Today I want to talk about how to increase the value of your home so you will be able to sell it for more, but since this is my first post I want to introduce myself. I am Matt Hamm, I am a Realtor and manager of the Nova Star Real Estate office in Stark County Ohio. I am more than a Realtor, I am a real estate investor with multiple rentals, commercial property and Flipping Houses. I decided to start this blog because I love talking about real estate and I like helping people. I hope to do both with RE investWise. I decided on this first topic to help anyone thinking about selling their home to realize… it could be worth more! So let’s get into it.
1. Do Your Homework.
The most important thing to know before you list your home for sale is, what “Fair Market Value” is for your home. This takes time doing the needed research involved to accurately find the true “Fair Market Value” for your home. How terrible would it be too loose out on a few thousand dollars because you priced your home incorrectly?
To avoid leaving money on the table you will need to pull “comps”, Comparable Properties, from recent sales, active listings and currently Pending or Contingent properties. It’s far more involved then that though, not every 3 bedroom home is comparable to your 3 bedroom home. For example: a 3 bedroom home with 2 bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs will have a different sale price then a home with all 3 bedrooms upstairs. You have to make adjustments for anything that is different than your home. This is best left to a professional, aka a Realtor.
There are other things to take into consideration as well. Days on Market, DOM, is very important. In my area, Stark County Ohio, the magic number is 60. Properties that sell in under 60 days sell on average for 98% of the list price. Home that take longer than 60 days that number drops to 94%. Only 4%? Yes but that can make a big difference. Say you are selling your home for $200,000, the difference 4% would make is $8,000. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to give away $8,000.
Other things would include, your current market condition. Is your market on an upswing or down? Is it a buyer’s market or seller’s? How many homes are available on your local market? The history of your own home, how many times it sold and the price each time, has it ever been foreclosed on, and are there any deed restrictions? Another thing to look up would be the impact of an HOA, Home Owners Association, in your area, if there is one.
2. Update Your Home
The biggest impact on the sale price of your home would be, is it updated? Some things are obvious impacts on the value of your home such as an updated kitchen or bath. There are other things sometimes overlooked. For instance, a fresh coat of paint will make a world of difference. If you also install new carpet you might spend $2,500 but it could help you sell your home for more, maybe $5,000 to $10,000 more depending on your market.
Lighting is another overlooked issue. Just by spending $75 in new brighter light bulbs you can increase the appearance of your home. Also, replace anything that looks outdated, such as window treatments, area or bath rugs. Basically you want to replace anything that makes your home look old and outdated.
Lastly, Curb Appeal. I wrote a whole article on this topic titled “How to Improve Your Curb Appeal.” Check it out for more information. Curb appeal sets the first impression anyone will get of you home. It will cause them to either forget your home or think it’s their dream home. Declutter your outdoor spaces, especially anywhere you can see from the road. Simple is best and adding a little color with a few small plants can help you sell your home for more.
3. Choose Your Realtor Wisely
You might be thinking, I’m going to sell my home myself. Yes it is possible to sell your home yourself but there are many things you need to know before you take on this chore. All the paperwork and documents that are legally required to sell a home and how to fill them out. You need to know how to screen potential buyers, for safety reasons and so you don’t waste a bunch of time on someone that would never qualify to purchase your home. There are also way too many buyers that are “just looking” and will waste your time.
I know what you’re thinking, I can save money by not hiring a Realtor. In a NAR, “National Association of Realtors” study about FSBO homes, “For Sale By Owner” they found in 2016 FSBO homes sold on average for $185,000 and homes Listed by Realtors sold on average for $245,000. That’s a $60,000 difference. You may be leaving money on the table by not using a Realtor.
Choosing a Realtor might be the most important tip I can give. A good Realtor will already know all of the things listed in this article. Not all Realtors are “good”, so you will need to do your homework here to make sure you hire a Realtor that will successfully sell your home for top dollar and quickly. You should interview the potential listing agents, use my Realtor Interview Questionnaire to help you ask the right questions.
The best thing to do is call a local real estate company. The best Realtors in an area are the ones that know it best, stay local. There are a few options in my area for good Local real estate companies, one for example, my company, Nova Star Real Estate. Another thing to watch out for are all the extra costs or “Hidden Fees” that almost all the big name companies charge. They vary by name and price, one that is very common now is called a “Document Fee” and range in price from $200 to $500. My company NEVER charges any “Hidden Fees” or “Administrative Fees”. Make sure you know upfront everything you will have to pay.
4. Picture Quality
Quality over quantity! If you have a small house and a small lot then you might only need 10 or 12 pictures. If you have a 3,000 square foot home on 5 acres then you might need 35 pictures. No matter how many you have make sure they are good! Make sure they are of things buyers want to see. I always list my homes with the first picture being the front of the home from the curb, second is the kitchen. Those are the two pictures buyers want to see. Sometimes buyers don’t even get past the first picture of a home and when they do they are most interested in the kitchen. A few tips… Never zoom in, wider the shot the better, try standing in the corner, show outdoor pictures last and use a really good camera.
This is where your Realtor will earn his money. He will know the target market for your home and how to reach them. My company is great at this aspect, on average our listings last year sold in under 35 days! There are many ways to market your home for sale, MLS “Multiple Listing Service”, Company websites, Social Media, YouTube, Emailing lists, Direct Mass Mailings, open houses, flyers and no listing is complete without a yard sign. My company does all of this without charging anything extra. Make sure your Realtor is good at all of these areas and your home will sell for more.
6. Prepare For Showings
In our 100 mph non-stop world it’s easy to “run out of time” to completely prepare your home for a showing. Here are some tips…
Declutter! A showing never goes well when all you see is “stuff” everywhere. Clear off the tables and counters, put away small appliances and even your dish drying rack.
Clean! We are talking about deep cleaning. Scrub your sink, bathtub and shower. Make your home look cleaner than it ever has before. Don’t forget to take care of any room that has an odor, basements almost always need a dehumidifier to take out the musty smell. Using something like scented oils is a great way to get buyers thinking positively about your home.
Stage! This isn’t always about buying or renting new furniture. Sometimes it’s better just to put some things in storage. Too much furniture makes a home feel small. You should stage every room of your house even if you only make small changes, everything helps.
Do a mock walkthrough! After you have everything perfectly in place and everything shiny and clean, do a walkthrough. Act like you are looking at it for the first time, critique your own home. Maybe even have the neighbors join you for extra input. If you are using a Realtor they can help you with preparing for a showing and help you get your home ready for a top dollar sale.
7. Negotiate Wisely
This is where Great Realtors Shine! We know that no one wants to pay more than they have to and every buyer wants to feel like they won. A Realtors experience is priceless in this area. There are many things to negotiate when trying to sell your home. Price is the first and obvious but there are other things that need ironed out before signing the bottom line. Closing date, time of possession, Home warranty, contents that convey, closing costs, seller concessions to buyer and all the inspections… home inspection, radon inspection, pest inspection, mold inspection, well and septic inspection, and all of these inspections will involve negotiating repairs and concessions for repairs not completed before closing. Agreeing on a price is only the beginning. Negotiate right and you could sell your home for more.
This in no way is an exclusive list, there are so many things you can do to help your home sell for more and sell faster. These are just seven of the main areas that need time and attention if you are serious about selling your home for top dollar. Feel free to comment or leave me a message with your thoughts, ideas and any questions you might have. I look forward to hearing from you!