Do you live in a city like Palo Alto, Austin or Denver? Then you can probably stop reading this article. Those markets are so hot that all sellers have to do is put out a For Sale sign and watch a herd of potential buyers appear. On the other hand, if you’re not fortunate enough to live in one of those cities that are hot markets there was a good article on the Trulia Blog recently that showcased those factors that will determine how much you get for your house.
The one you can’t do much about
The first factor as the article noted is location, location, location. If your home is close to a large vacant lot, a busy highway, or next door to a youth home there’s not much you can do about it. This almost guarantees you will get less for your house. As Trulia reported this is why two identical homes in the exact same neighborhood can have very different listing numbers – if one backs up on a four-way road and the other is on an attractive cul-de-sac.
That awkward in-between age
You probably remember when you were in that awkward in-between age where you were not a child but still not an adult? Homes can also fall in an awkward in-between age. According to Trulia older properties that have a lot of character are always in demand as our relatively new houses. Unfortunately, homes that are 30 to 40 years old hold a lot less appeal to prospective buyers – especially if their layouts are dated or odd.
Renovations that are outdated
Did you renovate your kitchen in the early 2000s with wall-to-wall carpeting and dark wood cabinets? Is your master bath a tribute to the wonders of sponge paint and glass-brick walls? Renovations, when you bought your home that was then en vogue, can cause a buyer to come in and turn up his or her nose. However, a major renovation may not be the best way to increase your net return. One real estate agent said, “In this market, I almost always advise sellers to improve their property rather than fully renovate and then price accordingly. Fresh paint and flowers will spruce up a place and for just pennies on the dollar.” And making the house more energy efficient would certainly help.
A sketchy history
Was your basement once flooded during a storm and so you have mold? Has your neighborhood been associated with high crime rates, even if this is no longer true? Was there a fire on or near the property? Did a crime ever occur in the house? According to Trulia, it is practically impossible to scrub the public record of your home’s history. If it’s is on the sketchy side, then savvy potential buyers will know about it and may not be eager to buy.
It’s too big or too small
According to the data from Census.gov, the average size of a new single-family home is more than 2,500 square feet. Potential buyers almost always look first at the house’s square footage. Again according to Trulia most buyers are looking to make an upgrade so that your 600 square feet might not have much of an appeal. On the other hand, the bloom has apparently fallen off the McMansion craze. What people learned as a result of the recession of 2008 is that oversized properties are not always an asset. Many of today’s buyers are now more pragmatic about how much space they need to be comfortable.
The second thing that most buyers scrutinize after square footage is bathroom and bedroom counts. There is hardly a buyer that doesn’t dream of having a separate bedroom for guests or having a whole bathroom to themselves. Even if you live in a really great neighborhood it won’t help if you only have one bathroom or just a couple of bedrooms.
Not in step with neighboring houses
Is yours a single-family house in an ocean of townhomes? Do you have a condominium in a modern building surrounded by historic homes? If your neighborhood lacks comps, a mortgage lender is going to have a difficult time properly assessing its resale possibilities and may underestimate your home’s worth. And if your buyers find that your house has been unfairly assessed this gives them ammunition to try to negotiate down the sale price.
Lacking in “wow” factor
One real estate agent noted that some buildings just have an intangible “it” factor. This might be rare architectural finishes, the fact that celebrities live nearby or proximity to a popular landmark. If there’s nothing that really makes your house stand out – if there’s no “wow factor” to help distinguish it from those dozens of other houses on the market – it can sometimes be tough to attract attention, especially during the busy spring market.
Perhaps the most critical factor in determining how much you can get for your house is how you price it, as you just must price it correctly. Naturally, you want to sell your house for as much as possible but if you price it too high, it may sit on the market for so long that potential buyers will think you will probably accept a lower offer. In addition, you may receive low offers or no offers at all. In fact, statistics show that the more you overprice a property the more likely it is that you will eventually sell it at a lower price than it’s worth.
The real estate agent
Last but certainly not least how much you get for your home will depend heavily on the Realtor(R) you choose. Make sure she or he has a lot of experience marketing homes in your area and price range and that they demonstrate a knowledge of home prices in your area. Your Realtor should have a good marketing plan for your house as there is a lot more to selling it than just putting it on the MLS. Interview a number of different Realtors before selecting one and make sure you choose one that has a solid track record for selling homes in your area.
Staging your home
A new trend that’s popped up the past few years is called staging your home. This video explains what this is and offers 10 inexpensive tips for staging your house to sell fast.