There’s no question that the past few years have not been the best for the housing market. It has not been the best time to sell my house fast, with buyers outnumbering sellers by a large margin, and prices falling significantly.
The irony here is that as the economy fails to recover, and as the housing market continues to be in limbo, more and more people are selling their house. They’re not making any money out of it, in fact, with house prices dropping and the high cost of selling a house, they’re losing money.
Many of them may be experiencing financial problems – with mortgage payments, credit card debt, or even just surviving day-to-day – some may be facing foreclosure, while the few fortunate may simply need to move quickly for a new job.
In the (recent) past, sellers would have been advised to remodel their homes to be able to sell fast. It’s a huge investment, but the with the value remodeling is supposed to add to your house, you should be able to recoup it. But as it turns out, that’s not always the case.
Today, given that many homeowners are probably selling to raise cash, it would be impractical (and sometimes impossible) to spend a fortune trying to sell a house. In fact, there are many ways to improve a home without burning your budget, and you’ll be surprised at how simple changes can add so much value to your home and lower the cost of selling a house.
In the United States, more and more people are realizing this. An annual survey by Remodeling Magazine found that projects return just 64 percent of its cost on average, compared to 87 percent back in 2005. Contractors may have dropped their rates, but anything newly built just can’t compete with dropping house prices, especially when the market is flooded with repossessed houses.
So if buyers are not so impressed by additional square footage or Italian marble, what would strike them? Apparently, these days buyers are looking more for utility more than aesthetics. So you get more bang for the buck by replacing windows and doors than remodeling the kitchen. Simply stated, replacement is in, remodeling is out.
For example, if you’ve got a beat-up door, you can replace it with a foam-insulted steel shell door and that typically gives the best return – 129 percent – according to Remodeling Magazine. Also, if you’ve got decades-old items, they’re likely to be less energy-efficient. If you replace leaky windows, for example, you are effectively tightening up your home’s weatherproofing as the technology behind making the glasses and frames has vastly improved over the years. And from both inside and outside the house, it just looks much nicer.
Of course, you’re still going to have to spend some to make these replacements, so think about whether you really need to do them or not. There are, however, things you can do to improve the look and functionality of your home with zero or minimal cost.
You’re not going to get any buyer into your home if you can’t turn their heads with the first look on your house. So mow your lawn, trim the bushes, take out the weeds, plant more flowers, and repaint the exterior. It could be a fun weekend family activity. And don’t forget to clean the driveway too by the way.
It doesn’t end there of course. You don’t woo buyers in and then leave them turned off by the way the interior of your house looks. Remove all clutter, throw away those that are broken and unnecessary, and store away personal items as you’ll want buyers to be able to imagine the home as theirs. Then grab your mops, vacuum cleaner, liquid cleansers and make every inch of your house squeaky clean. Move around some furniture to create more space (or at least the illusion of it) and let more light in.
But the cost of selling a house nowadays may actually not be that upfront. It’s not just about what you are going to be spending to attract buyers, but how much you’re willing to cut from your asking price to REALLY attract buyers. It is a buyer’s market after all, which means that in most cases, your house is only worth what buyers are willing to pay.
You can wait until the housing market swings back up, but that is going to take a while, so if you are in a rush to sell, then nothing else matters if you are not willing to slash your asking price. It’s crucial that you come to terms with reality; in most areas, no one is going to be able to sell as high or higher than the price they bought their house for. But if you price it just slightly lower than what similar houses in your neighborhood have sold for or are selling for, chances are you will be able to sell quicker than your competitors.