by Mary Thorson
It seems lucrative to sell your home and benefit from all of the equity you have built through judicious money management and sweat. Many homeowners have sticker shock at the cost of selling a home – from deals with buyers on closing costs to repairs that remedy home inspection results – and the realtors’ commissions. It is difficult for most of us to envision exactly what the seller’s realtor does for the 3% fee. On the sale of a $300,000 home, that is a nifty $9,000 chunk of change!
First, you are selling a house – not the place where your children grew up or the place where all of your family holiday gatherings have occurred for the past 20 years. The most effective owner-sellers are able to keep their emotions in check during the sales process.
Second, you should approach selling your home much like you would approach a work project – research, plan, get some good guidance on best practices and pitfalls, and keep records of everything you do.
From start to finish, think like a realtor. Look at the resources and practices a successful real estate agent uses to move properties as quickly as possible. They include, but are not limited to:
- Setting an initial sales price that attracts buyers. The closer you can come to the market value of your home, the less you may have to adjust it for the sale. Real estate agents use comparative properties (“comps”) that are on the market or have recently sold and are located in the same neighborhood as the selling home or in neighborhoods of a similar age and type of property. You can make some adjustments for obvious features that add value, for instance, a large, well-appointed outdoor living area that the comps do not have.
- Invest in a multiple-listing service, such as ForSaleByOwner.com or Owners.com. In today’s market, homemade signs on utility poles do not bring a broad enough segment of the buying public to your doorstep.
By thinking it through, planning and doing research, you can sell your home at a price that makes you happy. Focus, learn and persist and you’ll typically be happy with the outcome.