Today I’ll walk you through five myths and five truths about selling your home in this real estate market. Stay tuned.
I’ve gotten a lot of very specific questions lately from people who are thinking about putting their home on the market. What should they do? What shouldn’t they do? Today I’ll discuss five myths and five truths about selling in our market that will help potential sellers better understand the process.
Myth No. 1: You should redo your kitchens and bathrooms before listing.
There’s an old saying in real estate that says you can’t flip your own home, and that’s definitely true. The National Association of Realtors, the National Association of Home Stagers, and our own 18 years of experience selling 5,000 houses all say the same thing: Putting $15,000 to $20,000 into renovating your kitchen that’s already in good condition only yields about a 40% return on investment. That’s not really worth the time, money, or effort involved.
Now, if you plan to stay in that house for another five to 10 years, go ahead and redo those areas. Be sure to keep an eye on colors in terms of the home’s resale value, but make those areas into something that you’ll love and enjoy while you live there.
The No. 1 reason why those projects don’t get a high return is that we’re still in a very tight appraisal market. Homeowners with clean, updated, and well-maintained homes are already at the peak of the market, so trying to improve the home with $20,000 of renovations will cause it to exceed its appraised value. In turn, will make it difficult to find a buyer who can put more than 20% down.
Myth No. 2: Painting doesn’t matter.
I’ve heard this over and over. Do buyers want to be able to do their own paint colors? Sure, in a perfect world. Are buyers willing to pay more for a home that’s already painted in today’s colors? Absolutely! A study by the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Stagers shows that you’ll get a 400% to 800% return from painting your home yourself. So if you spend $1,000 on painting, you could get $4,000 to $8,000 back in your home sale.
Why does it bring such a high return? Well, a lot of people work at or upwards of 55 hours per week, and on top of that, various family members each have their own activities to attend to. Buyers want a home that they can move into, unpack their furniture and other belongings, and then get back to their lives.
If your agent wants to take your listing photos with their cell phone, it’s probably time to get a new agent.
Myth No. 3: The exterior of a home doesn’t matter as much as the interior.
When a buyer pulls up to a home for the first time and sees the outside, that will be their first impression of the total property. Regardless of whether it’s a positive or negative impression, it will impact what they expect to see inside and determine whether they’re more or less apt to purchase it. It’s worth taking just a couple hours of your time to make sure the lawn is cut, the weeds are pulled, the hedges are trimmed, and that the walkways are neat. This is a low-cost project, but one that has an extremely high return on investment.
Myth No. 4: Professional photos don’t matter.
Right now, 96% of buyers are looking at their homes online before they see them in person. If you scroll through any of the popular listing websites, you’ll inevitably find one where the lister certainly used their iPhone or Android to take the photos of the home. We use a professional photographer to photograph our listings because we understand that the quality of your photos can determine whether a buyer will even choose to come visit your home in person. Since most buyers first see your home online, it’s critical that your listing photos be as high-quality as possible. If your agent wants to take your listing photos with their cell phone, it’s probably time to get a new agent.
Myth No. 5: You don’t need to use professional cleaning services.
I try to keep my own home as tidy as possible, and most of the for-sale homes I go into are also extremely clean, but they’re also lived in. There will inevitably always be spots missed. Directly before opening your home up for showings, I would highly advise shelling out some cash to hire a professional cleaning service to give your whole property a once-over. Homeowners can even feel the difference after a professional cleaning, and so can buyers. It’s a small thing, but it can enhance the perceived value of your home, which could translate into more money from your sale. This is one of the most cost-effective methods of maximizing your sales price and reducing the time it takes to sell.
If you’re considering buying or selling a home, or if you’re thinking about beginning a career in real estate, please reach out to us. We could really use a couple more Realtors on our team because past clients keep referring us. Hope to hear from you soon!