10 Tips to Sell Your Home for the Most Money

1) Set the right price and know the sales price of nearby homes  
2) Determine how you’re going to sell 
3) Complete renovations (especially the bathrooms and kitchens) and assess the overall condition  
4) Depersonalize and declutter  
5) Hire a professional stager 
6) Improve your home’s curb appeal 
7) Know your ideal buyer 
8) Get smart about marketing 
9) Light it up 
10) know your "bottom line" (the lowest you can accept) so you can negotiate in your best favor   

1) Set the right price 
Selling a home isn’t only about making your house pretty and staking a sign in the yard on the right day: It’s a lot to do with understanding home buyers on both a broad and specific level.  Before you pull a price out of the sky, take time to find out what nearby homes, like yours, have sold for.  This information is available from a Realtor or by going onto various MLS web sites and doing some research.  A well-priced home is going to sell more quickly than a home that is priced too high.  The most benificial way to price out your home is to have a Realtor perform a property valuation or higher an appraiser to perform an appraisal. Pricing your home properly is key. Many homeowners think their home is worth more than the comparable analysis indicates. Once a homeowner removes their emotions from the home,  they typically find that the property is priced correctly. No matter how analytical you think you can be, over the years we have found approximately 4 out of 10 sellers will initially agree with our pricing. They are the ones who get their homes sold the fastest for the top dollar. Those who dislike the proven pricing strategies that we employee may eventually agree to lower the price if we don’t get an offer in the first two weeks. Most of them stick to that and then we get the house sold. The only issue with  "needing to be sure” that their home isn't priced to low is that once you lower the price and have had the home on the market for some time, it is no longer a new listing.  Starting out with the right price is key. If you are worried that your agent wants to price your home  "too low" (trust me, i'm sure its priced aggressively) you’re most likely going to get a dozen offers and raise the dollar amount to where it’s supposed to be. Pricing it right is just smart business, and will get you the fastest and best profit.  

 2) Determine how you’re going to sell - be firm with your decision  
There will be many times you will be tempted to backtrack in your decision. As long as that house is not sold, things will come up that will test your resolve to sell the house. You will entertain ‘what-ifs’ or ‘maybes’ if the selling time becomes prolonged. Your wife might miss the kitchen or the kids might complain about the new living arrangements. You, yourself might miss the backyard, and your husband may miss sipping a cold beer on a hot night. Your family will reason out to you that maybe the reason why you have not sold that house is that it is meant for you to live in. The exploring possibilities phase might start again as you try to come up with all sorts of reasons to stay. Maybe you can rent it out, maybe you can find a better-paying job, maybe the economy will improve.    You will go crazy if you keep going back to square one. It is an emotional torture for you to always go back to your decisions, knowing that the first time wasn’t easy. And try to understand where the emotion is coming from. Is it a genuine feeling of wanting to own the house again, or going through the fun and excitement of purchasing a new property?  In our experience, you need to be firm about the decision you want to make, because when potential clients come and you try selling the house half-heartedly fashion, buyers will sense that, and result in lower price than that you could have got.  If this is a chess game, you have already made your move, and the next move is not up to you.   • Hire a good agent   If you don’t trust your selling skills, it is understandable. Unless you are an agent, you may not be too familiar with the whole business of selling houses. Agents do this for a living, and they can be very efficient at what they do. They know which networks to tap, what kind of market you can target, how much should you charge. If their sole purpose is to sell houses day in and day out, then you can be assured that they know their stuff.  Of course, they  do it out of commission. This is the part where they earn. They sell your house, they get a portion of the sale. It’s a win-win situation. If you feel that they can do the job well, then trust your agent.   It may also matter what kind of agency they belong to. Different agencies can charge you more or less while offering varying degrees of client base with different sizes of networks. According to your budget, you may choose to pursue a less expensive brokerage, or even attempt a "For Sale By Owner".  In our experience, nothing  is wrong with FSBO's, but if your not 100 percent confident in your pricing and how your going to market your home, your house may sit on the market indefinitely or you may end up selling your house for a lower price than if you used an agent.  Remember that these agents have a quota. They need to sell a fixed number of houses in a certain amount of time to keep their jobs of make a living. This makes them pressured to sell your home for the highest value possible, in order to obtain further business and referalls.  • Advertise  Spread the word around. Invest in newspaper ads or in community board postings. Research the internet for groups interested in real estate. There’s bound to be one near your area. The housing industry is slowly migrating to the technology site as browsing through houses can be made easier in social media. Hire a good photographer or you can do the picture taking yourself. Make sure you get the flattering angles of your house to make it appealing to buyers. Advertising costs, sure, but so does waiting too much. The longer your house is not sold, the more opportunity costs you incur. You want to cut that time so that you can use the money immediately, instead of paying the mortgage you already want to avoid. Some houses can take as long as six months to be sold. Some can take as long as a year. You want to maximize your time and your profit, so investing in a little advertising may get you the results you are looking for.    Offer deals  Again, we go back to the mindset of customers that they like finding deals. It’s a big thing for them to know that they got a good discount, or they’re getting more than what they bought. Settle with a higher price and then allow them to bargain, until you are confident on the price of your home.   

3) Complete renovations (especially the bathrooms and the kitchen) - assess the overall condition  
Many people don’t realize just how important the condition of a home is to a prospective buyer.  Take an honest look and determine what needs to be done. Pretend if you were a buyer what you would see.  We all walk past things in our own homes every day that we don’t notice any more.  A fresh set of eyes might help with this, so ask someone else to come in and take a look.  Make a list and then prioritize. If your looking for a renovation expert, We recommend Poetry Homes a custom home builder Edmonton. When couples decide on a house, most want to buy a house they can move in easily. If they still need to repair the living room or  have to shoulder renovation costs,  they will look for other houses instead.  So give them a house they can easily move in. When they are in a buying mode, most clients want the house transferred as soon as they can. People don’t buy a house and expect to live in it a year after purchase. People want to buy houses because they already want to move in (unless unmet conditions on their house selling exist).   

4) Depersonalize and declutter  
 Clean the place. When buyers are looking for a house, they want to move in immediately or in a couple of weeks. They don’t want to be bothered by cleaning the house. When they go for house visits, they know it’s secondhand but they still expect it to look brand new. 
 Clean out the clutter. As noted above, we collect more than we realize. Having a garage sale or boxing things up for charity is good to do before even listing your house. If you have a great deal of belongings, consider storing some things in the garage or a storage unit.  
 Remove personal mementos and family pictures if possible. When prospective buyers walk into your home, you want them to be able to imagine it as being theirs. It’s easier for them to view it as possibly being their own home if they don’t see evidence that another family lives there.   
 Do something with litter boxes. If you have cats, find a way to get the litter box out of the house—perhaps in a garage if possible. Same goes with pet odors in general. Just as we become immune to our surroundings, we become immune to the odors. Be sure your home doesn’t smell like your pets, urine, fish, or steamed broccoli for that matter. Ask your agent if you’re unsure. Purchase some air fresheners that can be plugged into the wall in each room. This is a very wise investment for any home seller.    

5) Hire a professional stager  
Every person want to envision a "home" in a house they purchase. Using professional stagers allows properties to be turned  into a elegant oasis's. They ultimately have the skill set and knowledge to increase the value of your home (this is their job). We have personally found over the years that once a house is staged, showings drastically increase and the value of your home goes up. Using a personal stager is almost always a no brainer.  

6) Improve your home’s curb appeal 
In real estate we know that curb appeal is critical. Most people and many of our clients make a decision about a house before the car engine is even off. We can tell you most certainly that on more than one occasion, our buyers have waves us on, not wanting to stop at a house on the list due to the first impression. The first impression potential buyers have is usually online—which is why professional photography is such a must—but in person, their first impression is the point of entrance. Get a new welcome mat! Put a few pots of vegetation or other bright and cheery flowers near the front door. Make sure your lawn and gardens are freshly trimmed and inviting.  

Other ways to improve the curb appeal: 
 Clean the windows.  
 Paint the front window trim (and door/doorframe).  
 invest in landscaping (use sweat equity to boost the value of your home)  

Even though you may be living in your home while it’s on the market, you should remember that people will be viewing it with the possibility of buying it, so remember to make your bed, wipe down the kitchen and bathroom counters, have soft lighting (house dependent), and a pleasant environment. It may be temporarily inconvenient, but ultimately you want to get the best price for your home, so you must present the best home you can.   

7) Know your ideal buyer 
Whether it's you or the agent selling the home, it is very important to invest in making a good connection with your buyers. Tour them around the house and show them the rooms. But also get to know them. Ask what their background is. We believe it is important to sell your house to people who you feel comfortable with, with people who will value your house the same as you did.  In terms of selling, you are going to have a higher probability of closing the deal if you or your real estate agent makes a personal connection with your buyers. That is why it is utterly important to choose a very personable agent to work with. People want to feel that they are welcome, that their needs are going to be addressed, that the sellers understand their concerns. Some of them just like to tell their own stories, about why they want to buy a house, and it is credits to you for listening to them. Always anticipate their questions and put yourself in the buyers shoes.   

8) Get smart about marketing. 
Besides keeping your home picked up and tidy during its time on the market, you’ll want to remember the importance of showing availability. When you live in an active listing, it’s a bit like being on call. You may be sitting down for dinner when an agent phones and asks to show it. Likewise, you may have a showing request on a day you plan to have company. Clearly it is up to you to decline showings if they present critical inconveniences, but you have to keep in mind that the easier it is to show your home, the faster it will likely sell. If buyers can’t see the house, they can’t buy it.  When your agent arranges for an open house, it’s much better if you leave the property. As noted earlier, it’s easier for prospective buyers to envision themselves living there if the current owner is not present. Also, buyers will be more hesitant to make certain comments for fear of insulting you. Overall, it’s best if you allow the buyers to look without the sellers nearby as a good real estate agent won't miss any of the key features of the house. Professional photography is an important consideration to ask your Realtor about. Unfortunately, some agents take quick pictures and place them in MLS. We have to remember that the pictures your agent puts in MLS are the only thing prospective buyers have to look at before deciding if your house is on the “must see” list. Poor pictures will cause many buyers to keep scrolling down the list of available properties. Sadly, listings sometimes expire because the photography simply was not appealing enough nor properly represented the property.  If your house sits on an impressive lot or has many unique topographic features, you may consider drone photography that allows for a full aerial perspective. In our experience, virtual tours aerial photography should always be considered.  Also make note of online and offline marketing. With virtually all home searches beginning online, it’s imperative that your home is easier for prospective buyers to see. Internet marketing can include being listed on numerous home-search sites, social media advertising and marketing, and email marketing. These are all done by your agent. Offline marketing includes open houses, “just listed” post cards, and inclusion in news letters the agent may send out to friends and past clients. Besides that, your agent (or someone on the agent’s team) should be inviting neighbours to your open houses or perhaps hold exclusive open houses for other brokers to see.   We always call back anyone and everyone who visits one of our listings for feedback. Of course, in a busy seller’s market we may not need to or have time to because the offers role in so fast and furiously. But if that’s not the case right now or for you, use the following few pages to take note of your open houses; dates, traffic that comes through, and feedback provided to your agent. Our experience shows, if you’re getting a lot of the same feedback, there’s a good chance the comments are valid.   

9) Light it up 
Keep this simple. A softer light usually does justice in a modest home while  a brighter light (LED) does justice in a modern home (most of the time). It is very important to accentuate key features of the house such as the kitchen and living room with brighter lighting, while having dens and bedrooms on dimmers with softer lights. If you are planning on selling an older home, one of the most cost effective strategies is repaint the house to a neutral and lighter colour while changing the old yellower lights to bright LEDs. Spending a little time and a little money doing just this may turn out to be the best investment for you.  

10) Know your "bottom line" (lowest you can accept) so you can negotiate in your favour  
Everybody just wants a good deal, so give yourself the opportunity to allow the buyers feel as if they are getting a home for a great price. Set a price amenable to you, in which the buyers can still haggle you down while leaving you at a comfortable selling price. It is also important to make note that buyers attain a feeling of success if other inclusions are in the purchase contract. When selling your house, decide on the items you would be ok with leaving. Wait until the end of the negotiations before you decide to let the buyer know which items these are (TV's, appliances, etc), as these items may hold the key to finalizing the contract. Always make it look like you are trying to cut the best deal for them.  

-------- Finally, it is important to know that as a real estate agent you must always act in the best interest of your client. Whether being a buyer or seller, you have fiduciary duties to fulfill and are always obligated to put your clients interests ahead of your own. This article was written based on an agent/seller representation, with surplus knowledge and insight we have obtained over the years while working with both buyers and sellers. In the end, if you find anything of home selling process overwhelming, hiring an agent may be your best bet.