Thursday, June 13, 2019 / by Liz Clifton
People ask me all the time what they should do to sell their home for top dollar. Of course, there are several things that can be done to the home. Upgrades, adding amenities, etc.These things may or may not have a positive impact on the sale of a home, but when I break down the essentials to selling real estate, it generally boils down to five things. Those five things being location, condition, price, terms, and the Realtor you choose to market your home. As a Seller, you control all of these variables except the location. You can only control the location when you have purchased the property as a buyer.
ONE - Of these five variables, pricing your home properly will be the most important decision you make. Buyers are educated in the real estate market now more than ever. The internet, alongside access to Multiple Listing Services (“MLS”) arms buyers with more ammunition than all the buyers before us. Every house that is for sale is at the buyers fingertips with the click of a button. Buyers can easily compare properties and identify the best “perceived” values. Sometimes, establishing a list price that is attractive enough to bring ten offers that you can reject is better than setting a price where you don’t get any offers to negotiate at all.
TWO - The second most important thing that sells real estate is the condition of the property. I like to tell everyone that when it comes to selling real estate, we are in a pricing war and beauty contest at the same time. If a seller wants top market value for their property, they must also win that beauty contest. Houses that are “magazine ready” and staged professionally almost always sell quickly and for top dollar. Often times, buyers do not question the price when a house is presented in its most pristine condition. On the contrary, if a house is in poor condition, the price almost always goes down below market value in order to sell. Unfortunately, $200 in paint to a seller generally translates into a couple thousand dollars off to a buyer. There is almost always an advantage to the homeowner if they showcase their home at its best.. Address any deferred maintenance, touch up paint, clean or replace worn carpet, wipe down the tops of mechanical systems, etc. It’s important to note that if a seller is unwilling or unable to do those types of things to prepare their home for the market, than setting a list price below market value will overcome any of the five variables mentioned in this article. The question is how much are you as a seller willing to leave on the table? That is a personal question that only you can answer for yourself. A good Realtor should be able to help educate and guide you in the direction of what you should and should not be doing when you begin to prepare your home for the market.
THREE - As mentioned earlier in this article, when it comes to location, the seller no longer has control over this particular variable of the home sale. If your property is next to a busy road and surrounded by run down properties, located on the flight path near an airport, or backed up to a railroad - your property will obviously be less desirable to some buyers. Sometimes a price adjustment to position your house in front of the market is all it takes to overcome these location obstacles! Other times, just bracing yourself for a longer marketing period is all it takes to sell your home.
FOUR & FIVE- The last two things, “terms” and the “realtor you choose to sell your house”, are also incredibly important when selling your house. The terms that you can help decide as the seller are items such as the closing date, price, seller paid buyer concessions, repairs, etc. These terms can almost always be swayed more into the Seller’s favor with a good Realtor representing them. Lastly, this brings me to the realtor that you choose to sell your house. Unfortunately, Realtors are not all created equal. We live in a world where 80% of the real estate being sold is by only about 20% realtors. When interviewing realtors (you should interview more than one realtor), ask to see their marketing plan! Ask them about what strategies or systems they use in their office to make the transaction as smooth and seamless as possible. It is also okay to ask them how many homes they sell on average each year (you can even request to have them show it to you on paper). DO NOT choose a realtor based on what they say they can sell your house for! There are a lot of realtors that will tell you what you want to hear, rather than what you need to hear. Too often, I see other realtors accepting overpriced listings just to be able to turn around and hound their sellers later on price reductions. Choose a realtor that has complete marketing plan and is strategic about how they implement their plan.
With these variables, you will have a much higher chance of selling your home and getting that top dollar with the least amount of hassle and in the quickest amount of time!