Tips on How to Sell Your Home

What you should know before selling a house

Home selling is on an upward trend. Thanks to better interest rates, along with an upturn in the economy and job market, more homes are being bought and sold than in previous years.

If you are among those planning to make a move, check out these tips to help ensure you get the most out of your biggest asset.

At what price?

Setting a price is a tricky proposition. Some experts say you should cut 15 percent to 20 percent off your initial price to remain competitive. These experts believe it could lead to a bidding war that will end with you selling at a higher price that you originally planned. This may be a tactic in a buyer's market, but it is a risk few homeowners are ready to take. On the other hand, pricing too high may mean your house stays in the market longer.

The best tactic for developing a fair price is to look at comparable homes already listed online, as well as recent sales in your neighborhood. Once you have a price in mind, leave some room for negotiation without pricing yourself out of the market.

Upgrades are important to home buyers, but sellers may not see a return on investment on all updates.

Kitchens sell homes. You may see a return of nearly 85 percent of your investment when you make kitchen improvements. If countertops or cabinets are dated, a seller may make an offer thousands below asking price—more than what it would take to make the updates. Easy upgrades include painting the walls a neutral color, changing cabinet hardware and installing higher-end appliances.

In the rest of the house, you may get a higher pay-back with fresh coats of paint, new or clean curtains, new door handles and clean grout.

Lighten and brighten

Clutter and dark rooms are often a turn off to home buyers. Potential buyers will look in every cabinet and closet. Remove unnecessary items to make your storage space appear generous. To lighten your home, wash windows, replace or open dark shades, increase light bulb wattage to the maximum allowed and trim shrubs that are covering windows.

Home buyers want to see themselves in the home. Make your house a showroom by clearing out personal items like family photos and memorabilia.

Finally, don't forget to check the outside of your home. Homes should make a good first impression, so curb appeal is important to home buyers. Shrubs, trees and the lawn should be trim and neat. Give faded shutters or doors a coat of paint.

Real estate markets are cyclical, but these tips for finding or selling a home never go out of style. Remember that buying or selling a home may have an effect on your homeowners insurance and auto insurance. Talk with your insurance company if a new home is in your future.