6 Outdated Habits to Reset If You Hope to Sell Your Home This Year

6 Outdated Habits to Reset If You Hope to Sell Your Home This Year

6 Outdated Habits to Reset If You Hope to Sell Your Home This Year

Many people use the new year as an opportunity to quit bad habits, like drinking too much. But that’s not the only

 thing we can do to make our lives better. If you’re planning to sell your home this year, you need to be ready and determined to succeed. It’s not easy to sell a home, even when the market is good. You don’t want to do anything that could lower your chances of getting a great offer. We asked real estate agents what home sellers should stop doing in the new year. Here are their suggestions on what to steer clear of and what to adopt to sell your home quickly and for the best price.

Outdated Habit No. 1: Trying to sell your house on your own

You might think that the home-selling process is already complex enough, and that adding another person to the mix—namely, a real estate professional—could make it even more difficult. But that idea should be thrown out the window—fast. Why? Because homes sold by owners “never fetch the same price as they would if they were listed with an experienced” real estate agent, according to Andrea Viscuso, an agent at Forte Team at Compass in Connecticut. Besides knowledge and experience, a listing agent has networking power with contacts in the industry and can increase marketability. Even if you find a buyer on your own, you still need to know the laws and regulations of selling a house. You may have many other skills, but you may lack the ability to vet offers, prevent wire fraud, and negotiate deals, which a real estate professional can provide. “We know how to negotiate for our client’s best interest and give them a buffer,” says Viscuso.

Outdated Habit No. 2: Considering only the highest offer

You might be surprised to learn that the highest offer on a home is not always the best offer. Sure, the highest bid seems tempt

ing, but you also need to think about other factors. As a seller, you should look at the buyer’s overall financial situation, the conditions, and the closing date. For instance, the buyer with the highest offer might depend on a lender that needs a home appraisal to approve the offer. And if the appraisal falls short of the offer—the buyer can walk away. Or maybe the highest offer requires a longer closing time, but you need to move quickly because of a contract on another property. “By looking beyond the price tag, you’ll make a wiser choice and avoid any nasty surprises later on,” says Fran Lisner, a real estate agent with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty on Long Island, NY.

Outdated Habit No. 3: Being inflexible for showings

You’re thrilled that your agent has found a very keen buyer who wants to see your home. But the catch is that they want to come in two hours. Showing your home at any time can disrupt your normal routine, but a home seller has to be as adaptable as possible. It can put off potential buyers if you’re inflexible with showings and don’t cooperate with their schedules. “Be the seller that everyone loves and show some willingness,” says Lisner. “By being open to different showing times, you’ll reach more people and attract more buyers.”

Outdated Habit No. 4: Assuming a cash offer is always best

You might think that a cash offer for the full asking price is the best thing that could happen to a seller. Cash usually means a faster sale at a fair price. Plus, you could skip inspections, appraisals, and conditions. Cash offers mostly come from rich buyers, investors who renovate and resell properties, and iBuyers. But because cash buyers don’t use traditional financing, it can be hard to tell if you’re working with a trustworthy buyer. “Cash does have a lot of benefits, but some investors make offers without being serious and then back out,” says Viscuso. “I have seen more cash deals fall apart because of a change of mind than mortgaged offers.” So, don’t rush to grab the money and leave. “A solid buyer with a pre-approval letter who is well screened can sometimes be more committed to the property,” says Viscuso.

Outdated Habit No. 5: Forgoing minor repairs

You might not feel like fixing up a home you’re about to sell. But making small improvements could boost your sales price for some sellers. And you don’t have to spend a lot to get your house ready. Give your home a new look—both inside and outside. You may have to do a thorough clean, get rid of clutter, and arrange things. Or patch up that hole in the screen and give the front door a new coat of paint.

Jen Turano, a real estate agent at Compass in Greenwich, CT, advised her sellers to make small upgrades to boost the home’s worth, which worked well. “We got many bids, and the home went for much more than the asking price,” says Turano.

Outdated Habit No. 6: Skipping staging

You might wonder if home staging is really worth it. The answer is a definite y

es. Staging can help you get the best price no matter what the market is like. “Skipping home staging and maintenance is like serving a fine dish on a disposable plate,” says Lisner. “It doesn’t show off your lovely property.” Staging probably helped one of Turano’s clients get an offer above the asking price for a home they had already moved out of. (Staging is also important for occupied homes, by the way.) “Staging gave the home a more polished look, and the stager’s choice of furniture and decor turned the home’s already nice appearance into something amazing,” says Turano.

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