For a long time the real estate market had been booming. Houses were sold quickly, often within days and way above their actual value, and oftentimes regardless of their overall condition. However, now the market has cooled down and houses have been observed being on the market for months. Prices are down compared to the previous years and they are predicted to go down even further. The real estate market has turned from a sellers’ into a buyers’ market. Buyers now have plenty of houses to choose from and time to make a decision based on price and overall condition of the house. In such a type of market, what is the best strategy to sell a house and getting the right price for it?
The most important factor right now is the price. With so many houses on the market, the price has to be right to sell a house quickly. While determining the proper price for your house, you will have to keep in mind, a house priced too high will be on the market longer. The longer it is on the market, the harder it is to sell the house. Buyers just automatically assume there is something wrong with it. As a consequence, a seller will end up lowering the price the longer the house is on the market, sometimes even ending up with a selling price lower than the value of the house and way below what they actually wanted. Conversely, if a house is in the right price range, it will attract more prospective buyers, and the price might be driven up by their bids.
But how do you go about setting the right price to sell your house? A first step is to look around the neighborhood. Houses of similar size, what did they sell for? In order to sell your house, this would be the right price range to start from, because that is what buyers are willing to pay in your neighborhood. Unfortunately, this price might be below the price you might have bought your house for, if you purchased it while the real estate market was still hot. In order to sell the house quickly, you might have to cut your losses and move on.
Your second step in the price determination has to be an objective evaluation of your home. This will be the hardest step, because what you treasure as a fixture of your home, might not be valued by the general market. If you have extras like a hot tub or a pool, you might be able to up your asking price. However, if you have an outdated kitchen that has not been renovated for twenty years, you might have to lower your price. Buyers always factor in potential renovation costs.
Once you have set the price you should spruce up your house for sale. The first impression potential buyers will get of your house is the outside. Curb appeal is very important. Some buyers don’t even check out the inside of the house, if they don’t like what they see on the outside. The assumption is, what looks run down and not taken care of on the outside, will look similarly on the inside. Get your landscaping in order. It should be inviting and show off the house. You might have to trim down or even remove shrubs. Plant some flowers or at least put out some potted ones to create an overall friendlier appearance. Lastly, your house might need a paint job.
Don’t be afraid to tackle some renovations. The right ones pay for themselves and then some, when you sell the house. Painting the house inside and out, putting in new carpet, something like that is easily done. Yes, there are costs involved in doing this, but an updated looking house can command a much higher price, often more than double the cost of the renovation. Extra bathrooms are also a good selling point.
However, even if you don’t want to tackle a renovation project, you should definitely make sure, everything is functioning properly and the house is not damaged. Have an inspector or contractor go over your house in great detail to make sure you know what needs to be fixed. For example, if the A/C or heater does not work, windows don’t easily open, or the house looks in any way neglected or has a hint of potential problems, buyers will shy away from it. Renovations and repairs might delay your quest of selling your house, but it will be worth the time in much greater monetary returns at the time of sale. If you want to sell your house ‘as is’ because you don’t have time for repairs, be prepared to drop your asking price. This can mean a significant drop, depending on the condition of the house.
Lastly, stage your house. It is very important to remove clutter, even excess furniture. The less is in the house the roomier it will look. Rent a storage unit or ask a friend or relative, if you can store some items at their house. Similarly, remove personal mementos from your home. The buyer should see him- or herself living in the home. Family pictures, personal awards and the like can draw away from that. Furthermore, keep your house clean and cleaned up looking at all times. If you have potential buyers come over, your house needs to look spic and span. An unkempt look of the interior of your house translates into bad overall maintenance of the house in the eyes of a potential buyer. Also make sure your house smells fresh by airing it out frequently. You might even want to add some fresh flowers to make it look more inviting.
Proper advertising of your home is also important. Make sure your house is advertised in the local newspapers and online. For the online advertisement, make sure you post plenty of pictures of the outside and inside. Nowadays, a lot of buyers check out houses on the Internet first before making the way out for a closer look at one they might like.