2022 started as a strong seller’s market. In some areas of the country, home prices increased by as much as 45% during the pandemic. However, by the end of 2022, the seller’s market ended with skyrocketing interest rates of 6.49% compared to 2020’s interest rates of 3.72%. Need to sell your house in 2023 and still fetch a great price despite rising interest rates?
Despite the fluctuating economy, you can get the best price for your home in 2023. Your local real estate market dictates your home’s market value, and an excellent real estate agent will work hard to get you the best price possible in that market.
Let’s explore the best steps you can take to get the best price for your home in 2023, even with a declining economy and rising interest rates.
Step 1: PACK!
You are planning to move, and you will need to pack your belongings before you can do that. Consider this first packing like the opposite of packing for vacation. When you go on vacation, you take the most important things you need, like clothing, toiletries, and your devices. Instead, do the opposite. Pack your non-essential items and keep only those items you would take on vacation.
Rent a storage unit or temporarily use a family member’s or friend’s garage to store your belongings. Keep only those items needed for daily living. Your valuables should be packed, not on display, for anyone to swipe. Don’t leave valuables in your home for potential lookie-loos, who masquerade as buyers.
Pack up your photographs. Buyers want to see themselves living in the home. Once you put your home on the market, it should no longer look like your home but one that buyers want as their home. That isn’t easy to do if they see your family’s faces everywhere. Make them feel at home by replacing your photos with some tasteful art.
If taking down photos or valuable art leaves nail holes in your walls, toothpaste or spackle will fill those holes. Then put a fresh coat of paint on those walls and call it a day. Don’t show your house with holes in the walls, as this will not fetch you top dollar.
Step 2: Meet with Multiple Real estate agents
Choosing a real estate agent should be an essential decision. Meet with multiple real estate agents and see how well you fit together. Test their durability, examine their education, and make sure they have the same goals in mind as you do.
You may be wooed by the top agent in your area who has all the best listings, but beware, that top agent is busy.
Also, if that top agent is doing their job, then they may not have time to handhold you through the process, so if that is something you desire, you may consider a newer real estate agent or perhaps even one the top agent is mentoring.
Newer real estate agents are a gamble, but what they lack in experience, they make up for in newly completed education. Everyone has to start somewhere. They will perform quality CMAs, spend hours making sure they make no mistakes to prove themselves, and work hard to get the best price for your home.
Step 3: Get a Home Inspection
Make informed decisions when you price your home. With a home inspection, you will know what needs to be repaired, replaced, or treated before you list.
Selling a home “as-is” can be the death sentence of getting the best price for your home. When buyers hear “as-is,” they think of “fixer-upper.” Fix it first, then list it.
A home inspection can help you determine any necessary repairs before selling your home. A real estate agent will help you decide where to spend your money and what can wait.
All homes must have a good foundation, structure, and optimally running systems to qualify for a mortgage and get the best home price.
Step 4: Repair Your Home and Make Updates if Needed
Make sure your home’s structure matches the beauty of your home. You cannot get top dollar for a home with structural issues; FHA, VA, and USDA lenders will not allow it. They will kill every contract if your home has these issues.
Do not be overly critical of your house. Pay attention to the home inspection report. If necessary repairs are beyond your budget and your real estate agent recommends it, then list your house “as is.” But if the home inspection report reveals very little wrong with your house, list it for the highest price possible. Just because you don’t like your house doesn’t mean the buyer won’t.
By getting a home inspection in the beginning, you can take care of the obstacles beforehand and let things go that won’t matter in the end. For example, if your local market is full of updated homes but yours is not, consider making updates to be more competitive.
Step 5: Stage Your Home
House Digest asserts, “staging is vital to selling your property.” There is nothing pleasant about walking into someone else’s house and seeing dirty laundry piled up in the laundry room or dirty dishes in the sink. Excite your buyers! Stage your home!
The best-case scenario you can hope for is that your beautifully staged home leads to a bidding war that fetches you offers far beyond your expectations. The worst-case scenario is that staging your home makes it cleaner when guests come over. Either way, it’s a win-win.
Don’t forget about staging the outside too! Mow your grass, get rid of dead plants, and plant fresh new flowers in the spring, summer, and fall or green bushes in the winter.
That green will help you see more green at the closing table. Is it peeling paint? Adding a fresh coat of paint will help your home’s curb appeal.
Your staged home makes the online photos of your home look amazing. Buyers will want to come to see your home because the pictures online are alluring. They want that magazine home; if yours looks like it belongs in a magazine, they will want to come to see it. If they love what they see, they will buy it.
Step 6: Hire a Professional Photographer
Consider your real estate agent first. Look at their portfolio. If the homes they have listed previously have photos of brooms and piles of clothing, you may not want them to take pictures of your house.
On the other hand, if your agent takes beautiful, magazine-worthy photographs, use them.
Your agent may also recommend using a professional photographer; some even include it in their commission, so you don’t have to pay for them out of pocket.
Make sure to communicate with your agent to determine which avenue to take for photography.
Step 7: Use the CMA Wisely
Your real estate agent spent much time creating a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for you. Those are specific to your unique property. Use the CMA.
A CMA details the days on the market of recently sold homes, the average sold price per square foot, the highs and lows, those that didn’t sell, and those still on the market—your current competition. Your Realtor can advise you on the best pricing strategy for your house.
If your house needs updates to be current with the local market, you cannot expect to get the maximum price in your neighborhood unless you make those updates to your home.
Use the CMA to price your home accordingly; strategic pricing will help your home sell fast and for the most money you can expect for your property in current local market conditions.
Step 8: Let Your Real Estate Agent Work Their Magic
Be open to your agent hosting a broker’s open, an open house, and advertising in multiple venues. If they ask you to do something that will help you, do it! Within reason, of course, but they are your ally, not your enemy. Treat them as such. They are trying to help you get the most out of your house when you get to the closing table.
In many markets, it is commonplace for the seller to pay both seller’s agent and buyer’s agent commissions and closing costs. This is fine. It will not hurt you, and it’s okay to feel generous.
However, if the market dictates this, those costs are reflected in your home’s price. Your agent knew this already when they recommended their pricing point.
Howard Hanna offers more great tips on home selling on their blog.
Be open to negotiation. Buyers see your listing price as a starting point. Negotiate for the best outcome if multiple offers come in after your open house. If your house has sat on the market for more than 15 days, it’s time to find out why.
Has the market dropped in price, and you are sitting well above all others? Is there something that your agent is not doing? Is there something you are doing that is affecting curb appeal? Is there an odor when buyers walk through the door? Whatever it is- find it and fix it. The longer your house sits on the market, the more difficult it will be to sell.
Remember to pack, choose the best realtor for you, get a home inspection, make necessary repairs and updates, add curb appeal, stage your home, have great photos, price accordingly, and let your realtor do their magic!
Following these eight steps will get you the best price for your home in 2023.
Image by: [Paul Brennan]