As a broker/Realtor in MN I often get asked for advice when it comes time to sell a home. There are many things you can do but a few things stand out among others. Selling a home can be tough and hiring a Broker and/or a Realtor is a big help. Many people do not see all the work that goes on behind the scenes and realize the legal issues that are involved when selling a home. If you ever decide to do a FSBO (For Sale By Owner) this does NOT exclude you from following all the laws and rules when selling your home such as disclosures and lead based paint.
Let me start off with THE most important issue when it comes time to sell your house. The price is the most important decision you and your agent need to discuss for a few reasons. I know when you sell you want to make as much money as possible and many sellers get excited to sell and buy something new. I have never had a client who has not wanted their house to get the highest amount possible. The problem is they almost always want a price that is too high for the area.
Over pricing your house is frankly a waste of time for both you and your agent. Your house will sit on the market and your agent will be spending money marketing a home they can’t sell. You will be frustrated that the agent is not doing their job when reality is the house is not attracting buyers because of the price.
Now there are agents out there who will tell you your house is worth more than it is and get you excited and want to use them to list. Be cautious of these agents because the fact they are willing to do this means they are not experts. Ultimately your house will sit on the market and you will keep dropping your price and getting mad at that agent for not selling the home. Personally, I won’t accept a listing that the sellers are not willing to look at hard numbers from sales comps for two reasons. I don’t want to be the bad guy when it doesn’t sell and I also don’t like to throw away money to market a house I know won’t sell.
Now some of you are probably reading this and saying, ‘Well the buyer can just offer less’. That train of thought is very logical from a sellers point of view but not at all what buyers are thinking. Often times I will have sellers sell and then go out to buy the next home and I can see their thought process do a 180 from seller mode to buyer mode and when I point it out to them the light bulb turns on.
Sellers need to think like buyers and buyers need to think like buyers. So the moral of the story is everyone needs to think like buyers.
So how do buyers think? Buyers want the best price right from the start. They know what they want and they don’t want to look at properties that are over priced. They don’t want to write an offer on a home that is over priced. Why?
Let’s say a home is 20k over priced from what the market can sustain. Most buyers will write an offer under the list price. But if the original price is too high and they write under what the price should be, many buyers do not want to insult the sellers with such a low offer and waste time. For example; a home is priced at 320k but the market can really only sustain 300k. A buyer may come in and may want to offer 290k but may also hesitate because it’s 30k under asking price and don’ t want to bother insulting the seller with an offer 30k under list price or going back on forth with counter offers.
Another thing to consider about selling price is in the end if you cannot support the selling price with comparable homes, it will not appraise and therefore the buyers will not be able to finance the property in the end resulting in a big waste of time for everybody.
As a seller put yourself in the buyers shoes and forget you are a seller for a while. What would you do if you were a buyer? What attracts you to a house you find on the internet? I’ll bet most of the time it boils down to the list price.
Bottom line with price is it is up to you what you want to sell it for not the agent. But the agent is the professional and knows the marketplace and you should listen to them and trust what they have to say. Market times vary with the price range so just because your cousin sold his 100k home in 30 days does not mean your 500k home will sell in 30 days as well. Ask your agent what the average time on market is for your price range.
Also very important is the property condition. Besides factoring condition into the price you may want to make sure basic things are taken care of before it hits the market. Many time I will go to sign listing papers with a client and find little things that should be corrected and advise holding off on the listing until they are done and the seller will ask if they can just get it listed and do it later.
Sure you can, but a lot of the time they forget to actually do the repairs. Also keep in mind the first impression is the most important so why take that chance? A $10 fix to you may bring a $1000 less in the buyer’s offer.
- Paint trim outside and around windows that is faded and flaking
- Caulk around sinks and tubs
- Clean carpets
- Clean windows and let in all the sunlight
- Trim landscaping and keep the lawn mowed
- De-Clutter, if you haven’t used something for a few weeks then it may be time to put it in storage. Less is better than more and opens up the home inside to a prospective buyer.
- CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN!
Find the right agent
Finding the right agent is important because you need to feel comfortable with them and trust they will work for your best interests. The choice is up to you so take your time and talk to a few agents. Often times the best way to find a good agent is to ask a friend or family member for a referral.
Working with a licensed agent in MN means you are getting professional representation and guidance on how to best sell your home and maximize your selling price. There are literally dozens of forms needed to properly sell a home in Minnesota and having an agent help you get those forms filled out will help protect you from a legal issue that should arise.
As a broker I monitor my agents to make sure they comply with laws and help them with issues and questions come up. I would love to sit down with you and help you figure out how to maximize your home sale.