Now that the housing market is finally on the rebound, you can afford to hold out for the best offer you receive rather than leaping at the first. This is an ideal position to be in, but it doesn’t mean you can just sit back and wait for a great offer to come walking through your door. To sell your home quickly and earn the highest price, you first need to invest some effort into making it easy for buyers to fall in love. Then, when the best offer does walk through your door, you need to be able to know it when you see it.
First impression, lasting impact
Making a good first impression doesn’t guarantee love at first sight, but it opens the possibility. First impressions are all about presentation. Since you can’t control how buyers will respond to the house, focus your energy on controlling how you present it.
Before you list your house, take measures to ensure it’s market-ready. What you need to do will depend on what condition your house is in, but some common improvements you might consider are: carpet replacement, repainting walls, updating appliances, and having your home professionally cleaned. Staging your home, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, will help to highlight your home’s strengths while downplaying any weaknesses. Even simple home improvements can make a drastic difference in presenting your home at its best advantage.
Don’t let a great offer pass you by
You may no longer need to pounce on the very first offer, but you’ll typically receive your highest offers within the first couple weeks your house is on the market. If you’re too picky, you risk letting a solid offer slip through your fingers.
Start by setting your home at a competitive price. Don’t try to oversell the house to prevent buyers attempting to lowball you; it will only drive them away. Listing your house competitively will prompt buyers to make an offer simply to preempt other buyers shopping for homes in the same price bracket. The longer your house is on the market and the greater the discrepancy between listing price and actual home value, the less urgency buyers will feel about placing a bid.
When it comes to knowing the right offer when you see it, the first and most important criterion is whether the price is satisfactory. If you’ve received several competitive offers—all fair—try to determine which comes from the strongest buyer. Compare lending institutions and down payments. Typically, the more someone is willing to put down on the loan, the stronger a buyer they are.
Ultimately, you have to accept the offer you feel comfortable with. Just keep in mind that your first few offers will usually be your highest, so unless they’re completely off the mark, it’s in your best interest to work with them rather than waiting for something better to come along.
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