The words buy low and sell high are typically associated with the purchase of stock, but they are also applicable for anyone looking to buy a new home and/or sell their existing home. Selling your current home for the best price possible allows you to make a larger down payment on your next home and improve your overall financial situation.
How do you get the best possible price for your existing home? The first step is to get the help of a real estate professional; their proven experience selling homes is invaluable to anyone trying to make the best sale they can.
Pricing: It's All About the Comparables
Your home is worth the highest price the market is willing to pay. Without a crystal ball, how can homeowners know that the market will bear? Real estate agents use comparable homes to advise clients on a fair list price for their home. A comparable home will have similar square footage, age, lot size and amenities, and will have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Here's what an agent will look for when determining the optimal price for your home:
- Sales of recent homes in the area. Recent sales of homes that are similar in size, amenities, and community provide important information about the housing market. The market changes quickly and frequently so evaluating recent sales is an excellent way to gain information about the highest prices the current market will bear.
- Homes for sale in the area that have not sold. Real estate agents gain valuable information from these statistics. Why did these homes, similar to yours, not sell? Was the price tag simply too high? Were there other factors involved?
- Recent sales over older sales. Sale prices from the past three months are more informative than sales from last year. Your neighbor may have gotten a great price on their home last year; it bears little influence on the current market.
- The sale price over the list price of sold homes. Anyone can list their home for any price. It is the sale price on comparable homes that should inform your decisions
Marketing: Show Your Home's Best Side
Most potential buyers check out a home online prior to even driving through the neighborhood and long before they schedule a showing. To make the most of online marketing consider the following:
- Listing your home with a real estate agent gives you access to the multiple listing service (MLS). The MLS is a database of homes that are on the market. The database is created and maintained by real estate professionals in order to help their clients buy and sell a property. Getting your home listed here will grant it a great amount of exposure.
- Stage your home properly. Homes that are properly staged sell for a higher price than those that are not. The National Association of Realtors suggests that prior to marketing a home, homeowners should thoroughly clean the home, haul out all clutter, and fix any major aesthetic issues. Beyond that, homeowners should view each room with a critical eye. Does the room seem overcrowded? Does it have a well-defined purpose? Potential homebuyers want to be able to envision themselves living in a home and how the home would fit their lifestyle.
- Photographs matter. Potential home buyers are attracted by photos so make sure yours are top notch. Make sure rooms are well lit with as much natural light as possible. Clear all clutter and remove personal objects.
- Honesty is the best policy. While you want an online listing to play up the home's best features, you also need to be truthful. If you are using the third bedroom as an office, it's fine to list it as a bedroom and/or office. If you have placed a desk in a wide hallway, you should not list it as an office. Buyers who are seeking that feature will be disappointed when they see the actual space. Use your online marketing to draw in interested buyers who want the kind of home you are selling.
How a Real Estate Agent Can Get You a Higher Price For Your Home
There are many ways that a good real estate agent can help you get a better price for your home. First, an experienced real estate agent will be able to offer an objective opinion about what you can do to your home to make it more attractive to buyers. Whether you need to stage the property, make home improvements, or possibly just clean up a lot, your real estate agent can offer real, practical advice that can help you prepare your property.
Real estate agents are also trained in the art of negotiation. They know how to price a home correctly to draw in buyers, and once the buyers have made an offer, real estate agents know how to negotiate without scaring buyers away.
Finally, real estate agents know how to market homes. They can craft listings that interest buyers, and know which pictures to choose when posting a listing. These professional skills are developed over time, and with training. Without a good real estate agent, many buyers lose out on profits when selling a home.
Setting a list price for your home is the most important steps a seller takes. Set the price too high and the home will likely linger on the market and become stale. Set the price too low and, while the home may sell quickly, your profit will be greatly reduced. A licensed real estate professional has experience and access to data that will help set a price for your home that accurately reflects today's market.
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