A comprehensive advice on how to sell your home in 2024

The majority of house sellers imagine a stress-free transaction where they just market their property, find a suitable buyer fast, get paid, and then turn over the keys. If if everything were that easy! Selling a house actually entails a lot of moving components, some of which you can manage and others of which are beyond your control.

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Geographical factors might impact the length of time your home is listed for sale or the maximum price you are able to charge. You’ll probably sell more quickly and get a better price in areas with intense competition and little inventory. On the other hand, in areas where house sales have decreased, you will probably need to put in more effort to find the perfect buyer.

Since the wild peak of the epidemic, the real estate market has changed dramatically. These days, substantial affordability issues are being created by the combination of high prices and high borrowing rates: More over $400,000 is the median price of a home, and in 2023 mortgage rates reached a 22-year high. It makes sense that many purchasers are forced to wait until prices or rates—or both—drop before making a purchase.

Thus, it makes sense for a seller to plan ahead and take control of the variables within their power. A simpler sale and more money in the bank may be achieved by taking simple steps like selecting a top real estate agent and optimizing your home’s internet appeal. Here’s a nine-step approach to effectively listing and selling your home.

1. Decide on a selling schedule for your house.

Selling a property is a significant task that, depending on the state of the local market, may take many months to complete. Thus, it makes sense to keep organized and prepare ahead.

Get a pre-sale house inspection at least two or three months before you want to list. While not required, doing so might be a good idea, particularly in an older house. You may obtain a comprehensive inspection report that highlights any significant issues for several hundred dollars. This notifies you ahead of time of problems that purchasers will probably bring up during their own examination. You may be able to expedite the selling process by taking care of necessary repairs concurrently with other house preparation tasks if you plan ahead. Then, when your home is up for sale, it need to be prepared for a swift, hassle-free sale.

In order to prepare for taking listing photographs, begin deep cleaning your home around one month prior to listing. To showcase your house in the best possible light, try to keep clutter to a minimum and think about putting extra goods in a storage unit.

2. Work with a market-savvy agent

You may easily research a real estate agent’s background online, which can help you select the best one to deal with. Examine the web profiles of agents to find out how long they have worked in the field, how many deals they have closed, and any professional titles they may have obtained. Observe where and how they market their listings, as well as how well-shot the photographs are in their listings.

“Having any designation under their belt is a big plus because it shows they’ve done their research on a specific niche,” says Jorge Guerra, CEO and president of Real Estate Sales Force in Florida.

Some homeowners may be tempted to sell their house without the help of an agent in order to avoid paying a commission. “For sale by owner,” or FSBO, is the term for this. Sellers may save a substantial amount on that charge; typically, it’s between 2.5 and 3 percent of the transaction price. For instance, 3% of the sale price of a $400,000 house equals $12,000.

But a listing agent has to work hard to justify their commission. They may, for instance, market your home to the widest potential audience and engage in negotiations to secure the best bids. If you decide to go it alone, you will be responsible for managing all the negotiations and closing procedures in addition to directly managing the marketing, buyer evaluation, and house preparation.

It’s important to remember that real estate commissions are frequently negotiable when working with an agent. You might thus be able to negotiate a better deal at the closing table. However, the buyer’s agent fee may still be required of you, depending on the terms of the agreement.

3. Choose what needs to be upgraded and what shouldn’t

Be certain that the modifications you make will have a high return on investment before you spend money on pricey additions. For example, installing new granite countertops doesn’t make sense if you only stand to gain or even lose money from them. Furthermore, these upgrades might not be required, especially if inventory levels are low in your location (as they usually are these days). An expert real estate agent can assist you in determining what has to be done and what doesn’t because they are aware of the expectations of local buyers.

The bathrooms and kitchens are frequently the areas with the best returns on investment. Yet low-cost do-it-yourself tasks can also be quite beneficial: Making a good first impression may be accomplished at a reasonable cost with updated landscaping and a fresh coat of neutral paint.

4. Decide on a fair price.

Pricing must be done correctly since consumers, even in marketplaces with intense competition, prefer not to spend more than necessary. Overestimating a home’s worth can backfire, but underestimating it could result in money being lost. Seek advice from local real estate comps to determine the ideal starting price for your house. You may determine how much you can realistically ask by using the information on previously sold houses in your neighborhood, which provides you an idea of what nearby similar homes are selling for.

According to Grant Lopez, a Texas Realtor with Keller Williams Heritage and a past chairman of the San Antonio Board of Realtors, “a common mistake sellers make is pricing a home too high and then lowering it periodically.” Some vendors believe that this approach will result in the maximum profit. However, the converse is also true: Excessively expensive homes may scare off prospective purchasers, who might not even bother to view the house.

Furthermore, properties that have undergone several price decreases might give prospective buyers the idea that something is amiss. Therefore, it’s important to price your house to appeal to the largest group of purchasers from the beginning in order to avoid the need for frequent discounts.

5. Use high-quality listing images

This phase usually entails having your house photographed for marketing purposes by a photographer and registering the listing with the local multiple listing agency (MLS). Here are some pointers to prepare your house for the market:

Take professional pictures: Since house shopping is now mostly done online, you need high-quality pictures. A skilled photographer may create the illusion of larger, brighter, and more appealing spaces. This also applies to the outside and outdoor spaces of the home.

Pay attention to internet appeal: Although curb appeal is likely familiar to you, experts claim that online appeal is now much more crucial. Online listings are essential since, according to the National Association of Realtors, 100% of buyers utilize the internet to look for a property. Guerra states, “Your home’s first showing is online.” “A potential customer’s decision to click to the next listing or contact and schedule an appointment depends on the effectiveness of your website presentation.”

Maintain it clean and staged: Staging a house involves clearing out extra furniture, personal effects, and ugly things and setting up the rooms for the best possible flow and use. Investing in a professional stager might make a difference, especially if you’re selling a premium house or in a sluggish market. According to HomeAdvisor, professional home staging typically costs $1,808 nationwide, while actual expenses could vary from $792 to $2,840.

When prospective buyers arrive to view your property, make yourself scarce and clear out for the showings. Allow them to visualize themselves there, unhindered. Lopez claims that potential purchasers may be reluctant to voice their concerns if they perceive the existing homeowner to be skulking. “It might discourage them from seriously considering your house.” When seeing your house, purchasers typically bring their real estate agent along. Additionally, you can request that your own agent attend showings.