The 9 Step System to Sell Your Home Fast for Top Dollar
Just not that long ago, it was so easy to quickly make a fortune in real estate. All you had to buy a home, wait a few years, and then sell it quickly for a massive profit.
But those days are long gone, my friend. As much as the market has improved since the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008, homes are still currently priced below what they were at their peak. A big part of the reason for that is that buyers are simply much more cautious and discerning than they were during the “gold rush” of the early 2000’s.
Because of these reasons, it’s far more important than ever to take the proper steps to sell your home quickly and for top dollar, all the while avoiding the costly mistakes that most homeowners make when listing their home for sale.
The 7 Deadly Mistakes Most Homesellers Make
- Not knowing their reason for selling
- Not preparing their home for the buyer’s eye
- Pricing their homes incorrectly
- Selling too hard when showing the property
- Signing an agreement with the wrong agent
- Making it difficult for buyers to learn more about their home
- Failing to get a loan pre-approval for their next home
Selling your home is one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, and so I’ve created this simple, easy-to-understand 9 step system that will give you maximum profits and minimal stress as you control the transaction from start to finish. The steps are:
Step #1) Know Why You're Selling, and Keep it Private
Once you clearly understand your reason for selling and what your priorities are, it makes the rest of the process so much easier. From deciding on an asking price to deciding how much money to invest in fixing up the home before sale, all your decision become simple and clear.
A question to ask yourself when thinking about selling your home is what’s more important to you: the amount of money you profit from the sale, the length of time it takes to get the money, or both? Naturally, different goals will lead to different strategies to try and accomplish them.
Once you know your reasons for selling and what your priorities are, keep them to yourself! Don’t reveal your motivation for selling to anyone except your realtor, otherwise they may use it against you during the negotiation process. A good answer to give them when they ask is that you’re selling simply because your housing needs have changed.
Step #2) Do Your Homework Before Pricing Your Home
WARNING: This is NOT a step that should be taken lightly! If you arbitrarily set the price of your home or list it for way higher than it’s actually worth, you’re going to end up walking away from the transaction with far less money than you would have if you took the time to do some homework first.
Your agent should do most of this research for you and be able to clearly communicate a suggested selling price with strong reasoning behind it. Depending on how your home compares to others in the neighborhood and local real estate market, your home value could swing tens of thousands of dollars in either direction.
And don’t go thinking you’re going to pull one over the buyer and sell the home for thousands of dollars more than it’s worth. Remember that most buyers have a knowledgeable real estate agent who has helped them look at 15-20 other homes in the area before looking at yours, so they know what it’s actually worth.
More importantly, even if the buyer agrees to pay you $20,000 more than the property is worth, their lender will be arranging a professional appraisal of the property will absolutely refuse to lend them a dollar more than the home appraisers for.
Step #3) Take Your Agent's Advice
Your agent should be professional and knowledgeable enough to prepare a Comparative Market Analysis for you when suggesting the sales price of your home. A “CMA” will show you thorough look at the comparable homes in your area that have sold in the past 3-6 months and what price they sold for. This is the strongest indicator of the final value of your home.
This is an important step you should never skip, as potential buyers will be looking at the exact same information as you are, and this way you can ensure you’re both on the same page in regards to the value of your home and won’t be surprised by the offers you receive.
Step #4) Find a Good Agent Who Represents Your Needs
Nearly 66% of homeowners claim that they wouldn’t use the same realtor again who sold them their last home. Yikes! Dissatisfaction mainly boils down to communication issues and the Realtor viewing you as another commission rather than a person who has desires and goals associated with making the move, so be sure to only work with an agent who puts your needs first above all else.
Step #5) Maximize Your Home's Sales Potential
While you can’t change your home’s location on the block or complete floorplan, there are plenty of simple fixes that you can make to the home that will not only put it in tip top shape to fetch the highest sales price possible, but will also make you a massive return on investment compared to the cost to perform them.
Before showing your home to potential buyers, clean your home as if the Queen of England was stopping by to take a visit. You want buyers to say “WOW!” when they open your front door and walk through your home, and a clean home will get you a higher sales price than a dirty one, guaranteed.
Also, consider giving the home a fresh coat of paint, some new carpet, or a minor remodel of the kitchen and bathrooms. These are all considered extremely cost effective repairs that you can make that will often net you double your money back on the cost of the investment.
Step #6) Make It Easy for Buyers to Learn More
You’d be surprised at how little information some agents include in their listings, sometimes barely meeting the requirements. Realtors who take few photos and don’t do a thorough visual inspection of the home so that can write an appealing description of your property are to be avoided at all costs.
Also consider keeping a container of home flyers with the For Sale sign outside the home. That way homebuyers hunting through your neighborhood can immediately get more information about your property and make a quick decision about their level of interest. Either they’re going to forget about you immediately, or keep the flyer and call ASAP to make an appointment to view the home. You want to ensure you fall in the latter group!
Step #7) Know Your Buyer
It also helps to know more about the other party in any negotiation, such as their motivation, timeframe and options. Your agent might be able to get some of this information for you, but often you have to read between the lines and give it your best guess. Here are some questions to ask yourself about the buyers sending you offers:
- What is the buyer’s motivation?
- Do they need to move quickly? Or can they wait?
- Do they have the money to pay the asking price?
- Or is the offer contingent on getting approved for a loan?
Knowing this sort of information up front will give you the upper hand once the offer has been submitted and you find yourself at the negotiation table trying to get the best deal possible.
Step #8) Make Sure the Contract is Complete
Make sure to carefully examine all areas of a purchase contract and make sure that everything is to your liking and that the buyer hasn’t left anything out. If the buyer wants to move-in to the property to the closing, you want to know about that before it completely surprises you after the offer is accepted and you sign the contract.
Also on your end, make sure you disclose EVERYTHING about the condition of the various features of your property. If something is broken or needs repair, even a slight amount, say so. This is the only way to prevent buyers from coming back later and hitting you with a lawsuit because you withheld information about the condition of the home. If a buyers knows about it and agrees to it, they can’t come back after you for it later.
Step #9) Don't Move Out Before You Sell
If you can help it, stay in the home during the sales process to help it seem “lived in” rather than empty and cold. Studies have shown that it’s a little harder to sell an empty home than one that’s currently being lived in, so if you can wait to move, please do because it’s in your best interest.
If you must move out before you sell your home, such as in buying another home first, you can always consider staging the home with a professional to give the property a more warming and welcoming feel. Depending on your neighborhood and comparable sales, this may not always be worth it, but it’s definitely worth considering and usually helps you get your home sold.