How To Net The Most Selling Your Home In Ft. Wayne
This quick guide will show you how to sell your home for the best possible price in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Whether your home is $100,000 or $500,000, and whether you work with a realtor or choose the by-owner route, these strategies of pricing and preparing your home are most valuable.
If you would like to receive a professional estimate of your home’s value, call (260) 420-5730 or click here. As a full time professional realtor, these are some of the services I provide to clients, and I would be glad to help you.
1. Work with a Realtor or sell “by owner”?
FSBOs (for sale by owner) account for about for 8% of home sales in the U.S. The average FSBO home sells for $185,000 compared to $240,000 for realtor-assisted home sales. Selling on your own can save you the cost of a realtor commission… sort of. Often times, a seller will skip listing with an agent, but will usually pay a partial commission to an agent who brings a buyer/offer to the table. A FSBO seller will also typically pay a realtor to handle the contract/paperwork. There is clearly a savings to be had by selling on your own, but be careful and analytical in considering FSBO.
If you want to maximize your net, it really does make sense to work with a good realtor. There are a zillion realtors out there, and most of them are part-time dabblers or newbies. People think there’s an easy buck to be made in real estate, and most new agents drop out within a year or two. Steer clear. Selling your home is way too important a job to put in the hands of a dabbler. There is a high percentage of licensed agents who are just competent enough to be dangerous. You need a realtor who has experience, knowledge, and reliable systems.
2. Pricing your home correctly
I’ve gone in-depth on this topic in other posts. Pricing strategy is the #1 single most important factor in selling/netting the most (as well as selling quickly). It just cannot be overstated. I could have put this at the top of this list, but most people need the help of a good realtor to help with valuation. Zillow and other instant-value click bait are rarely correct. Updates, condition of the property, and time on the market all have an interactive dynamic, but price trumps all. Anything will sell at the right price. Pricing too high is the worst possible strategy, even worse than pricing too low. At least if the list price is below market value, you’ll likely get competing offers, and you can hold out or choose the best offer. Homes linger on the market because they are priced too high.
3. Preparation and staging
It seems like common sense, but I’m frequently amazed at how little attention is actually given to cleaning, decluttering and presentation. A professional stager (another service we provide to our clients) can make a tremendous difference, even just working with your stuff you already have. Pro tip: try to envision what the photos will look like while you’re prepping. We use a professional photographer to capture the best images of your home, so get the toaster, coffee maker, and dishtowel out of site. Declutter, then declutter some more. Buyers love clean, open spaces. Clutter is noise.
Sellers often obsess over small fixes, and sometimes the list of repairs creates paralyzing anxiety. Keep in mind: buyers fall in love with the overall look and feel of a home, not so much the details. But they will notice if there are too many repairs, and they will mentally create an exaggerated list of “to-dos”. Set a weekend goal to take care of maintenance, or hire a handyman to knock out your list (we can help with this). Ideally, if you can handle the $250-300 expense, you can have a professional home inspector perform the same inspection that a buyer will obtain – before you even list. You’ll get a detailed report of any deficiency or defect before it creates a problem with a purchase agreement. You can handle repairs up front, and even offer it to potential buyers to see that there are no hidden issues. The last thing you need is a purchase to fall apart, or to shell out big bucks prior to closing, because of a defect in the home’s condition. Neighbors talk, and word gets around.
4. Marketing the home to potential buyers
When your home is ready, it’s time to get those gorgeous high-quality photos out for world to see. To attract the best offer, we need to let all the potential home buyers know that your home is available for purchase. Specifically, we need to attract home buyers who are looking for a home like yours. We have to show up where they are – and that is the internet. Buyers will fall in love with, or at least be intrigued by the nice photos. And they want to know if it meets their criteria. Yard signs, word of mouth… yes, these are all part of marketing. But even drive-by lookers will check the internet to see photos, number of bedrooms, and list price before they make a phone call.
Realtors have the advantage of listing the home with the beautiful photos, poetic description, and factual information on the MLS, which is shared with all the other realtors and their clients. This network makes it very simple and easy to schedule appointments with potential buyers to come look at your home. The listing information is usually picked up or entered into websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. By-owner sellers can advertise on some of these sites, but they don’t always get in front of the right buyers who are working with an agent. FSBOs will also struggle with taking all the inquiry calls and setting up their own showing appointments, which can be awkward.
Skilled realtors go far beyond simply listing the home, and have numerous tools for advertising and attracting buyers: networking with other agents and clients, mailer campaigns, and internet marketing.
First impression time. Repeat the cleaning and decluttering of #3. Turn on every possible light (unless instructed otherwise, realtors will turn off the lights before locking up). If the home is vacant, try to have some windows open prior to the showing to freshen up the air. Do not overdo it with air fresheners and scented candles. The smell easily gets to be obnoxious, and buyers often presume that you’re trying to cover something. A little bit is okay, but even better – just bake some cookies before the showing and leave them out for the visitors to enjoy. Head out the door a good 15 minutes prior to the appointment time. You don’t want to be scrambling when the realtor and buyer show up a few minutes early and are waiting in the driveway.
6. Negotiating an offer
Negotiating is an art and a science. There’s not enough space here to go into the details of effective negotiating, but the more you know about the moving parts of a real estate contract and the true market value of your home, the better off you will be. Strive for a win-win for buyer and seller. Avoid playing games or employing “tactics”. There is a time to be firm and stick to your guns, but “playing hardball” can backfire and you can lose. It’s impossible to know the other guy’s position, but if you’ve taken care of steps #1-5 correctly, don’t sweat it. You’ve priced the home effectively, the home shows well, and if the first offer isn’t the best (though it often is), you’ll have another offer.
6.5 Getting to closing
Once you have an accepted offer, you are not yet out of the woods. This is critical, and it’s where you may find yourself pulling your hair out wishing you’d have worked with a good agent. Again, if you executed #1-6 properly, you should have smooth sailing. The first hurdle is usually the home inspection, where the buyer presents you with a list of items (defects) to be repaired or credited in the purchase price. Then comes the appraisal, which is not an index of your roof, counter tops and furnace you’ve invested in, but a general comparison with similar homes that have sold in your neighborhood. And a title company will will be working to ensure you can sell the home to the buyer, unencumbered by any taxes or liens. All this takes place in the 3-4 weeks leading up to the closing. During this period of time, the buyer will be finalizing details with the lender (if there’s a new mortgage). You did make sure your buyer was qualified, right?
If you do steps #1-6 well, you should have little or no trouble getting the maximum value out of the sale of your property.
If you would like to know more about how I can help you reach the goal of getting the most out of selling your house in the Fort Wayne area, please contact me.
Patrick Gillan, KW Fort Wayne ph/txt: (260) 420-5730