1. Find a trusted real estate agent
Working with a skilled real estate agent who knows your local market inside and out can help you sell your home more quickly, and often, for more money. In fact, data from the National Association of Realtors shows that in 2021, homes listed without the assistance of a Realtor sold for a median price of $260,000, while those sold with one fetched a significantly higher median of $318,000. Interview several candidates before you commit to one agent — the better you get along, the smoother the process is likely to be.
2. Invest in value-adding improvements
Determining which home improvements to invest in can be daunting, and the costs can add up quickly. The key is spend your money on projects that will provide the most return on your investment. A garage door replacement, for instance, is the single most valuable investment when it comes to ROI, according to data from Remodeling magazine. The average return on a new garage door is just under 94 percent.
Minor kitchen upgrades are also a wise investment, says Realtor Jade Lee-Duffy of TXR Homes in San Diego, California. “The heart of the home is the kitchen, and many buyers will judge a property by its kitchen,” she says. “While a complete overhaul of this space can run into the tens of thousands, a minor update is where you can gain the greatest return. Think about resurfacing cabinets, replacing countertops, a fresh coat of paint or updating the fixtures and hardware.”
Updating a bathroom is another wise investment, says Katie Severance, a Realtor with Douglas Elliman in Palm Beach, Florida. “Renovated kitchens and baths are the ‘money rooms’ — those that add the most value to a home,” she says.
3. Up your curb appeal
Curb appeal should not be overlooked: As the saying goes, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. “Make sure your front yard is free of debris, the bushes are pruned and the grass has been cut,” says Lee-Duffy. “Also, add some bright potted plants by the front door to make buyers feel welcome.”
Some easy updates that really improve curb appeal include touching up exterior paint, adding window flower boxes and installing a new mailbox, says Severance. “Adding rich-looking mulch around shrubs and trees can really bring out the charm,” she adds.
4. Get a pre-listing inspection
Investing in a home inspection before putting your property on the market is another step to consider. “You don’t want any unexpected surprises,” says Lee-Duffy. “It’s best to find out beforehand if there are any issues that you can fix before buyers find out on their own.” That would give them negotiating power for a lower price or, worst case scenario, a reason to back out of the deal. So it may be worth a few hundred dollars for the peace of mind.
There is, however, a downside to a pre-listing inspection. “Beware, because once a seller becomes aware of an existing defect and does not correct it prior to listing, they are obligated to disclose it to a buyer,” says Severance. “Defects that a buyer learns were known but not disclosed, prior to accepting an offer, can kill the deal.”
5. Highlight the positive with professional photos
Spending a bit of money on high-quality photography can go a long way toward helping your home sell for a higher price. “The majority of people search for properties online,” says Lee-Duffy. “If the photos pop, it can translate into a higher sales price — and sell faster, too.”
You may want to leave some things to the imagination when it comes to your home’s online listing, though. “I advise against photographing every square foot of the home,” says Severance. “The goal of photographs is not to give all the goodies away online; it’s to make a buyer want to see more — to whet their whistle enough to entice them to see it in person. If they don’t come see the house, they probably aren’t making an offer.”
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