Selling a house can be a daunting and frustrating job, especially when the timing is not right. There are so many factors to consider so that you will be able to sell at the best possible price. How to price your home to sell for top dollar sales is one challenging feat.
How will you price competitively and increase the potential of more potential buyers to buy your house at a good price? You want two things: the highest possible price for your home and the shortest possible time to sell. But there are many threats, like low appraisals and accelerating home values.
How to Get Top Dollar For Your Home
1. Understand the true state of local market trends in real estate.
If you want to sell your home above its list price, you should be familiar with the local real estate market trends. Be aware of the differences between a seller’s market and a buyer’s market. This will help you decide on everything you need to do so that you can sell your house at top dollar.
It will also help you know if it’s the right time to sell.
Being in a seller’s market may mean:
- Being able to sell your home above the price list easier
- Lower inventory of homes
- Greater demand for the homes that come on the market
- Higher offers or maybe even a bidding war can increase the selling price.
Being in a buyer’s market may mean:
- Being at a disadvantage
- More homes than willing buyers
- More time on the market for your home
- More difficult to get above the list price
You may want to consider listing during a seller’s market so that you can sell your home for top dollar.
Here are tips on how you can gauge whether you are in a sellers’ or buyers’ market:
- Look at the average Days on Market for similar homes in your area. Days on Market is a real estate statistic that refers to the number of days between the day a house is listed on the market and the day it is sold. You can tell that there is strong demand for houses like yours if the DOM shows that similar houses like yours are selling faster.
- Look at the rate of home price appreciation for homes in your market. This shows how fast the prices of homes are increasing. It is the increase in the value of a real estate property over a period of time. When the increase is steep, this can tell you that buyers are paying more. This will also indicate if you will get a positive return on the investment you made by comparing your buying price and your selling price.
Understanding the trends on Days on Market and home price appreciation will help you better at pricing your home and your decisions on home repairs while giving you insight on how long it might take for your house to sell.
Knowing the true state of the local real estate market will help you get the best results you need. Be willing to be a student of your local house sale market and know how hot or cold it is and which way it is moving.
You should be able to predict whether your sale will be quick and easy or long and hard.
2. Sell at the Right Time
There are two key considerations when you want to time your sale appropriately so that you will be able to sell your home for top dollar:
Seasonality of the market
Timing your sale appropriately can affect what your house sells for or how long your house will stay on the list before you will be able to sell at a price you prefer. Know what the best of the year is to sell a house in your neighborhood.
According to NextAdvisor, the best time to list a home is in early spring in most of the major cities in the U.S. Research shows that “homes listed during this time have historically sold faster and for higher prices”.
Another important aspect to consider is, if you really want to sell your house fast for the most money, you should consider selling at a time when you have enough equity in your home.
This will allow you to still be able to pay off these items once your house is sold:
- Current mortgage
- Costs of selling
- Costs of moving
If you are not careful with this kind of timing, you will end up paying for these expenses out of your own pocket, which can be frustrating.
The seasonality of the market is not the only kind of timing you should be considering on how to get top dollar for your home that you plan to sell. You may also want to consider what’s going on in your life.
This means you should be taking steps to get the best return on selling your house. For example, you do not need to wait for the prime time of the year to sell when you have just retired, and you are seeking to downsize to a cheaper house.
Or when your family is growing, or you need to change jobs, you do not expect that you will always line up nicely with the real estate market. If you wait for the season to sell your home in exchange for a higher-paying job opportunity, this could cause a worse financial impact.
Sometimes, the best time to sell your home is when you need to sell your home, even when the market is not optimal.
Remember, that the market is always changing, and you don’t have to wait for peak house selling time when you need to sell right away.
3. Set the Right Price
Home sellers should get over their pride and price their property right. Although nothing kills a real estate deal faster than an overpriced property, you should know how to choose a price that will get motivated buyers in the door quickly.
Search what price range is reasonable for a buyer to pay. If you overprice your home, you are making your home harder to discover. You will make it harder for your buyers to discover your listing.
On the other hand, setting your price too low will leave your buyers doubtful about the quality of the house they will be getting.
They might think there is something wrong with the house or will give the wrong impression that they should be buying your house at a very discounted price.
Most real estate dealers will help you price your home. You can follow these steps when pricing:
- Start with the home value tool from Opendoor, which uses the latest market data for comparable homes. It has a valuation algorithm that can compare hundreds of pairs of houses for any given address.
- Request an all-cash offer from your chosen local realtor which can include a calculation of your home value based on:
- The information you provide about your home
- Current market trends
- Data from hundreds of recent comparable house sales
Realtors often provide free service for this request.
When you have an idea of the best price you should sell your home, you will be able to create a bidding war and drive the overall sale price up the way you want it to be. You should be smarter than your educated buyers.
So, if you are going to price your home premium, it better be worth it.
4. Find the Right Real Estate Agent Who Can Negotiate Above List Price
Real estate agents you can trust are those who can balance their needs with yours and can explain strategies that will work best for your situation. You should be able to question an agent who pushes for a lower price than you think is justified.
Your real estate agent should possess any or all of the following qualities:
- Knows the local market for real estate
- Has a sales record that proves they know how to sell
- Helps with the entire process, from hiring a professional photographer to negotiating for the best price
- Writes up a real estate listing that sells
- Schedules and hosts showings
- Markets your property to get it seen
- Know the perfect strategy to help you achieve your goal for your home to sell above list price
Three questions that your realtor should be able to answer are:
- Have you sold a house above the list price recently?
- What is the highest price you think I can get for my home?
- What do you think I need to do to sell my home above the list price?
You should also consider reviewing the terms if you want to get the highest offer you can receive for your home.
Offers from buyers often include contingencies, a set of terms in your contract that will allow either of you (buyer or seller) to cancel the agreement when the terms are not met.
Learn these contingencies that may come along with an offer from your buyer:
- Financing contingency allows your buyer to cancel their offer if they do not qualify for a mortgage. You will then need to relist your property and start with the whole process of selling your house.
- Home sale contingency ensures your buyer that they will have the proceeds from their existing home before they buy the house you are selling. This becomes risky when your buyer’s timing is not in line with yours or when your buyer isn’t able to sell their property. Your buyer can then walk away with the deal.
- Inspection contingency allows your buyer to:
- Negotiate for repairs
- Ask for an extension of the closing date
- Rescind their offer if the home inspection turns up any major issues that weren’t disclosed in the first place.
Be keen on these contingencies and other contingencies that may come along with the deal. Your sale may not yield the most money even if you have the highest offer with many contingencies attached. Know how to deal when offers are placed on your table.
5. Get a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
Ask your real estate agent for a free comparative market analysis so that you will know your home’s “comparables” with recently sold homes. It includes data like home details, days on the market, and final sale price.
When you research your home’s comparables by yourself, take note that comparable properties should:
- Be within ¼ to ½ of a mile from your home.
- Have been listed within the last three months
- Be roughly the same age as your property
- Have square footage within 10 percent of yours.
6. Get Your House in Top Condition
It was mentioned earlier that if you want to sell your house at the best price, your buyer should feel that it is worth the extra money they are willing to invest. Prepare your home for your potential buyers.
This step can ensure that your house will sell faster and can add thousands of dollars to its value. Here are some ideas from the HomeOwners Alliance on how to get top dollar for your home through improving your home’s curb appeal:
- Declutter — but don’t depersonalize
- A fresh lick of paint
- Fix and clean
- Update the kitchen
- Get the right smells
- Take care of quick repairs
Make sure these important features and in good condition or well-maintained:
- Front garden
- Pathway and/or driveway
- Fences and walls
- Front door
Consider this pro-tip: low-cost cosmetic improvements to enhance curb appeal are smarter investments than expensive remodeling projects.
How to Price Your Home For Sale
If you want your house to sell for top dollar in the current housing market, you should consider factors like seasonality, inventory, the buyer’s and seller’s market, and the neutral market.
Find your home’s market value so that you don’t underprice or overprice but still be able to sell for the highest dollar.