1. Take the “personal” out of the real estate selling process.
You need to change the mindset you have with your home by removing the personal relationship you have with it. You’ve spent years building memories in your home but now you need to change hats and treat your home sale as a business. Believing you are a business person will assist you in thinking of the all of features and benefits your home has to offer and will treat your home like a business transaction which it is.
2. The real estate market is constantly changing and is based on fundamental economics of supply and demand so pricing your home accurately is critical.
The financial markets can change on a dime. You can invest $1000 for a share of Apple stock at the beginning of the year and by year’s end that stock share may be trading at $1500 or maybe only $500. Understand that the real estate market is similar in this process. Your home may have been worth $500,000 in 2000 and may be only worth the $500,000 in 2019. Value is dependent on the outcome of a thorough comparative market analysis or appraisal, supply and demand of the market, appreciation or depreciation and micro-economics.
3. Pricing your home accurately to the current market is paramount in selling your home close to the list price and in a timely fashion.
Find like-kind home sales that have occurred in the past 6-12 months in your neighborhood. Even if your sell your house for what you believe is the “right price,” in 99% of the sales that include a financing element, a buyer’s lender is going to require an appraisal. An appraiser is going to determine current value. Appraisers are going to adjust your home’s value up or down compared to the other similar sold properties based on the property location, age, condition, lot size and improvements made. If an appraiser comes in with a value lower than your agreed sales contract price, you may be forced to reduce the selling price to the value of the appraisal. Real Estate websites can assist you in determining market value such as Zillow, Realtor.com or Google. You won’t get all of the details about the inside of the home condition or nuances of every location, but it should get you in the ballpark.
4. Real estate is hyper-local.
Comparing your property’s value to another property in a different neighborhood, town or village is counter-productive. One town/village/area of the city may be up in value while another may be down. For today’s Millennial buyer, there may be more interest in proximity to urban areas. Young buyers are favoring suburbs or inner city neighborhoods where there is outstanding walkability, close to transportation, & close to restaurants, gyms and coffee shops.
5. De-clutter, De-clutter, De-clutter
If you’ve been in your home for many years you’ve accumulated stuff. Most likely 50% of the items you have in your home should be stored, sold or donated. A seasoned realtor or professional organizer or stager will remove items that you think you need but really don’t. They remove area rugs off of hardwood floors to show more of the hardwood flooring and increase the size of a room, personal photos taken down, religious accessories should be stored, cat-dog pillows replaced or removed, carpets may need to be removed or professionally cleaned, accessories such as small plants, bowl of fruit, fresh towels could also add nice touches.
6. Freshen up your home If you want to get the highest price for your property, consider making some improvements to it
Painting your walls and baseboard with light colors, cleaning your front door, windows-window sills, taking down old wall paper if dark or frilly, changing outdated light fixtures, installing brighter & consistent lightbulbs throughout, adding a NEST or similar digitally programmed thermostat, replacing old heating and air systems, roofs and water heaters (or purchase a home insurance warranty policy that will cover those items should break down)
7. First Impressions are everything
You may only get one chance to entice a buyer to look at your property when they are searching on-line. It is critical to put your best foot forward by having the best photographs taken and floorplans created that will highlight your property. If you want to spend a little more money & get a bit more exposure, consider a video, or 3D Tour.
8. Have your home inspected prior to putting it on the market
One way to alleviate problems that may arise during negotiations are inspection items. If you find out there are deficiencies in your home before you list, you can have those things taken care of prior to listing it.
Illinois law requires homeowners who have knowledge of lead-based paint, Radon gas, and other known latent defects are to be disclosed to potential buyers.
Three forms that are required to be filled out include: The Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure, Lead-based paint disclosure and the Radon disclosure.
If you decide to list your home yourself, consider listing your home in the Multiple Listing Service. You’ll have to hire a discount brokerage firm to have your home listed and pay a co-operative commission to a buyer’s realtor, but this will allow the greatest exposure for your property. The MLS syndicates its listings to all of the major real estate/realtor websites such as Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, @Properties, Coldwell Banker etc.
Harry Maisel is Illinois licensed real estate broker with @ Properties and is consistently in the top 1% of Chicago real estate brokers. He has assisted hundreds of sellers and buyers clients in over $300 million of transactions.