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Fair market value is how much you can expect buyers to pay when you sell your home.

It’s simple enough to compute what you’ve invested in your home since you’ve owned it. You can calculate what you think your home is worth by taking what you paid for it and add the cost of any renovations that you’ve made. Add in what you think its appreciation has been since you’ve owned it. Once you have a figure in mind, check your neighborhood’s home sales to see what homes like yours are selling for.

This simple formula may give you a starting point, but there are some other factors to consider.  Simply stated, no matter what you think your home is worth, the reality is that it’s worth what a buyer would pay for it.

Make Your Home Stand Out

  • Light it up! Maximize the light everywhere you can. If you don’t have lights in your closets, add some. Buy new lampshades for all the lamps in your home. Change the light bulbs to higher/better wattage. Clean your drapes or replace them with shades or lighter curtains. Clean your windows inside and out. If you have a lot of shrubs, trees, or other obstacles, trim them or remove them to allow the most sunlight into your home.
  • Make it sparkle! Spring for a professional cleaner, if you don’t have the time or the heart. Pay particular attention to tile grout on your floors and in your bathrooms. Wipe down all cabinets and cupboards everywhere in your home. Wash walls and ceilings, curtains, and blinds. Oil all wooden furniture and trim. Wash doors and window sills and frames. Detail counts when cleaning. Your buyers will see everything, no matter how small, so it’s worth your time, money, and effort to leave no spot unnoticed.
  • Paint if you need to. Actually, paint, even if you don’t think you need to. Fresh paint makes walls, ceilings, doors, drawers, siding, and trim gleam and look brand new.
  • Make the most of storage. Now is the time to clean out every closet, drawer, and cubby in your home and inside the garage. If you have to pay for storage, it’s worth it to remove as much as you can from these areas before you show your home. Make your home look like it’s ready for the new owner to move in. Let them imagine their favorite belongings in closets and storage areas.

Three Goals To Keep In Mind

  1. Your first goal when selling your home is to sell it for the most amount of money that you can get. After all, you’ve invested money, time, and effort in this house, so you want to recoup as much of that as possible.
  2. Secondly, you’ll want to sell it as quickly as possible. Homes are moving quickly in our area, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to get what you’re asking just because homes are scarce.
  3. Goal three is selling your home with the least amount of inconvenience to you and your family. Remember, if you’re trying to sell it, you have to show it, and this is a decidedly inconvenient situation for you as long as the home is on the market.

With these three goals in mind, your next move is to get into the mind of your potential buyers. Grab a notepad and walk outside to the curb. Look at your home’s exterior, including landscaping and outbuildings, and try to see what a buyer will see. Likewise, walk through your front door with a critical eye, and try to imagine the impressions that buyers will make when they do the same. Use your notepad to jot down what you think is interesting about your house, including what you know is unique about it.

The Bottom Line

Talk to a realtor for more information about selling your home. Sellers who use a reputable realtor typically sell their homes for 10-15% more than those that are sold by the owner. Realtors know your region and they know what homes sell for in your neighborhood. Take advantage of their expertise to find out what other sellers are listing their homes for. You can also find out what amenities buyers are looking for and how your home stacks up against the competition.

Take time to get your ducks in a row and you won’t be disappointed at closing!