In my book 365 Rules about Real Estate, I pointed out 45 rules about selling your home and 21 more rules about selling your home privately. Selling a home does not have to be difficult. A lot of home sellers and some real estate agents get in the way of the sale. There is a lot going on with the dynamics of the sale. Here are some highlights from the book.
Make it easy to buy
The first rule of selling should be “make it easy to buy”. Allow flexible times for viewings and showings. When people want to see your house, they want to see it on their time not when it’s convenient for you. If you make it difficult for a potential buyer to view your house, it sends the message that you will be difficult to negotiate with.
Make it easy for Realtors too. We need to know if we are going to get paid. I was invited into interview a private seller last week. He was vague about the commission. He thought he could negotiate that when the contract was being presented. He can’t. Unfortunately, by the time the contract appears most of the work has already been done. Many agent are simply too busy to gamble a commission at the end of all the work. We, like the homebuyers, need the facts upfront.
If you have a buyer at your door, or an interested Realtor on the phone, be cooperative. If a real estate agent or a private seller stops by on short notice, let them in. Selling your home is going to be disruptive and confusing. Give yourself over to the chaos.
Price your house at the market rate
Don’t price your home too high just to try it out for a few weeks. The first week your home is on the market is the most important. The buyers who have been looking for awhile are ready to buy. They have already seen everything else, have figured out exactly what they are looking for and they are working with a Realtor. When your home pops up in their inbox, they are going to notice and react. A quick sale lets you get on with your life. A quick sale saves you from weeks of people visiting your home, mortgage payments, taxes and other carrying cost.
Furthermore, most homebuyers aren’t comfortable with “lowball” offers. If you don’t price your home correctly you might notreceive any offers at all.
Like you, like me
Homebuyers are often like home sellers. The same kinds of neighbourhood and amenities appeal to the same demographic. People at different stages of life choose homes and neighbourhoods that match their lifestyles at that stage of life. The reason a home seller bought their house is often the same reason the home buyer will buy it. Think of all the features your home has and how the next owner will benefit from having them. Accentuate them if you can.
Face the facts and fix the flaws
Don’t try to hide the facts. Meet the objections head on. If you are not honest, no one is going to trust you and it is going to be hard to sell, or maybe if you do sell you’ll end up getting sued. Home inspections are pretty common place nowadays. Consider doing the home inspection, fixing the flaws and leaving everything out in the open for the homebuyers to see.
Fridge, stove, washer, dryer
Appliances are either in or out. The retail price of appliances hasn’t change much in the past 30 years. Appliances used to be big ticket items. Now they are not. Put them in.
Show and sell
The way we live in a house in not the same way we sell a house. You might have to move around the furniture. If you’re selling in the summertime, crank up the air conditioner. Selling in the wintertime, turn up the heat. Click on the gas fireplace too. Your home has to be comfortable. There is nothing worse than an empty house with the heat turn off.
Show your home when it’s in showing condition. Take ten minutes every morning to get it ready and be prepared to “quick clean” your home when necessary.
Some people don’t like pets. Some people don’t like kids. Minimize their impact as best you can.
Know this – buyers don’t trust you. They would rather deal through organized real estate. There is simply too much to lose. They also know that you are saving the commission. Be prepared to give at least some of it up. Give buyers lots of room and time to go through your home, ask their questions and get comfortable. Do a pre-sale home inspection. Explain to the buyer the value of your home, why you loved living there. Show them the improvements you made. Have the facts ready about the age and condition of your homes major components. Throw in the pool table and the hot tub.
Read more: 365 Rules about Real Estate.