Selling your home takes time, effort, and perseverance, but that doesn’t mean it has to be stressful.
Many people fall into the trap of hiring an estate agent and letting them do all the work. Estate agents are good, but they aren’t miracle workers. Sometimes they need a little extra help from you to get the ball rolling.
We will show you some prompt questions to help you understand your home, its worth in the market, and its value to you personally. After that, we will give you our 15 tips to make selling your home easier and more successful.
Table of Contents
- Things to Consider When Selling Your House:
- 15 Tips For Selling Your Home:
- 1. Make A Selling Strategy
- 2. List The Correct Price
- 3. Prepare The Home For Selling
- 4. Depersonalize The House
- 5. Let Some Light In The House
- 6. Address All Odors In The House
- 7. Remove Excess Furniture And Clutter
- 8. Organize & Tidy Everything
- 9. Take Care of The Landscape
- 10. Hire A Professional Photographer
- 11. Consider a Video Tour As Well
- 12. Make Sure You Are Marketing Using All Channels
- 13. Be Flexible With Showings
- 14. Avoid Having Your Pets Around During The Showings
- 15. Consider Hiring an Estate Agent
Things to Consider When Selling Your House:
In this generation, most people will have owned two or three homes in their life. Very few people buy a house and stay there forever. But selling a house isn’t as easy as buying one; there are a couple of factors you need to be aware of before you put the building on the market.
Why You Are Selling The House
Before we go too deep down the rabbit hole, you should be fully aware of why you are selling your home. Are you a growing family that needs more space? Do you want to downsize, to reduce the amount of cleaning? Are you moving location, and want a home in the new area?
Whatever your reasons are, figure out if you can fix them without moving. Would an extension make your home big enough for everyone living there? If you section off a part of your home and rent it out, would the new size be easier to maintain? How often will you be working in the new location; would renting an apartment part-time be more appropriate?
Think about how adapting your home could benefit you, and then weigh up the pros and cons of staying and going. Even if you still think it would be better to sell, at least you have crossed those thoughts out of your mind.
Whether You Can Afford To Buy Another One
If you are hoping to buy a bigger property, a property in a more affluent area, or “trading up” in any way, then you need to know if you can afford the upgrade. You need to have an honest look at your finances and objectively reason if you can handle the change in price.
This means looking into your current income and expenses, then researching your next location’s area and seeing how much the costs will change. An estate agent might be able to give you a guideline, but only you can determine if the price is too high.
Remember to consider retirement, education, and fun days out when you look at the numbers. Making ends meet and living a good life are two different things.
If you are moving to a cheaper location or a more affordable home, you should still consider the bill changes. This way you can see how much you will save. It may be that the mortgage is cheaper, but the energy prices are higher, and so your expected savings isn’t as big as you hoped.
How Much Is Your Current House Worth?
Before you put a figure next to your home, you need to look at the realistic value of your house. What you paid originally is unlikely to be its current price. Estate agents would analyze the value of the homes around you and how many homes similar to yours have sold. They will also calculate how the known changes in the area will increase or decrease its value. Is your local government adding in a beautiful park or removing key landscapes to build more houses. These questions affect your house’s price.
If you aren’t in a hurry to sell your home, you may think to advertise for a high price tag as you would rather wait for the money to come in than move; however, this is a risky endeavor. If the price doesn’t match the worth, then your property might not shift at all. Remember that buyers will be looking at homes like yours all around your area. If someone is selling a house just like yours for cheaper, the buyer will go with the lower-priced option.
If you price your home low, then you are more likely to get offers and sell your house quicker; however, you need to fit that price into your budget. Ideally, the payment should pay off your current mortgage and more, but depending on its condition and your location, you might not be able to reach this ideal standard.
Have You Researched The Market Enough?
Do not underestimate the power of research. If you know that the government plans to build a freeway 20 minutes from your house, you can use that information to hike up the price. You can sell your home with that paper attached and explain to potential buyers that they are investing in a great connection.
This is just one example, of course, but if you don’t have the time to research your area and gather all the details about your location, paying someone else to do the job might be the better idea.
Estate agents spend half their time researching your home, its direct locational value, and its indirect locational value. This is why hiring a professional is often the best idea, however, you shouldn’t bulk all of the research on them. First, you need to find a good agent. Agents often make money through commission, which means they want your house to sell for a high price, so they will get more money from the exchange.
Balance high prices with good customer service, quick delivery, and realistic value. See what the agency has sold recently, compare it to the costs of the other homes nearby and see how long the homes were on the market for. Do this a couple of times and weigh up the facts with how you want the service to go.
Do You Have The Skills to Sell the House Yourself?
We have mentioned estate agents a lot, but their commission rates might be enough to put you off hiring their service. If that’s the case, you can try selling the house yourself, but remember you won’t have the agency’s network of connections to help you, and you may have to pay the buyer’s commission rate for their agency worker. It would still be less money than hiring an agent, but don’t assume all payments are gone.
To sell the home by yourself, you need to do the work an agent would do. Remember this is their full-time gig, so they would have the time to research, prepare and spread the word about your home.
You will need to have the skills to search your location, both locally and statewide, find key information that can sell your home (are you near to a beach, how close are the shops, what is the connectivity like?), compare the market with homes near yours, and find a reputable location to advertise your home.
15 Tips For Selling Your Home:
Knowing what to look for and how to prepare can relieve the stressful elements of selling a home. Most people who find the process frustrating feel that way because they have underestimated how long it will take and overestimated how much they can sell for.
These tips will help you balance out the odds, making the experience more manageable.
1. Make A Selling Strategy
Understanding your own needs will help you make a strategy. Do you have a minimum value that you will accept, or do you have a time frame it needs to be achieved by?
If you are using an estate agent, you need to tell them these requirements. To make sure they are achieved, you shouldn’t let the agent become your representative. Agents are there to value your home and get others interested in it; they don’t need to talk to the buyers and make deals unless you want them to.
If an agent is also your representative, then they may push up the price of your home to get a better commission. This means you will get more for your house, but it might take longer to sell. Sometimes the opposite happens when the agent knows the house will take a while to shift, so they lower the price to get the house moving, which means reducing the payout you will receive.
Depending on the agency, these workers might do all of this behind your back and after the sale has been agreed. To avoid this, don’t agree to the agent becoming the representative. Instead, only hire them to showcase the property.
2. List The Correct Price
Your home’s price tag has a direct link to how long it will take to sell. Price it too high, and your home will be ignored; you will have to drop the price. The longer the house is on the market for, the more likely buyers will become suspicious of it. They will think that there is something wrong with the home, which the sellers are hiding. This means that you will eventually drop the price, lower and lower, until you decide to take the house off of the market and try again another year, or you cave and sell for a lower price.
If you price your home too low, you will receive a quick sell, but you could have had more money from the exchange.
Ideally, you should lower the price to 2% less than the market price. This is because the buyers will be searching your area and looking at homes online. They will have instant access to photos, location information, and homes in your area. If they see two houses (yours and others), but one is cheaper than the other, then they will opt for the more affordable choice.
3. Prepare The Home For Selling
If you have lived in your home for a while, or even if you have owned it for a short time, your house will need to be spruced up before you try and sell it. The easiest ways to make your home look attractive is to replace any blown light bulbs, paint the interior walls, paint the exterior walls and remove any dirt or mess.
This quick-fix can be done over a weekend (depending on its original state) and will make your home seem like it’s ready to move in, and therefore less hassle.
If your home has some undesirable problems, like a water leak, an overgrown yard, or old worn carpets, then you may need to put in extra time and care into fixing these issues before taking photos. If you don’t repair these problems, then not only will your house be valued lower, but you will have to wait for buyers who want a challenge. Most buyers want a home they can live in straight away, so repairing these drawbacks will stop you from holding onto a decaying house.
4. Depersonalize The House
Buyers want to see themselves in your home; they want to walk in the front door as they visualize moving through the home like it was an everyday movement. To help them create that image, remove anything from your house which is personalized to you.
If you own merchandise from a band that you hang on your walls, take it down. If you have a unique taste in ornaments, hide them in the attic. These things make the home yours, and if your preferences are vastly different from the buyers, then they will not be able to visualize themself living in the space.
You can keep some pictures on the walls to show where their frames can go, but try to remove frames that clutter the house. If you have landscape paintings or anything that doesn’t connect too closely to your own life, then keep them on display. They are a great way to show your house as a home without making it seem like it’s already owned.
5. Let Some Light In The House
People love natural light; it makes a house seem bigger, more vibrant, and more welcoming. When taking photos, or walking someone around your home, make sure the curtains, blinds, and shades are all open.
If you don’t have a lot of natural light in your home, try to place lamps in these parts of the room which seem dark. We suggest using bulbs with a warm light; this means they are more orangey, like the morning sun, rather than bright white like a classroom. The idea is to create a comfortable atmosphere, so these colors will be more likely to calm your potential buyers.
6. Address All Odors In The House
Do not trust your nose. You might think that your home smells “neutral,” but there will be smells that linger in your house which you are unaware of. This phenomenon is called being “nose-blind.” Our brain recognizes that these smells aren’t important to us, as we smell them all the time, so we don’t register them. This is especially true if you have children or pets.
Foul odors can immediately turn off potential buyers, as they fear the smell cannot be removed. As we said before, buyers often want a house they can immediately move into, which already has a welcoming feeling.
Ask someone who doesn’t come into your home often to smell your house. Ask for an honest opinion to get real feedback. Then deep clean the areas of the house which need the most attention. Strip your sofa, clean the cushions, and wash your carpets. You may want a professional cleaner to take on the work for you.
After the deep clean, remember to keep your doors and windows open to allow fresh air to circulate around your home.
7. Remove Excess Furniture And Clutter
Having lots of furniture or clutter in a room will make it look smaller than it is. You might think these items will show a buyer that they can fit more in the spaces than they initially thought, but in reality, the area will simply feel cramped.
Removing these items doesn’t mean you have to bin them. We suggest storing items that don’t get used often and can be put away without disturbing your daily life, into a storage unit. This way, you can keep hold of them for when you want to move into your new property while still making your current home more appealing to potential buyers.
If you are unsure what “excessive” might mean, you can ask your estate agent what they think should be removed or what can happily stay. If you remove too much, it will be hard for the buyers to visualize what they can put into the space, so you need to keep the balance healthy.
Ideally, you don’t want the furniture to touch each other, you want a walking space between each item, and the surfaces should be left clear. This will show the buyers that they can move around the room with ease and can keep the area looking clean.
8. Organize & Tidy Everything
In our material world, people like to see ways in which they can store their items. If your home is tidy and organized, potential buyers will believe that they can keep the area tidy too. Even if you have organization boxes and storage solutions in view, this won’t be a turn-off as buyers will realize they can follow the same ideas.
If your home is untidy or even dirty, it will seem tainted. The buyers will automatically think of the hard cleaning they would have to do after you’re gone, and to many, this is an unnecessary issue that they don’t want to deal with.
To many buyers, their minds will settle on this statement; “if this is the state the house is in when they knew we were coming, what is it like in the hard-to-reach places we cannot see?”
Try to make your home as clutterless as possible by making the surfaces clean and clear. Don’t keep items on the floor; instead, find “homes” for them to live in around the house or put items in a storage unit.
9. Take Care of The Landscape
Remember that the outside of your home is just as important as the inside. If you have a decking that has bowed, is discolored, or has wood falling off, then it doesn’t matter how tidy the inside of your home is. The same goes for your yard.
Repair any damage to your walkway, decking, driveways, and anything else that is part of your front yard. If you own a grassy patch of land, be sure to mow it. If your flowers are out of season, replace them with something that shows the beauty of the landscape.
You may even want to clean and tidy the public areas around you. If you have a sidewalk that is covered in autumn leaves, try and tidy them up before a viewing.
All of the areas around you will be judged by the potential buyers, so clean up and take care of the landscape as a whole.
10. Hire A Professional Photographer
Professional photographers will be able to look around your property and figure out the best angles to capture the room and create a good size. They will also have amazing technology to capture the rooms at their finest.
A great picture will set you up for more buyers, and it’s the first thing they will look at. Most buyers will be looking online before they talk to anyone, so if you only have basic or bad photos, then they may dismiss your house before they even speak to you.
Professionals will also know what a buyer is interested in. They will capture the natural light and create the idealized version of your home. Then when the prospective buyers view your home, they will take that daydream imagery with them and place it in the room.
Your portfolio should have at least 30 photos of your home, all from different angles, including inside and outside. The more photos there are to look through, the more people can emotionally invest in your home.
11. Consider a Video Tour As Well
3D video tours have become more popular since the pandemic as it has allowed people to view homes when they cannot physically visit; however, the technology was helping sellers before the global catastrophe.
Just like photos, video tours allow potential buyers to view your home as if they were there, but this time with a more realistic dynamic. They can see what a person would look like in the room, tell how many steps it will take to move across the house, and understand how the natural light fills a room.
You cannot hide as much in a video tour as you can in a photo, so again you should hire a professional camera worker to style your home and tour the house. That way, you can have an experienced hand craft your home to entice a buyer to visit.
Even after someone has made a bid on your home, they will use this tour to figure out where their items will go. The video will create a stronger emotional connection to your buyers than photos will.
12. Make Sure You Are Marketing Using All Channels
Give yourself the best chance of selling your home; you need to use all the marketing channels available to you. This includes putting your home in brick-and-mortar estate agent shops, adding your listing to online platforms, and keeping your options open for multiple platform usage.
Some online platforms will not take a commission from you unless the buyer submits a request through them. This means that you don’t have to pay anything unless you receive results. Utilize these platforms, as your buyers will too.
You will get the most traffic from online websites, especially those that have an excellent reputation. Using a search engine, look up homes in your area and see which platforms are suggested first, second and third. Your potential buyers will receive the same platforms, so get your home into that market.
When it comes to estate agents with physical shops, you want to connect with a business that gets a lot of foot traffic. Before you sign up with someone, ask what their rates are, their policy on multi-platforming, and how many people come into their shop.
Some companies will only ask for payment once someone has put in a bid, but they need security from you. These groups don’t want anyone else trying to sell your property, as it means they lose out on the commission. These companies will tell you that they do not accept multi-platform selling. Unless you have no option, do not accept these conditions.
13. Be Flexible With Showings
Try to give your customers the range they need to view your home. If you only have strict viewing times, then half of your potential buyers will not be able to view your home, and so your likelihood of a good sale will decrease. Weekend viewings might be good for you, but everyone’s schedule is different.
If you only get a couple of hits from your online or shop outlets, then working around the buyers should be easy; however, if you get a lot of hits, you may need to give your agents times and dates that you can allow viewings. Maybe every weeknight apart from one, so you can get some time off.
Talk with your household and the agents to get the best balance of sales, work, and downtime.
14. Avoid Having Your Pets Around During The Showings
Some people do not like pets. You may have removed the classic smell of dog, and you may have removed that one chair with cat scratches, but if you don’t remove your pet too, then you may turn away a potential buyer.
Loud dogs, hissing cats aren’t the only problem in this scenario. Dogs that want to play and cats that want to be stroked can ruin the potential buyer’s interaction with the house and destroy the fantasy they have created through the videos and photos they have seen.
When you know you have a viewing, ask a friend or family member to look after your pets, so they don’t become startled during the showing, and the viewers have a chance to look around your home undisturbed.
If someone asks to view your home at the last minute, and you cannot find someone to look after your pet, warn the buyers about your animals and their behavior. This way, the potential buyers can decide to come another time or will at least be ready for your furry friends to say hello.
15. Consider Hiring an Estate Agent
Throughout our advice, we have suggested hiring an estate agent. Good estate agents will already have great photographers and videographers on their team to capture your home in all its glory. They may even have cleaning companies to recommend, storage companies to hire, and pet hotels to suggest if you need them.
Not every estate agent will have these connections, but all of them will have the skills, time, and dedication to sell your home.
Use all the tips we have given you to give your home the best odds of being sold. Estate agents know their business and can be super helpful in getting your house sold, but don’t let them become your representative; otherwise, they might sell your home for cheaper than you wanted, or they might bump up the price and make you wait.
Talk to your agent in detail about what you expect from the sale and the time scales you’re after, then get your house cleaned and ready for each viewing!