Selling Property

At LockCreek, our knowledgable real estate agents have worked to study every part of the home-selling process and figure out what can help you sell your home faster, for more money, with less risk. Here's our 12-point plan to get the best result.



First Step - Find your Bottom Line

Get a feel for what your home could sell for; search online for nearby, recently sold homes similar to your home and then check out open houses in person. Ask a local LockCreek Agent for a free, no-obligation consultation on your home's value. Once you have a ballpark price, subtract 6% to 9% for agent fees, closing costs, and taxes, and then see what's left to pay off your mortgage balance. Can you sell for enough to cover it all?


Second Step - Renting Versus Selling

If you can rent your home for more — and you don't mind being a landlord — you can buy a new home without selling your old one. Look at Craigslist rentals in your area to get an idea of how much your home could get per month or ask a local LockCreek Agent. Most lenders say that rents have to be at least 25% higher than your mortgage payment for you to make money because of vacancy, taxes, and repairs. Multiply the monthly rent by 180 — 15 years worth of rent — and compare it to the price you could get for your home. If the sale price is higher than what you can make in rent, it usually makes sense to sell.




Third Step - Decide When to Sell

The conventional wisdom is that spring and summer are the best times to list your home. However, other recent report that looked at home sales from 2011 to 2013 indicated that listing in winter can pay off. Relative to homes listed during any other season, homes listed from December 21 - March 21 sold one week faster and for slightly more on average. At the end of the day, seasonality is not a strong component and you should sell when you are personally ready.

Also, if your neighbors already have a yard sign up, take into account the competition. You may decide it makes sense to hold off and avoid getting undercut by the guy down the street. Or, if interest is high in your neighborhood, maybe your timing is just right. Your agent can help you determine the ideal timing based on market conditions in your area.



Fourth Step - Set the Stage

Your home will need to impress prospective buyers all on its own. Consider staging an empty room with furniture or clearing the clutter from a crowded space. Fill each room with natural light. Do what it takes to ensure your home photographs well and looks its best in person, grabbing the attention of every potential buyer who walks through the door.

Fifth Step - Don't Remodel

Aside from renovating a severely outdated kitchen or bathroom, any home improvement that doesn't add square footage isn't worth it. Some less drastic, cosmetic improvements are exceptions: steam cleaning the carpets (especially if you smoke or have pets), washing the windows, overhauling the lawn, hiring a home-cleaning service, pressure washing the deck, and cleaning the gutters. That stuff can cost more than $1,000 but it's worth it. Your agent should know good, local people for everything.

Sixth Step - Get Professional Home Photos

With 92 percent of homebuyers using the Internet as part of their home search, photography is a critical factor in the selling price of your home, how quickly it sells, and whether it sells at all. In a study, Redfin found homes with professional photos sold faster, and for more money. In fact, professionally photographed homes in the $400,000 range sold three weeks faster than those with amateur photos, and those with the sharpest images were the most likely to sell above list price.

Seventh Step - Price It Right

Ask your agent for a comparative market analysis, which identifies local sales of homes like yours in the past year. Tour similar homes currently for sale to see how yours stacks up. When in doubt, start with a lower asking price. If you underprice by, say, $10,000, you could lose $10,000 — or get multiple buyers to bid up the price. If you overprice by $10,000, the home may sit on the market for months, and you'll lose a lot more. The best outcome always involves multiple buyers.

Eighth Step - Nail the Debut

You'll only get one chance to make a first impression with the photos and price of your home — your listing will get four times more traffic in its first week than it will in any week after that. For most areas, we recommend a Thursday or Friday debut to catch the attention of homebuyers who are online deciding what to see over the weekend. A home that hits the market on Friday gets 37% more tours than one that debuts on Monday, and, for a $400,000 listing, sells on average for $20,000 more.

Ninth Step - Get Feedback Early and Always

Once your home is on the market, private tours should start rolling in. Your agent should call each buyer's agent and ask for feedback on the place and its price. If your home is overpriced or needs a few simple cosmetic changes, the agents representing the buyers will usually let your agent know as a professional courtesy. Once you hear the same feedback from a few buyers, act on it.