Although sales of existing homes continue to fluctuate, home prices are on an uptrend in all regions1. Yet it’s still a buyer’s market, which can lead to sleepless nights and strained pocketbooks for those with a home on the market, especially if they’ve already purchased a new home. To sell a house, it may help to have features many of the others don’t. If you’re looking to sell your home, here are some of the ways to set it apart from the rest:
- Invest in the areas that have the most impact. Buyers decide in the first eight seconds of seeing a home whether they’re interested in buying it, so make sure yours rates high on curb appeal:
- Clean or update outdoor light fixtures
- Weed landscaping beds
- Trim or replace overgrown bushes
- Clear walkways and window areas of vegetation
- Clean or resurface the driveway
- Wash windows and screens
- Refresh planters
Also make sure that your living room and kitchen look top notch. Remove all clutter, store small appliances in cupboards, and update such items as light fixtures, knobs, drawer pulls, and cabinet and countertop surfaces if yours are out of date or worn down.
- Store excess furniture and keep things clean. To help make your home appear more spacious and inviting, remove roughly a third of your furniture and clear out personal items, such as family photographs, knick-knacks or collectibles. Spending money on a temporary storage space or a professional cleaning service can be worth it if your home needs an extra boost.
- Hire a professional home stager. If getting your home ready for sale seems overwhelming, a home stager can help. Not only will a home stager look at your house with a fresh perspective, he or she can quickly create the right look and feel for your market, regardless of your home’s price range. This includes selecting paint colors and bringing in eye-catching replacement furniture and accessories if needed.
- Invest in a home inspection. Fix problems that could send would-be buyers running before you put your home on the market.
When it comes to selling your home, making sure it’s in tip-top shape isn’t the only consideration. You should also:
- Create a favorable online presence. Nearly nine out of every 10 homebuyers start their search online. Post at least eight to 10 fantastic photos for potential buyers to view. If you’re not a great photographer, hire one. It can make all the difference in your ability to attract buyers to your door.
- List with the best broker. The top 10 percent of real estate agents generate 90 percent of the sales. For help picking an agent, contact reputable real estate companies and ask their sales managers for a recommendation.
- Price it right. Compare the list and closing prices for homes in your neighborhood. Then price your home to sell. Be upfront about any incentives you plan to offer, such as paying for closing costs.
- List during the hottest sales periods. Doing so may mean a shorter sales cycle and more money in your pocket. Traditionally, existing home sales pick up in January and grow steadily before peaking in April and May. As many families prefer to move between school terms, sales often remain strong in June and July. Then they begin to lag in August and continue to slow down through the holidays.
Although these sales trends occur in many states, they don’t occur in all states. Plus, the weather in any given year may shorten or prolong a real estate season in your area. To identify the best time to sell your home, consult with a reputable realtor who is familiar with your market.
Whether your home has taken up permanent residence on the listings website or if you’re only considering selling it at some point, consider working with a financial advisor who can help you determine how the other financial factors that affect the value of your home may impact your ability to sell.
Rob Davis lives in University Place with his wife Lorri and sons Wesley and Parker. He is a Financial Advisor and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner™ with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Tacoma, Washington. Rob specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 34 years. He is licensed/registered to do business with U.S. residents only in the states of Washington and Idaho.
1 National Association of Realtors® News release, June 21, 2012 - http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2012/06/existing-home-sales-constrained-by-tight-supply-in-may-prices-continue-to-gain
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