Saturday, May 13, 2017

15 Things homeowners can do to make up to 3% more on the sale of their home

I call it the “3% Rule.”

And it means that the average homeowner can potentially make up to about 3% more on their home sale.

After decades in real estate and selling hundreds of homes, I truly believe that the average homeowner can do certain things to influence the sale of their home. In my estimation, homeowners can increase their net profit by up to about 3% compared to if they DIDN’T do these things (or compared to the competition).

Of course, this isn’t an exact science. But even a 1% increase in a $300,000 home sale would equal an additional $3,000 in a home seller’s pocket. And 3% would equal a whopping $9,000 – enough extra profit to hire a moving truck and take the family on a nice vacation before you move into your next house!

Remember that while some of the items on this checklist may seem fairly insignificant – or even obvious – it’s my experience that if you do them all and do them well, you’ll get more for your home and see a higher profit. The best part is that these are all things that YOU can do – influencing your own destiny without being subject to the whims of the market, real estate agents, and buyers.

But no matter if you end up making an extra $100, $1,000, or $10,000 on the sale of your home, it’s all a net positive. So what are the things you can do to help profit a little extra – maybe be even 3% in some cases – when that “For Sale by the Alfano Group” sign goes up in your front yard?

1. Clean
Before we even list your home for sale, it’s time to roll up your sleeves because it's time to clean your house from top to bottom. A thorough pre-listing cleaning will including getting in the corners, dusty shelves, tops of cabinets, packed garage, etc. that’s often missed with regular weekly cleaning. You’ll also want to make sure to steam clean your carpets, get water spots off of mirrors and shower doors, and recaulk and re-grout in kitchens and bathrooms where it's dingy or discolored. Definitely get rid of any trace of bad odors, like must, smoke, pets, etc. Just having your home sparkling clean and looking and smelling fresh will go a long way when the first prospective buyer walks through!

2. Declutter
Once you’re done cleaning, it’s time to go through your home and remove clutter, excess items, and two-thirds of your personal effects. A decluttered, de-personalized room will look bigger and more airy for the ever-important listing photos. It will also be easy for potential buyers to envision their own personal things in the space, and that’s a great first step towards selling for a higher price to help reach the +3% goal we set.

3. Evaluate the home’s condition
Buyers will order pest inspections, home inspections, appraisals, sometimes even roof certifications, and carefully go over the disclosures you send them. What will they see? You know your house better than anyone, so if you anticipate any issues or negative items popping up during these inspections, it’s better to address them – not mid-transaction when they could potentially slow down the sale, lead the buyer to ask for a price reduction, or, even worse, have second thoughts.

Short of hiring your own home inspector, you can pay your handyman or a licensed general contractor to walk through and give you a quick but thorough assessment of your home’s condition. He or she can tell you what will most likely need to be repaired immediately before the home sale closes, what will need some TLC a year or two down the road, and even give you prices to do the necessary work. Of course, essential repairs like a leaky roof, cracks in the foundation, and inadequate heat and air systems definitely need to be addressed before we put a For Sale sign up. Taking care of these things before the buyer ever walks through will help foster their perception that the house is squeaky clean and well-maintained, and therefore more likely to offer full price or negotiate less.

4. Spend on light repairs only
Yes, we want to take care of important home repairs, and fix anything that could compromise health, safety, or cause further damage to the home. But after that, we’ll want to focus our time and resources on the repairs that will drive up your price and cost you the least, ensuring that your ROI on these repairs is through the roof.

5. Spruce up your kitchens and bathroom
There are also plenty of small repairs and fixes that focus the ever-important kitchens and bathrooms that could boost your offer price. Low-cost (sometimes even DIY) projects like painting, replacing dated lighting or fixtures, etc. in kitchens and bathrooms always strengthen your sales price because those are the rooms that buyers tend of focus on the most.

Research into listing and sale prices reveals that putting money into improving kitchens and bathrooms yields the highest ROI of any home repair, and houses that have new, modern, and updated kitchens and baths consistently sell for more than similar houses without those improvements – maybe even for up to 3% more!

6. Curb appeal
Another way you can boost your home sale profit is by dolling up your curb appeal. Even if you don’t have the time or money for expensive upgrades, you can create a great first impression for buyers just by painting your front door a bold, bright color! Step out to the street and look at what a buyer will first see as they walk up to your home for the first time. A fresh coat of paint on the front exterior of your house, planting some flowers, installing a new mailbox, putting up solar walkway lights, power washing the driveway, and doing a little landscaping don’t cost a lot but will enhance your cub appeal.

7. Consider having your home staged
When it comes to netting more from a home sale, the adage, "You have to spend money to make money," may apply to home staging. In fact, for higher-end and luxury home sales, enlisting the help of a professional stager is a must. It won't cost much at all but will offer huge returns when your home sells.

In fact, national statistics show that staged homes sell in an average of 13.8 days while non-staged homes sell in 30.9 days, and staged homes sell for an average 17% higher sales price, offering a 586% return on investment. Furthermore, 9 out of 10 potential buyers said they had trouble visualizing how an unfurnished home could appear if they lived in it, and 81% of buyers report that a staged home is easier to visualize the property as their future home.

Look for part two of this blog with 8 more things homeowners can do to possibly make up to 3% more when they sell their home!

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