I am a pretty simple guy. I hate complicated. I don’t want to read a common core math answer about how you go about figuring out what happens when you have 100 things and take away 50. No thanks, I will just use the knowledge in my head (or on the calculator) to tell you it’s 50. Simple things are always better in my world. See ball, hit ball as they say in baseball.
Throw everything else out, keep it simple, and know how these 4 things affect the sale of your house and you will be miles ahead of other sellers.
#1 is Location. Stop me if you have heard this one before. “It is all about location, location, location.” Yep, I bet you have. And I am keenly aware of the fact that this is the one thing you absolutely cannot do anything about when it comes to your home. It is where it is. Ok, you could move it, technically. But that is messy and expensive. Not to mention likely not allowed in some areas. So let’s scratch that.
The location of your home is the biggest factor in its value to a buyer. From the bigger things such as area of the city or school district it is in, down to the neighborhood or placement of the lot on the street. Literally every location is different in some way.
While there is no way to change the location of your house, it is important to understand how impactful it is to a buyer and plan your sale accordingly. For instance, if it is something to highlight, in the case of it being a great neighborhood, schools, etc. then highlight it. But, it could be something to try to overcome like when your neighbor is a Wal-Mart or a cemetery for instance. You cannot just ignore it and hope it goes away. It won’t, and it will hurt your sale. Plan accordingly.
#2 is Condition. Now here is something we can determine, within reason of course. The condition of your property is something the buyer will notice as early the pictures online. And is even more noticeable when they pull up to the house. Notice how I said property not house this time. This is because your entire property needs to be looking good. It all doesn’t have to be perfect, but take some time to make sure it doesn’t look bad. For instance, you don’t have to repaint the entire outside of the house, but cleaning off the siding with a power washer can go a long way. The lawn and landscape doesn’t have to “wow” the buyer, but it needs to be in good shape so that it isn’t a deterrent. The carpet doesn’t have to be new, but it should be clean. Like professionally cleaned. That bit of money you spend could be the difference in a buyer making an offer, or passing on it to another house.
Now, do not confuse condition with features. This is not a time to be taking on expensive projects to try to “upgrade” your home for the buyer if it isn’t necessary. The house for sale up the street may have granite counters and yours doesn’t, but spending the money to have it done may not be the best choice. Especially if that money is taking away money that would be better served to fix or replace some things that are in bad condition. A buyer would rather see a house that is in overall good condition without granite counters than they would a house with them but is falling apart elsewhere.
The key is, know what is important and makes sure your money and efforts go there.
#3 is Price. Ah yes, the price. The single most important item on the list. While location, location, location is the most important aspect to a home sale, let’s call price the “trump card.” The one thing that can overcome any shortcomings in location, condition or marketing plan. Pricing the home is the single most important thing to get right. I cannot stress this enough.
No, you cannot just “price it a little high and then come down if needed.” That doesn’t work. Why? Because by the time you have figured out that the high price isn’t bringing in buyers, those buyers have already purchased a properly priced home. And the next crop of buyers will wonder what is wrong with the house since it isn’t selling and dropping in price. They wonder if a previous buyer found a big problem. Point is, time on the market drives buyers away.
Once you have missed that few week window of the house being a “new listing” it becomes increasingly harder to sell the house in general, much less in getting the price you were hoping for.
As tempting as it is to go for the most money you can possibly get, you have to consider the consequences if that doesn’t work. Wouldn’t it be better to price it right the first time, take a bit less money but sell it faster and for the amount you are asking? After all, you are selling the house to move somewhere else right? The goal is the move, not the profit.
#4 is Marketing Plan. While maybe not something you were thinking of when you thought about the possibilities for this list, it is nevertheless very important. A good marketing plan and its execution can be the difference between you getting what you want out of the sale of the house.
Anyone can put a sign in the yard, post it to the Multiple Listing Service, and then hope that the right buyer comes along. Unfortunately, all too often this is the extent of the plan for some For Sale By Owners and (sadly) some agents. The marketing plan is sometimes an afterthought with everything else going on. But it shouldn’t be.
A marketing plan is much like a recipe, if you have one and follow it, you will get the results you want. If you don’t have one, or have one but do not use it, who knows what will come of your work?
The marketing plan is the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of the sale of your home. It answers such questions as; Who are you marketing to? How are you going to market to them? Where will they see your marketing? Why will they be interested in your home? And so on. Marketing isn’t an accident. It isn’t just getting lucky either. It is a plan that is carried out to expose your home to not only the most people possible, but also the most probable buyers for your home.
As you can tell, you need to be careful that the marketing plan is not an afterthought in your sale.
So, there you have it. The 4 most important things when it comes to selling your house. They are not a secret, so don’t treat them like it when it comes time to sell your home. For the most part, they are common sense but often forgotten at the same time. As you go out into the market with your house, just be mindful of these 4 factors and your home selling experience will be so much smoother.