If you’ve been thinking about selling your house, you’ve probably heard this line for months now: "It’s a seller’s market. You’ll get your asking price."
There’s no denying that in many parts of the country, it is a seller’s market. At the same time, it’s no time to be complacent. If you don’t take the proper steps to prepare and market your house, you may end up settling for a lower price than want.
Whether you plan to sell your house on your own or you’re working with the most popular listing agent in town, here are our top 3 tips to help you sell your house for the highest price-tag:
1. The Price is Right
From the moment you put your house on the market, choose the right price — not too low, not too high. Often the strategy behind underpricing is to generate multiple offers or a bidding war — netting you a higher price. Yet, there’s no way to guarantee this will happen. In fact, by pricing too low, you may end up selling for much less than you had hoped for.
Likewise, if you price your house too high, it may sit on the market for a long time. In this case, you may have to drop the price and buyers will consider your listing overpriced and stale. You’ll probably eventually sell your house but you’ll likely end up with less than your initial inflated price.
Your house is likely your biggest asset, so don’t take a gamble and price it right.
2. First impressions matter
These days, a buyer’s first impression of your house will not happen at your curb, it will happen online. In fact, about 98% of buyers start their househunting online at sites like Zillow.com and Trulia.com, says Scott Farrell, a realtor and partner at Atlas Properties in Boston. If buyers don’t like what they see online, they will likely move on to the next listing.
Since looks matter, this means you should not take your own amateur photos using your phone as this often results in blurry, dark pictures that don’t show off your home’s best features. Instead, real estate experts recommend hiring a top-notch professional real estate photographer. Quality photos, taken with the proper lighting and lenses, will help your house stand out, appear bigger and brighter.
To that end, if your photos are fabulous, buyers will already love your house before they set foot inside, says Pam Foley, a realtor at Premier Properties in Easton, Ma.
"Professional photography is so important," she says, adding it may put you one step closer to getting the price you want.
3. Set the stage
Once you’ve made the wise decision to hire a professional real estate photographer, it’s key to make sure your house looks as good as it’s going to get. This means decluttering, boxing up your abundance of nick-nacks and personal photos, and staging.
Contrary to what you may believe, you don’t have to be an interior designer to stage your house. You also don’t have to watch hours of HGTV or spend thousands of dollars. You can, however, make some key changes that won’t cost anything such as moving existing furniture around to create a more open feeling or borrowing artwork from a friend. You can also buy some inexpensive accent pieces, throw rugs and accessories to add pops of color and spruce up rooms. And here’s another tip: Once you sell your house, you might be able to return these items if you no longer want them.
If you’re working with a realtor, definitely discuss staging options before you list your house. Your agent will help you present your house in the best light. He may even offer free staging services.
Buyers are both savvy and picky, so if you stage right and your house looks like it popped out of an interior design magazine, you’ll improve your chances of selling for top dollar.
Image: Markus Spiering