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How to Sell Your Home for More Money – 2023 Edition

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.

When it comes to selling a home, owners understandably want to maximize the value of their sale. While prices may have declined form their Summer 2022 peak, low inventory is helping to keep prices elevated in many markets. However, high interest rates in 2023 are winnowing the field of buyers and making them more discerning. In this challenging environment, how do you sell your home for more money?

Things have certainly gotten harder for sellers. According to HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights report for New Year 2023, 98% of the agents we surveyed report that bidding wars were unheard of in their market (during the seller’s market, almost all agents reported the opposite); 53% say that buyers are now pushing back on inspection items; and 92% say that buyers with more options have been forcing sellers to lower their listing pricing.

In other words, buyers are demanding more for their money, insisting that homes be well-maintained and correctly priced. As a seller, here’s how you can make your home stand out to help attract top offers.

If all of the comps in your neighborhood sold around $200,000, making $100,000 worth of improvements to your home isn’t going to net you an extra $100,000. Appraisers are going to go by what the numbers tell them, not by how cool your upgrades are. So no matter what you do to your house, you’re stuck with that $200,000 valuation bracket.
  • Brent Dalley- the FIRE Group
    Brent Dalley- the FIRE Group Real Estate Agent
    Brent Dalley- the FIRE Group
    Brent Dalley- the FIRE Group Real Estate Agent at Keller Williams
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    Currently accepting new clients
    • Years of Experience 14
    • Transactions 351
    • Average Price Point $203k
    • Single Family Homes 343

How to sell your home for more money in 2023

Did you know that a person could buy a starter home for less than $200,000 in 2002? Two decades later, the national average for a starter home skyrocketed to more than $400,000, depending on the region.

While it may sound like a lot of money now, you’ll need every penny you can get if you want to buy a new house. So keep reading to learn how to sell your home for more money in any economy.

Choose the right time to list

Activity in the real estate market fluctuates throughout the year, and listing at the wrong time could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. It could take more than the average 51 days (from listing to closing) to sell your house.

So, when is the best time to sell?

Nationally, June and July typically are the best time to sell, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best time to sell in your market. Factors like school schedules, vacation buyers, and the weather play a role in buyer demand.

To figure out the best time to list, you will have to do more than look at your calendar. First, you need to analyze market trends, which involves a lot of research and deciphering the data you’ve collected.

Using HomeLight’s Best Time to Sell Calculator takes these factors into consideration. Our calculator uses your market’s transaction data to pinpoint the best time to put your home on the market (and potentially get more money).

Hire a top agent

The best way to get more money for your house is to work with a real estate agent — specifically, a top agent in your area. At HomeLight, we’ve learned that working with the right agent can significantly impact your bottom line. Our data shows that across the United States, the top 5% of real estate agents sell homes for as much as 10% higher than the average agent.

So, when you’re researching local agents, a key statistic you’ll want to pay attention to is their sale-to-list ratio. This ratio indicates how accurately they price homes and how much of the seller’s asking price they deliver. The higher their sale-to-list ratio is, the better they are at getting more money for your house.

Be sure to interview at least a few agents to make sure that you and your agent are aligned on any number of factors important to you. We’ve compiled a list of important questions to ask here.

Connect with a Top Agent

It takes just two minutes to match clients with the best real estate agents, who will contact you and guide you through the process. To connect with an agent, simply tell us a little bit about your property (single-family, condo, townhouse, mobile home, commercial, or vacant lot) and how soon you’re looking to sell.

Make cost-effective upgrades and repairs

A pre-listing inspection isn’t required, but it’s in your best interest to have one done if you’re trying to get the most money you can for your property. On average, a pre-listing inspection costs around $340, but it can vary depending on market conditions, size of the home, age of the home, and location.

“What’s going on in your local market will impact what improvements you need to make and how you price the property to maximize value. For instance, in my current market, buyers can barely find a house to put an offer on, so they’re not worried about the paint color or the outdated bathtub,” advises Brent Dalley, a top-selling real estate agent in the Dallas area.

Minor problems like a leaking faucet or a door that doesn’t close right don’t impact your property’s value. But, you don’t know what hidden problems the buyer’s home inspection could reveal. If there are serious issues, the buyer could walk away entirely.

Examples of issues found during an inspection:

  • Plumbing: Major leaks, corroded pipes, water pressure, clogged drains/toilets
  • Electrical: Frayed wires, ungrounded connections, overloaded junction boxes
  • HVAC: Pilot or ignition malfunction, broken thermostat, blown fuses, unusual noises
  • Roof: Leaking roof, damaged flashing, missing or broken shingles
  • Foundation: Cracks, settling/sinking, gaps around window frames and entryway doors
  • Safety: No GFCI outlets or no smoke/carbon dioxide detectors

In terms of upgrades, we recommend choosing projects with a high return on investment. Although it’s estimated that Americans could spend as much as $430 billion on home improvements, you don’t have to spend a fortune.

Examples of improvements with the highest ROI include:

A HomeLight infographic about upgrades that will sell your home for more money.

Deep clean and declutter

Did you know that if you deep clean and declutter your house, your home’s sale value could increase by 3% to 5%? That sounds crazy, but when you think about it, it’s pretty apparent why. Buyers don’t want to buy a dirty house. It’s as simple as that. A clean house is a happy house, after all.

As you’re cleaning, you should go through all your stuff and cull the excess. The name of the game here is to remove the personal touches and clutter so that you’re presenting a home that buyers can see themselves living in, and not you.

Note: Don’t forget to clean and declutter outdoors, too! Not only does it boost curb appeal, but it makes a great first impression and draws in more buyers.

Don’t overprice!

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when selling their homes is to price them too high. Even if you invest a bunch of money on repairs and upgrades, your home will only be valued so much.

“If all of the comps in your neighborhood sold around $200,000, making $100,000 worth of improvements to your home isn’t going to net you an extra $100,000,” advises Dalley. “Appraisers are going to go by what the numbers tell them, not by how cool your upgrades are. So no matter what you do to your house, you’re stuck with that $200,000 valuation bracket.”

To come up with an accurate price, your real estate agent will prepare a comparative market analysis, or CMA. This analysis compares recent sales of homes similar to yours in location, size, condition, and features. Based on that CMA, an excellent real estate agent will help set a realistic price that won’t turn off would-be buyers.

Market effectively

When a house is professionally staged, people will see your house in all its glory — with the right accents, decor, and furniture. Buyers can see themselves living in your home without getting distracted by your design style, photographs, and clutter. Oh, and staging could increase your home’s sale price by 20% compared to if it were unstaged.

“The way to maximize value is to have your house staged and photographed by pros because it’s wildly important for marketing,” explains Dalley. “Buyers house hunting online will only look at a listing for 1.2 seconds if it only has one amateur photo.”

Once the house is staged, a professional photographer will take photos of your house to show off the best features. They know how to choose angles that flatter a space without making the room look awkward. In addition, they eliminate dark shadows by filling the room with as much light as possible, either by opening the curtains or using professional lighting setups.

Along with staging and professional photographs of your house, you’ll want to talk to your agent about how they’ll advertise your home. Will they rely solely on the MLS, or will they use social media, too? Are they going to have open houses, or is that off the table? Besides a “For Sale” sign on the front lawn, will they mail out postcards or put an ad in the local newspaper? All these things matter and a top agent will have a stellar marketing strategy.

Be prepared to negotiate

Once the offers start rolling in, you need to be willing to negotiate on some things and know when to stand firm. A buyer is looking for any chance to lower the price, especially after the home inspection. While you may want to say no to the buyer’s requests, you need to be willing to compromise; otherwise, buyers will dig in their heels and ultimately result in a stalemate. As with most aspects of the home selling process, a top agent will have experience in this area to help you sell your home for more money.

“Refrigerators have become the greatest bargaining chip ever in negotiations. Let’s say your buyer wants a leaky faucet fixed in the negotiations. Instead of fixing it, we can offer to leave the refrigerator with the house,” advises Dalley. “Now, my sellers don’t care about that fridge, but when they offer it up in exchange for not fixing a leaky faucet, it’s a win-win. The buyer feels like they win because they don’t need to buy a fridge when they move in. My sellers feel like they won because they’re not out of pocket on the faucet repair.”

Maximize your home’s value

Your home is very likely your most valuable asset, so, understandably, you’d want to get as much money as you can for it when you sell. You’ve spent years taking care of your little slice of the world, and who knows how much money you’ve poured into it.

Working with a top agent is key to knowing how to sell your house for more money. They can walk you through the ins and outs of selling your house, increasing its value, and much more. They’ll talk you out of overpricing your house, too! You can’t fool the market into thinking your home is worth more than it is.

“You neither need to be the best or the best-priced property on the market,” says Dalley. “So if Mr. Smith has the same house [as yours] down the street, but he’s got upgraded granite countertops in the kitchen, and it looks like it was decorated by Chip and Joanna Gaines, then you need to do at least as much as your neighbor has done if you want to maximize value.”

Header Image Source: (Erik Mclean / Unsplash)