Greater effort results in greater performance. That’s true for any task or goal, and it’s good to know it counts when it comes time to sell your home. The more you put in, the more you get back. While you might have slacked off a bit on your Australian history projects back in primary school, the stakes are much higher when we start discussing how much money you can get on your home sale. It’s time to pull up your socks, hit the books and get more than sticker worthy results.
To help you know what to look for and where to apply your efforts, we’ve put together a cheat sheet of things to consider before you sell your home, to help you maximise your profits.
This cheat sheet will help cut back on stress, focus your energy, and get you moving quickly. Leaving these items to the last minute can result in a rushed job, poor investments or no change at all. We know how overwhelming and complicated it can be to put your home on the market, so let’s make things as easy as possible.
KNOW WHAT IT COSTS TO SELL YOUR HOME
You need to set up a budget. Ideally if you can estimate how much it will cost to sell your home you can put that money away now, in a separate account so that it’s already prepared for. Money going out in a home sale can be a bit of a surprise, home sellers can get so fixated on what they will be gaining that when it comes time to pay any fees, they are stressed and panicked. Setting up a budget before you get started gives you a detailed idea of what kind of money you want to spend and clear out any nasty surprises.
With a budget in place you have something to save for, and it will also assist in having straightforward conversations with your real estate agent. When you choose an agent they work for you, so it’s up to them to sell your house with your allocated budget.
Selling costs. If you do this on the usual scale you can expect to spend at least one quarter of your property’s worth on getting your home sold. Budgeting at least 5% of your estimated sale price will ensure you have enough set aside to make the back end of the sale smooth and breezy.
To make sure the budget you have is adequate, here are some usual expenses for you to use as a guide. You will need to talk with your local suppliers to establish estimates on costs of these items for your home. Prices will vary depending on your location, the condition of your home and the materials you select.
Some of this will be spent before your home goes on the market like renovations and structural fixes and staging rooms for photos and opens. It’s a good idea to get your carpets cleaned. If you don’t have time for cleaning and gardening hire professionals to polish and tidy from end to end.
Some costs will need to be paid at the time of sale and settlement, like to cover your auctioneer, the legal work by a conveyance or solicitor as well as the bank fees to discharge your mortgage. It’s also a good idea as well to factor in your moving costs.
The last instalment will go back to the real estate office to cover commission, advertising and marketing they undertook on your behalf.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
You may have sold properties previously, which will give you an edge. Regardless of if this is your first or 100th sale, it’s a great idea to visit open houses in your area to get an idea of what is on the market, how well the property is presented, and a feel for how the real estate agent treats you on arrival. It’s also a great way to get ideas on how to stage your home for the biggest appeal. Look for how other people use flowers, scents, decorations and props to show off how a space can be best used.
Look for homes that are similar to your own in style, price range or size. Pay attention to the marketing materials that you consider attractive and effective. Visiting these opens will give you a great feel for how accurately and well these properties have been represented by their agent. This is a great way to see a real estate agent in the field, before they know they are looking for your business. Also pay attention to how the homeowner presents their property, what things about their home do you like, what things draw your attention in negative ways.
When looking at your real estate agent options, pay attention to how each one displays their homes, the photos, and the wording they use. Compare what you see online and in print to the property you view. If the open you attend matches your expectations you can go to the next phase of asking about their service, property estimate and commission.
This way you have more information to make a decision on, rather than going with the lowest commission and most convincing monologue.
WHEN TO SELL?
A lot of people will give you advice on when the right time to sell is. While all that is good research, the very best time to sell is only when it’s right for you.
Different areas have different ‘best’ times, depending on what your property’s biggest drawcard is. Close to the snowfields, then winter might attract the right buyers, a beach house will look most attractive in summer, in the tropics choose the dry season, in the city, it’s best to sell is spring. All that can be taken with a grain of salt. Properties can sell well at any time of year and it’s important to factor in what your personal requirements are and when your property will speak with the most volume. Usually the thing that attracted you to initially buy the house will be the key to knowing what to make a big deal of at a sale.
If you do have the ability to wait for the perfect season to roll around then the ideal time to sell is during a hot market trend. If there are more buyers than sellers the prices are pushed higher. While spring is considered the best time to sell, it might not be the hot market trend for that particular season. Keep your ear to the ground and notice when there is a spike in property prices and speak to your real estate agent about best times to sell and trends in your area. A high price is good for them as well so they have every reason to help you out here.
If a house on your block sold the previous weekend, know that it leaves a crowd of people who were bidding without a catch (and of course, you went to the auction to check out the action). If you are in an area that is selling fast for good money, you won’t have to pay as much attention to your interior features to get your property over the line. A house that is located in a lull zone will really need to be ready to surprise people with charm, lifestyle choices and unique features. In a cold market, your attention to detail will really make a difference.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT
The saying don’t judge a book by its cover exists because everybody does. First impressions last, even after they have been proven to be wrong, something of the late good impression is permanently lost. You want people to realise the possibility of this being their new home immediately. For them to really see themselves in it you need to be as invisible as possible. Clear up any clutter and have as much clean space as possible, including shelves. If you can afford it, pack any items you don’t immediately need in removal boxes and store it off the premises. Reduce visible personal items to an absolute minimum and be as neat as possible. Deodorise carpets and remove all rubbish to get rid of any smells. Give a prospective buyer the impression that this is a place they could easily make their own, tomorrow.
The second part of this is the lifestyle they can enjoy when they move in. A clean bright home means a clean and happy life. Make sure your outdoor spaces extend to allow room for additional work, entertainment or relaxing with inviting outdoor furniture, attractive gardens, clean garages and open patios.
Unless you know your home is going to be sold as a ‘renovators delight’, it needs to look like someone can buy and not worry about what happens next. With any newly purchased home there is always an adjustment or two needed, as long as these are changes desired by the new owner, and not brought about out of neglect or negligence on your part, the price will be in your favour.
Buyers will be more willing to invest money in a home that isn’t going to cost time and money as soon as they move in. To get the best results on your property sale price go through and fix anything broken, straighten anything wobbly and paint anything faded.
People walk in the door looking for faults, so anything you can do to reassure them your home is safe and sound will have them keen to buy and ready to look at your intended prices.
First impressions start outside. Do as much as you can to replenish your garden and have the entranceway presented perfectly. While it might seem superficial, cobwebs on your meter box and peeling paint will immediately arouse suspicion and secure a negative first impression.
When your home is fresh and well cared for it says to a potential buyer that it’s low maintenance. It also reassures them that there are no nasty surprises waiting between the walls or under the floor, given that you look after the place so well. Doubts about the soundness of their purchase will not only bring the price down, it will also take longer for a decision and could lengthen the time your property is on the market which is cause for more suspicion. Loose doorknobs, marks on the walls, dripping taps and grass growing in your gutter need to be identified and tended to.
Even items that are not included with the property need to be well cared for, clean and appealing. If your dining setting has seen better days, cover it with a cloth that compliments your colour scheme. Sofa covers too are a good way to cover tears and stains or the damage caused by pets. If dusty or ripped you might need to invest in new curtains.
From your fieldwork, you will now have careful notes on what other property owners are doing right and wrong. Armed with this intelligence you will be ready to mimic all the best ideas and avoid all the pitfalls.
Before you show your home to anyone else, ask a friend to walk through for you. Unlike people who walk through as potential buyers, a friend will be able to take you through everything they feel is negative so you can make adjustments.
The last thing to invest in in preparation to selling your home is yourself. It can seem like an emotional time, especially when packing up, patching up and showing people through. Always keep in mind that you are only selling the house, the home and memories that you love go with you.