You’ve decided to sell the house.  How do you get top dollar?

pending sign1. Don’t tell anyone yet.  To create maximum urgency – which puts the most pressure on buyers – you want to surprise them with your new listing.  Any ‘pre-marketing’ of the home diminishes your chances of getting top dollar.

Don’t install signs early, no flyers or ads – and none of the ‘coming soon’ nonsense.


Because urgency is a selling tool – it gets buyers to make a decision now, instead of hesitating. But any premature leaking of the opportunity drains the urgency.  Why? Because there is no fear of loss.

If the home isn’t on the MLS/open market, buyers won’t feel like they have to decide today.  Given the chance to hesitate, buyers almost always will.  If they don’t, it’s because the price is less than top dollar.

2.  Know where you are going.  Put your home on the market once you are certain about the next move. You will get the best offers to sell your home in the first few days it is on the open market – and you want to be ready to move!

3. Fix everything that is visible.  Most buyers don’t have the time or ability to repair or improve a home.  They’d rather keep looking, than to buy a ‘fixer’….at these prices.  Enhance the curb appeal, kitchen, and baths in that order.

4. Hire a great realtor.  Interview in person, and if you only ask one question, ask this: What is your bidding-war strategy and experience? (because their answer will tell you everything about their ability to get you top dollar).

Check their profile on Zillow, which has the best combination of the agent’s sales history, past-client testimonials, and current listings.  Look for an agent who has a consistently professional approach – and has time for you.  Any agent that has more than 75 sales in the last 12 months is using a team of agents, and you can get lost in the shuffle.

5.  Price attractively.  Buyers know the recent sales nearby – they probably have seen more than you, or your agent – and are tired of every seller inflating their list price to unrealistic levels.

Use this to your advantage – select a list price that is slightly higher than the comps.  You will look more attractive than those who are 5% to 20% higher, and buyers will come running.  Have your agent implement their sound bidding-war strategy, and you’ll sell for top dollar!

6.  Only sell once.  After winning a vigorous bidding war, the conquering buyer will feel some degree of buyers’ remorse – this is normal, and a part of every big transaction.  The effects are seen after the home inspection, when the buyer will make repair requests.

The contract states that the home is sold ‘as-is’, so you are not obligated to fix anything.  But the buyers don’t have to buy it either.

Do what you can to keep this escrow together – even if it means throwing a couple of bucks at it.  If the first deal fails, it is very difficult to re-create maximum urgency!

Remember the old adage – you only have one chance to make a first impression.  Following the steps above will ensure you make it a great one!

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