Good news, the U.S. economy’s all better! Well, not exactly, but the housing market is recovering some, according to good news just announced days ago. According to the National Association of Realtors, home resales rose at the fastest pace in two years last month and home prices climbed right with it. Existing home sales increased 7.8 percent last month to an annual rate of 4.82 million units. With such an optimistic outlook, you’re probably thinking, “Sell, sell, sell now!” If you’re a veteran in selling homes, you most likely think you know all the dos and don’ts to real estate. But if it’s your first-time selling, you probably don’t know where to start. Here’s a checklist of what to keep in mind whether this is your first of 500th time selling a home:
• Get a Home Inspection
You want to make sure your home is in good condition before you list it on the market. Getting an inspector let’s you know exactly what you need to fix and what you don’t. Repairing issues can also increase the value in your house tremendously resulting in more profit. One of the most common problems with selling is that the buyer abandons on the deal if he or she finds there are problems with the property. You don’t want to lose an interested buyer when it could have been avoided.
• Get Home Appraised
Hiring a home appraiser will allow you to have a clear idea on what exactly your home is worth. The information you’ll receive from a home appraisal will aid you in setting a good price that will satisfy you and the buyer.
• Hire an Agent?
Most sellers still use real estate agents, but the Internet has made it much easier to sell homes on your own. It’s up to you to decide what choice is in your best interest. Some upsides to getting an agent are he or she has more experience negotiating than you, any unforeseen problems will be better handled by a professional, and you won’t have to learn how to do all the paperwork. For first-time sellers who are unfamiliar with the process, getting an agent will make the whole experience much more stress free. Some downsides to getting an agent are it is possible to do the whole process by yourself, but it can be very stressful, and there is a commission involved to hire a real estate agent, and it’s pretty steep. Usually commission is 5 percent to 6 percent of the sale price of your home.
• Be Competitive, Flexible and Reasonably with Price
It’s hard to find the right balance with pricing. If you ask for too much, no one will be interested. If you set it too low, you could lose money. Here are some things to keep in mind about setting a price: Don’t be afraid to get competitive. Pricing your home competitively will maximize the benefit of home improvements and shorten the length of time your home is on the market, according to Fox Business. Don’t expect to get your asking price. Smart buyers will negotiate the listing price. If you’re unwilling to be flexible, you will lose offers fast. And lastly, don’t set an unrealistic price for your home. If you set the original price too high, you will have little to no interest, which could be detrimental in the future of your wallet and home.
• Stage Home
Buyers want to walk into a potential home and imagine themselves living in it, not you. Before you even take pictures of your home, make sure you de-clutter, clean, repaint crazy-colored walls to something more neutral, and remove all personal items that may be offensive to buyers. They want the property to be move-in ready. Also, try to maximize the space of your home. Buyers want to feel open and relaxed, not confined.
Remember the outside appearance of your home matters, too.
Brian Russell is a freelance writer for New American Funding, a direct mortgage lender offering options including FHA loans and 30- or 15-year fixed rate mortgages.