selling home tips

How To Know If You’re Ready To List Your Home

By Danica Ro

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Image: Chris Snook

Even the happiest of homeowners sometimes find themselves wishing for a better option. When you spend hours each week maintaining a sprawling lawn or have to trip through a living room littered with the kids’ toys, it’s easy to dream of listing your current property and purchasing a new home.

When the idea to list their home starts to become serious, many people find that the decision is much harder than they anticipated. Listing a home (and subsequently finding a new property) is a hefty commitment of time and money. And, you know, a little thing called ‘stress’.

How can you know if you’re ready to list your home? We’ve laid out a few key points to help you understand your situation and make a confident decision.

 

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Image: American Artisans Designers & Fabricators

Does your home fit your needs?

As time goes on, our lives change. In a perfect world, the homes we love would grow and change with us in order to fit our lifestyles; a new addition to the family, a longer commute to a relocated office, or an elderly-friendly space for an aging parent. Unfortunately, the ability to morph our homes so greatly is rarely the case.

And so, one of the biggest signs that you’re ready to sell your home is if it no longer suits your needs. After all, who wants the headache of constantly retrofitting a space when you could find one that already fits your family comfortably?

Making a pro and con list of your home’s features is an easy way to see if your needs are being met. Start with the big-ticket items — a lack of necessary bedrooms or a larger kitchen, and work your way down to the more trivial points.

When you’re finished, you should be able to see very clearly whether it makes more sense to sell your home or to stay put.  

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Image: Terrrat Elms Interior Design

Do you know your home’s current market value?

The real estate market is constantly fluctuating, which can be a hard truth for sellers to accept. Your home’s sale price in the current market may not match the price at which you bought the property.

Obviously, this can be a good thing if the market is stronger now than when you first purchased. But, if you mortgaged the property at a high sale price and now need to pay off that mortgage when values are low, selling your home can become a bit more difficult.

Contact a real estate agent to determine your home’s current value. After taking a thorough look at the property, he or she will generate a Comparative Market Analysis for you. This report takes your home’s condition, upgrades, size, and location into account and compares it to similar properties that have recently sold in order to give you a fair price point.

If you find that sale prices have decreased drastically but you’re desperate to move, consider doing some upgrades. Assets such as a remodeled kitchen, a finished basement, or a central air system are all taken into account when judging a home’s sale price.

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Image: Feldman Architecture

Are you financially capable?

Potential sellers often assume that since the buyers are the ones purchasing the property, they are the only ones making a commitment. This is not the case. While the sellers’ financial responsibility in the transaction may not be as large, there is a cost. Before deciding to sell, make sure you have the ability to make payments, if necessary.

Verify that you will be able to pay off your mortgage at the current sale price. Make sure you will have enough money left over after settlement to cover your new living arrangements. Set aside a lump sum to pay for any necessary repairs after inspections and leave a little extra for unanticipated costs that can and will pop up along the way.

However, sometimes the decision to sell your home is a step towards financial security. If you are putting your home on the market to avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy, your concerns are a bit different.

You’ll want to contact a real estate agent who specializes in short sales: a type of transaction where the bank agrees to forgo some of the money owed on a mortgage to keep the owner from defaulting on a loan entirely. Make sure to list your property “as-is” when marketing it, so potential buyers know you won’t be making repairs. Be honest about any financial changes throughout the course of your transaction.  

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Image: Murphy Co. Design

Have you made the repairs on your to-do list?

Every home has a never-ending to-do list of chores and improvements. When you need to decide whether or not you’re ready to list, it’s time to start checking items off.

These small fixes could help make your decision easier. Once you’ve finished the list, ask yourself whether they have improved your overall opinion of your home. If so, has it improved it enough to convince you to stay?

Even if the answer is no, making these small household improvements will work to your advantage. An improved condition could mean an increase in property value. Additionally, since buyers inspect the property and take necessary repairs into account during contract negotiations, making the repairs ahead of time will put you in a stronger bargaining position.  

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Image: Clean Design

Do you have a plan for the future?

This may sound obvious, but it’s important enough to bear repeating. It’s easy for potential sellers to be swayed by the prospect of being given hundreds of thousands of dollars for their current property. That is because they don’t always put enough thought into what they’d like in a new home and the associated costs. Before listing your property, take the time to think about your next step.

Think about factors such as location, property size, the amount of maintenance you’d like to perform, and financial concerns like property values and yearly taxes. If you have a growing family, you may want to research the quality of the school districts before settling on a location. For those concerned about maintenance-free living, consider a condo or townhome community rather than a single-family property.

Start planning by having a discussion with your family members about what qualities are important in a new home. Take time to look at properties online to get a feel for your likes and dislikes. Once you have a specific area in mind, spend some time there to get a sense of the community. If you like what you find, contact a real estate agent to help get you ready for the next step.

When deciding whether or not to list your home, there is no right answer. Use these points as a starting guide for how to determine if you’re ready to sell. Whether you end up selling or staying just make sure that you are comfortable and secure in your final decision.

When did you know you were ready to sell your home? Or, what made you decide to stay? Let us know in the comments below, or reach out to us on social media.

View the Same Property Staged 3 Different Ways

By Saghar Setareh, CoContest guest contributor

How can you know the best style for staging a property? After all, you’ll need to satisfy home buyers’ various style tastes as well as make sure you’re showing the property in its best light.

Thanks to the power of the Internet, we wanted to see just how much the point of view in staging of properties can vary. We asked for designers to upload their take on one floorplan at the CoContest website. All designers staged the same room, but recreated it differently based on their own style and taste and interpretation of the client’s request in the contest.

The challenge: This modern apartment in Connecticut needed to be renovated, in a way to enjoy the artwork during the gatherings of family and friends.

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Photo courtesy: CoContest

Design 1: Classic Vibe

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Designed by Decolite Design

This room offered up a more classic appeal. The designer Decolite Design used a crystal chandelier for the main lighting, colonial furniture for the main living room, black chesterfield sofas with white armchairs, and a large, white rug. The artwork is also from the classic period. The pallet of colors is black and white, and a piano along the wall also helps to complete the look.

Design 2: Bold Artwork

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Designed by Marta Valence; Photo courtesy: CoContest

This designer Marta Valente above used bright and saturated colors in the artwork to compliment the two dark sofas and white and mustard color chairs. In order to add a more modern and industrial look to the space, a wooden table with metal legs was brought in. To complete this look, the wall has gray bricks and there’s a colorful buffet in stripes along one wall.

Design 3: A Modern Touch

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Designed by BIVIO Architettura. Paula Godoy & Celia Cardona; Photo courtesy: CoContest

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Designed by BIVIO Architettura. Paula Godoy & Celia Cardona; Photo courtesy: CoContest

Another designer BIVIO Architettura. Paula Godoy & Celia Cardona used very modern furniture from the late 20th Century, puffs, and large paintings to work as a separator. Texture is also used in the modern furniture and couches to match the abstract paintings on the wall. Low, coffee table and cushions are also part of this look. But the most distinctive feature of this project: The vertical bars that divide the living room in two separated parts.

 

These are only three design ideas from many, that present the property in three, completely different styles, made possible to imagine how the property would look like, with a convenient price.

 

The Secrets to Selling a Home for Over Asking Price

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No one puts their house up for sale hoping for an average offer. You want a good offer. A great offer, even. Dare we say it? You want an all-out, claws-bared bidding war that will push your home’s price well over what you’ve asked for in your listing.

It’s a dream for any home seller. And if you want to sell a home for over asking, it doesn’t necessarily boil down to luck, timing, or even location, location, location. As proof, read these true-life tales of how Realtors® helped home sellers wheel and deal their way to profits well above their expectations, and learn how you can (hopefully) do the same.

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Aim low in order to go high

“The most fruitful strategy I’ve seen is to aggressively price the property roughly 5% to 10% below the going market rate. This will always generate more traffic to the property and give buyers a chance to fall in love with the home, when a higher purchase price might have kept them away initially. Not only does it get more people in, but once the buyers see the place, they’re more likely to offer over the purchase price, which often leads to bidding wars.” – Collin Bond, Realtor for the Boris Sharapan Team of Douglas Elliman

Lesson learned: While pricing your home a bit below what it’s worth may seem counterproductive, sellers who take this leap of faith are often rewarded in spades. After all, a bidding war is a surefire way to push your home’s price over asking, and you can’t have a bidding war without multiple buyers. So price your home conservatively to up the odds that it will rise exponentially.

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Don’t leap at your first offer

“Several years back we listed a three-bedroom home in Star, ID, at a fair price; it received four offers almost immediately. But instead of biting right away, we held back. We notified the buyers there were other offers, and used that position to gain an advantage. In the end, we had two offers well above asking price.” – Nick Schlekeway, broker for Amherst Madison Legacy Real Estate

Lesson learned: Don’t immediately accept your first offer (or offers, if you’re lucky). Instead, consider it a launchpad for cultivating some fierce competition that could ultimately boost your home’s price.

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Approach investors

“I was selling a small studio apartment that needed a gut renovation, and received a lowball offer from a buyer who was very stubborn and didn’t want to budge on price. I knew I had to get another offer to create competition, so I showed the property to an investor, presenting him with a floor plan from another unit to prove this one could be remodeled and rented for a high price. The investor made an offer, but I wasn’t done. I went back to the original buyer and used the second offer to create a bidding war. Finally, the apartment sold to the original buyer for over asking, all cash—and I broke the record in the building at that time for getting the highest price per square foot in the building’s history.” – Dan Burz, Realtor for Douglas Elliman

Lesson learned: Investors may not be the first people you think of selling to, but they’re always shopping for a good deal, and can provide some much-needed incentive for other buyers to pony up more cash.

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Make your place stand out

“We had one home in a neighborhood with sluggish sales. So to stand out, the seller updated the basement, repainted the home, and redid the landscaping. Although we listed at a modest $150,000, as soon as it hit the market, we got offers. By the weekend, the bidding was around $165,000. We ended up getting an offer for $168,500, more than 10% over asking.” – Joshua Jarvis, founder of Jarvis Team Realty

Lesson learned: Granted, coughing up money for renovations will eat away at your profit. But it could also be a way to help your home shine in a lackluster market—and possibly get more money than you would have otherwise. Just make sure to pick renovations that offer a high return on investment, like your basement or attic. Better yet, you can save money by tackling a few of the simple upgrades (like painting) yourself!

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Highlight the divine in your home

“My team once listed a home for a pastor. It was wild. We had a couple of folks walk through and say they could feel the spirit of God in the house. By the end of one weekend, we had 22 offers, many waiving inspection contingencies, including handwritten letters, and all sorts of other incredible gestures. The sellers studied each person’s situation, then prayed about it, and selected the offer that felt right. We gave the property the same treatment we give all our listings, but I wouldn’t for one second claim we were the cause of all the incredible things we experienced with this house.” – Chandler Crouch, founder of Chandler Crouch Realtors

Lesson learned: Maybe it was divine intervention in this case, but it never hurts to highlight any unique features of a home—or you! So go ahead and announce you’re moving to join the Peace Corps, or that the home once housed a famous artist or pillar of the community. That extra selling point could just push those offers over the top!

These 15 Features Sell Homes the Fastest And At The Best Price

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It turns out homebuyers are really into barn doors. When Zillow looked at design features that sell homes at the best price and with the shortest listing time, that feature topped the list. Anything craftsman-style, like rectangular farmhouse sinks, also got homes off the market at a premium. Zillow Digs screened over 2 million listings for homes sold between January 2014 and March 2016 and looked for the keywords that had the best effect on how much more than the expected price and how much faster they sold.

Here are the top 15 design features:

 

outdoor-kitchenOutdoor Kitchen

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 3.7%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 19

Most common metro: Tampa, Florida

 

 

 

tankless-water-heaterTankless Water Heater

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 43

Most common metro: Los Angeles, California

 

 

 

Backsplash backsplash

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.1%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 46

Most common metro: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

 

 

graniteGranite

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.1%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 38

Most common metro: Dallas, Texas

 

 

 

stainless-steelStainless Steel

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.2%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 42

Most common metro: Chicago, Illinois

 

 

 

heated-floorsHeated Floors

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.3%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 28

Most common metro: Seattle, Washington

 

 

 

frameless-showerFrameless Shower

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.6%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 38

Most common metro: Dallas, Texas

 

 

 

pendant-lightPendant Light

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.6%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 48

Most common metro: Phoenix, Arizona

 

 

 

exposed-brickExposed Brick

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.9%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 36

Most common metro: New York, New York

 

 

 

craftsmanCraftsman

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 5.4%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 14

Most common metro: Seattle, Washington

 

 

 

quartzQuartz

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 6.0%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 50

Most common metro: Los Angeles, California

 

 

 

subway-tileSubway Tile

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 6.9%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 63

Most common metro: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

 

 

farmhouse-sinkFarmhouse Sink

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 7.9%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 58

Most common metro: Los Angeles, California

 

 

 

shaker-cabinetShaker Cabinet

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 9.6%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 45

Most common metro: Los Angeles, California

 

 

 

Barn door

Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 13.4%

How many days faster than expected the home sells: 57

Most common metro: Phoenix, Arizona