If you’re a senior in Cincinnati who’s thinking about simplifying your life by selling your home and moving into a retirement community like Deupree House, now’s a great time to start taking steps to list your home.
Cincinnati is a seller’s market at the moment, but that doesn’t mean homeowners have an easy road ahead of them when it comes to getting top dollar. In fact, regardless of the market, several common mistakes can end up costing you. Position yourself for success when selling your home by avoiding these eight common pitfalls.
1. DON’T choose an agent without doing your due diligence.
A whopping 74 percent of recent sellers consulted only with the agent they chose to sell their home, according to data from the National Association of REALTORS. Unfortunately, this can be a big mistake. All real estate agents aren’t created equal, and taking the time to find the right one can make all the difference.
US News & World Report recommends asking the following 10 “essential” questions when selecting an agent:
- How long have you been selling real estate?
- What is your average number of clients?
- What is your ratio of buyers to sellers?
- What area do you cover?
- Are you part of a team?
- Are you equipped to handle my unique situation?
- What type of communication should I expect from you?
- Do you have a recommended vendors list?
- Can I have the contact information for three references?
- What questions do you have for me?
While doing this legwork up front can be time-consuming, it’s ultimately an investment in finding the best person to help you have the best possible experience while selling your home.
2. DON’T overlook the importance of technology.
The real estate industry is very different today than it was 50, 25 or even 10 years ago. Why? Because while prospective buyers’ first impressions were once made via newspaper listings and drive-bys, today they’re made online.
You can use technology to your advantage in many ways. For starters, pictures work wonders: According to Trulia, listings with fewer than six pictures are half as likely to be viewed by prospective buyers than those with six or more pictures.
Combining the technological with the personal, meanwhile, can be particularly powerful. Reader’s Digest recommends posting a “video love letter” about your home on YouTube:
“Get your phone’s video camera rolling and walk through your home AND your neighborhood, telling prospective buyers about the best bits — what your family loved about the house, your favorite bakery or coffee shop that you frequented on Saturday mornings, etc. Buyers like to know that a home was well-loved, and it helps them visualize living a great life there, too,” the magazine says.
Lastly, make sure to spread the word on social media, particularly your Facebook page and neighborhood Facebook groups. If your friends help to spread the word on your behalf, your network of prospective buyers will grow exponentially.
3. DON’T get shown up by your competition.
Just because it’s a seller’s market doesn’t mean buyers are without options. All things being equal, prospective homeowners will be drawn to homes that are as move-in ready as possible. Getting small repairs done, including everything from fixing broken handles to buffing nicks and scratches, prior to listing your home will make sure you’re showing it in its very best light.
4. DON’T underestimate the importance of access.
“Convenient” isn’t usually a word that comes to mind when you think of having your home on the market. However, the more accessible your home is, the likelier you are to find a buyer. Conversely, requiring significant advance notice and/or limiting the times during which your home can be shown can result in fewer viewings while increasing the chances that a would-be buyer will find something else they love before they even get in your door.
5. DON’T let your ego supersede reality.
Your home’s value is not determined by what you paid for it or by what you need to net when you sell it. Instead, it’s determined by what the highest bidder is willing to pay for it. Whether or not you agree with them, comparable sales have a significant impact on the fair market value of a home with today’s educated buyers.
Recommends Reader’s Digest: “To make your home competitive, have your broker or agent get you the sales prices of the three most similar homes that have sold in your area in the last month or so, then try to go 10-15 percent below that when you set your home’s list price. The homes that look like a great deal are the ones that get the most visits from buyers and, on occasion even receive multiple offers. (Bidding wars do still exist!)”
In general, the more educated you are about the homes you’re up against, the better prepared you'll be to give your home the inside edge.
6. DON’T assume buyers will love your stuff as much as you do.
Your family photos may mean the world to you, but the reality is that the presence of your personal stuff impedes buyers’ ability to visualize themselves — and their own belongings — in the house. The same applies to clutter. Clear tables, countertops and other surfaces to make sure your home looks clean, attractive and appealing.
7. DON’T forget about curb appeal.
Sellers give a great deal of thought to staging the insides of their homes. However, exteriors are often woefully neglected. This is a big mistake.
In listing curb appeal as a top tip for home sellers, Zillow Agent Advisory Board member Cyndi Lesinski proposes, “A clean entrance can go a long way at establishing a positive first impression.” From a fresh coat of paint to potted plants at the door, inexpensive updates can go a long way to “increase the life and energy of the entrance,” continues Lesinski.
8. DON’T list at the wrong time.
There’s no clear-cut answer when it comes to the question of when to sell your house. Rather, it’s determined by many factors — all of which a good real estate agent should be able to advise you on.
That said, says Zillow, “Nationwide, the best time to sell a home to both maximize return and minimize time on the market is in the first half of May. However, other factors can influence the best time to put your house on the market, including the specifics of your local housing market, job growth, mortgage rates, and tax incentives.”
While putting your home on the market is a major event, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. These eight tips can help you minimize stress while maximizing outcomes in order to move forward with your life in a retirement community in the most positive — and prosperous — way.