The following blog is an in-depth guide that focuses on selling a house as is. Whether you are an existing home owner or a real estate investing enthusiast, you will find a wealth of information below.
Selling your home can be surprisingly time-consuming and emotionally challenging especially if you've never done it before. At times, it may feel like an invasion of privacy because strangers will come into your home and poke around your closets and cabinets. They will criticize a place that has probably become more than just four walls and a roof to you, and, to top it all off, they will offer you less money than you think your home is worth.
With no experience and a complex, emotional transaction on your hands, it's easy for first-time home sellers to make lots of mistakes. But with a little know-how, you can avoid many of these pitfalls altogether. Read on to find out how you can get the highest possible price for your home within a reasonable time frame—without losing your mind.
Tips on how to sell quickly
If someone wants to view your house, you need to accommodate them, even if it inconveniences you. And yes, you have to clean and tidy the house before every single visit. A buyer won't know and care if your house was clean last week. It's a lot of work, but stay focused on the prize.
Get the right smells
Bad smells are the single biggest turn off for prospective buyers. Don’t just cover them up, fix the source of the smell. Clear drains, wash bins, open windows, air the kitchen from old cooking smells, get rid of furniture that is embedded with cigarette smoke, and wash any grimy bed sheets
If you are a smoker, place bowls of vinegar around the house and leave out for three days. Though the vinegar will smell when you open the windows it will disappear quickly taking a most of the stale cigarette smell out with it
Conversely, good smells can make a property feel like an alluring home. While it might be impractical to bake fresh bread, cakes or brownies for every viewer that visits your home, you could perhaps brew some fresh coffee.
Declutter – but don’t depersonalize
Get rid of all the excess stuff that has accumulated in every nook and cranny. Put it in storage or give it to a friend. People need to be able to envisage what the property would look like if they were living there. People often find this difficult, so make it easy for them to see all the fantastic living space you’re offering them
Don’t make it look like a generic hotel; leave some personality. Apart from anything else it gives unimaginative buyers suggestions as to what they might do. People are often buying into a lifestyle as much as a property. Show them the attractive side of your lifestyle
Consider removing any bulky furniture that makes the room feel small and replacing it with smaller furniture.
Set a Realistic Price
Whether you're working with an agent or going it alone, setting the right asking price is key. Remember the comparable market analysis you or your agent did when you bought your home to determine a fair offering price? Buyers will do this for your home, too, so as a seller, you should be one step ahead of them.
Absent a housing bubble, overpriced homes generally don't sell. Don't worry too much about setting a price that's on the low side because, in theory, this will generate multiple offers and bid the price up to the home's true market value. In fact, underpricing your home can be a strategy to generate extra interest in your listing and you can always refuse an offer that's too low.
To Hire or Not to Hire an Agent?
Although real estate agents command a hefty commission—usually 5 to 6% of the sale price of your home—it's probably not a great idea to try to sell your home on your own, especially if you haven't done it before. It can be tempting, especially if you've seen all those "for sale by owner" signs on people's front lawns or on the internet. So does it pay to hire an agent?
A good agent generally has your best interests at heart. They will help you set a fair and competitive selling price for your home that will increase your odds of a quick sale. An agent can also help tone down the emotion of the process by interacting with potential buyers and by eliminating tire-kickers who only want to look at your property but have no intention of writing an offer.
Your agent will also have more experience negotiating home sales, helping you get more money than you could on your own. And if any problems crop up during the process—and they commonly do—an experienced professional will be there to handle them for you. Finally, agents are familiar with all the paperwork and pitfalls involved in real estate transactions and can help make sure the process goes smoothly. This means there won't be any delays or glitches in the deal.
After reading all this, should you really hire an agent? Only you can decide.
Major Reasons Why People Buy Houses That Sell As Is
HOME RELATED REASONS
The motivation for most moves usually reflects the residences themselves or the area surrounding them.
- House is Too Small: The most common reason for selling a house is increased family size. First-time home buyers usually outgrow their first houses. As children are born and grow, people often feel the need for a larger space.
- Made a Mistake: Perhaps they believed that they could manage without a front yard, but the noise coming from the main street is simply too much to bear. Perhaps the pool is not as easy to maintain as they assumed and they probably never use it anyway. Perhaps they are tired of tripping over the steps to their sunken living room. Whatever the reason might be, homeowners might feel that they made a mistake when they originally bought their current residence and want out.
- Neighborhood: The neighborhood could have changed for the worse i.e. socially, economically, or with regards to infrastructure. Maybe the overall area has developed in such a way that the residents no longer like such as growing too quiet, too young, too busy, or even too commercial.
Money matters are yet another common reason why people move.
- Moving on Up: Homeowners may also outgrow their homes figuratively too: They have come into money or their careers are flourishing, and they can now afford the grander, bigger, and more expensive residence that they have always dreamed of.
- Deferred Maintenance: For some people, it is much easier to buy a newer home than to replace the siding, put on a new roof, or buy a new furnace or heating system. When you realize that 15 years is the average life of most residential infrastructure, it could make sense to move before you have to spend the big bucks.
- Cash in Equity: Homeowners are sometimes unable to stand the fact their property is worth all that money, but they cannot actually use it. Instead of staring at 4 walls with empty pockets, they find it more financially prudent to sell the property and use the money for other things. So, they sell the property and take advantage of the appreciation in property values.
People sometimes sell their house because they simply wish to.
- Job Transfer or New Job: Work-related relocation obviously makes pulling up roots necessary – and it does not actually have to be a full-fledged move to a different state, town, or country. People typically draw the line at a commute that exceeds 1 hour (one way), particularly if it means having to drive in heavy traffic.
- Seeing Family More or Less Regularly: People often move to be close to relatives, particularly as they grow older. Conversely, some homeowners move for the complete opposite reason i.e. being as far as possible from relatives. Fractured and dysfunctional families have been known to grow closer once they are separated.
- Seeking New Challenges: Some homeowners love fixing up a home – spending money, time, and effort or remodeling. However, once the work is complete, they find themselves getting restless since they have nothing left to do. They prefer nothing better than selling up and moving on to the next fixer-upper.
- Different Priorities and Interests: Some people are just tired of owning a home and instead prefer to pursue their hobbies, travel, or be less responsible. For such individuals, homeownership is no longer a priority and selling the property becomes the ticket for actualizing their dreams.
LIFE CYCLE REASONS
Residential needs and preferences often change once people reach significant milestones in their lives.
- Relationship Changes: Getting married or moving in with a partner usually means selling for either one of both home owning parties. Conversely, breakups are also one of the most common reasons for people selling their homes.
A house in a divorce is often sold. One party may need to buy out the other and not have the cash available; the home may hold bad memories; or the place might not be affordable to sustain on just one income.
- Retirement: Active-adult communities typically attract numerous buyers over 55-years-old. Such planned communities offer clubhouses, golf courses, recreational and workout facilities, and social gatherings – along with medical and health facilities, which makes it easier to age in peace.
- Empty Nest: One of the main reasons why empty-nesters move is downsizing a home. The children are all grown up and have already moved out and the parents now want a smaller house. Plus, the older you get, the harder it is to maintain a big house and the better a townhouse or apartment looks: Physical ailments make it harder to walk long distances, climb stairs, do yard work, or negotiate narrow spaces. Refitting can be quite expensive, which is why it is better to move to a place with a better layout or a condo complex with maintenance staff.
- Death in the Family: If one half of a couple dies, the survivor often finds the home either too full of sad reminders or too big for them to remain there. Perhaps grown children find the familial home impractical to continue keeping after the surviving parent goes, Estate planners usually advise homeowners to transfer titles to property into trusts, which allows their heirs to avoid probate proceedings and more easily sell a home.
The Cons of Selling As-Is
LOWER SALE PRICE
The lower sale price is the biggest drawback of selling a home as is. As is homes won’t get the same sale price as their fully inspected, fully repaired and remodeled competition. The severity of the damage will determine how much lower the sale price ultimately is. A real estate agent can help you lower your home’s list price fairly if you’re not sure.
Potential buyers will want to beat you up on price to make up for the cost of needed repairs—so don’t expect to be paid in gold. On average, recent move-in-ready homes sold for more than $250,000, while fixer-upper homes sold for almost $200,000—a profit plunge of 25%!2 Bummer. But hey, at least you won’t have to spend the thousands of dollars it’ll take to fix it.
Sellers are required to disclose problems, but buyers know that not everyone follows the law. That means some buyers will expect damages that aren’t there, and will lower their offer based on problems that don’t exist. Getting past this distrust is possible, but it can be a significant barrier.
Fixer uppers attract buyers ready for a project, but many other buyers won’t be interested. If the necessary repairs are significant, the condition of the home might make it difficult to get financing, which will drive away all but cash buyers.
The lower price of an as-is home might attract buyers. But don’t be surprised if the repairs that need to be done send many of them running for the hills. Besides, some lenders won’t even approve buyers for a mortgage on a fixer-upper. That might limit your potential buyers to house flippers and real estate investors.
Seasoned home flippers make a business out of selling fixer uppers, and these industrious buyers will probably make an offer as low as possible. With buyers starting at low-ball prices, you’ll have to bring sharp negotiating skills to the table to keep the buyer interested and still get a good price. If you’re not sure about this step, bring an experienced real estate agent into your corner to help.
Improvements You Can Make Before Selling or Listing Your Property
Let’s admit it, when getting ready to put a home on sale, the fear that it might not sell fast or rake in the amount you expect will often creep up on you. Things get even more real when you begin to imagine what the home inspector report might look like and what buyers will think of it.
On the other hand, there’s the good feeling that comes with knowing that there are a few things you can do to attract potential home buyers to your property. Even better than that is the fact that low-cost home improvements exist that you could complete that could perfectly seduce a potential buyer.
Granted, a large-scale remodeling project will certainly raise the value of your home, and buyers will definitely be lured to it, but the process will also break the bank, not to mention that payback isn’t guaranteed. On top of that, prospective buyers might not like your version of remodeling because tastes do differ.
Yet the low-cost home improvements are pretty simple. Some you can even carry out on your own and when they are taken collectively, chances are high they could expedite the sale of your property and bring you a reasonable profit from it.
Make Your Ground Neat and Elegant
Great landscaping can be create an impressive first impression. Based on a survey done by the National Association of Realtors in 2013, 71% of home buyers consider curb appeal when shopping for a home. So, unless your house is a fixer-upper, you owe serious buyers an inviting home.
Once they begin to tour your property, your landscaping should evoke excitement. Thankfully, there are quick and inexpensive curb appeal projects you can do to achieve that.
- Adding color with annuals, seasonal flowering shrubs, or perennials
- Removing weeds from your yard, watering it, applying fertilizer, and aerating it. This will also help in getting the yard as green as possible
- Mowing the lawn on a regular basis
- Planting a few deciduous trees such as the tulip tree, dogwood, and red oak (roughly 15 feet tall)
- Edge and mulch the lawn to create a neat and attractive appearance
For a couple of hundred dollars, you can enlist the help of a landscaper to plant some flowering annuals, in addition to carrying out a full yard cleanup.
Many would, of course, want to know about the return on investment from such a landscaping project. Well, a quick web search puts the numbers between 100% and 1000%.
More important to note is that the results tend to be impressive when you develop a landscape plan that compliments the architectural design of your home.
Even though you have a chance to do an extensive landscape, bear in mind that some buyers can treat that as a negative factor due to the high maintenance cost it attracts. This is especially the case for millennial home buyers. Low maintenance costs are one of the top things millennial home buyers are looking for in a home!
Upgrade The Lighting
Does your living and dining room have those dull recessed lights? If yes, this is the time to unscrew them and fix a brilliant replacement in their place. Chandeliers would be a great option to consider.
If your other rooms have aged light bulbs, consider swapping them out with new ones that have proper voltage for the kind of fixtures in the room. You may also consider adding energy efficient bulbs and fixtures. This is one of the best ways to make a home more energy efficient which is desired by many buyers nowadays!
You may also consider adding more lamps and fixtures such as under cabinet lighting, desk lamps, bedside lamps, accent lighting, and tread lighting.
Considering that showings often happen at different times of the day, also put into consideration natural lighting. Examine your curtains and blinds to ensure they are not impeding what natural light you could have in the room.
Being a key part of curb appeal, exterior lighting also matters. Make it well lit by adding things such as path lighting to create a welcoming impression.
Lastly, note that dark furnishings, flooring, and wall and ceiling colors are known to interfere with room lighting. To be on the safe side, enlist the help of an interior designer. Let them audit these aspects to ensure they are optimized for their function.
A Kitchen Facelift
It’s true that a kitchen is the heart of every home, which is why many potential home buyers prioritize it over other rooms. If you update every other room to be clean and appealing, then spruce up your kitchen with low-cost cosmetic upgrades, more potential buyers will be encouraged to buy your house and the selling price will be higher.
A complete renovation of your kitchen sounds like a good idea, but the flip side of such a project is that it’s expensive and doesn’t guarantee reasonable returns.
However, with just a few dollars, you can carry out the following upgrades and still get the best resale value.
Paint – Baseboards, kitchen cabinets, trim, moldings, and entryways are among the few kitchen areas that often require a fresh coat of paint to keep the kitchen glowing. Earlier on, we saw that blue kitchens tend to deliver relatively excellent results, so when you select a paint color, have that in mind.
Depersonalize – If you have personal photographs, political or religious décor, memorabilia, artwork, and the like, it’s best to remove them so as to give prospective buyers touring the property a chance to envision their own lives in your home.
Replace old kitchen appliances – Replacing dated dishwashers, microwave ovens, humidifiers, and an air conditioner(s) is one way to give your kitchen a fresh look and make it look more functional.
Clean the countertops – Examine your countertop for cracks, nicks, grout issues, etc., and if present, perform the necessary action(s) to fix the issue. Sand and oil it to get rid of butcher block. Clean it and clear it off if need be. However, in the event you have to replace the countertops, granite is one of the greatest option to take into consideration.
Other inexpensive updates you might want to consider include sprucing up the backsplash by adding tiles that complement the theme of your kitchen and swapping outdated cabinet pulls and drawers with new ones.
Renew Floor Finishes & Replace Old Carpets
Bearing in mind that your home could be purely vacant, flooring is among the things that count as far as first impressions goes. Once a buyer steps inside the home, they will probably see the floor first.
Many floor types naturally take a beating over time and if yours looks worn, that might turn off a potential buyer. Is there a way to avoid that? Yes, absolutely!
Flooring stores and home centers do sell water-based products for renewing different floor types and they cost just a couple of hundred dollars.
An old or stained carpet is a definite turn-off, especially to prospective homeowners who plan to settle with their pets. Hire a professional to clean it, but if that doesn’t do the trick, consider getting a fresh new carpet.
Let’s face it, freshly painted rooms are a natural attraction. A clean and updated exterior too can also be alluring. And guess what? A simple paint job or scrubbing of the walls using proper tools and cleaning agents can bring exact results to your home.
When it comes to painting, it’s important that you choose the right type and pick your colors wisely. Not too long ago, Zillow did analyze well over 32,000 images of sold homes and their finding was that rooms painted in light shades of blue, pale blue or gray, and powder blue sold way above the expected price ($5440 on average).
The same report found out that blue kitchens, light blue bathrooms, brown living rooms (pale taupe, beige, or oatmeal-colored walls), cadet blue bedrooms, slate blue dining rooms, greige home exteriors, and navy blue front doors raised the value of a home by more than $1000. Thus, by opting to go with such colors, you will likely attract a huge number of potential property buyers.
Give the attention and number of visits they attract, bathrooms and kitchen are the top candidates for a full paint job. Don’t forget to select the right shade for each. You can do the painting yourself or hire a pro to do it for a few hundred dollars.
However, if you cannot afford fresh paint or your walls are still in mint condition and only have fingerprints, marks, dings, and the like, washing them can still go a long way in giving them a desirable look.
Did you find this real estate blog searching for answers or help?
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