People are understandably nervous about selling their home. It’s probably your biggest asset! Many people also need to pay off their mortgage when they sell – and hopefully have enough left over afterward to put into a new house. Here are the top tips for getting the most out of selling your home.
Price it right.
It may be tempting to price your home high. After all, you want to get the most money possible, and buyers will probably try to lowball you, right? So why not stack the deck in your favor and start off with a higher price? Well, there’s a little something called appraised value. See, there’s a price that the market is willing to bear (i.e., what a buyer will pay), and then there’s the value the bank places on a home, known as the appraised value. A bank won’t approve a mortgage on a home that is more than the appraised value. There are some very seller-friendly markets in which homes will sell for more than the appraised value, with buyers bringing large sums of cash to closing, or purchasing in all cash, but this isn’t common. You want to hire a realtor who understands the market and knows what your home is worth. If possible, ask your realtor if you can price your home low to spark a bidding war and sell quickly.
Clean and declutter.
Cleaning before an open house might not be that hard, but cleaning with only a few hours’ notice, on a weeknight, after working all day, when the kids have sports practice right after dinner can be difficult. Don’t just shove clutter into a closet – potential buyers will look through cupboards and linens to check for space. If you’re disorganized, it makes buyers think they won’t be able to organize their stuff, either. Clean at least half the stuff out of your closets and pack it into a storage unit (or in a garage or basement if you can do it neatly and still have plenty of space). Then, buy a few storage baskets that can easily fit in the bottom of a closet or under a bed. When a potential buyer is on the way over, throw toys, work materials, and other small clutter in the baskets. Your closets will still look spacious and it will make cleaning up easy.
Hire a pet sitter.
You love your animals, but a possible buyer might not. Some people fear dogs, are allergic to cats, or simply think animal residents have created dirt and damage in the house. You also don’t want strangers to accidentally let pets where they’re not allowed, like the basement or backyard. For the safety and peace-of-mind of everyone, find a trusted boarding facility where you can keep your animals while showing your home.
Make it generic.
You’ve probably spent years personalizing your house, and really making it into a cozy home! So it will go against your instinct to strip out family photos, name decals, or displays of awards. But selling your home is about allowing the next buyer to picture themselves in your space. They want to imagine their own wedding photos on the mantle – not yours! It might also mean ditching the super-comfy recliner that’s being held together with duct-tape, or the huge armoire that used to belong to your grandmother and now takes up half the dining room. Temporarily, of course. Move personalized items into storage along with your clutter. You might also want to ask your realtor if you should hire a home staging company to help decorate your home in a way that will make it most appealing to buyers.
Don’t over do it.
Many people renovate right before selling, but you won’t always make that money back. Check out our list of the home upgrades that add the most value in the Philadelphia market. If your neighbors have granite, you probably don’t want to spring for Italian Carrera marble. If everyone on you block has a 2000 square foot home, a 1500 square foot addition might not be the best choice. The outside of your home, however, is the first impression a buyer has of the property. Make it shine! Ask your realtor for home improvement suggestions that can help your home sell fast and for top dollar.
If you are ready to sell your Philadelphia home, please contact me to see how I can make your property stand out. And remember: friends don’t let friends buy or sell homes without Agent Lady!
About Agent Lady: Cherise Wynne is a leading real estate agent in Philadelphia, helping home buyers and sellers navigate the City of Brotherly Love, with a special focus on first time home buyers. To chat about getting started with your first time home buying experience, click here.