Selling your home can be surprisingly time-consuming and emotionally challenging especially if you've never done it before. At times, it may feel like an invasion of privacy because strangers will come into your home and poke around your closets and cabinets. They will criticise a place that has probably become more than just four walls and a roof to you, and, to top it all off, they will offer you less money than you think your home is worth. With no experience and a complex, emotional transaction on your hands, it's easy for first-time home sellers to make lots of mistakes. But with a little know-how, you can avoid many of these pitfalls altogether. Read on to find out how you can get the highest possible price for your home within a reasonable time-frame—without losing your mind.
It's easy to get emotional about selling your home, especially your first one. You spent a great deal of time and effort to find the right one, saved up your down payment and for your furniture, not to mention creating all the memories. Many people have trouble keeping their emotions in check when it comes time to say goodbye. Think it's impossible? It's actually not. Once you decide to sell your home, start thinking of yourself as a businessperson and salesperson rather than just the homeowner. In fact, forget that you're the homeowner altogether. By looking at the transaction from a purely financial perspective, you'll distance yourself from the emotional aspects of selling the property.
A good agent has your best interests at heart. They will help you set a fair and competitive selling price for your home that will increase your odds of a quick sale. An agent can also help tone down the emotion of the process by interacting with potential buyers and by eliminating tire-kickers who only want to look at your property but have no intention of writing an offer. Your agent will also have more experience negotiating home sales, helping you get more money than you could on your own. And if any problems crop up during the process—and they commonly do—an experienced professional will be there to handle them for you. Finally, agents are familiar with all the paperwork and pitfalls involved in real estate transactions and can help make sure the process goes smoothly. This means there won't be any delays or glitches in the deal.
Whether you're working with an agent or going it alone, setting the right asking price is key. Remember the comparable market analysis you or your agent did when you bought your home to determine a fair offering price? Buyers will do this for your home, too, so as a seller, you should be one step ahead of them. You may think your home is worth more but remember to set a realistic price based on comparable homes in the area. Absent a housing bubble, overpriced homes generally don't sell. Don't worry too much about setting a price that's on the low side because, in theory, this will generate multiple offers and bid the price up to the home's true market value. In fact, under-pricing your home can be a strategy to generate extra interest in your listing and you can always refuse an offer that's too low.
Any smart buyer will negotiate, and if you want to complete the sale, you may have to play ball. Most people want to list their homes at a price that will attract buyers while still leaving some breathing room for negotiations—the opposite of the under-pricing strategy described above. This may work, allowing the buyer to feel like he or she is getting good value while allowing you to get the amount of money you need from the sale. Of course, whether you end up with more or less than your asking price will likely depend not just on your pricing strategy but also on whether you're in a buyer's market or a seller's market and on how well you have staged and modernised your home.
To be continued...