10 Tips to Sell Your Home For the Most Cash

Read Time: 6 minutes

Selling your home is a big undertaking, often for big stakes. You’ve got to be energetic, aggressive, and fully engaged by arming yourself with recent trends and effective cost-return strategies.

To maximize your home sale profit, here are 10 tips to give you an edge in the process.

Choose the Right Agent

Your agent is your partner, and you both have a vested interest in maximizing the sales price of your home. Find someone knowledgeable about the local market, an expert in your neighborhood, and will aggressively work on your behalf.

Agents often farm communities, which is an excellent place to start, but you should still vet several possible candidates before deciding who to work with. Referrals are another great indicator. Ask your family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers for input.

Staging Your Home

Buying a home is an emotional process in addition to the financial side of things. You must do what you can to favorably influence a buyer’s perception of your home by helping them visualize themselves living there.

There is an art to staging that involves transforming a home’s decor to a more universal look that allows many potential buyers to see themselves as owning the house.

Decluttering is crucial, and minimizing the visual quirks and personal belongings that might detract from the home is essential. Take down family pictures, religious artifacts, trophies, personal souvenirs, or anything politically oriented. 

Think about how model homes or apartments are staged. They have a few well-chosen pieces of furniture and some inconspicuous artwork.

The dining room table is often set with attractive place settings, and there may be a few vases with flowers around. There are new towels in the bathroom. Everything is clean, tidy, and tasteful.

Your home should be clean from top to bottom, which often means hiring a professional crew to make it spotless. Real estate agents often work with professional staging companies.

While that will add to your upfront costs, you could reap financial benefits many times over by engaging these types of people.

Don’t Completely Empty It

You don’t want to show a completely empty house, which may happen if you’ve already moved into your new home or inherited property from a relative and are trying to sell it.

Homes that still contain a modest amount of furniture sell more quickly than empty ones. Even if you can only spare a few items to populate the rooms, a little is better than nothing.

Depending on your asking price, you might even rent a few pieces of furniture temporarily. 

Repairs and Improvements

Every home experiences wear and tear over several years. Doors squeak, things become loose or dirty, and often, you don’t realize how dingy things are, or you just put up with minor imperfections.

Now is the time to take a full inventory of cost-effective ways to fix or minimize those things that can undercut your negotiations in an aggressive pricing strategy.

If you don’t have the time or a big bankroll to make repairs and improvements, be strategic and focus on the most visible aspects. For example, have your carpets professionally cleaned, paint doors and trim instead of the whole house, and be sure all light fixtures and appliances are sparkling clean and in good working order. 

Don’t neglect landscaping, either. Curb appeal can set the tone for an entire negotiation process and help you sell your home before a buyer even sets foot in your house.

Repaint in Neutral Colors

One of the best selling tools at your disposal comes in a can. While many people assume it’s best to let the new owner repaint the home as they see fit, a paint job can help sell a home.

If you have the means, paint can make your home look newer, cleaner, and in better shape. Paint rooms in neutral colors.

Those bold reds and deep blues may have looked great when you tied it all together with your fashion sense and decorating ideas, but not everyone will respond to those colors. Neutral tones are soothing and allow buyers to project their vision onto the home.

Researching Comps

When pricing a home, comparable recent sales of similar properties in the same general area have always been the gold standard. Use comps as a general indicator since two homes of the same square footage, age, number of rooms, and lot size can still have several differences.

 While you still want to use comparable sales as your starting point, there are other things that can help you price your home for an optimal return in a reasonable amount of time.

Is this a neighborhood or community on the rise? Have prices been trending upward the past year, holding steady or declining? How quickly are homes selling once they’re listed?

Rising prices and homes that sell almost as soon as they are listed are signs of a hot market and a neighborhood in strong demand. You can use this information as leverage with potential buyers.

A hot market means you’ll have the upper hand in negotiations and could even create a bidding war in some cases. However, if homes take weeks and months to sell, buyers will take this as a sign of greater flexibility to negotiate a more favorable price.

Pricing also plays a factor, and in some cases, homes that sell quickly may have been priced for a quick sale if the owner wanted out or was struggling financially. Consider that when looking at asking and sales prices of comps in your area.

Comparing Neighborhoods

Sometimes, home values can change significantly just by crossing a street. You may be crossing a boundary from one school district into another.

Perhaps one side of the street has municipal water and sewage, while the other marks the start of the rural zone on wells and septic systems. In other cases, homes built by a certain builder are perceived as better quality, which can also impact pricing.

If home prices vary in similar neighborhoods, look at what’s around them. Is one adjacent to a highway? Is there light industry nearby? What are the crime rates? What about parks and recreational amenities, shopping, and transportation options?

Is There a Master Plan?

Some communities are part of a long-range municipal or county master plan. This is the blueprint for how the community expects to develop over the coming decades and what sort of development is expected to go where.

Some communities are stringent regarding development and zoning issues, understanding the value of protecting the integrity of an entire area over years and decades of build-out.

If you’re in a community with a favorable master plan, stress that to potential buyers. If long-range plans mean the area may eventually become mixed used or have a great commercial component, then divulge that only if asked.

Timing Your Sale 

If you’re not under the gun, understand that real estate goes through yearly cycles, and listing a home at the wrong time can significantly decrease the price. Summer is a peak season since families with children who are out of school may want to start a new school year fresh in a new home.

Macroeconomic conditions also come into play, so pay attention to rates and national and world events. Also, ask a real estate professional what they think is optimal in your preferred time frame.

Kara Johnson

Kara is a Rye, New York-based author and contributing writer for Refi.com. She is a graduate of Hampshire College.

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