In real estate, you're often at the whim of the market. Your ability to sell a home (particularly fast or for a profit) depends largely on when and where you do it.
Sell in a hot market with little inventory, and it's money in the bank. Sell when rates are high and tons of homes are for sale, and you could find yourself taking a loss.
It's not all out of your control, though. While market conditions do play a huge role in how fast you sell and for how much, there are some moves you can make to help your chances -- no matter how hot (or cool) housing is at the moment.
Are you planning to sell your home? Here are five ways to increase your profits.
Stage at least a room or two
Staging can make a big difference both in marketing your home and pricing it. According to the Profile of Home Staging report from the National Association of Realtors, buyers' agents largely agree that staging impacts the dollar value of a home's offers. Almost a quarter say it increases offers by 1% to 5%, 15% say it raises them by anywhere from 6% to 10%, and 11% say offers jump anywhere from 11% to over 20%.
If you're not able to fully stage the home, agents say focus on one of these important rooms: the living room, master bedroom, or kitchen.
Using an iBuyer like Opendoor or Offerpad might seem like an easy way to offload your property and move onto your next place, but according to data, most sellers take quite the hit on profits when selling this way. A study from Collateral Analytics, for example, shows the typical seller ends up spending about 13 to 15% of their home's sale price when using an iBuyer.
Another study finds iBuyers typically offer 3.6 percentage points less than -- or about 96.4% of -- a home's market value. That's the difference between a $300,000 sale price and a $289,200 one.
In short: Selling to an iBuyer will probably cut into your profits some, so think long and hard before you go this route.
Choose your updates carefully
Renovating your place can be a great way to improve its value and, later on, the profits you stand to gain from it. But tread carefully here: As any home flipper will tell you, not all improvements are created equal. Some will add marked value, sure, but others? They'll just cost you money, time, and hassle in the long run.
Give it a facelift
A home that looks great is going to get great offers. Now, that doesn't mean you have to completely redo the whole kitchen or add $10,000 landscaping to transform it fully, but there are a few steps you should take to put your best foot forward.
You'll want to:
- Make any obvious repairs: Things that are clearly amiss (holes in walls, chipped paint, broken windows/doors) only worry buyers. They wonder, "What other problems are lurking below the surface? Did they even take care of this place?" And ultimately, these problems will hurt your offers. Your best bet is to get a seller's inspection and address any repairs before listing.
- Ramp up your curb appeal: Add some stones around the garden, pull out the weeds, and think about repainting your front door. Even something as simple as adding new address numbers or a few potted plants can make all the difference.
- Clear it out: First off, remove any personal items like photos and family names, as these make it hard for buyers to see themselves in the home. You should also consider renting a storage pod or unit and stowing away unnecessary furniture until you move. The less there is cramped into a room, the bigger (and more expensive) it will feel.
Touching up your paint or even giving the walls a fresh new coat of white can also be a great way to rejuvenate your home a bit.
Last but not least: Get a good agent
Finally, do your research and find a good, local real estate agent -- one who knows the market, is in tune with local buyers, and has serious marketing chops. They'll help you prep and stage your home, and they'll know the best tactics to maximize your selling price on the ground.