How to price to sell and still make a profit
The asking price you set for your home significantly affects whether you will profit in the sale, how much you will profit and how long your home will sit on the market. Your real estate agent’s knowledge of the overall market and what’s selling – or not selling – will be invaluable in helping you determine the price. The objective is to find a price that the market will bear but won’t leave money on the table.
Here are some points to consider:
Time is not on your side when it comes to real estate. Although many factors influence the outcome, perhaps time is the biggest determinant in whether or not you see a profit and how much you profit. Studies show that the longer a house stays on the market, the less likely it is to sell for the original asking price. Therefore, if your goal is to make money, think about a price that will encourage buyer activity (read: fair market value).
Value vs. Cost.
Pricing your home to sell in a timely fashion requires some objectivity. It’s important that you not confuse value with cost – in other words, how much you value your home versus what buyers are willing to pay for it. Don’t place too much emphasis on home improvements when calculating your price, because buyers may not share your taste. For instance, not everyone wants hardwood floors or granite countertops.
Keep it simple.
Because time is of the essence, make it easy for the buyers. Remain flexible on when your agent can schedule showings. Also, avoid putting contingencies on the sale. Though a desirable move-in date makes for a smoother transition between homes, it could cause you to lose the sale altogether.
Importance of Pricing (Fair Market Value)
The Fair Market Value (FMV) of your home is determined by the market – that is, what today’s buyers are willing to pay. Buyers are comparing your home to other homes now on the market.
Buyers do NOT care about:
- What your neighbors say
- What another Realtor Says
- What you spent on Upgrades
- What it costs to Build Today
- What you spent in repairs
- What you spent on remodeling
- What you spent on New Carpet
- What you Paid when you bought
- What you need
- What you want
Increasing your Houston home’s “Curb” appeal
Remember the 60-second rule: That’s all the time you have to create a winning first impression. Here are some simple to significant ways to maximize your home’s appeal.
- Keep the grass cut and remove all yard clutter.
- Weed and apply fresh mulch to flower beds.
- Apply fresh paint to wooden fences.
- Tighten and clean all door handles.
- Clean windows inside and out.
- Powerwash home’s exterior.
- Ensure all gutters and downspouts are firmly attached and functioning.
- Paint the front door.
- Buy a new welcome mat.
- Place potted flowers near the front door.
- Evaluate the furniture in each room and remove anything that interrupts “the flow” or makes the room appear smaller. Consider renting a storage unit to move items off-site.
- Clean and organize cabinets, closets and bookshelves.
- Clean all light fixtures and ceiling fans.
- Shampoo carpets.
- Remove excessive wall hangings and knick-knacks.
- Repair all plumbing leaks, including faucets and drain traps.
- Make minor repairs (torn screens, sticking doors, cracked caulking).
- Clean or paint walls and ceilings.
- Replace worn cabinet and door knobs.
- Fix or replace discolored grout.
- Replace broken tiles.
- Replace worn countertops.
Special details for showings
- Turn on all the lights.
- Open all drapes and shutters in the daytime.
- Keep pets secured outdoors.
- Buy new towels for bathrooms.
- Buy new bedding for bedrooms.
- Replace old lamps or lampshades.
- Play quiet background music.
- Light the fireplace or clean out the ashes and light a candelabrum.
- Infuse home with a comforting scent, such as apple spice or vanilla.
- Set the dining room table for a fancy dinner party.
- Vacate the property while it is being shown.
Practicing good seller’s etiquette
Let’s face it: When your house goes on the market, you’re not only opening the door to prospective buyers, but also sometimes to unknown vendors and naïve or unqualified buyers. As with any business transaction, there is an expected protocol to how sellers, buyers and their respective agents interact. Should you find yourself in a sticky situation, alert your agent so he or she can address and remedy the problem.
The Aggressive Agent
When your agent puts your house on the market, typically all promotional materials state clearly that your agent is the primary contact for buyers and buyers’ agents. However, sometimes a buyer’s agent will contact a seller directly to try to either win over their business or cut the seller’s agent out of the deal. This is not reputable behavior and you should report it to your agent immediately if it happens to you.
The Unscrupulous Vendor
Have you ever started a business or moved into a new house and suddenly found your mailbox full of junk mail? Unfortunately, this also can happen when you put your house on the market. When you sell your home, it necessitates all kinds of new purchasing decisions and less-than-ethical vendors are keenly aware of this. Though MLS organizations enforce rules on how posted information is used, some companies have found ways to cull information from various sources to produce mass mailing lists. If you find yourself regularly emptying your mailbox of junk, let your agent know. He or she can tap the appropriate sources to prompt an investigation into the matter.
The Naïve Buyer
Yard signs, Internet listings and other advertisements can generate a lot of buzz for your home. Some prospective buyers – particularly first-timers – will be so buzzed to see your home that they’ll simply drop by. If this happens, no matter how nice these unexpected visitors are, it’s best not to humor their enthusiasm by discussing your home or giving an impromptu tour. Instead, politely let them know that your real estate agent is in charge of scheduling tours and provide them with the agent’s contact information. If you attempt to handle these surprise visits on your own, you might inadvertently disclose information that could hurt you during negotiations down the road.
Six Selling Myths Uncovered
Myth #1: You should always price your home high and negotiate down.
Truth: Pricing too high can be as bad as pricing too low. If you list too high, you’ll miss out on buyers looking in the price range where your home should be. Offers may not even come in, because buyers who are interested in your home are scared off by the price and won’t even take the time to look at it. By the time you correct the price and list your home at its fair market value, you will have lost that window of opportunity when your home draws the most attention from the public and real estate agents; i.e. the first 30 days that it is on the market. A well-trained real estate agent who looks out for your best interests will consult with you on your home’s fair market value and different pricing strategies for the current market.
Myth #2: Minor repairs can wait until later. There are more important things to be done.
Truth: Minor repairs make your house more marketable, allowing you to maximize your return (or minimize loss) on the sale. Most buyers are looking for homes that are ready for them to move into. If your home happens to attract a buyer who is willing to make repairs, he/she will begin asking for repair allowances that come out of your asking price. The amount of an allowance that you have to offer a buyer is usually more than what it would cost for you to make the repair (or hire someone to make the repair). Remember, buyers are comparing your home to other homes that are currently on the market. Your home should be inviting so that everyone who looks at it can see themselves living there.
Myth #3: Once a potential buyer sees the inside of your home, curb appeal won’t matter.
Truth: Buyers probably won’t make it to the inside of the home if the outside of your home does not appeal to them. Buyers and their agents often do drive-bys before deciding whether a home is worth their time to look inside. Your home’s exterior must make a good first impression so that buyers are compelled to stop and come inside. All it takes is keeping the lawn mowed, shrubs and trees trimmed, gardens weeded and edged, and clutter put away.
Myth #4: Your home must be every home buyer’s dream home.
Truth: If you get carried away with repairs and replacements to your home, you may end up over-improving the house. There is a point where improving your home doesn’t pay off. The key is to consider what competing properties feature and look like. A highly-motivated real estate agent will consult with you on what competing properties have to offer – he/she can even show you competing properties so that you can make sound home improvement decisions.
Myth #5: You are better off selling your home on your own and saving money on the commission you would have paid to a real estate agent.
Truth: Statistically, many sellers who attempt to sell their homes on their own cannot consummate the sale without the service of a real estate agent. Homeowners who succeed in selling their home by themselves usually net less than if they had a real estate agent working for them. The National Association of REALTORSâ surveys consumers every year, including homeowners who succeeded in selling their home without a real estate agent. Over 70% of these homeowners say that they would never do it again.
Myth #6: When you receive an offer, you should make the buyer wait. This gives you a better negotiating position.
Truth: You should reply immediately to an offer! When a buyer makes an offer, that buyer is, at that moment in time, ready to buy your home. Moods can change, and you don’t want to lose the sale because you have stalled in replying.
So Many Decisions
There is so much to think about when selling your home:
1) Is it a buyers’ market or a sellers’ market? How can I price my home so that it sells quickly?
2) What marketing strategies are effective and will sell my home quickly?
3) What’s this thing called “curb appeal?”
4) What should I do to have my home in top-selling condition?
5) How much should I fix? How much should I leave as-is?
6) How much of a hassle is involved in showing my home?
7) Should I try to sell my home all by myself? Or should I use an agent?
8) What about all the paperwork and legalities?
9) What about my next home? Should I buy or rent?
10) And more!
I Can Help!
I am more than happy to answer any of your questions. Please put a check Mark next to any of the above that you want to discuss.
Ten Steps to Selling Your Home
Define your goals, wants, needs and expectations. A good place to begin is by exploring your short and long term goals in life and how selling your home fits in. I will walk through a process I use to thoroughly understand my client’s goals, wants and needs to ensure that your expectations are met.
Determine the best price for what’s going on in the market right now. We assess the current state of the market and what comparable homes are actually selling for by reviewing a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) on your home. That way, we can objectively determine its fair market value and price it right.
Prepare your property so that it is in top-selling condition. Most of us don’t keep our homes in top-selling condition. I will work with you to help you see things from a buyer’s point of view. I will consult with you on what to repair, replace or remove so that your home makes a GREAT first impression.
Implement time-proven, research-based marketing strategies. Your home will be marketed with a 10 point marketing plan that has the highest potential for bringing not only the most buyers, but also the most qualified buyers to your doorstep.
Show your property. Always keep your home in top-selling condition. When you leave for work, make sure that your home remains in top-selling condition. You know what they say about first impressions!
Receive an offer. When a buyer decides to buy your home, an offer will be presented. I will advise you on the offer and whether the buyer is qualified to purchase your home.
Negotiate to sell. Most offers require some level of negotiation. We will work together to decide your parameter and I will negotiate on your behalf.
Have your home appraised and inspected. Once you have accepted an offer, I will work with the buyer’s agent to coordinate an appraisal, inspections and a survey (if required). If the buyer requires that certain repairs be made on your home, I will continue to negotiate on your behalf and recommend vendors so we move successfully from contract to closing.
Prepare for closing. A few days before closing (also known as settlement), I will contact the title company and the buyer’s agent to ensure that all the necessary forms and documents have been prepared. I will meet with you to review the closing documents and let you know what additional forms and information you need to bring to the closing meeting.
Close! At the closing meeting, ownership of your property is legally transferred to the buyer. I will be present to advise you and ensure that everything goes according to plan.
Created by: Nema Ghalamdanchi – Keller Williams Realtor
Cell: (832)-692-2979 Email: NEMA@Houston-RE.com
Understanding the buyer
As the seller, you can control three factors that will affect the sale of your home:
* The home’s condition
* Asking price
* Marketing strategy
However, it’s important to note that there are numerous other factors that influence a buyer, and you need to understand these consumer trends when you enter the sellers’ market. The more your home matches these qualifications, the more competitive it will be in the marketplace. Your real estate agent can advise you on how to best position and market your home to overcome any perceived downsides.
Unfortunately, the most influential factor in determining your home’s appeal to buyers is something you can’t control: its location. According to the National Association of REALTORS(r), neighborhood quality is the No. 1 reason buyers choose certain homes. The second most influential factor is commute times to work and school.
While some buyers want to simplify their lives and downsize to a smaller home, home sizes in general have continued to increase over the decades, nearly doubling in size since the 1950s. Smaller homes typically appeal to first-time home buyers and “empty nesters,” or couples whose children have grown up and moved out.
Preferences in floor plans and amenities go in and out of fashion, and your real estate agent can inform you of the “hot ticket” items that are selling homes in your market. If your home lacks certain features, you can renovate to increase its appeal, but be forewarned: That’s not always the right move. Using market conditions and activity in your neighborhood as a gauge, your agent can help you determine whether the investment is likely to help or hinder your profit margin and time on the market.