficult it can be to sell your home. However, as was mentioned above, it’s important to detach yourself from the transaction and be as rational and business-minded as possible.
At the end of the day, the price you will sell your home for will depend on the actions you take, but mostly it will be based on external factors, such as the neighborhood you’re in and the state of the market.
Taking Quality Photos
As many buyers search for homes online nowadays, taking high-quality listing photos of your home is more important than ever. You’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t have any pictures of your home for buyers to look at.
Photos will help set your listing apart from others and generate extra interest. Good photos should be crisp, clear, and captured during the day.
Natural lighting is important- make sure you know how your camera’s lighting setting work in order to capture the best photos possible. Good photos showcase your home’s best features.
Use a wide-angle lens if possible—this allows you to offer potential buyers a far better idea of what entire rooms actually look like.
If possible, hire a professional photographer rather than just letting your agent take snapshots on a phone or doing it yourself.
Dealing with Home Issues
Think you’ll get away with hiding major problems that your property has? Think again. Any problem is going to be uncovered during the buyer’s inspection.
Either fix the problems ahead of time if you’re going for a traditional sale or sell the house as-is to an investor like Win-Win.
If you’re in a hurry to sell your home, the latter may be a better option for you. We can help you sell a problematic house that you might just not want to deal with.
Remember: if you don’t fix the matter ahead of time, you’ll eliminate a good number of buyers who are looking for a turnkey home. Having your home inspected before listing might be a good idea if you would like to avoid costly surprises once the house is under contract.
Further, many states have disclosure rules. Some require sellers to disclose known problems about their homes if buyers ask directly, while others decree that sellers must disclose certain issues on their own.
Selling a home can be a long, stressful, and difficult process. But it doesn’t have to be! Arming yourself with knowledge is a great way to expedite your home sale and help you move on to the next part of your life.
If you have any questions about real estate that this article didn’t answer, check out our other resources or talk to one of our experts. We have all the tools and knowledge to help you make a quick home sale, no matter what your circumstances are.