Real estate over the last two and a half years can really be summed up by one phrase: Epic seller’s market. We’ve seen countless people list their homes and receive multiple offers over asking—all while doing the bare minimum to fix up or market their property. Home sellers, we have to be honest here: you’ve had it made in the shade.
And while the current real estate market still technically favors sellers, experts see a balance on the horizon that’ll put buyers and sellers on more even ground. The result? Home sellers can no longer bank on getting a bunch of offers over asking.
So if you’re about to list your house and want to maximize your profits (who doesn’t?!) there are plenty of strategies you and your real estate agent can employ. Here’s how to get a higher price for your home—without spending a penny more than you initially planned for.
1. Price your home competitively
Few people are going to want to buy your house if the price per square foot is more than 10% higher than similar homes for sale in your neighborhood.
“You should base your home’s listing price on recent sales of comparable homes,” says Marty Ford, the president of BulletRoof Systems in Raleigh, NC. “If you overprice your home, you may miss out on potential buyers who are window shopping in your price range.”
Want to sell faster? You might also want to consider setting a price that’s lower than comparable homes.
“Many real estate brokers advise pricing the property slightly under market value,” says Tiffany Payne, chief marketing officer for a New York home repair company, iFlooded Restoration. “This can make active purchasers who are familiar with the market feel pressured to make a bid, and the likelihood of receiving multiple bids rises.”
2. Price your home strategically
It’s an old retail sales trick, but studies show that prices ending 9, 99, or 95 make things seem less expensive.
“Using a slightly lower price point—like $499,999—may create a sense of urgency and generate more interest in your home,” Ford says.
3. Market smart online
Are you putting your best foot forward online?
“The majority of purchasers will first view the home online before visiting it in person,” says Payne. “Buyers will assess whether your house is deserving of an in-person viewing with only a few mouse clicks.”
That’s why it’s important to only post top-notch, high-resolution videos and images online. Spend some money for professional photography to show off the house in the best possible ways—cellphone pictures generally look like casual (and poorly lit) snapshots.
4. Think like a buyer
Spend some extra time on the property details of your online listing. You want to spotlight the best parts of your home so you can attract a broad swath of buyers.
“You can get a lot of value from including key selling points in your listing, even if they’re not relevant to you,” says Martin Orefice, CEO of Rent To Own Labs in Orlando, FL. “A home that is close to a school, public transportation, park, or a major employer can be much more valuable. Likewise, make a point to mention if your home is pet-friendly because of a fenced-in backyard, or conducive to aging in place because it’s a single-story structure.”
5. Clear out clutter, closets, and personal touches
You’ve heard this before, but we can’t emphasize it enough: Minimize your presence in the home as much as possible so buyers can imagine themselves in the space when they tour it.
“It can be hard for new buyers to see themselves in a home if the space is overly personalized or full,” says Kristen Reyes, an interior designer and the CEO of Sey Interiors in Dallas.
Pack away bulky, personal, or unnecessary items. And focus on clearing out closets, she recommends—because buyers are sure to zero in on them.
“A great rule of thumb is to clear 75% of the items out of the closet,” Reyes says. This will show the utility of the closets while showing buyers how much space is in there.
“Depersonalize your home,” says Dennis Shirshikov, strategist at Awning.com, a real estate investment company based in California. “Take photos of your family down; put away all the personal decorations you think look so great. Buyers don’t want to feel like they are buying someone else’s home. Leave the bare minimum in terms of furniture to help them understand the space—but that’s it.”
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