Tips to get your home sold faster
You've got a home you're itching to sell in 2019. Problem is, so do a lot of other people, which can make it challenging to stand out in a crowded field -- especially in a market that is starting to favor buyers a bit more.
So how can you move your property quickly and ensure a nice selling price? Recognize the winds of change and adapt accordingly, the pros agree.
"For the first time in several years, prices are starting to come down and mortgage rates are going up," says Aimee Fink, agent with New York City-based Douglas Elliman Real Estate. "Sellers that understand this have better luck selling their properties. But sellers who refuse to adjust often sit on the market with what quickly becomes stale property."
Jo Ann Bauer, Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Scottsdale, Arizona, agrees.
"Unlike the previous couple of years, prices are expected to climb by only 2.2 percent, according to economists. Hence, sellers may need to reign in their expectations and price their homes more aggressively," Bauer says. "Additionally, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates in 2019. That means buyers will likely be able to afford less, which impacts sellers."
But that doesn't mean you won't be successful in selling your home in a timely manner or fetching an enviable price. Follow these suggestions from the experts to improve your chances:
1. Pick an experienced agent you can trust. "Sellers need to educate themselves and enlist the services of a professional real estate agent who is knowledgeable in their specific market," Bauer suggests. "Make sure your agent is able to outline a detailed marketing plan that focuses on getting your home sold, and not just listed."
Bauer adds that the marketing plan should include multiple digital and social media platforms (44 percent of buyers hunt for properties for sale online as their first step, per the National Association of Realtors).
2. Get a head start on the spring seller's market without delay.
"Now is a good time to consider listing your home, as buyers are out there trying to find their next home before interest rates rise again," says Jon Tetrault, a Realtor with Slocum Realty in Warwick, Rhode Island. "Also, most sellers wait to list their houses until spring, which means there's much less competition in January and February."
Bauer echoes that sentiment: "The key is to be proactive in early 2019 and not reactive later in the year."
3. Set the right price -- right from the start.
"If a home is priced too high, it will often sit on the market and become a stale listing that buyers just pass by," Tetrault says. "But if a home is priced accurately, it will likely sell at or above the asking price, ultimately netting you more profit than if you started too high."
4. Make your home look exceptional. That means removing clutter, depersonalizing all living spaces (by removing family photos, etc.), repainting rooms in neutral colors, and improving curb appeal.
"Good photos of your home are crucial. This falls on the agent more than the seller, but you have some discretion here. So, work together closely with your agent to have attractive photos taken. Get the best angles, good light and accent all the important amenities," says Joe DiRosa, agent with RealtyTopia in Berks County, Pennsylvania. "Photographs of a clean, well-lit home can make all the difference."
5. Get your records in order.
"Prepare all the paperwork necessary for answering questions from buyers and their agents. This includes tax bills, homeowners association receipts, utility bills, appliance and renovation warranties, mortgage paperwork, land survey charts and any contracts related to the house," says Natalia Karayaneva, broker and CEO of Propy, a real estate marketplace headquartered in Palo Alto, California.