Top Tips to Get the Best Offer on Your Home
Everyone selling a home has the same things on their wish list. They want to find a buyer fast, have a stress-free sale, and get the best possible offer. And when they accept an offer, no one wants to feel like they’ve left money on the table.
In fact, sellers often wonder if there was just one more thing that could have been done to up the asking price. We’ve compiled a list of our top tips to get the best offer, so there are no regrets or second-guessing.
Tips to get good offers on a house fall into three categories: House prep, pricing, and marketing. But our most important piece of advice is to find a seasoned real estate agent. Not only will they be a great resource for the necessary tasks, but they’ll also help with fielding offers and deciding which one is the best.
Prepping a House to Get the Best Offer
No matter how nice a house is, there is always something that should be done to get it ready to go on the market. Unless they are selling a house “as-is”, homeowners must be ready to put in some work to get offers that go beyond mediocre.
Tip #1: There’s No Such Thing as “Too Clean”
A house needs to be clean before it’s shown to prospective buyers. That’s common sense. To get the best offer, a house shouldn’t be merely free of clutter, it should be immaculate. This might mean hiring professional cleaners to get—and keep—the place pristine. Once things are spic-and-span, limit your living space if possible. For example, can the family get by with sharing one bathroom? If so, the temporary inconvenience will cut down on the number of rooms to keep clean.
Donate old items to charity and throw away junk. Not only will the home look better, the upcoming move will be easier too. Box things up now in preparation for the move and stack them neatly out of the way. Better yet, store them off-site if possible.
Cleanliness is so important when getting the best offer, it might even be worth it to postpone putting a house on the market until it can be done.
Tip #2: Fix What Needs Fixing
There’s probably not a house out there that doesn’t need at least a few repairs. If a seller is lucky enough to only have some loose doorknobs or a window that sticks, they can have things fixed in no time. Unfortunately, many household repairs can cost a lot of time and money.
A homeowner can certainly put a house on the market if it needs a new roof or has a leaky basement, but it’s going to affect the amount that buyers are going to offer. Weighing the cost vs. the benefit of doing a repair can be tricky because it’s rarely a dollar-for-dollar tradeoff. Consider the pros and cons of all big-ticket repair items. Our article “What to Fix Before Selling a Home in St. Louis” has a list of things that shouldn’t be ignored.
Tip #3: Look for Little Ways to Make a Big Impact
A minor change can make a surprisingly large difference in the way a house is perceived, and in turn, what people are willing to offer. Think of things that can be accomplished quickly and at a minimal cost.
New paint does wonders, and is inexpensive if a seller is willing to do it themselves. Consider asking a realtor or decorator for advice on colors. A homeowner may love the rich maroon they chose years ago for the dining room. But buyers may think it looks too dark or outdated. Neutral and light colors are still best for showing a house.
It’s hard to look objectively at a house we’ve lived in for a while. We may get used to something that a small cosmetic change can improve. For example, could more natural light be brought in by cutting down a tree? How about planting some bushes in front of a not-so-attractive fence or power lines? Try viewing the house as if you’ve never seen it before to get a sense of what potential buyers will notice.
Tip #4: Spring for Staging
Selling a house is a time to set aside personal preferences. As hard as it may seem, homeowners need to put away sentimental items, and family pictures. Homebuyers want to be able to envision themselves in a house and someone else’s personal effects can stand in the way.
Consider hiring a professional staging consultant. They will work with existing furnishings or bring in rented furniture to create an environment that appeals to the market.
Getting the Price and Timing Right
Pricing and timing are big factors in getting the best offer. A real estate professional’s experience is very helpful for both.
Tip #5: Make Sure Pricing is Just Right
Goldilocks had the right idea about striking the balance between a beds that were either too hard or too soft, and porridge that was too hot or too cold. Choosing an asking price is all about walking the fine line between a price that’s too high and one that’s too low. Ask too much and you may not get any offers that come close. Ask too little and buyers will wonder what’s wrong with the house, or worse, have you settling for something less than what the home is worth.
Your realtor is your best resource to set an asking price that is comparable to properties in the area.
Tip #6: Wait Until the Time is Right
While ideas like “never sell in winter” aren’t necessarily true anymore, timing is a factor in getting the best offer. A seller’s market, when few homes are for sale, is when bidding wars happen. If a seller’s plans to move are flexible, they can wait until the time is right to put a house on the market.
Keep Marketing in Mind
While it really only takes one good offer to sell a house, getting the best offer often boils down to getting a lot of offers. Multiple, serious offers—or even a bidding war—increase the chances of selling at, or above, the asking price. Good marketing can make that happen.
Tip #7: Call in the Professionals
Just as professional cleaning and staging can get a house ready for the market, professional marketing can bring in the offers. Photos done by a pro will show off home in the best possible way. Video tours and even drone footage from above are increasingly popular. An experienced realtor will have access to the best photographers and videographers in the area who specialize in real estate.
Tip #8: Get the Word Out
In addition to listing homes on Multiple Listing Services (MLS), many realtors use video and social media to sell homes. Taking advantage of multiple platforms can get the best offers. In addition, sellers should share their listing on their own social media and ask their friends and family to do so too. The more people who find out about the house and pass on the information to someone they know who is looking, the better the chance of getting an offer.
Tip #9: Make the Most of Open Houses
Open houses are very much alive and working to sell houses all over the country. Done right, they can bring in multiple offers—one of which could be the best offer. Follow the agent’s lead on tricks-of-the-trade like deferred showings or a broker’s open house. They can all amp up the interest and create a sense of urgency to bring in more offers. Read our article “Do Open Houses Sell Homes? Why They’re Still the Best Way to Showcase Your House” for some insightful tips.
Picking the Best Offer
If a seller is successful in getting a great offer, or better yet, several great offers, it’s time to pick the best one. Before jumping at the highest bid, there’s something important to keep in mind:
Tip #10: The Highest Offer Isn’t Always the Best Offer
Remember that the wishlist for sellers includes a fast, stress-free sale. A buyer with the highest offer might not have the financing to make the deal happen. They may be forced to back out, meanwhile costing the seller valuable time.
Buyers may also build a lot of contingencies into the contract. The seller may be running in circles trying to complete a long list of requests, or waiting in limbo for the results of an inspection, or the buyers’ home to sell.
A cash offer with few provisions is ideal, but rare. Sellers should weigh all of the details of each offer to see which one fits into their definition of what is the best offer for the home.
The real estate agents at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties have years of experience in the St. Louis real estate market. They would be happy to help you get the best offer on your home.
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