1. Price your home high from the beginning.
Many sellers have it in their mind that buyers will try to talk them down on the price of their home, so I often get the question “Why not start high?” This is a bad idea for several reasons.
Pricing your home way higher than what the comps (comparable properties) are showing will likely turn buyers away. Even if they like your home from viewing the photos online, overpricing it may cause them to forgo seeing the home in person, which is what we really want.
Even if a buyer tours your home, falls in love with it, and is okay with the price, will their lender be okay with the price? You must remember that your home must appraise if the buyer is financing the home. The lender won’t lend the funds for an overpriced home, so if it doesn’t appraise, the buyer will have to cover the difference out-of-pocket or the price will have to be negotiated down.
If a home is priced competitively and supported by the comps from the beginning, your home will draw a lot of interest from buyers and could possibly receive multiple offers. You don’t want to turn buyers away from the very beginning by overpricing your home. You also don’t want to give your home away for free. Talk with a real estate professional and have them draw up a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) and explain their findings to you. It’s important that you let the professional tour your home and point out any and all updates as this will affect the listing price.
2. This market is so hot, I can sell my home myself.
I’m not going to tell you that you can’t sell your home. You can. It’s just that it may be more time consuming than you thought, you may not get as much market exposure as you anticipated, it may take longer to sell, and your home may not sell for as much as if you had an agent.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), in 2015 a typical for sale by owner (FSBO) sold for $185,000 whereas a home sold by an agent sold for $240,000.
My recommendation: if you are busy, aren’t familiar with the contracts, or need to sell your home relatively quickly (in less than 4 months), then please consult with a realtor. It’s especially important to use a realtor if you are trying to purchase your next home at the same time. There are many moving parts and if one side of the transaction fails, then so will the other. I believe in this industry it’s hard for sellers to pay listing agents 3% because they simply don’t know what their realtor does for them. When meeting with sellers, I explain what they should expect during the selling process, provide a detailed list and time frame of my marketing plan to sell their home, and provide them with a net sheet so they can see all of the estimated costs of selling. When in doubt, meet with a real estate professional. Your only investment is time, but it could save you a ton of money and sanity.
3. I have to depersonalize everything in my home.
It never fails. I’ll meet with a new client and they will say,” I know I have to to take down all of our families photos. I just haven’t had time to do that yet.” The majority of sellers believe they have to make their home a clean slate and I’m here to tell you that that simply isn’t true. Honestly, I think that when a home is depersonalized, it looks stale and generic.
Sure, sometimes a little decluttering and depersonalizing is necessary. You don’t need Uncle Bobby on the wall 50 times throughout the house. You also don’t need your 100+ figurine mouse collection on the mantle (my grandmother loved them!). But having a family photo here and there adds personality to your home and makes it cozier. It allows the buyers to picture themselves in the home creating memories. Just don’t overdo it.
More importantly than concerning yourself with every decorative detail of your home (that’s what I will help you with), make sure your home is CLEAN. A home that is well-cared for is very evident to buyers. They automatically think, “If these people care this much for their home, it must be a great one and is well worth the money.”
4. Spring and summer are the best time to sell.
People commonly think that spring and summer are the best time to sell their homes because school is out, the weather is nice, etcetera, etcetera. These seasons may be the best time to sell in some regions, but here in Greenville, SC, any time is a great time to sell.
We are currently experiencing a seller’s market in Greenville meaning that there are a shortage of homes for sale. Not enough homes are available, so this increases the demand and competition among buyers. A normal housing supply lasts for 9 months. This means that if all of the existing homes on the market sold and no new homes came on the market, all of the supply would be gone in 9 months. We are at about a 3 to 4 month supply in Greenville right now.
Listing your home during the slower winter season is actually a competitive advantage before more homes come for sale in February/March. Serious buyers are still looking to buy this time of year!
5. If I spend $10,000 in upgrades, I’ll get $10,000 more when I sell my home.
There is such a thing as going too far when it comes to upgrading your home. It depends on what projects you have done as well as the quality of the finish, but it is rare that an upgrade will give you 100% return on investment (ROI).
According to Remodeling magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report, attic insulation has the highest return on investment saving homeowner’s money on their electricity bills. Other upgrades that are well worth the money are front doors and garage doors. These are the first things that buyers sell after all.
So you may be wanting to know, what are the worst projects for ROI? According to the same report, adding a bathroom to your home provided the least return on investment at 56.2%. It’s important to keep in mind the specific home, however. Having a 4 bed, 1 bath home and adding another bathroom making it a 4 bed, 2 bath may provide a greater ROI than having a 2 bed, 1 bath home and adding an additional bathroom. Other projects that didn’t have a great ROI were an upscale bathroom remodel and a composite deck addition.
6. You can rely solely on online home value estimates such as Zillow’s Zestimates to determine your listing price.
Most everyone is familiar with Zillow and their Zestimates. However, less know how Zillow arrives at the estimated sales price of your home. According to Zillow, it is a proprietray formula created by their statisticians. Although little is known as to the exact formula, Zillow does caution against using the Zestimate as the sole method to determine the listing price of your home. Instead, Zillow suggests to use their Zestimate as a starting point.
Here are some important things to keep in mind for those of you who think Zestimates are king:
- Zestimates are calculated from public and user-submitted data. So if a homeowner lies about their square footage, the home could be worth more.
- Facts about your home may be incorrect or missing. Incorrect information skews the Zestimate.
- Upgrades and remodels not considered. How would Zillow know if you installed level 8 granite countertops? That would be creepy if they did.
- Although Zillow says they do not use foreclosures in their algorithm to produce the Zestimate, they say in the following sentence that “…foreclosure re-sales do suppress the sale price of surrounding non-foreclosure homes.” When I perform my Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), I do not consider distressed properties (foreclosures, short sales) or properties that were sold to relatives or friends (must be an arm’s length transaction) unless your home fits into those criteria.
- Zestimates use all the data in a county for calculation, not only your neighborhood. When appraisers determine the value of your home, they analyze homes sold within your neighborhood first. If there are no recent sales in your neighborhood, they will go 1/2 mile or 1 mile radius around your home looking for similar properties. Zillow on the other hand uses data from the entire county.
In South Carolina, Zestimate values for 52.1% of homes are within 4.7% of sales price. So for the remaining 47.9% of homes in SC, the Zestimates are off by more than 4.7%.
7. You must allow all showings.
In this current market, if your home is priced less than $200,000, you can expect your home to sell quickly. My most recently listing had over 25 showings scheduled in the first two days. While you want to let as many buyers see your home as possible, it is important to remember that you don’t have to allow all showings.
There are several notification options you can choose from when someone books an appointment to come view your home. You can do what is called a “Go and Show” which is typically only if the home is vacant. The call center will not call you to ask permission for an agent to show your home. The second option is called a “Courtesy Call.” If you work from 9 am to 5 pm, for example, and know that you will not be home, then you may choose this option. The call center will call and notify you that there is a showing scheduled, but they do not need your permission to confirm the appointment. The third option is “Appointment Required.” The call center must make contact with you and hear back from you before allowing appointments. You may require that appointments be made 24 hours in advance, but try to be as flexible as you can.
If you are sick, your house busts a pipe, or have any other extenuating circumstances, please let your agent know. You do not have to show 24/7!
Want to chat with Jennifer about selling your home? Call her at (864) 293-4470 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!