With so many magazine articles and television shows about real estate, a lot of people think they know everything there is to know about selling their home: upgrade your home to increase its value, price your home based on comparables, invite the neighborhood in during an open house, wait for that over-asking offer. But sellers who follow this advice might not receive any offers. If you want to swap your For Sale sign for a Sold one, learn how to avoid the common misconceptions about home selling.
1. Be Budget Conscious
An upgraded home will sell for more than a dated one. But there are two stipulations. First, upgrades need to be neutral enough to appeal to the masses; most buyers will walk away from brightly colored carpet, but they will put an offer on a home with beautiful wood flooring. Purchasing neutral upgrades, rather than opting for a more customized look, will always give you a greater return on your investment. Second, every home has a top selling price based on its location. You can spend a million dollars on your home, but if you live in a quarter-of-a-million-dollar neighborhood, you will never get that money back. Your home's original purchase price and your renovation budget combined should not exceed what other homes in your neighborhood are selling for.
2. Know Your Home's Value.
Two homes on the same street with the same floor plan can sell for vastly different prices. How is this possible? Square footage is just one variable when looking at comparables to price your home. Upgrades, location, and even curb appeal can all affect a home's value. If your neighbor's home exterior is dated and yours is newly upgraded with stone veneer, your house will be worth more. Does your neighbor's house back onto a park and yours back onto a highway? Then you should offer your house at a discount. Before you start setting a budget for your new house, speak to a real estate agent about what your current home is worth. It might be worth more—or less—than you think.
3. Online Marketing Is Important
The more people who see your home, the more offers you'll receive. But in today's real estate market, buyers might not be doing their viewing in person. With so many social media feeds and Internet real estate sites, serious home buyers often head online to do their research. They can view multimedia tours of your property, explore local school curriculums, and even research local crime statistics. If these buyers are interested, they will call their agent to set up a private viewing. Open houses, meanwhile, typically attract buyers at the start of their house hunt who are not yet serious about making offers. Only 5 percent of homes sell through open houses.