One of the first steps a for-sale-by-owner must decide is a sales price, and the sooner the better. You can’t very well begin to show your home without some idea about a sales price!
There are several sources you can call on to help determine a price. We will take a look at two of these in this post. However, before you begin the task of setting the “right” price for your home, a word of warning.
Most for-sale-by-owners naturally want to get as much as possible for their home. They may be using a portion or all of that money to purchase another home. They may be trying to squeeze every little bit of equity they can to create some profit. They may also be faced with negative equity, where the present value of their home is less than the mortgage owed. Unfortunately, this is common in today’s real estate market.
So which of the above scenarios will the buying public respond to the most? Warning…the answer may sting. None of them! The buying public is mainly interested in what they will have to pay for the home, not your profit or loss!
The point is, be prepared to have the market set the price for your home. You may stand rock-solid on a price, and demand that you get that price or you won’t sell. But if the market says it’s too high, you may be sitting on your home a lot longer than you wished. And a prolong period on the market can have a negative effect.
So how can you go about determining a price that will make your home attractive to a perspective buyer?
One source is your local real estate company. If you know an agent, you might seek some advice. They have more market data at their disposal and can at least offer a price range for you to consider.
But, don’t be surprised if you’re met with some resistance. After all, their job is selling real estate for a commission, not helping you for free. They probably won’t give you a hard figure on your home for liability reasons. So, you’ll have to settle for a range.
You can use that information along with pricing information gathered from investigating your local newspaper’s classified real estate section, to make your final sales-price determination.
Another resource is your local real estate appraiser. They are trained to extract data from the market to make a reasonable assessment of real estate value. Appraisers are used by every mortgage lending institution to give an opinion of value. It’s part of the loan process.
There is a fee associated with having an appraisal done, so be sure to check around for prices. Your local bank, Mortgage Company, or real estate agent can provide you with a list of appraisers.
If you decide to go with an appraiser, be sure to specify you want a value to sell your home. There are several ways to determine valve of a home. For lending purposes, for a quick sale, etc., so be specific when getting an appraisal.
In today’s real estate market, the for-sale-by-owner needs as much help as they can get. The sooner they realize they have one chance to make that fantastic first impression with a buyer, the quicker a sale might come their way.
After all, home buyers in the market today are walking on egg shells. Some realize, now is truly the time to buy. Interest rates are the lowest they’ve been since, well… the last century. The smart buyers that realize this is a buyer’s market are usually the ones that have already purchased a home in the past.
But the newer home buyers and the buyers that are moving into new areas for work are cautious, very cautious about a home-sale. Everyone hears the horror stories about bank repossessions and disappearing home equity.
Now it’s the job of the for-sale-by-owner to somehow motivate these cautious buyers in purchasing their home. No small task for the seasoned real estate agent, let alone the for-sale-by-owner.
But here is a tip that will go a long way toward presenting your home in its best light. Consider a complete home assessment. By this I mean take a real hard look at your home. Try to see it from someone else’s perspective. It might even be a good time to invite someone over to walk around your home with you and tell you what they see.
Look for items that need immediate repair and by all means, fix them! Look for the obvious. Look for sections of rotted wood in the soffit and fascia areas, especially at the corners. Look for areas of rotted wood around the bottom of exterior door and garage door casings. Check the bottom of your exterior doors, are they rusty or rotten? Are your shutters damaged or missing? Also, look for damaged and missing roof shingles.
These are red flags that tell a perspective buyer there may be even more problems with the home they can’t see. Give your home every opportunity to pass that first test with a buyer and make a good first impression.
Granted, most people would just pass this by and not give this little tip another thought. But remember, if you are trying to sell your house yourself, you need anything and everything that might give you a competitive sales edge.
Here is a little known tip I’ve picked up through the years that goes a long way with buyers, especially the wives. In addition to washing the exterior of your home, try removing your screens and showing your home without them. That is, remove your window screens and spend some time getting your windows to shine, absolutely sparkle.
Sparkling windows sets a home off and makes the exterior of the home look exceptionally clean. When the buyer drives by to see the home they are greeted with an exceptionally clean exterior. Their typical first thoughts? If the outside is this well-kept, the inside must be too! It makes a great first impression and can very well lead to that all important call to see the inside of your home.
The windows are the eyes of your home, make sure they shine. And remember, a clean house is a happy house!