4 Hidden Costs Of Selling Your Own Home
By Hanna Kielar
Selling your home without an agent can lead to massive savings and profit in some cases. And sure, you probably estimated closing costs, attorney fees and title fees when planning your budget. But so much more goes into getting your home ready for the market. To set yourself up for success, you’ll want to consider these hidden costs.
Repairs And Cosmetic Changes
Before you ever list your home, there are probably a few things you’ll want to update or repair. From structural issues to roof repairs to cosmetic fixes (like painting), you could take a large hit to your bottom line if you don’t have a plan.
When you leave things like electrical updates and structural fortification to the pros, you’ll save time and gain peace of mind. It may be worth hiring a remodeling or general contractor to help you identify the main things that need fixing in your home.
Any plumbing or electrical work requires specific licenses. If you’re taking on multiple large-scale projects that require specialized skillsets, then hiring a general contractor could make your life easier. They’ll basically manage the entire home project so you can focus on other things. These contractors will typically run from a few thousand dollars and up, but they can help maximize your repair budget.
Be aware that any major issues you choose not to fix before listing could come up in a home inspection ordered by a potential buyer, and you could end up paying for them anyway.
As for cosmetic updates (like painting and updating cabinet fixtures), you can usually handle those yourself.
In addition, small changes like these can be a great way to make your rooms appear larger and more inviting in pictures:
– Remove bulky furniture that can make already small rooms feel more cramped. For this, you’ll need to consider both storage and furniture moving costs.
– Move furniture away from the walls. Think about arranging your furniture in a way that invites potential buyers into the room. (It’s okay if the couch isn’t optimally placed to see the TV.)
– Consider painting walls a lighter, neutral color. This will help rooms appear brighter and bigger. There’s a super helpful tool from Ace Hardware to help you estimate how much paint you’ll need for each space so you don’t overspend.
For more tips, take a look at this list of small home repairs to help sell your house quickly.
Marketing is a huge part of a real estate agent’s job. Because you’re selling your own home, you’re responsible for marketing your house on the appropriate outlets.
One resource that real estate agents have at their disposal is the MLS, or Multiple Listing Service. The MLS is a database of house listings that agents use to identify potential fits for their buyer clients. To get your listing in the database, you’ll pretty much always need to contact an agent. You can seek out a real estate agent to help you get your home listed on the MLS. It’s worth asking for help, but just know the agent may say no especially if you’re not using any of their other services.
One marketing opportunity that can stretch a little money a long way is social media. Take advantage of Facebook by advertising your listing in home buying groups and by asking friends and family to share your listing with their networks. After all, according to the 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers by the National Association of REALTORS®, 73% of for sale by owner (FSBO) homes sold in less than 2 weeks, way faster than homes listed with an agent, because they were most commonly sold to someone the seller knows.
You can also sign up for one of our FSBO packages to help with marketing to the right buyers.
Photos are an important part of a buyer’s experience so it’s important you show your home in the best light. The National Association of REALTORS®2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers discovered that out of all home buyers who used the internet in their home search, 87% of buyers found photos very useful.
Investing in a real estate photographer could save you time and make a large difference in how potential buyers respond to your home online. A great set of property photos can push a buyer over the edge to schedule a showing. An hour with a real estate photographer on average costs about $200-300, though there are options that can cost a lot more than that. Read reviews and look at the photographer’s portfolio online before hiring anyone.
If you want to take your own pictures, here are some tips to help you photograph like a pro:
– Remove clutter and bulky furniture that can make rooms feel small.
– Try to take pictures during the day to make the best of daylight. Or, at the very least, use lamps and other light sources to add as much light as possible.
– You may also want to rent or borrow a good-quality DSLR camera with a wide-angle lens in order to get the best pictures.
– Take tons of practice shots to make sure everything looks great.
Sometimes, selling a home is just a huge waiting game. You’ve put in the small fixes and upgrades, taken great photos of every room and shared the listing on all the right platforms.
The time it takes for your house to sell can be a big variable. Depending on multiple factors (location, size of property, season, interest rates, etc.), your home may sit on the market for a few months. This means you’ll still be making mortgage payments on your home while you wait for the right buyer, which can be a big financial burden especially if you’ve already found a new property and submitted an offer.
Things that could help sell your home faster include:
– Pricing: Look at comparable properties in your neighborhood and market to get a good feel for pricing. Look for recently sold houses that are similar in size, bedroom count and bathroom count. You can usually find this information on your county website or published in certain local papers. Pricing your home too high could mean it’ll sit on the market without movement for months, which adds to your marketing spend.
– Flexibility when showing: Make sure you’re committed to accommodating potential buyers’ schedules. Do you only want to show your home on the weekends, or are you available to show during the week? You’ll have to give up some free time to accommodate showings during the evenings. This will show your buyers that you’re committed to selling quickly and to the right people. If a buyer is interested in your property enough to contact you, it’s important to accommodate their interest – they could be the perfect buyer.
– Investing in cleaning services if you’re short on time: Hire a service to deep clean your home right before you take all those pictures and after you get any messy repairs done. Then, before each showing, you can do a quick round of cleaning to make sure everything is in pristine condition.
A little extra effort on your part and a lot more knowledge of your local housing market can really help the right buyer find you.