I’m a Real Estate Agent: This Is What You Should Know Before You Put Your Home Up for Sale
Selling your home can be stressful — and emotional.
Whether you are looking to upgrade and move to a new neighborhood or are downsizing into a smaller place, getting ready to sell your home takes work. While it’s important to finish up last-minute projects and get everything ready for listing, some things are more important than others.
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We talked with two real estate agents to get their best tips on selling your home for the most money and what they wish clients knew before listing their homes for sale.
Pricing Matters — a Lot
One of the most important factors to listing your home is the price. This is the first impression a potential buyer will see, and it sets the tone for how buyers will interact with you and your home listing. Doing it wrong can cost you.
Ben Gold, real estate agent and founder of Recommended Home Buyers, said, “Properly pricing the home from the beginning is crucial for attracting potential buyers and maximizing value. Overpricing can lead to prolonged market time and limited interest, while underpricing may result in leaving money on the table.”
Andrew Johnston, a real estate agent in Las Vegas, agrees.
“When you are discussing pricing your home, it’s important to understand the specific reasons why homes have sold for the price they have in your area,” he said. “Did it have a pool? Perhaps a bigger yard, or nicer countertops/flooring? All of those will make a difference when it comes to listing your home. And if you are adamant on overpricing your home, you are only giving potential buyers a benchmark to compare your house to your neighbor’s home.”
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Staging Can Boost Your Sale Price
Listing your home for sale involves more than a few pictures and a description online. You need to set up your home in a way that invites potential buyers to envision themselves living there. Staging your home may feel like an unneeded extra expense, but it can make a massive difference.
“Presentation matters,” Gold said. “Investing time and effort in home staging can significantly enhance a property’s appeal to potential buyers. Decluttering, depersonalizing and highlighting the home’s best features create a welcoming and desirable atmosphere.”
Staging not only makes the pictures better; but, when potential clients walk through during an open house, it can help them feel more inclined to want to purchase the home.
Plan Your Marketing Strategies in Advance
If you want top dollar for your home, you need to ensure it is marketed correctly. This means having a comprehensive plan in place before you list it.
“Comprehensive marketing strategies, including professional photography, virtual tours and online listings, are essential to attract a wide range of buyers,” Gold said. “An agent with a robust marketing plan can effectively showcase the home’s unique qualities and increase exposure.”
So don’t settle for an agent that doesn’t showcase a full-proof marketing plan for your home.
You Should Interview Multiple Real Estate Agents
Just because your cousin’s boyfriend just became a real estate agent does not obligate you to use him to sell your home. In fact, you should interview multiple agents to find the best one for your specific situation. It’s not offensive; it’s just a smart strategy.
“Your home [is] likely one of the largest transactions you will handle in your lifetime; don’t just entrust it to the first person who walks through the door,” Johnston said. “Ask questions, be curious and talk to the agent about their strategy to get your home sold quickly for the highest dollar. If they don’t seem confident that they can’t get the work done, or [they] simply don’t impress you, it is well within your right to call another agent.”
Be Flexible When Your Home Is on the Market
Once your home is listed, you can’t expect people to simply line up down the block to see your home at a time that fits your schedule. You might need to be more flexible than normal to ensure potential buyers have access to your home.
“It’s so important to limit the number of hoops potential buyers need to jump through to be able to see your home,” Johnston said. “If you, as the seller, are only available to show the home from 2 to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, and your neighbor can show it any day of the week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., you are likely going to see the SOLD sign on the wrong front lawn.”
Working with your agent to be flexible and available can help.
“Communicate with your agent about your availability, how much heads up you need and what concerns you have about allowing potential buyers in your home,” Johnston said. “It’s reasonable to request a four-hour heads-up on weekdays.”
Keep Your Home Clean and Inviting
Speaking of people looking at your home, it’s important to keep everything tidy so potential buyers are not distracted by a messy home.
Johnston put it this way: “When staging your home for sale, potential buyers are not likely to fall in love with your pile of dirty laundry and 3-day-old dishes in the sink. Keep your home as clean and tidy as possible when showing it to prospects. They will appreciate it and are more likely to move forward with an offer if they can envision their own style in your home.”
Johnston recommends removing personal items from the home, just long enough to snag a few offers.
“Declutter and live with just the essentials for the weeks you may be accommodating showings of your home,” he said. “Fun fact: The first impression of a home happens within the first 0.2 seconds — and it’s the smell. Make sure you have a nice air freshener plugged in, or put some fresh flowers by the front door.”
Listing your home for sale is a big deal. It’s potentially one of the largest assets you will ever sell. Having a plan in place to maximize the opportunity and working with a seasoned professional can help you get the best price.
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