Are You Considering Downsizing?
Are you an Empty Nester or simply in need of a smaller new home for your future? Is it time to downsize or find a more suitable home for your well-deserved retirement years? Like many other home sellers, you may have experienced the bustling years of child traffic, toys strewn across the floor, and the sound of music echoing through your home, only to find that the once lively atmosphere has quieted down to the faint hum of the refrigerator. While your rooms are still adorned with pictures and memories of a wonderful time in your life, some rooms now sit empty, collecting dust as your children have moved on. The upcoming years are filled with exciting prospects, and it may be the perfect moment for you to consider a change.
To assist you in comprehending the intricacies of making such a transition and to steer you away from the common and costly mistakes often made by Empty Nesters, we've prepared this information to guide you in identifying and planning for the journey ahead.
How to Sell the Place You Call Home For so Many Years
Selling your home is a pivotal step in your life. This 9-step system equips you with the tools to maximize your profits, retain control, and alleviate the stress associated with the home-selling process.
1. Understanding Your Motivation
Before taking any action, it's crucial to understand why you're selling, but it's equally important to keep this information to yourself. The motivations behind your decision to sell impact every aspect, from setting the price to determining the time and resources to invest in preparing your home for sale. Your priorities may focus on the money you'll gain, the duration your property stays on the market, or a combination of both. Different objectives demand different strategies.
However, it's advisable not to disclose your motivation to others, as it could potentially be used against you during negotiations. When asked, simply state that your housing needs have changed.
2. Thoroughly Research Your Pricing
Deciding on an asking price is a weighty decision and should not be taken lightly. Once you've established the price, you've essentially communicated to potential buyers the maximum they need to pay for your home. Overpricing can be as detrimental as underpricing. It's important to remember that the average buyer evaluates 15-20 homes simultaneously when considering a purchase. They use these comparisons to make decisions. If your home doesn't favorably compare with others in your price range, you risk not being taken seriously by potential buyers or agents. As a consequence, your home might linger on the market for an extended period, leading new buyers to question if something is amiss with your property.
3. Study Comparable Sales
You should determine the selling prices of comparable homes in your neighborhood and similar areas. This information is crucial, and it's a task your real estate agent should undertake on your behalf. Find out what homes similar to yours have sold for in the past 6-12 months and what current homes are listed for. This is precisely how prospective buyers assess the value of your home.
4. Select a Competent Real Estate Agent
A significant number of homeowners, nearly three-quarters, report that they wouldn't engage the same realtor who sold their previous home. Common grievances revolve around poor communication, which results in inadequate feedback, lower pricing, and strained relationships. If possible, find an agent who has been through downsizing themselves.*
5. Enhance Your Home's Appeal
Every year, corporate North America allocates substantial resources to product and packaging design. The appearance of your home is critical, and it would be unwise to ignore this aspect when selling your property. You may not have control over your home's location or floor plan, but you can make meaningful improvements to its appearance. The visual and tactile qualities of your home evoke a powerful emotional response, surpassing all other factors. In preparation for showings, clean your home meticulously, straighten up, declutter, scrub, scour, and dust. Address every issue, regardless of how insignificant it may seem. Present your home to elicit a "wow" response from potential buyers. Allow them to envision themselves living in your space. The decision to purchase a home is grounded in emotion, not logic. Prospective buyers want to experience your home much like they would try on a new suit of clothes. If you shadow them and point out every improvement or if your decor is so distinct that buyers can't easily imagine themselves in your home, it can hinder their comfort in envisioning themselves as the owners.
6. Facilitate Information Access for Prospective Buyers
You might be surprised to learn that some conventional marketing tools used by agents, such as traditional open houses, are not particularly effective. In fact, only 1% of homes are sold at an open house. Moreover, prospective buyers who seek information about your home value their time, just as you do. They are not keen on playing a game of telephone tag with an agent or enduring an unwelcome sales pitch. Ensure that the advertisements your agent creates for your home are linked to a 24-hour prerecorded hotline with a unique ID# assigned to your property. This gives buyers access to comprehensive information about your home, day or night, seven days a week, without requiring direct contact with anyone. Research has shown that three times as many buyers request information about your home using this system. Remember, the more buyers vying for your home, the better, as it creates an auction-like atmosphere that positions you as the one in control.
7. Understanding Your Buyer
In the negotiation process, your aim is to manage the pace and duration of the transaction. It's essential to comprehend your buyer's motivation. Do they need to make a swift move? Do they have the financial means to meet your asking price? This insight empowers you in negotiations, as you understand how far you can push to attain your goals.
8. Ensure a Comprehensive Contract
As a seller, it's crucial to be thorough and disclose everything. Knowledgeable sellers go beyond legal requirements to provide written disclosure of all known defects to their buyers. If the buyer is aware of a problem, it prevents potential legal disputes later on. Confirm that all terms, costs, and responsibilities are explicitly detailed in the sales contract, and resist the temptation to deviate from the agreement. For example, if the buyer requests an early move-in date before closing, consider declining the request. Now is not the time to take risks that might jeopardize the deal.
9. Avoid Vacating Before the Sale
Research has demonstrated that selling a vacant home can be more challenging, as it may appear desolate, neglected, and uninviting. Vacant homes can even result in a financial loss. Furthermore, when you vacate, it signals to buyers that you have a new home and are likely motivated to sell quickly. This can provide buyers with an advantage during negotiations.