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Tips on Selling Your Home

This guide was written with one goal in mind: to give you the tools you need to maximize your profits, maintain control, and reduce the stress that comes with home-selling process. Here are some essential tips you should know . . .


Know why you're selling your home.

The reason you look closely at why you want to sell is that your motivations play an important role in the process. Motivation affects everything from setting a price to deciding how much time and money you'll invest to getting your home ready for sale.

Do your homework before setting a price.

Settling on an offering price shouldn't be done lightly. Once you've set your price, you've told buyers the absolute maximum they have to pay for your home. The goals for the seller is to get a selling price as close to the offering price as possible. If you start out by pricing too high, you might not be taken seriously by prospective buyers and their agents. A price too low can result in selling for much less than you hoped for.

Know when to get an appraisal.

Sometimes you can use a good appraisal to your benefit in marketing your home. And if you get a VA or FHA appraisal, you can use it to let prospective buyers know that your home can be financed. However, an appraisal costs money, has a limited life and you may not like the figure you hear.

Your tax assessment means almost nothing.

Some people look to tax assessments to assign a value. The problem here is that assessments are based on a number of criteria unrelated to property values, so they often don't necessarily reflect the true value of your home. Have you ever heard of two identical homes in the same neighborhood with dramatically different assessed values because one was purchased more recently than the other? Well, it happens quite often.

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Maximize your home's sales potential.

The lesson here is that appearance is critical - and it would be foolish to ignore this when selling your home. You may not be able to change your home's location or it's floor plan, but you can do a lot to improve it's appearance . . . and you should. The look and "feel" of your home generates a greater emotional response than any other factor. You may price your home to sell, but a prospective buyer reacts to what they see, hear, feel and smell.

Rely on other people's judgement as well as your own.

The key to effective marketing is knowing your product's good and bad points. In the case of your home, accentuating the good can mean a faster sale for more money; failing to deal with the bad can mean months on the market and a lower than desired sales price.

The biggest mistake you can make at this point is to rely solely on your own judgment. Remember this is your home, a place of fond memories. There are bound to be emotional issues that can impair your ability to make an honest assessment of your home's strengths and weaknesses.

In evaluating what improvements you can make, don't be shy about asking others for their opinions. But make sure you're getting an honest answer; some may try to spare your feelings, just what you don't need. Your agent shouldn't be shy in discussing what should be done to make a home more marketable.

Clean like you've never cleaned before.

Pick up, straighten, declutter, scrub, scour, dust . . . well, you get the idea. If your living room feels crowded, take out every piece of furniture you can get away with. If your home still isn't ready to appear in House Beautiful, then clean some more. Remember you're not just competing with other people's homes - you're going up against brand-new homes as well. Your home is worth more the first day you put it on the market than it will ever be worth.

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Fix everything no matter how insignificant it may appear.

The step that squeaks, the light switch that doesn't work, the hairline crack in the bathroom mirror-they may be annoyances to you, but they can also be deal killers. The problem is that you never know what will turn a buyer off. And even something minor that's gone unattended can suggest that perhaps there are bigger, less visible problems present as well.

Remove all traces of you from your home.

When you toured others people's homes, you may have felt some discomfort. This probably occurred because you saw, heard or otherwise sensed something that made you feel as if you were intruding into someone's life.

The last thing you want others to feel in visiting your home is the same sense of discomfort. Avoid this by making your home as neutral as possible. Anything that interferes with a prospective buyers' ability to see themselves living in your home must be eliminated. A few carefully chosen knickknacks and family portraits may add warmth and character to the home, too many are a distraction. Paint and carpet in neutral shades of white or beige.

The little touches can make a difference.

While personal items can detract, other small touches can help make your house a home to buyers. A well placed vase of flowers, accent pieces of sculpture, potpourri in the bathroom-all can enhance the attractiveness of your home in a subtle, soft-spoken way. Try perusing any of the home magazines for tips.

Don't let a smell be your downfall.

Odd smells kill deals quickly. All traces of food, pet and smoking odors must be eliminated. Even when you're gone, don't encourage prospective buyers to imagine things. If they know that you're a smoker or that you have a dog, they'll start smelling odors and seeing stains that may not even exist. Be safe-don't leave any clues.

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The more prospects, the better.

By maximizing your home's marketability, you'll increase your chances of attracting more than one prospective buyer. Why is this better? Because several buyers compete with each other; a single buyer ends up competing with you.

Don't take a low offer personally.

Sometimes an offer is invariably well below what you both know the buyer will end up paying for your property. Don't get angry or feel insulted; evaluate the offer objectively. Make sure it spells out the offering price, adequate earnest money, a closing date and any special requests. Now you have a point from which you can negotiate.

Make sure the contract is complete.

Make sure that all terms, costs and responsibilities are spelled out in the contract of sale. A contract should include the date it was made, the names of the parties involved in the transaction, the address of the property being sold, the purchase price, where deposit monies will be held, the date for loan approval, any contingencies that remain to be settled, and whether there is any personal property included (or not) in the sale, among other things.

If this all sounds like a lot of work, it is. But it's to be expected when you're selling anything of such great value. And you'll thank yourself for all the expense and hard work when the outcome works to your satisfaction.

Please feel free to call or contact us if you would like further explanation of any of these topics, or if you have any real estate questions at all. Our mission is to help you with all of your real estate needs.

410 South Locust · P.O. Box 111 · Glenwood, IA 51534 · (712) 527-3114 · info@jimhughesrealestate.com · directions to our office