How to get top dollar for your home

How to get top dollar for your home

All sellers have one primary goal no matter what kind of property they are selling, and that is to get the money from the buyer as high as possible.

The 3 Objectives of Sellers and How Buyers Think

To make the process of buying and selling much faster and highly profitable, get inside the mind of the buyer. This is to understand them more as you look at your home from their point of view. With that, you can take the necessary steps to make your place stand out over your competition. It’s simple,give the buyer what they are looking for.

But, let us go back the other side of the deal, which is the seller’s. “Get the best price for my house”  is not all there is to it.

There are other important elements and it comes down to three basic goals to help you in the sale and selling preparation.

While the main objective is to maximize the selling price, do not forget that time and inconvenience could mean financial loss and stress to you.

  • Goal 1 – Sell your property for the highest amount of money.
  • Goal 2 – In the shortest period of time.
  • Goal 3 – With minor inconvenience as much as possible.

The following are several tips to help you find buyers who will pay top dollar for your house:

1. Know the competition.

Talk to your real estate agent to understand more about your competition. In your area, get the list of other properties for sale, check the condition of the houses, as well as their features and amenities.

Preferably, go to a few open houses in your neighborhood so you know what you are up against. Do a comparison of their homes to yours. Home buyers who see your place most likely see those available houses too. As they do a comparison to all the houses they have seen, it will affect how your home attracts them.

2. Do not get emotional.

In reality, it is a difficult one. A realtor usually begins his conversation with the seller something like this; “This house does not belong to you anymore, and has become your product.”

Selling a home goes hand in hand with lots of feelings and meaningful stories.  For the majority of home sellers, it can be a huge obstacle in achieving your goal.

As a seller, you need to look at the transaction with an unsentimental approach if you want to get the most from any commodity. By allowing your emotions to get the better of you, it somehow influences you decision-making ability.

It would be wise to let go of those unnecessary emotions and thoughts early on. Allow an outsider to contribute their expertise in the process.

The right state of mind will help you make the right judgments that support your ultimate goal, which is to get top dollar from the most suitable buyer.

3. First Impressions

Believe it or not, prospective buyers have already judged your house even before they walk inside your door, no matter how great you think your interior is.

Try your best to make people feel welcome and comfortable when they visit your place. You may accentuate your exterior with beautiful flowers and shrubs. Replace your tired lights, paint the front door and make the place look clean. Again, home buyers instantly form an impression as soon as they approach your property. In most cases, you get a 100% ROI on the money you spent in the curb appeal.

4. Visual appeal.

Literally speaking, it means cleaning the entire property and get rid of personal belongings since house selling includes opening up all the rooms in your house. While your home is available for sale, live simple and only keep important things for that duration.

Surprisingly, many home sellers do not understand the impact of showing experience and simply overlook this crucial step.

Here’s a common scenario for all the experienced real estate agents out there: They listen to the complaints of prospective buyers as they see  rooms with toys everywhere, unfolded clothes or even dog food containers.

People usually think that there’s a lot of work to be done, when actually you only need a vacuum cleaner and storage cabinets for this.

Sure, house cleaning and decluttering are not a popular chore, not to mention that they are time-consuming.This is the reason why many people skip these tasks.

The next step is to make a clear picture of your home. After getting rid of the dirt and keeping your stuff, there are still some work to do. As always, new flooring, fresh paint, and proper illumination significantly help in the visual appeal.

Most properties really need to address these three elements, yet the sellers often do not think the same. Create a sense of balance to your property in order to increase the showing experience.

Choose a single paint color for all of your walls, and a white ceiling is appealing to the eye. The wall should match the flooring. In particular, refinishing your wood floors makes a big impact. Moreover, replace the weathered rugs and carpets with new kinds of neutral floor coverings as a way to create a clear space.

After taking care of your floors and  walls, the right lighting fixtures will showcase those new spaces. Contact an electrician to install lighting and equipment with the purpose of creating a warmer space for buyers. The bottom line is, the more people who like your house, the more money to expect during the sale.

5. Your home has a story to tell.

Your house for sale appeals to a specific market. The Fair Housing Act established guidelines that prevent real estate agents to favor a buyer over another. But of course, a single young professional and a family with children will have different viewpoints regarding what makes a great deal, and that is how the costs of houses are established.

As the owner, your job is to catch the interest of your target demographics as much as you can. This means you should increase your marketing efforts so you can get to the minds and emotions of your target demographic. House buying is an huge decision for many people, so get to them where you are sure to succeed.

For example, if you have a one bedroom house, you can advertise a guaranteed home warranty plan or closing cost credit, which are intended to reduce costs for buyers who are cash strapped. Also, you can try organizing an open house in the evenings to showcase the roof top views over the city.

On the other hand, if you live in a neighborhood filled with school-aged children, then provide brochures and information featuring the amenities (such as swimming pool or tennis court) that your prospective buyers may not discover by themselves. Because of your information, the buyers will see how your home is suitable for their needs.

Also, even though you have not used a particular area in your property, design it with cool pieces of furniture, for example bean bags, bunk beds, coffee table or decorative mirrors.

Show  the home buyer an image of what life with youngsters could be like in your home. It pays to know more about your prospect, so you can make a strategic plan that will help make your house more memorable.

The people who walk through your house will make their own opinions as they examine your place from one room to another. If you have done your part, you can get your reward when you see and hear your buyers admire your house during the tour.

Once they start asking about the condition of your furnace or the age of the roof, you can say that they are already interested.

6. Keep to yourself the reasons for your selling.

You may or may not know it, but the factors that cause you to sell your property greatly influence how you set the price, how much money and time you need to spend in getting the whole place ready for the public.

Determine what exactly is more important in your case, the time period your property is available on the market, or the amount of money you get out of it? Your goals and reasons will influence your approaches.

But the smart thing to do is to keep them to yourself because disclosing your reasons to other people can have its own risk.  They may use it to their advantage at the negotiation stage. You can always say that the needs and demands of your family regarding housing have changed.

7. Do some research to help you set a price.

Determining the value of your property should be done with great care. As soon as you have established your offering price and told buyers the highest they need to pay for the property, also remember that pricing way too high is just as risky as pricing it too low.

A serious home buyer is checking out more or less 15-20 houses and considering yours while doing so. In other words, they can establish a basis of comparison.

Make sure your home is set in the the price range as with the other available properties in the area , otherwise your house will just sit for a long time on the market.

Prospective buyers and real estate agents will not look at your house favorably because you did not set a price range accordingly. Consequently, new buyers will think that there must be a problem with your property.

When planning to sell, the most important decision you need to make is setting the right price. Opting to go too high can easily make every prospect lose interest, while going too low means leaving money on the table.

An effective technique for pricing your house competitively is to dedicate some time to look at the properties of your competitors. By using this approach, you can see their homes through the buyer’s eyes. You should be honest with yourself when doing a comparison with your competition. Ask yourself what would be the price to put your house as being the best value proposition for all those potential buyers?

Here’s the thing, a buyer does not head into a realtor’s office and declare that they wish to see houses priced at $350,000 dollars specifically.

In reality, they would ask to check out properties between selling prices in around five to ten thousand dollars.

With this, set the selling price of your home close to these prices. For example, a selling price of $350,000 could give you a number of inquiries the same as the price of $339,900. But, if you change your price down to $325,000, this would help broaden your pool of prospective buyers.

8. Maximize your storage space.

Plenty of closet and storage space is an advantage. If you have lots of storage areas in your home, they should be neatly organized and if possible, half empty.

In case your place does not have enough storage area, then come up with some ideas that would suggest plenty of storage to the prospects who visit. Get yourself several shelving units and keep them in the basement. Again, stuff them with your things just half way, and organize them neatly.

9. Use value range marketing.

Value range marketing is a good technique to use when it comes to pricing. It can be the key to more house openings and more offers.

VRM is a pricing strategy that allows you to pick a listing range amount according to what you are selling today.

You will want to select a smaller amount, which is something that you would use as a starting point when negotiating for some middle ground. Instead of listing your property with a specific market value of $315,000 dollars, you list it from $285,000 to $385,000.

10. Make your house ready for occupancy.

 Your house by itself should make a positive impression on the potential buyers. Clean the rooms and arrange the furniture properly. Clear the mess from a disorderly room. Fill all areas of the house with natural lighting. Try your best to make sure your house looks picture perfect. Of course, it should look appealing in person, catching the interest of all the prospective home buyers.

 11. Beautify your front door.

Don’t you know that making improvements to your front door can give you good value for your money. ThermaTru commissioned a study, revealing that a better looking entrance can increase up to $24,000 to the perceived value of a house.

Do not disregard making small changes to your place even as minor as putting your new house numbers. These small improvements can add value too your property.  Refurbish old door knobs or add new ones. You see, these minor adjustment can make a major impact on prospective buyers. Overall, these solutions usually create big splashes.

12. Rearrange your kitchen.

 The kitchen is a major deciding factor for a buyer who is looking for a new home. This is because the kitchen is the gathering area for many households. You do not need to renovate the entire kitchen. Instead, use your money on installing new kitchen lights or renovating a new faucet.  Brighten up the area. Paint outdated kitchen cabinets. Change the knobs, hinges and pulls with new ones. For a modern appeal, opt for  nickel and chrome in a satin finish.

Many times, the sellers opt for finishes according to their personal tastes and preferences. Actually, the sellers should make their interior design appealing to the vast majority of buyers. You can find your inspiration to a new construction local community. Take a look at their model homes and check their decorations and finishes.

13. Pay attention to the important things.

Although doing repairs and improvements for aesthetic purposes can help increase your market value, do not do if they mean more major home projects.

A prospect would be happier that you have repaired the electrical wiring or upgraded the plumbing system. There is no need to redo your deck area or remodel the bathroom.

With regards to the curb appeal, the roofing is one of the first things that people see. If you think your roof needs to be replaced, almost certainly the buyers would see that too. Then, they would use that to negotiate the price off. Therefore, focus on those more important changes so you can stick to your selling price.

 14. Give bonus to your agents.

An agent who brings a prospect to a house is commonly known as the buyer’s agent or the selling agent. In an industry packed with inventory, it is also a smart move to provide an incentive to your agents as your way of inspiring them to show your property more often. Do not cringe at the thought of paying the brokers extra cash. In fact, it may be the motivation they need to sell your house more aggressively for a premium price.

15. Choose a competitive agent.

Every listing agent works differently. Do a research to get yourself a competent agent. Interview several agents before you make your decision. Ask neighbors, friends, relatives and colleagues for recommendations. Keep in mind, create a detailed marketing strategy prior to signing a listing agreement.

16. Promote two way critiques.

An effective home seller is someone who does not react negatively to  constructive criticism. To be a successful home seller, you should be able to be open to suggestions from your agents.

These professionals can share their expertise from the pricing, to lighting to the curb appeal. By following their suggestions, you can secure the highest possible selling price for your house. On the other hand, you will want to find a listing agent that is also willing to listen for suggestions.

17. Turn the rooms back to their original functions.

If you have been using one of your bedrooms as an office, arrange it again as a bedroom.  If you have been using the supposed dining room as a study area, then return it to its original purpose. But if you want, show your prospects a picture of what the other potential uses of a room.

18. Worn rugs and carpets is a no-no.

A dirty carpet or rug is a major turn off for home buyers. You may try cleaning them but if it does not work, get rid of them especially if there are hardwood flooring under it.

 19.Choose the paint accordingly.

Repaint all the rooms in your home in neutral shades. While your kid loves her colorful room, a prospect probably will not like it. Also, a house that is freshly painted looks newer, cleaner and more modern.

20. Pre-paids and incentives.

A buyer has probably chosen his to two or three choices, including your home. With this, you want to give a little push to your buyers to encourage them to act now. As you way of encouragement, provide incentives such as paying for the closing costs or repairs, giving credits for home improvements, buying down the interest rate on the prospect’s loan, etc.

At the same time, you can offer to prepay for certain services such as golf club memberships, internet services for a whole year or homeowners association fees.

21. Stage your house and increase the curb appeal.

Generally speaking, buyers will not commit to closing the deal unless they develop an emotional bond in your house. You job is to create a strong first impression so work hard to improve the appearance of your home. Begin with the outside of your house, working toward the interiors.

22. Give attention to high impact areas of the house.

If you cannot stage your whole house, then pay attention to those areas that are important to prospective buyers. A survey from Realtor.com listed these high impact rooms:

  • Living room
  • Dining room
  • Kitchen
  • Master bedroom
  • Bathroom
  • Guest bedroom
  • Children’s bedroom

 23. Search everything.

Get serious with the cleaning aspect. A thorough cleaning achieves a couple of positive things: It makes the place appealing to the buyers’ eyes and a clean home also sends out the impression of a properly-maintained home. Do not  forget to remove odors, such as of cigarettes or pets.

 24. Clear away eyesores.

There is no need to spend a big amount of money on staging your home, but make sure you get rid of all eye sores to prevent any kind of objections from your prospective buyers. When it comes to this, do not fool yourself. Your old bland carpet will not look new after cleaning it. You might as well tear it up and change it with affordable yet modern-looking carpet. You may go for floating tile floors.

To obtain the highest possible amount for your house, you need to fix all the problems. Replace, remove and repair. Check if the windows are easily opened. Make sure the toilet flushes well. Fix the faucet leaks, as well as regrout the tile.

If you think you can get away with ignoring these details, the buyers would likely demand some concessions in order to carry out the repairs themselves.

25. Turn on the lights.

Light up your house by using appropriate illumination. The American Lighting Association recommends using three kinds of lighting effects to help the interiors look functional and stylish:

  • Task lighting – This throw lighting on work areas, ideal in the kitchen area for cooking and preparing food, at desks for studying and reading, and in the bathroom for grooming. They may be under-cabinet lights, pendant lights, table lamps, floor lamps or track lights.
  • Ambient lighting – These kinds of lights are also called general lights. They can easily Illuminate an entire room. For example,  chandeliers, wall mounted lights,  or track lighting.
  • Accent lights – These may be lamps and track lights to illuminate a painting, a decorative item or perhaps an architectural detail.

26. Pre-inspection and pre-appraisal.

An appraisal of your property before a buyer makes an offer is your way of having an objective voice. It can provide good value for your home as you talk to the buyers.

Moreover, as the seller, you need to do a pre-inspection to give the potential buyers with a thorough house inspection including dry rot and  pest inspections.

27. Increase the sales potential of your home.

A company in North America spends billions of dollars on the packaging and product design. Appearance is vital so never ignore this aspect when selling a house.

While you cannot do anything about the location of your house as well as its floor plan, you can certainly do a lot to improve its visual appeal.

The appearance of a property yields a certain emotional response compared to all other factors. It goes without saying that house cleaning means dusting, scouring, washing, scrubbing, straightening and picking up. The goal here is to showcase your house to form a wow reaction from potential buyers.

A buyer typically imagines how it is to live in your house Clearly, buying a house is based mostly on emotions and not from reasoning.

Potential buyers would like to try your place on as they would on trying new clothing. Do not follow them as they walk around so you can point out all the focal points. By doing that, you are only making them uncomfortable and disturbing their imagination as the owner.

28. Do not rely on Zestimate

Zillow Zestimate is a tool that helps real estate agents in generating leads. While it is an effective tool, it is not always accurate. It is a computerized system based on public records, which can be wrong at times. These public records sometimes include incorrect number of bathrooms and bathrooms. These mistakes are the result of Zestimate inaccuracy.

Personally, I think the problem with the tool exists because it fails to take into account important details such as the upgrades, features and overall condition of a property.

Those details actually need a human being to look at  the property and see how it compares to other houses. As soon as those information is done, the value needs to be changed as well.

We are really not here to criticize the Zestimate. The system functions alright for the general market value estimates, particularly when the property is in a subdivision with similar houses. A house is almost certainly the biggest thing you will sell in your life.

You do not look at the amount of other people’s homes in the area is listed, or check the amount of other properties for sale at the present are listed. It is not recommended because you want to know precisely what properties have been sold for, and not what they are trying to sell for.

The only reason why a house is still available on the market is that the property is probably too expensive. And so, one way of predicting what a property will sell for is  knowing what similar houses are sold for.

Do not list your house for the amount you need or want, as this is the wrong move. In all honesty, it is not important what you need or want to get the most for your home, as this is not a good pricing technique.

Truth be told, a property is exactly worth what a buyer would be willing to pay. Whatever you want will have no bearing whatsoever.

The main factor to home selling with the best price is to set your price strategically. You should explore similar properties that were sold recently in the neighborhood. Find out the average days that houses stay on market. A professional a real estate agent will be the right person to help you sell your house. Find someone who is familiar with your area.

29. Do not get upset by a low offer.

More often than not, the initial offer you get is below your fair market value. When this happens, do not react negatively. Assess the offer in a rational manner.

Take into account the selling price, the down payment, the deposit, the mortgage loan, the closing date, along with several other requests.

Through these details,  you have a starting point, in which you can make a deal. All things considered, it is possible to counter an offer that is low.

Kristina Howard

Kristina Howard

Kristina Howard - Real Estate Writer at RateTake
Kristina has worked – as writer, editor or publisher – on numerous real estate websites. Her career took her form being a Real Estate Agent to an avid writer.
Kristina Howard

Written by Kristina Howard

Kristina Howard

Kristina has worked – as writer, editor or publisher – on numerous real estate websites. Her career took her form being a Real Estate Agent to an avid writer.