News & Advice

Ask an Agent: How Can I Get Top Dollar For My Home?

November 8, 2018

A house is an investment. Every time you make a mortgage payment, you are building equity and increasing your wealth in a way that you can’t do as a renter. So when it comes time to sell your home, you want that investment to pay off.

There are plenty of ways to make sure you get top dollar for your home. From making sure it looks its best, to ensuring that it is in top shape before inviting potential buyers to visit, a qualified real estate agent can provide advice to making sure your home will command the most value.

Tip 1: Do some DIY before putting your home on the market.

Sam Edwards of ERA Waldrop Real Estate says that buyers are willing to pay more for a home that they have to do little work on. By putting in the time to make any necessary repairs, homeowners can position themselves and their home to receive more offers, for higher prices. It’s so important to do some repairs, he said, that he has contractor accounts open at local home improvement stores so that sellers can get discounted prices on tools and materials.

“If your home is priced right, dressed right, and ready to go, it will sell for top dollar,” Mr. Edwards said. “Doing all of the little things right will bring you more money at the end of the day.”

Carla Masse of Sun Realty agrees, recommending that buyers exercise attention to detail when identifying areas that need repair. These little details can mean the difference between a buyer  feeling comfortable that the former owner has taken good care of their home, and being uneasy that the property may have underlying issues.

“Make sure all the light bulbs work, no plumbing is leaking, that there are no roof issues, no stains on the ceiling, etc.,” she said.

Tip 2: Never underestimate the value of a fresh coat of paint.

One way to make a home feel move-in-ready and well-cared-for is to break out the paint roller. Fresh paint can make a space feel clean, bright, and inviting.

A professional paint job will often pay for itself when it comes time to sell the home, says Masha Senderovich of Keller Williams. But if a seller doesn’t have the time or money to paint the entire interior, there are certain places where they can focus to have the most impact.

“Consider at the very least doing all of the trim and touching up any scuff marks that are present,” she said.

The kitchen is one of the first places a buyer will look, so Stephen Idahosa of Albert Realtors recommends painting the kitchen cabinets if they’re starting to look dingy for an instant, and inexpensive, makeover.

“Adding new cabinetry can be super expensive, but a couple coats of new paint can make an outdated kitchen look much more modern and clean,” he said. Swapping out the cabinet handles for newer, updated ones can complete the effect.

Tip 3: Price your home competitively from the get-go.

It may be tempting to put your home on the market with an inflated price tag and wait for potential buyers to argue it back down, but Michael Warwick of Great Peaks Realty says that strategy can backfire.

“If you over-price your home, it will take longer to sell and sit on the market for a longer period of time, leading to people sending lower offers because they think there is something wrong with the home,” he said.

Instead, if the home is priced right from the beginning, it will attract more offers and potentially start a bidding war, giving the seller leverage when it comes to choosing the best offer.

Your real estate agent is the best resource when it comes to determining a fair listing price for your home. He or she will research comparable homes in your area and their selling price, and help you price your home competitively.

Tip 4: Consider adding in some incentives for the buyer.

It’s an age-old sales technique: Add an extra bonus to increase the value of an item and the price will look more appealing.

When it comes to home sales, offering to pay the closing costs on the transaction or prepaid taxes can make the property more enticing. Some seller get even more creative, offering perks like paid landscaping or maid service for the first year.

“Those types of incentives remove potential problems by offering up-front financial help for your new buyer,” said Kevin Robinson of Century 21. “Make it part of the deal before negotiations begin, so people who think your house might be a lot of work will be more likely to buy it.”

Another option is to have a paid inspection done on their home ahead of time, as a sign of good faith, as recommended by Kimberly Semenko of NextHome Fredricksen Real Estate. “It shows that the (homeowner) is serious about selling the home,” she explains.

Tip 5: Bring in the professionals.

At the end of the day, having the right team behind you can ensure that you get top dollar for your home. Professional real estate agents know the best tactics for marketing and staging your home, and for negotiating the best price.

Vladimir Westbrook of Westbrook Realty recommends bringing in a professional photographer or videographer to draw more attention to online listings.

“Start with taking professional photos of a staged property, shoot a showcasing video with a voiceover,  and scan a 3D model of the property for a virtual tour,” he said. From there, a good agent will be sure to advertise on the best listing sites and social media to get the word out about your property.

From there, once your home has gotten the most exposure and attracted more offers, your Realtor will help guide negotiations to make sure you get the best price for your home.

By partnering with a qualified real estate agent, you can set yourself up for success when selling your home.

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