FOLLOWING ARE 10 WAYS TO GET THE HIGHEST PRICE:
1. Offer to pay part or all of the buyer's non-recurring closing costs (NRCC). Most buyers are short on cash, since they have to come up with a down payment, moving expenses, and other costs. Adjust your list price to cover some of the buyer's closing costs. Advertise your generous offer on the MLS and other promotions.
2. Have the property inspection completed before your home goes on the market. Buyers like to know what they are buying before making an offer. They want to know the condition of the property. Buyers will make higher offers on homes they know are in good condition, but also on homes they simply know about the condition. (I have been known to pay for the property inspection). Some buyers will want to order and pay for their own inspection after the seller's inspection was completed, but 95% of buyers will accept the seller's inspection. The property inspection includes all systems (heating/air condition, electrical, plumbing), foundation, crawl space, drainage, water heater, windows, patio doors, entire building, and mini-inspections of the chimney, fireplace, and roof.
3. Have the property inspection report available for buyers to read. Put it in a 3-ring binder and leave it on the kitchen counter. Include in the binder the seller's disclosures and termite inspection report (see disclosures and termite paragraphs below).
4. Pay for the repairs if the cost is minimal. That will relieve the buyer from another worry. Costly needed repairs are another matter. The buyer will probably present to the seller a Request for Repairs form, and it will become a negotiable item.
5. Pay for the termite/pest control inspection and Section 1 repairs before your home goes on the market. In Southern California it is standard procedure for the seller to take care of the termite repairs anyway, so it is best to have it done early. A few buyers will want to order and pay for their own termite inspection after the seller's inspection has been completed, but most buyers will accept the seller's inspection, especially if the termite inspection company is reputable, which most of them are. The report and Certificate of Completion of repairs, which will be required by your lender, should be included in the 3-ring binder.
6. Complete the state-mandated disclosures before your home goes on the market. This will provide the buyer with valuable information regarding the physical condition of your home. The purchase agreement's default shows seven days to provide these disclosures, but the buyer will be impressed by seeing the completed disclosures early.
7. Have your home in immaculate move-in condition. Miscellaneous (not all will apply to you): Be sure the front door, walkway, front porch, and front yard are attractive (curb appeal) because those are the first things buyers will see. Store or get rid of unnecessary items (clutter) to make rooms appear larger. Clean up the back and side yards. Clean windows to allow more light into your home. Paint if needed. Clean or replace worn or stained carpeting and linoleum.
8. Have your listed home professionally marketed. That includes heavy advertising, open houses, email marketing, internet marketing, and a well-written MLS remarks paragraph that will attract buyer's agents and buyers. This is important because most buyers come from real estate agents. Open houses can be very effective if done right. A day or two before holding an open house I distribute 200 invitations to nearby homes, and I promote the open house on several real estate websites. Local homeowners might want to "move up" or "move down," or they might have relatives and friends who want to live in the neighborhood. We don't know where the buyer will come from, so it is important to have a strong and effective marketing program that includes many ways to attract the most prospective buyers. Another effective way to reach buyers is to network with many Realtors.
9. Price your home accurately, based on carefully analyzed comps (prices of nearby recently sold and active similar homes). It it usually a good idea to establish a list price a little high to allow for negotiating room, but excessive over-pricing will cause homes to sit on the market unsold for months. Then to get the home sold the price must be reduced. Buyers will wonder what's wrong with the house. Depending on the kind of market (buyer's, seller's, equilibrium), pricing low might be the best way to sell at the highest price. This works most effectively in a strong seller's market (low inventory, more buyers than sellers, etc.). In this kind of market a low list price will attract more buyers, the buyers will compete against each other, and they will drive the price up to well over the list price. If the "generating multiple offers" is orchestrated properly it can bring extra money to the seller.
10. Be very careful about pricing your home. Some real estate agents will "buy the listing," meaning they will tell the seller they can get the home sold at a higher price than other agents can. Example: The comps support a list price of $700,000, but the agent trying to get the listing says he/she will get the home sold for $750,000. So the seller hires the agent, the house sits unsold for 30+ days, then the agent has to tell the seller the price has to be reduced. It is a fact that the majority of homes with over-priced list prices take longer to sell and sell at lower prices than homes with accurate list prices (Source: National Association of Realtors).
Flavia Brown, Realtor
CA BRE #01729313
Realty One Group United
310-702-6335 (assistant -- cell/text)