Blog > Practical Tips for Selling Your Home - Part 1 - Selling Your Home at Top Dollar

Practical Tips for Selling Your Home - Part 1 - Selling Your Home at Top Dollar

by guardianrealtycenter-chime-meJune 27, 2019


Hello everyone,  my name is Frank, representing the Diamond Listing Team of the Guardian Realty Center in Westchester and Putnam counties.  During this podcast for Getting Real with Real Estate, we will discuss Practical Tips for Selling Your Home, especially if you’re motivated to sell the home within the next 6 to 12 months.  In Part 1 of our four-part series on selling your home, we’ll get into the strategies you should follow and myths to avoid if you’re looking to get top dollar and reduce the hassle that comes with the home-selling process.

So let’s begin

Why Are You Selling?

The first thing that you need to do before selling your home is to identify your main reason for selling. Now, this may seem obvious, but it’s important to understand what is driving you to sell your home.  Is it your primary residence, and because you were offered a new job, you may need to relocate?  Is it a property that you own, and for some reason, it is no longer giving you the desired rate of return it once did?  Are you looking to downsize because you no longer need a larger home?  The answers to these questions will dictate the type of strategy that you use for selling your home and maximizing your profit.

For example, you may be more motivated to accept a lower price if you can sell more quickly, especially if you need to relocate.  Likewise, you will want to sell an Investment Property that you own more quickly if it is not bringing you the desired income and profit.  Finally, if you’re looking to downsize and you’re in no particular rush to sell, then your strategy will be different to obtain top dollar for your home.  The key is: What is more important to you: selling the property at as high a sales price as you can regardless of the wait or selling at a reasonable price but more quickly?

Why Are They Buying?

After you have identified your primary motivation for selling your home, now ask yourself, are you in the right position to be selling the home?  By that I mean, are you able to handle the total cost for selling your home based on what you can sell it for.  Do you have enough equity built up to handle repaying any remaining mortgage, staging costs, home repairs and renovations, realtor commission, seller concessions, closing costs and moving costs?  Will you have housing overlap costs like paying a second mortgage and storage fees if you don’t find a new home before you sell your existing one?   If at the end of the selling process, you don’t have enough money from a sale to cover these costs, you will likely be paying for them out-of-pocket.  Your decision to move forward will depend on your motivation to sell.

When Should You Sell?

Assuming you are still committed to selling your home, you should decide on when to sell the home.  Typically, homes have a better chance of selling in late winter and early spring.  Many buyers want to be in a position to move in the warmer months when kids are out of school and there is less disruption to their lives.  On the other hand, the timing to sell your home may be tied into more of your own needs to relocate and not bound by any seasonality or time of year.

Do Your Homework!

Now that you are ready to put your home up for sale, start doing some homework to understand the market that your home is selling in. Do a little research on the listing prices of comparable homes in your area as well as how long they have listed.  Don’t automatically assume that you will walk away with a profit until you’ve researched the market first.

You may spot trends between the listing price and days on the market that will guide you in establishing an initial listing price and determine your ability to negotiate seller concessions like repairs and other contingencies. These trends can also offer you some understanding of how long it will take to sell your home, which can impact your costs. This is where your realtor from the Diamond Listing Team of the Guardian Realty Center can provide you with valuable insight into the actual selling price of homes in your area and how long those homes remained on the market before a sale.

Setting Your Listing Price for Your Home

Setting that right initial listing price upfront is probably the single most important factor dictating how successful you will be in maximizing your profit while minimizing the time on the market.  But don’t be tempted by the myth to price your home as high as possible with dreams of making a hefty profit.  Overpricing a home relative to other homes in the same market is just not a good strategy.  You risk having the home on the market longer than it should be because you’re not getting any offers.  To compound matters, now you’re forced to drop the listing price, probably more than once.  Buyers will notice homes that have lingered on the market for months with multiple price reductions and may perceive that something is wrong with the home and either seek significant discounts and concessions or steer clear of it.

But you don’t want to go to the other extreme unless you are willing to sell at a loss and leave money on the table. The best strategy is to create an initial listing price that is aggressive and likely to attract interest from buyers.  Because you have come armed with an understanding of the average sales price of competitive homes in your market, consider a listing price for your home at about 5 to 7% below that average.

At first glance, you might think this strategy will pose a significant risk of possibly selling the home at a loss. However, buyers will come to the table having looked at multiple homes, understanding their price points, and knowing what they want to spend.  Your lower asking price will likely attract multiple buyers who ultimately will get into a bidding war until you reach an offer near or possibly over what the house is truly worth based on your initial homework.

But suppose you don’t get to that point?  You always have the option of waiting for additional bidders.  But if you still don’t get to that point, you may need to step back and re-assess the situation.  It’s possible that buyers are noticing a problem with the property that prevents them from bidding higher on it. As the seller, you should identify that problem and take proactive action to correct it.

Getting Top Dollar

There are multiple ways to tip the scale in your favor and attract buyers who will pay top dollar for your home.  First, keep in mind that buying a home is a very personal, emotional decision.  Buyers instinctively react to the look and feel of the home, often envisioning what it would be like to live in it.  And buyers that are investors are primarily interested In whether they can attract tenants who would want to live in the home.

Therefore, think about what you need to do as the seller to improve the look and feel of the home you’re selling and make it more inviting to prospective buyers.  But again, be practical with your renovations.  Don’t overpay for repairs unless they bring value to your home and give you a better chance for multiple bidders to reach that reasonable offer based on your understanding of the market.

Finally, to ensure that you sell at top dollar, pay attention to the whole offer and not just what the buyer is willing to spend.  Don’t be tempted to go with the highest bid.  It’s possible that a buyer offering the highest bid has a number of contingencies built into it.  For example, the highest bidder might be putting a minimal down payment so that if they see another house that they like better and decide to cancel they will only lose a few thousand dollars.  You run the risk of being forced to start over re-listing the property.

Just as it’s important to understand your own motivation to sell, it’s always best to understand your buyer’s motivation as well.  Do they need to move quickly? Are they stalling because they, in turn, have a house to sell? Why are they requesting the contingencies that they have identified? Do they have enough money to meet your negotiated sale price?  Again, a home purchase is often an emotional decision.  Understanding those emotions as well as other information about the buyer gives you an advantage when it’s time to negotiate the price and terms of the contract.

In these cases, it is best to rely on the guidance of your realtor from the Diamond Listing Team of the Guardian Realty Center, who can help you weigh the different options when an offer is on the table.  We’ll provide you with the facts, information, and advice on how you can better sell your home for top dollar.

Market Trends & Statistics

Next up is a segment where we’ll discuss market trends and statistics for properties within Westchester and Putnam counties

Thank you, Frank, and Hello Everyone! My name is Christina, I am a member of the marketing department of the Diamond Listing Team of Guardian Realty Center. This segment will consist of some market stats and home staging tips.

So, let’s first jump into some market stats for Putnam and Westchester Counties.

The median sales price for single-family homes in Putnam County for May 2019 is $361,515, which is a 7.6% increase from last year. The average days on market is 83, which is a 9.8% increase from May 2018.

The median sales price for single-family homes in Westchester County for May 2019 is $690,000, which is a 2.0% increase from last year. The average days on market is 86, which is a 2.4% increase from May 2018.

Staging Tips

I am so excited to bring you some amazing tips and tricks for staging your home for sale.  One of our favorite tips involves getting outdoors and mixing up the landscaping features.

Whether it’s a simple installation, such as lighting, or one that is a little more time-consuming, such as making a garden, a new look for the lawn always gives your home a fresh look as well. Here are our top five easy landscaping projects:

Create a pathway.

To guide you and visitors throughout your yard and link different areas together, install a pathway. You can use a variety of materials including but not limited to: reclaimed pallet wood, flagstones, gravel, and more to add texture and color.

Add a wall or border.

Installing a flagstone, rock, or brick wall around flower beds or trees adds a sleek, clean look to your landscaping and helps separate different sections of your yard.

Install a water feature.

Nothing says Zen quite like the sound of trickling water as you relax in your backyard. You can start simply by purchasing and installing a small feature powered by a solar panel or create a larger focal point in your yard by installing a waterfall wall or small pond.

Light your way.

An easy way to transform your yard is to strategically use lighting. Place cool-colored lights high in trees to recreate a moonlit feel, use pathway lights to naturally guide the eye, or highlight objects or plants in the yard.

Plant upwards.

Expand your yard space by drawing the eye to the sky with a trellis fence or screen made of wood or metal. Once you install your trellis, select your climbing plants and vines and get to planting!

Feel free to reach out to the Diamond Listing Team for any advice on Staging your home when selling!

That’s my time!  Tune in the next time for more tips and tricks.  My name is Christina. Thank you again for listening.  Back to you Frank!

Next Time…

Thank you for that information!  In future podcasts of Getting Real with Real Estate, in Part 2 of Practical Tips for Selling Your Home, we’ll discuss strategies for How to sell your home quickly in a competitive market.  Plus in a separate segment, we will continue to provide you with some real estate market trends and statistics pertaining to properties in Westchester and Putnam counties.

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