For most people, buying a home is the single largest investment you’ll make in your life. With hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, no one can fault you for wanting to get the biggest return on your investment when you decide to sell. As attractive as owning a home is to so many people, sometimes getting the right price can be a chore, and even seem outright impossible. Fortunately there are a few things you can do to give you the best chance of getting a fair price for your house and, more importantly, getting your house sold quickly. These options all revolve around what you do, how you do it, and when you do it.
What to do to get a maximum possible return.
Your first priority should be to get a real estate agent. Unfortunately, putting your house on the market isn’t as simple as going out into your yard and planting a for-sale sign. No matter how much you’ve read into the business, you can’t compete with the knowledge of an agent who has sold dozens of houses throughout their career, if not hundreds. Do your research and find an agent with some experience under their belt.
Once you’ve got an agent, they’re going to take a look at houses similar to yours. They’ll dive into some jargon-filled business we won’t get too much into, just know that they’re analyzing the listings in your area to make sure that whatever price you set for your home will be a competitive price.
In a perfect world your home’s value would derive only from the home itself, but in the real world that’s just not the case. Your homes’ location, the selling prices of houses similar to yours, and the amount of time your house sits on the market will all affect the price. When you do come up with your price, make sure it’s a number that will give you plenty of headroom for the price to rise, and leeway for the price to fall. Both can happen, so make sure that you’re prepared to still make a profit whether it be less or more than you were hoping for.
You need to manage your expectations. Most people reap an 8-10% profit from selling their home, and that can mean extra 30-40,000 in your bank account than what you started with ten or fifteen years ago when you bought that house. Take that, your normal savings, and the equity from your house, and things are probably going to look pretty good for you.
The last big “what” that you should do is spruce your house up a bit. Now, before anything, we’re not talking about renovations here. We’re talking about surface level easy changes that won’t put a dent in the profit you can expect to make from selling your house. We’ll get more into what these changes can be in the how section.
How To Get Your House Ready to Sell For Profit
A new coat of paint is the best, cheapest, easiest, and fastest way to sell your home for its maximum value. New paint itself won’t add much value to your home, what it will do is get your home sold faster. As the age old adage goes, time is money. The more time your home spends on the market, the more time and money you’ll lose during that “no man’s land” period when you don’t have a new home to move into and your current home is being viewed by prospective buyers several times a week. Nobody likes this part of the selling process, and we want to keep this period as short as possible.
Making your house aesthetically pleasing and relatable will make the most impact on a buyer. Most people make their decision to buy a house within thirty seconds of going through the front door. In a perfect world they’d probably take days to really think it through, but 90% of the time it’s really that much of a gut reaction. So ensure that their first impression is a good one. You don’t have to repaint your whole house, but you can touch up the shutters by the street facing windows, you can repaint your door, clean your glass, maybe repaint the kitchen cabinets, things like that. Just make sure to do this before you put your house up so that buyers won’t notice the new paint smell.
Now, if you’re dead set on making renovations to your home, and no one can dissuade you otherwise, here’s what you should focus your time and money on that will actually increase the price of your home. For your home’s interior renovations, focus on adding more usable floorspace. If you have an unfinished basement, finish it! Adding another bedroom or bathroom to your home can put tens of thousands of dollars in value into your home, but it will definitely cost you plenty of money and plenty of time in the process, so be aware of that.
Another thing to focus on should be your external assets. Does your house have nice green, outdoor spaces? Do you have areas around your house where you can relax in the shade, or enjoy the sun in the summer? A back patio, a front porch, even a pergola, these can all add value to your property. As more and more people work from home, they need their open outdoor spaces to stretch their legs and relax outside of their home offices. Now, one other thing you can do is to plant some trees. Do this as soon as you start living in your home and, depending on the species, by the time you sell your property you might have a decent sized shade tree that will be like an exclamation point to the aesthetic value of your home.
When to Sell Your Hour for the Maximum Possible Return
Timing the market is notoriously difficult, and many people will tell you not to even bother trying. We won’t go that far, as there is data that suggests peak periods to sell your home, but don’t rely on your skill or anyone else’s at reading the data and making predictions whole quarters or even years in advance on when to sell. Too much can happen, as we all know now, that can drastically shakeup the market, events that no one can foresee. Nevertheless there is a generally agreed upon best-time to sell your house.,
Aim to sell in the spring. Data shows that most people successfully sell their homes in the springtime. This might have something to do with spring being when people finally recoup all the money they spend during the winter holiday season. More likely spring is the favored season because it allows families to move into a new home in the summer and get their kids settled into a new school system for the fall. Speaking of fall, it might not be a bad idea to list your house during the autumn months if you live in an area with especially beautiful foliage. Bring new buyers in during peak fall color season and they might fall in love with your home for the aesthetics alone.
So let’s say you timed listing your house perfectly, and you just got a big offer from one buyer. We suggest you hesitate before going all in on the first good offer you get if you can afford to wait. Even if the deal looks perfect from the onset, contracts can get tricky. You, the seller, want to have more leverage than the buyer, and the best way to do that is to wait until you have three or four different people trying to buy your house. You don’t have to be a real estate guru to use multiple buyers to add a few thousand dollars onto the price of your house through leverage alone. Put the pressure on the buyer, but be cautious, because your house is probably not the only house the buyers are looking at.
Selling your house for maximum profit is a complicated dance. Leave most of it to your agent. Focus instead on the little things you can do like sprucing the place up and preparing a plan for when you need to empty out your house to show it to buyers. Your top priorities should be to minimize the amount of time your house is listing, minimize the amount of money you spend on fixing up surface level details, and maximize that final offer once you’ve waited long enough for a good pool of buyers to come asking for your home.