Whether you’ve sold homes in the past or this is your first home sale, you know that it’s probably not going to be a breeze! Selling can be a pretty overwhelming step! Occasionally, the sale of a home happens quickly and with very little preparation. But usually, there are many things that need to happen before you even list it. Selling your home starts months before you actually list it. You have to fix major issues (or be ready to take a hit on your sale price), spruce the place up, and make sure your curb appeal is on point. Then get that sign in the front yard, ensure it’s marketed correctly, and be ready for people to walk around your most personal spaces trying to decide if they can see themselves there! What you might not know could actually keep you from getting the actual value your home is worth, and it can definitely cause the process to be long and murky. Here are 5 things that might surprise you about selling your home.
You will make more money if you hire a Realtor to sell your home.
With all the cash and iBuyers saturating the market, folks selling their homes are inundated with offers to make the selling process easier. While a cash or iBuyer can, quite possibly, simplify things, there is not one case we’ve seen documented wherein the seller got the full-price, market value for their home in these situations. Typically the fees alone eliminate any chance for a homeowner to cash in on the equity they’ve built. On top of those fees, the offers are anywhere from 5-15% below fair market value because, remember, cash and iBuyers are typically businesses. And businesses are built to make money! They’re not going to give you a deal because that would mean they don’t earn a profit. Many sellers believe that if they sell their home themselves they will save money (and make more). While we do our best to educate sellers about this, it’s difficult to understand until you experience a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) home from start to finish! With the lack of traditional marketing, as well as the inexperience with pricing and negotiating, homeowners leave money on the table without even knowing it! In 2018, the average home sold for $249,000 on the traditional real estate market. The average FSBO home sold for $210,000. That is a 15% loss, and if you consider that there is sometimes only 15% equity in the home, a homeowner is leaving everything they’ve paid into the home behind. But year after year, homes sold traditionally and with a real estate agent earn more money (even after the agent’s commission). Websites like Investopia, a site focused on making money on your investments, recommends using a Realtor for every sale. It’s just good sense.
You need to leave the utilities on!
Even when the home goes under contract and/or you move out, the utilities in your home must remain on. The most obvious reason is that as a buyer is walking through, sweltering heat or unbearable cold will surely cut a visit short (and likely nix a sale). In colder climates, pipes can freeze when the water and heat are cut off. In warmer climates, mold can start to grow! Consider that an appraiser can’t do their job well without the ability to check the water and heating/cooling elements. An inspector certainly can’t do his or her job properly without electricity! The final walk-through is impossible without the ability to check light fixtures and fans, etc. The utilities are imperative to all three of these steps. On more than one occasion, a closing has been pushed back by days and even weeks because utilities were turned off before inspections/appraisals/walk-throughs could take place! Leaving utilities on is a must!
You need to start packing now.
While you may not be moving anytime soon, or even planning to list your house in the near future, it’s a great idea to start packing now. The items you do not use regularly in your kitchen, the family pictures, the winter clothes, and the several extra tool bins worth of nuts and bolts in the garage can all be packed up and moved into a storage unit for now. The less stuff there is in your home, the easier it is for buyers to see themselves in it. There are probably 10 boxes of things you could pack up today that you wouldn’t need or reach for in the next 10 months. De-clutter and clear it out now and sell faster!
You don’t have to stage your home!
While staging your home does add tremendous value to the showing process, it’s not completely necessary. First, a home stager can use the furniture and decor already inside of your home to create a polished look. Sometimes rearranging a room can create a whole new look. Small details like matching towels and fresh flowers also add major points! Home staging can cost upwards of $500 each month, but hiring one to give you some tips and tricks is just a few hundred dollars (and totally worth it!). If you’re planning to move out of your home before it sells, you can also consider digital staging. For a fraction of the price, a Realtor can provide you with a home that looks staged in pictures but is actually empty in reality. This way a potential homebuyer can see both a blank canvas and a beautifully filled space. It’s the best of both worlds! Digital staging is an awesome option.
Get that paperwork ready, and update it!
Haven’t seen your home survey in a while? How about the receipt from the last time your AC was serviced? There’s a list of questions that will inevitably come from one or more potential buyers and if you want your home to sell quickly, you’ve got to be ready to answer. Start by getting a pre-listing inspection. This will help you determine what buyers will be requesting and arm you with the best possible scenario for selling. If you know something is broken, you can fix it or be prepared to offer a repair cost to the buyer. If you find a major issue, count your blessings that you’ve got time to handle it and that you’re not in the middle of a 10-day inspection window after a buyer has made an offer! It’s also a great idea to have records: age of the roof, septic tank, exterior paint/finish, pool service, and even garage door. Having all of this ready will save you time and heartache.
If you’re thinking about selling, there’s a whole lot more than just these five tips you ought to be considering. Find yourself an excellent Realtor with the ability to practice single agency. Your Realtor will help you determine what you can do in your specific situation and home to get the maximum return on the biggest investment you’ve ever made - your home! Believe it or not, small details can make a world of difference!