All sellers want to make more when they sell their home, but instead many literally throw away thousands of dollars. It's a problem that has a very basic solution.
"The key to understanding how to get your house sold quickly and for top dollar is to first understand that buyers buy emotionally not intellectually," says Michael Corbett author of Ready, Set, Sold!
He should know. Corbett bought his first investment home at the age of 19 after his acting career in daytime soaps provided him with a little extra cash.
"I had a $10,000 check from my first soap opera when I was on Ryan's Hope and I thought what better a place to invest it than in buying a house. So I bought it and I fixed it up and then I put it back on the market and I made a lot of money," says Corbett.
That experience encouraged him to found Highland Properties -- a company that has bought, restored, and sold dozens of homes and apartment buildings. Corbett juggled his soap opera acting jobs on soaps such as Ryan's Hope, Search for Tomorrow, and The Young and the Restless all while growing his real estate career. Today, he is the Real Estate and Lifestyle expert for NBC's number-one TV news magazine show, Extra. He also hosts and produces Extra's hour-long weekend TV show, Mansions & Millionaires.
Corbett says what makes buyers commit to the purchase of a home is the connection and positive experience they have with it. If sellers comprehend that it takes more than a financial analysis to lead to a sale, they can begin to focus on creating a lifestyle that entices buyers.
"When buyers come into the home, they are looking for their place to live, not necessarily as an investment, but it's the house they want to live in," says Corbett.
How you create that compelling positive experience that connects buyers to homes is explained step by step in Corbett's latest book. He shared with me some of the key concepts: depersonalize and declutter your home, make repairs prior to listing your home, and know what not to base your price on.
Depersonalize and declutter: while a lot has been written about getting rid of clutter and personal stuff that's visible in your home, such as family photos, trinkets on shelves or excessive appliances on counter tops, before you show it, Corbett uncovers a few areas that are often overlooked in the decluttering process.
"Open a closet door; if it's just packed to the rafters and things are falling out onto the floor, your emotional experience is going to be 'oh man! There's no room. These closets are small.' That's the emotional reaction you want to negate. You want to have someone open up a closet and go 'oh, wow! There's lots of space in here,'" says Corbett.
Identifying problems and fixing the repairs prior to listing your home is not only a critical tip for increasing the price of your home but it also will save you time in the negotiating process later on.
"The dripping faucets, the broken tiles, the ripped-up carpet, the stains on the ceiling -- any of those things, you want to get rid of now, because generally if there's a problem -- the broken screen door, windows that don't close, cracked glasses -- anything that's a repair your buyer is going to be asking for that to be done or a credit back or they're going to negotiate that in the price later. So really any repairs you're going to be paying for down the line," warns Corbett.
And here's the even bigger issue that causes many homes to appear worth less in buyers' minds. When buyers spot a problem, even a small one, in a home they immediately begin to think that could be indicative of a larger more-expensive-to-fix problem. So, a light that doesn't work may really only be that the bulb is burned out, but a buyer may extrapolate and think that the entire electrical wiring is not sound.
"You always want to negate all the little problems because you don't want buyers to assume there are bigger problems," explains Corbett.
Perhaps one of the most important decisions is the price you will list your home on the market. Corbett cautions sellers to be careful how they determine their listing price.
"Never price your house based on how much money you're going to need. Never price your house based on the amount of money you want to have left over after you pay off your mortgage. Never price your house based on what the house next door sold for more than three or four months ago," says Corbett.
Corbett says you have to base your price on solid recent comps as market conditions change very quickly.
"A lot of home sellers make this huge mistake, they price their house based on the price of a house that is currently on the market without looking at how long it's been on the market." He adds, "You can learn as much about the price of your house by the things that haven't sold as you can from the things that have sold."
One of the best things sellers can do is view other homes that are for sale to compare them to their own. They should also be sure to go through their homes as if they were the buyers. Attempt to see all the things that buyers will notice when they are walking through the house -- the good and the bad -- then try to make the experience at their home positive by creating a connection to buyers through an enticing lifestyle that only their home can offer.
Published: March 26, 2007
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Phoebe is writer, speaker, and author. She is the Director of Business Development for Quality Service Certification and a trainer in customer service for the real estate industry. She is a Realtor with The Guiltinan Group, a division of Prudential California Realty.|
Her articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, and Rancho Santa Fe Review in San Diego. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I ever Received. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success available at Barnes&Noble.com, Amazon.com, and at PhoebeChongchua.com.
Contact Phoebe at: 858.259.3646 or email her at email@example.com for more information.
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