EMPTY NESTER: How to Sell the Place You Call Home
"The last thing you need are unbudgeted financial
obligations cropping up hours before you take possession of your new home."
Are you an Empty Nester who needs a home for the
future? Is it time to downsize or to move into another home more suitable for
your glorious retirement years?
Like thousands of home sellers, you may discover that
after years of non-stop child traffic in and out of your doors, toys on the
floor, music floating throughout, you can suddenly hear a pin drop over the
quiet hum of the refrigerator. Your rooms are filled with pictures and memories
of this wonderful time in your life, but there are many empty rooms gathering
dust now that your children have moved on. The freer years ahead are exciting
ones to look forward to, and it may be time for you to move as well.
If you find yourself in this situation, youíre in vast and
good company. What this means is that there are many wonderful opportunities
for you to create this new chapter in your life . . . if you know what it takes
to get the most out of the equity youíve built up in your current home.
To help you understand the issues involved in making such a
move, and how to avoid the most common and costly mistakes most Empty Nesters
make, weíve prepared this special report to help you identify and plan for the
How to Sell the Place You Call Home
Selling your home is one of the most important steps in your
life. This 9 step system will give you the tools you need to maximize your
profits, maintain control, and reduce the stress that comes with the home
1. Know why youíre selling, and keep it to yourself. The
reasons behind your decision to sell affect everything from setting a price to
deciding how much time and money to invest in getting your home ready for sale.
Whatís more important to you: the money you walk away with, the length of time
your property is on the market or both. Different goals will dictate different
However, donít reveal your motivation to anyone else or they
may use it against you at the negotiating table. When asked, simply say that
your housing needs have changed.
2. Do your homework before setting a price
Settling on an offering price shouldnít be done lightly. Once
youíve set your price, youíve told buyers the absolute maximum they have to
pay for your home, but pricing too high is as dangerous as pricing too low.
Remember that the average buyer is looking at 15-20 homes at the same time they
are considering yours. This means that they have a basis for comparison, and if
your home doesnít compare favorably with others in the price range youíve
set, you wonít be taken seriously by prospects or agents. As a result, your
home may sit on the market for a long time and knowing this, new buyers will
think there must be something wrong with your home.
3. Find Out What Other Homes are Selling For
(In fact, your agent should do this for you). Find out what
comparable homes in your own and similar neighborhoods have sold for in the past
6-12 months, and research what current homes are listed for. Thatís certainly
how prospective buyers will assess the worth of your home.
4. Find a good real estate agent to represent your needs
Nearly three-quarters of homeowners claim that they wouldnít
use the same realtor who sold their last home. Dissatisfaction boils down to
poor communication which results in not enough feedback, lower pricing and
5. Maximize your homeís sales potential.
Each year, corporate North America spends billions on
product and packaging design. Appearance is critical, and it would be foolish to
ignore this when selling your home.
You may not be able to change your homeís location or floor
plan, but you can do a lot to improve its appearance. The look and feel of your
home generates a greater emotional response than any other factor. Before a
showing clean like youíve never cleaned before. Pick up, straighten,
un-clutter, scrub, scour and dust. Fix everything, no matter how insignificant
it may appear. Present your home to get a "wow" response from prospective
buyers. Allow the buyers to imagine themselves living in your home. The decision
to buy a home is based on emotion, not logic. Prospective buyers want to try on
your home just like they would a new suit of clothes. If you follow them around
pointing out improvements or if your decor is so different that itís difficult
for a buyer to strip it away in his or her mind, you make it difficult for them
to feel comfortable enough to imagine themselves an owner.
6. Make it easy for prospects to get information on your home
You may be surprised to know that some marketing tools that most
agents use to sell homes (eg. traditional open houses) are actually not very
effective. In fact only 1% of homes are sold at an open house. Furthermore, the
prospects calling for information on your home probably value their time as much
as you do. The last thing they want to be subjected to is either a game of
telephone tag with an agent, or an unwanted sales pitch. Make sure the ads your
agent places for your home are attached to a 24 hour prerecorded hotline with a
specific ID# for your home which gives buyers access to detailed information
about your property day or night 7 days a week without having to talk to anyone.
Itís been proven that 3 times as many buyers call for information on your home
under this system. And remember, the more buyers you have competing for your
home the better, because it sets up an auction-like atmosphere that puts you in
the driverís seat.
7. Know your buyer
In the negotiation process, your objective is to control the
pace and set the duration. What is your buyerís motivation? Does s/he need to
move quickly? Does s/he have enough money to pay you your asking price? Knowing
this information gives you the upper hand in the negotiation because you know
how far you can push to get what you want.
8. Make sure the contract is complete
For your part as a seller, make sure you disclose everything.
Smart sellers proactively go above and beyond the laws to disclose all known
defects to their buyers in writing. If the buyer knows about a problem, s/he canít
come back with a lawsuit later on.
Make sure all terms, costs and responsibilities are spelled out
in the contract of sale, and resist the temptation to diverge from the contract.
For example, if the buyer requests a move-in date prior to closing, just say no. Now
is not the time to take any chances of the deal falling through.
9. Donít move out before you sell
Studies have shown that it is more difficult to sell a home that
is vacant because it looks forlorn, forgotten, simply not appealing. It could
even cost you thousands. If you move, youíre also telling buyers that you have
a new home and are probably highly motivated to sell fast. This, of course, will
give them the advantage at the negotiating table.