For sale by owner is a challenging endeavor that you shouldn’t manage alone. Below we have provided some tips to help you sell your home.
Tips for Pricing Your Home
- Consider comparables. What have other homes in your neighborhood sold for recently? How do they compare to yours in terms of size, upkeep, and amenities?
- Consider competition. How many other houses are for sale in your area? Are you competing against new homes?
- Consider your contingencies. Do you have special concerns that would affect the price you’ll receive? For example, do you want to be able to move in four months?
- Get an appraisal. For a few hundred dollars, a qualified appraiser can give you an estimate of your home’s value. Be sure to ask for a market-value appraisal. To locate appraisers in your area, contact The Appraisal Institute (www.appraisalinstitute.org) or ask me for a recommendation.
- Ask a lender. Since most buyers will need a mortgage, it’s important that a home’s sale price be in line with a lender’s estimate of its value.
- Be accurate. Studies show that homes priced more than 3 percent over the correct price take longer to sell.
- Know what you’ll take. It’s critical to know what price you’ll accept before beginning a negotiation with a buyer.
10 Ways to Make Your House More Sellable
- Get rid of clutter. Throw out or file stacks of newspapers and magazines. Pack away most of your small decorative items. Store out-of-season clothing to make closets seem roomier. Clean out the garage.
- Wash your windows and screens to let more light into the interior.
- Keep everything extra clean. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates. Mop and wax floors. Clean the stove and refrigerator. A clean house makes a better first impression and convinces buyers that the home has been well cared for.
- Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows.
- Put higher wattage bulbs in light sockets to make rooms seem brighter, especially basements and other dark rooms. Replace any burnt-out bulbs.
- Make minor repairs that can create a bad impression. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well maintained.
- Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, trim the bushes, and edge the walks. Put a pot or two of bright flowers near the entryway.
- Patch holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.
- Clean your gutters.
- Polish your front doorknob and door numbers.
Is Your Buyer Qualified?
Unless the buyer who makes an offer on your home has the resources to qualify for a mortgage, you may not really have a sale. If possible, try to determine a buyer’s financial status before signing the contract. Ask:
- If the buyer has been pre-qualified or pre-approved (better) for a mortgage. Such buyers will be in a much better position to obtain a mortgage promptly.
- Does the buyer have enough money to make a down payment and cover closing costs? Ideally, a buyer should have 20 percent of the home’s price as a down payment and between 2 and 7 percent of the price to cover closing costs.
- Is the buyer’s income sufficient to afford your home? Ideally, buyers should spend no more than 28 percent of total income to cover PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance).
- Does your buyer have good credit? Ask if he or she has reviewed and corrected a credit report.
- Does the buyer have too much debt? If a buyer owes a great deal on car payments, credit cards, etc., he or she may not qualify for a mortgage.
All reports reprinted from REALTOR Magazine Online by permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS. Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. www.REALTOR.org/realtormag