Perhaps the most important thing to know before selling your home is how much it is actually worth.
Home values, however, are constantly changing and can be majorly affected by what may seem like minimal issues to you (i.e. – small closets, an outdated bathroom). If you’re working with an agent, they have tools at their disposal to look at comparable home values, recent sales as well as their own knowledge of buyer feedback. But if you’re thinking about selling your home yourself, there are still ways to nail down a realistic price that can help you move on quickly.
Price it right
Listings get the most attention from buyers in the first 30 days that they are on the market. This means that whatever price you initially list your home at is the most important price. One-third of all housing sales fall through because the price the seller is asking is more than the buyer’s lender is willing to loan (i.e. - the home appraises for less than the offer). This makes pricing your home right even more critical so that you don’t waste time in negotiations that aren’t going to go through.
Call in the professionals
When you sell your home without an agent, you are also foregoing agent fees, which can save you anywhere from 5-8% of the home’s selling price. But that doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook on investing some money into the sale. In addition to necessary repairs and updates, a small portion of that money is well spent on a professional appraiser who has an expert opinion on your home’s specific market.
If you’re not quite ready to put your house on the market and hire a professional appraiser, but you just want to get an educated idea of what your house might be worth, there are still a few things you can do (for free).
Do your research
If you’ve lived in your house a while, you probably have some idea of what other houses in your neighborhood or area are selling for, but if not - now is the time. Home sale prices and stats can usually be easily accessed on the internet through your city’s public records. Other websites such as Realtor.org give general housing statistics to give you a broad overview and idea of your market.
Check out the competition
Take the time to look at other houses listed in your neighborhood or other houses that are similar to your house in surrounding areas through real estate websites such as Zillow or Realtor.com. Take an honest eye to your competition. Do other homes have more updates than yours? Do they have larger yards or are they in neighborhoods with desirable schools? Be honest with yourself the same way a third-party agent or appraiser would be. Take your research offline and go to any open houses happening in your area to get a true feel for how other homes have been staged and priced.
Hire an attorney
Whether you’re listing with an agent or selling your home yourself, it is always advisable to use an experienced real estate attorney from the very beginning. They can ensure that all of your contracts, paperwork, and closing documents are done correctly and legally. They may also be able to give advice on pricing and selling techniques based on their experience and knowledge of the market. An attorney or title agency will be required to handle your closing, so hiring your own and having an advocate for your sale is the best way to ensure it’s done quickly, efficiently, and legally.