Tips to Sell Your Home for More Money (PART 2)

1. Stage your home

When it comes to home staging, says Severance, there are two rules of thumb: less is more and keep it neutral.

“It’s very important to capture buyers’ interest from the front door,” she says. “Pay extra attention to the entry hall and invest heavily in staging this part of the house. Repaint; place flowers; buy a new area rug, an impressive mirror or a dramatic piece of art.”

Remove objects and clutter that visually shrink a room, such as large ottomans or too many plants, and remove everything from the kitchen counters except for one or two new-looking appliances. “And don’t forget to stage the deck or patio, because that is an extension of the house that can make a small home feel much larger than it is,” Severance adds.

You can do the staging work on your own or up the ante by hiring a professional stager.  A pro will cost between $749 and $2,825, with the average cost paid being about $1,728, according to HomeAdvisor.

2. Set the right asking price

Identifying the best asking price for your home can be critical to your success. When a home is priced right, it will attract more buyers to visit. “Setting the price too high can be detrimental and prevent buyers from walking through your front door,” says Lee-Duffy. “If you want to be conservative, always price on the lower end to entice maximum buyer interest.”

How do you find that sweet spot of pricing for profit but not overpricing? That’s where the expertise of your agent can be truly valuable. A knowledgeable agent knows how much your house is worth, and how much you might reasonably get for it. “Good pricing requires the expertise to thread the needle,” says Severance. “List at a number that is lower than comparable properties, in order to draw attention to it, but not so low that you will be disappointed if you only get one offer right at list price.” If enough buyers are enticed, you could be setting the stage for a bidding war.

3. Remove personal items

“The goal of any showing is for the buyer to envision their own belongings in the space,” says Severance. So, while family photos and other knickknacks might seem like they have no bearing on how much money your home commands, they really do matter — especially if you are still living in the home while you’re trying to sell it.

“Buyers are thinking of their own furniture, where it will go and how it will fit. It’s the house they came to see, not the items inside of it,” she says. If buyers are distracted by personal items, then chances are they won’t be able to see themselves in the space, and will not end up making an offer.

4. Be ready to move fast

Once your property is listed on the market, things can happen quickly. It’s important to be well prepared ahead of time so that you can be as responsive as possible to potential offers. “Fill out all the necessary documents, such as any seller disclosures, and have paperwork for recent repair work, home renovation costs and utility bills on-hand for any buyer requests that come in,” says Lee-Duffy.

Sellers who are slow in reaction time or unresponsive can lose buyers, adds Severance. “If the buyer feels that they are not being dealt with fairly, they are very likely to walk away,” she says.

5. Use your head, not your heart

Finally, try to remove emotion from the equation and see things as a simple transaction — your home is no longer “home” but a product for sale. Be clear on what issues and items you may be willing to make concessions on if buyers ask. It’s not unusual for prospective buyers to request credits or repairs, and it’s easy as a seller to take offense.

“It’s important to take emotion out of it and remember that the buyer usually doesn’t expect to get everything they ask for,” says Severance. “Take a closer look at which requests are valid and fair, and offer something. The cost to you is not in giving the concession — it’s the expense of losing the buyer, putting the property back on the market, starting all over again and getting a potentially lower offer.”


Click to read part 1: