Setting a Listing Price
Of course everyone wants more money for their home. But in choosing a selling price for your house, it doesn't really matter how much you think your home is worth, nor does it matter how much an agent thinks your home is worth. It will only be the buyer's opinion that counts in the end. To find a reasonable asking price, you'll need to compare similar properties, track market movements, and take stock of present inventory. This will lead you to a range of value, which is only an educated opinion, but a good start. Also, understand that no two appraisals are ever exactly the same, but they should be generally close to each other. This means you will not be able to get one set price tag for your home from appraisals, but it will give you a good, educated range and the market will dictate the rest.
It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of selling your home with the idea that you will be receiving a large sum of money from the sale. However, you need to remember the costs involved with selling that could include real estate commission if you use an agent to sell, advertising costs, signs, and other fees if you list for sale by owner, attorney, or closing agent and other professional fees, excise tax for the sale, prorated costs for your share of annual expenses, such as property taxes, home owner association fees, etc., and any other fees typical for sellers in your area, like surveys and inspection fees. Try to get an estimate that will include all the seller closing costs.
Unless you want your house to be regarded as a "fixer-upper," you'll want to make sure all needed repairs are made. This does not necessarily mean cosmetic updates, though those can also be helpful, but just make sure that any items that are in need of repair are fixed. Some things that worry buyers the most are mold and mildew, damp basements and crawlspaces, deteriorated roofs or chimneys, plumbing problems, and inadequate or inferior electrical systems. Anything visibly broken will give buyers a reason to offer a lower price.
You want your home to look presentable, if not fantastic when potential buyers come through the door. This means creating a home ready at any time for a walk through. Some tips for staging your home may include the following: opening drapes and blinds to let in natural light, washing windows, cleaning up the yard for curb appeal, controlling clutter inside and out, deep cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, refinishing hardwood floors, and painting or repainting where necessary. In some cases, it may even be helpful to borrow or rent some additions to make your home more attractive to buyers. Your Realtor may recommend using the services of a home staging professional to achieve maximum appeal from the outset to accomplish the quickest sale for the highest price.
By Gail Fattizzi, Executive Director of Westchester Real Estate, Inc., Lic. Real Estate Broker