If you’re overwhelmed by the prospect of prepping your home to sell don’t be. You don’t need to take on this Herculean task alone. There are several real estate experts who can help you sell your house, regardless of its current condition.
We’ll introduce you to six experts to guide you each step of the way. For added insight, we interviewed Sherry Ekdawy, a top-selling agent, designer, and contractor in Phoenix, Arizona.
1. A top real estate agent in your local market
If you choose to list your home on the market, you need a seasoned local real estate agent with experience selling homes like yours. But don’t just hire any real estate agent — our research reveals that the top 5% of agents sell homes for as much as 10% more than the average agent.
Assisting you with every step of the home sale, a top real estate agent will:
- Research the local market
- Pinpoint a precise listing price to encourage high offers
- Gather and prepare all documentation related to your home
- Recommend reputable cleaners, stagers, and contractors who are available at a moment’s notice
- Take photographs of your home
- List and market your home
- Schedule your home appraisal, showings, and inspection
- Pitch your property to other agents or buyers
- Negotiate with buyers on your behalf
- Prepare with closing documentation
To find top real estate agents near you, share your details with HomeLight. We’ll connect you to the three top real estate agents in your area based on transaction data like average list to sale price, days on market, and client reviews.
2. An experienced real estate attorney
You may require the services of a real estate attorney to protect you from documentation issues, titling errors, and costly lawsuits.
Some states require a real estate attorney at closing. Even if your state does not, you may want to hire an attorney to help with your home sale if one of the following applies:
- You’re selling due to financial hardship
- You’re selling a property with tenants
- You’re selling an inherited property
- You’re selling a shared asset during a divorce or separation
Here are some of the legal services a real estate attorney offers:
- Draft and negotiate the contract for sale
- Prepare the deed
- Prepare the closing documents
- Review the title and lien search and resolve related issues
- Solve any documentation disputes
Real estate attorneys generally charge $150 to $450 per hour. You can find a reputable real estate attorney through your real estate agent, network, or an online directory like Avvo.
3. A direct buyer who makes cash offers
If you need to sell your house fast, consider selling to a cash buyer. A cash buyer is someone who pays cash for homes that they lease or resell.
When you sell to a cash buyer, you can skip the cleaning, staging, and showings. You’ll also avoid the red-tape associated with buyer mortgages and sidestep buyer contingencies that can delay or derail a home sale. In exchange for convenience and certainty, you’ll receive a lower price on your home with a direct buyer than if you go through a real estate agent.
Selling to a direct buyer is a great option if you:
- Need to sell your home quickly
- Want to skip the stress-inducing stages of a traditional sale
- Don’t have the time or money to upgrade an old home
- Are OK with a lower sale price in exchange for convenience and speed
There are five primary types of cash buyers:
- House flippers purchase older or run-down homes with the intent of remodeling and reselling for a higher price. If you sell to a house flipper, expect to receive a low offer.
- Buy-and-hold companies are investors who turn homes into rental properties.
- iBuyers are companies that use automatic valuations and machine-learning algorithms to make sellers instant offers on their homes. They typically charge 8% to 9% in fees to handle the purchase and resale of your property. Many iBuyers require an inspection and may reduce the sale price to account for needed repairs.
- Trade-in companies provide you with funds to purchase your next home, holding your current home as collateral until it sells. HomeLight’s Trade In program is one option to buy and sell at the same time. We’ll buy your current home at a guaranteed price, giving you the cash you need to close on your new home. If your home sells for more, we’ll pay you the difference minus closing costs and program fees.
Get a competitive cash offer with Simple Sale
HomeLight’s Simple Sale provides you with a competitive cash offer so you can sell your home as-is fast — as quickly as 10 days. Skip the stress and hassle of repairs and negotiations so you can move on from your home sale with a satisfying sale price.
4. A reliable contractor skilled in home renovations
If your home needs work, you’ll want to hire a reputable local contractor to whip it into shape before listing. Strategic upgrades can help attract more buyers to your home and ultimately lead to higher offers.
Your real estate agent can help refer you to local contractors and advise on which projects have the highest return on investment in your market. Some contractors may even agree to accept a deposit to complete the work and collect the remaining payment after closing.
Ekdawy, who completes about a dozen home renovations a year, shares one remodeling experience that significantly increased the seller’s sale price:
“I sold a home that was straight out of the 1960s. They would have gotten incredibly low offers if anyone bought it at all. We replaced the flooring with greige laminate and carpet, painted the entire house white with white trim, and upgraded the cabinets with shaker-style doors and brushed nickel fixtures. We replaced the bathroom vanity and put in raised panel doors and new hardware throughout the house. The homeowners spent about $30,000 on upgrades and received a return of $170,000.”
Proof positive that strategic home improvements can go a long way to help you sell your house for more money!
Some of the most common home renovation projects recommended by real estate agents and the approximate costs include:
- Replace flooring with luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring: $2,000 per room
- Repaint your interior in a neutral pallet: $2,600 for a 2,000 sq ft. home
- Repaint your exterior: $2,600
- Replace interior hardware: $15 to $48 per hardware
- Upgrade faucets: $250 per faucet
- Upgrade light fixtures: $443
- Upgrade to energy-efficient kitchen appliances: $2,175
5. A professional landscaper who can boost your curb appeal
According to HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Report, 76% of real estate agents believe improving curb appeal is the number 1 thing you can do to boost your home’s appeal.
If you want help selling your home, hire a professional landscaper to enhance your front yard’s appearance. Some of the most common landscaping projects recommended by real estate agents and the approximate costs include:
- Trim bushes and trees: $475
- Reseed your lawn: $0.10 to $0.20 per square foot
- Add mulch to flower beds: $100 to $300 for professional installation
- Weed, mow, and edge your lawn: $100 for a full lawn care service
- Plant flowers and shrubs: $50 to $100 per hour
6. A talented home stager that knows what styles local buyers love
Transform your interior’s appeal with help from a professional stager. Home staging is styling your home through the arrangement of furniture and decor. Staging can increase the number of buyers who want to see your home, the value of your home, and the speed it sells.
Our survey of 900 top real estate agents found that:
- Staging your home helps it to sell 4 to 7 days faster
- Staging a home can increase its value 1% to 10%
- 92% of top real estate agents agree that staging benefits the home sale
Ekdawy shares her experience staging a home for a seller whose property wasn’t getting any offers:
“The seller didn’t want to upgrade. It was an older home with a bar, a pool, a built-in deck, and a large soaking tub. So we staged the bar with crystal glasses, the pool with pool toys and lounge chairs, and added some nice accessories to the deck. Even though the tub was older, we modernized it with bath accessories and a wicker basket with a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses … Those little touches breathed life back into that home and brought in a great price.”
Your real estate agent can recommend a talented stager. The average cost of home staging is approximately $630 to $2,325. Some agents even provide complimentary home staging services.
There’s a sea of professionals out there to help you sell your home
If you don’t know where to start preparing your home for sale, don’t panic. Hire reputable professionals who can help you sell your home: top real estate agents, contractors, landscapers, home stagers, real estate attorneys, and cash buyers are just a phone call away.
Header Image Source: (Simon Hurry / Unsplash)