8 things to know when selling your home
What every seller should know for a smooth, lucrative sale
It’s a great time to sell a home in Colorado. One recent study found that Colorado is one of just eight states where more than half of all zip codes saw double-digit increases in home values over the previous year. From metro Denver to quiet resorts, prices are skyrocketing.
Here are eight things every seller should know for a smooth, lucrative sale.
1. There Really Is a Best (and Worst) Time to Sell Your Home
Every market has seasonal ups and downs, and Colorado is no exception. Colorado’s market follows the national pattern of heating up in the summer and cooling off in the winter.
The best month to sell in Colorado is June, when homes sell for 8.4% more on average than they do in October — the month with the lowest average sale price.
Try to avoid selling in January, when sales take more than 80 days on average. Not only does the Colorado winter make it tough to host open houses, the post-holiday financial hangover drives buyer interest to its annual low.
2. Pricing Is Key
Pricing is important, even in a booming market like Colorado. Don’t price your home unreasonably high on the assumption that buyers will present lower counteroffers. Many will be turned off. The longer your home sits on the market, the less likely you’ll sell for a high price.
Work with a real estate agent to set a price based on recent sales of similar properties in your area. It can be effective to list a slightly low price to attract buyers and let them outbid each other.
3. Consider a Pre-Sale Inspection
Unless you’re selling a pristine property that you’re confident has no major problems, you may want to pay for a pre-market inspection so you can stay ahead of any problems. It only costs a few hundred dollars, and by fixing problems before your home hits the market, you can present an appealing, move-in ready home.
Don’t wait until the buyer’s inspection to discover serious hidden problems. That’s one of the most common reasons a sale tanks, along with the buyer failing to qualify for a mortgage.
Even an inspection that uncovers a few moderate or minor problems can spook the buyer. What was formerly their perfect dream home now seems like damaged goods. They might wonder if there are other unseen flaws. It’s best to avoid this scenario by doing your own inspection.
4. Invest in Home Improvements (But Not Too Much)
Buyers love to hear about a luxurious bathroom remodel. But if you sink $15,000 into a new bathroom and it only increases your sale price by $10,000, you’ve outsmarted yourself.
Research what features appeal most to Colorado buyers and which ones can be upgraded for a profit. Two improvements that are almost always cost effective are a new front door, which can add thousands to your sale price, and a new coat of paint, which can make your home look clean, bright, and new.
5. You Probably Have Too Much Stuff
Near the top of every buyer’s wish list is lots of space. Although your home may feel cozy to you, it’s best to present an open space before you show it to the public.
Experts suggest removing at least half your furniture. Rent a storage unit if necessary. You want the space to feel as large as possible.
Don’t forget to declutter your storage spaces, too. You want your closets and cupboards to look about half full.
When prospective buyers look into your storage spaces, you want them to think the home has more storage space than they really need. A closet that’s packed gives the opposite impression.
6. Enhance Natural Light
Natural light is flattering, so remove any heavy window coverings, such as drapes or curtains, to maximize the amount of sunlight that enters your home.
You may also want to consider changing the light bulbs in your home to bright, high-wattage bulbs. Experts suggest white light for task-oriented areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms, and soft light for the living room and bedrooms.
7. Don’t Make Things Personal
Buyers want to project their own tastes onto your home. Having too much personal decor can make that difficult. Present a neutral palette.
Remove any artwork and idiosyncratic furniture, as well as religious icons and bottles of alcohol. Remove most of your family photos, but leave a few in key areas. You want the home to feel neutral, but still like a warm, lived-in space.
8. You’ll Have to Pay Fees Out of the Sale Proceeds
When you’re calculating how much you’ll make from your home sale, don’t forget to take closing costs and pre-market investments into account. A pre-listing home inspection and any improvements are going to take a bite out of your profits.
You’ll also be on the hook for real estate commission, title fees, transfer taxes, and other costs associated with selling a house. These costs could eat up to 10% of your sale proceeds.
Some of these fees are non-negotiable. Others, such as real estate commission, can be reduced by working with a reputable discount real estate broker.