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Smart strategies to increase home sale profits

September 2, 2009

Courtesy of ARA Content

The proposition of selling a home is getting better with each passing day, according to a recently-released report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). If you need to sell your home, a few smart strategies can help you increase your profits.

A number of real estate pundits are pointing to the recent decline in home inventory and the fact that interest rates have increased on the 30-year fixed mortgage as a positive endorsement of a healthier housing market.

Joanne Sebby, a licensed real estate broker in Chicago, and operator of a local Two Men and a Truck moving franchise, believes she’s benefitting from what could be the start of a real estate “bloom,” if not a full “boom.”

“Bargain hunters are beginning to make moves on homes that are still way undervalued,’’ Sebby says. “The key for sellers is to get creative in marketing your home’s offerings so you can become one of those homes that get a look, and hopefully sell your house in a reasonable amount of time.”

While the real estate outlook is the best it’s been in recent memory, home loans are still more difficult to come by, and home values are down an average of 20 percent, according to the NAR. It’s likely that if you are selling your house today, you’ll likely do so at the cost of higher profits than you may have realized in healthier markets.

Regardless, Sebby suggests there are a number of creative ways home sellers can mitigate their losses on the sale.

“Most home sales involve some service-oriented companies such as moving companies, carpet cleaners, painters or other services,” she says.

Sebby suggests sellers need to think of their bottom line when selecting service companies to maximize profits on their home, and consider pitching in to keep costs down.

“Determine what budget you have to work with, and be up front with the people providing you with estimates,” Sebby says. “I’ll often counsel people who call our moving company to maybe box and label everything themselves, or have all the boxes collected in the room closest to the front door. If there’s a number we have to work with, we’ll make suggestions on how to make it work to suit their needs.”

Sebby suggests using the same tactics with home inspectors, painters or other service personnel.

Sebby adds: “Do a little research, and find what portion of the work you can comfortably do yourself. If you’re saving money along the way, it’s going to impact your profit on the house. A little bit here and there can really add up.”

Brig Sorber, president and chief executive officer of Two Men and a Truck—the nation’s largest franchised moving company—says he believes the current housing market provides more opportunity than risk.

“As a business owner, you look at your operations a little closer and ideally come away with a clearer understanding of what your company needs to do to stay competitive,” Sorber says. “The same principle applies to homeowners looking to sell. In an optimal market, a buyer may just scan the Internet, find a local mover and sign on the dotted line. Today’s customer is more aware; they’ve done competitive research on what to expect from a legitimate moving company, and that benefits those of us who value long-term relationships with our customers.”

Chances are, even sellers with the best intentions won’t realize the full value of their home in today’s market. However, as Sebby suggests, there’s no harm in optimizing your profits with a little extra effort and a do-it-yourself approach.

From the September 2-8, 2009 issue

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