When the real estate market grows "hot" for sellers, it's easy to assume that you'll be able to sell your home with few hassles and for a great price. While this is often true (it's the definition of a hot market, after all), being in a hot market does not mean that you're impervious to the traps some sellers fall into. Here are some tips to ensure you don't end up selling your home for less than it's worth – or getting into complicated deals with an earnest buyer.
Have the home appraised before you put it on the market.
You might think you have a good idea what the home is worth. But if you set the price a bit high, thinking that buyers will pay that much because the market is hot, you may lose out if a potential buyer chooses to get the home appraised and finds out that the appraised value is lower than your asking price. By getting the home appraised yourself, you can set a more realistic asking price. You can then show the appraisal to potential buyers, knowing what it says, rather than wondering what the results of their appraisal by another appraising company will be.
Wait for several offers before making a choice.
Don't be tempted to accept the first offer as soon as it comes in just because it meets your asking price. If you sit on the offer for a few days, you might get other offers in. They may be better than that first offer, especially if the potential buyers were aware that other competing offers were on the table. Keep in mind, too, that the absolute highest offer is not always the best one. Someone who is offering slightly less but will pay in cash may actually be your best bet, for example, if you want to sell and move out quickly. The closing process for cash offers is much shorter than closing when a mortgage is involved.
Be ready to move out at the drop of a hat.
When you put a home up for sale in a hot market, you have to be prepared for the possibility that it will sell the next day – or sometimes even the same day. You might want to line up temporary housing with a friend or family member in case your home sells faster than you can get into a new one.
For more information, talk to a real estate agent.
Once you sign the sale contract with your listing agent, there's a good chance that things will start moving quickly. Your agent will want you to stage your home for the listing photos, open houses, and showings. If you've never experienced the staging process, you may not know exactly what to do or where to start. The information on this site will help you to not only understand what's expected of staging but also offer tips for you to maximize your efforts without investing a lot of time. I hope the information here makes your home sale process a little bit less confusing and a little easier to manage.