9 Age-Old Real Estate Tips to Ignore Completely

Not all advice is good advice. When it comes to the real estate market, friends and family may offer their unsolicited opinions based on common beliefs, but it’s always best to consult with a professional. However, even the experts have their agendas. So before you trust what was once “tried and true,” get the inside scoop, on what’s “here and now” when it comes to buying and selling your home.

By Jill Lawrence-O'Hara | Updated Jun 07, 2016 05:09 PM

Spring is the best time to sell.

You Don't Have to Sell in Spring

Traditionally, real estate sales have peaked in spring, making it the optimal time to sell. The popularity of spring home sales once had a lot to do with buyers wanting to time a move around the kids' school schedules. Today's buyers are different, though. Many of them do not have children in school and so they're less likely to wait for spring to make a move. In this new market, a savvy seller knows that a house is more likely to sell fast when inventory is low, as in the cold months from November through January.

Related: 9 Mistakes Not to Make When Selling Your Home


“For Sale by Owner” saves you money.

Work With a Realtor

Most prospective sellers already know that by hiring a real estate agent, they will be losing part of the sale price to the agent's commission. Some consider it money well spent, while many other homeowners believe they can save that money by selling on their own. That might not be the case: A home sold by owner typically sells for 15 percent less than homes sold through a realtor. Factor in the time taken off work to show the house, marketing costs, and legal forms necessary to seal the deal, and working with a realtor starts looking like a pretty good deal.

Related: Find the Right Realtor—9 Tips from Happy Homeowners


You must renovate the kitchen to attract buyers.

Skip the Kitchen Renovation

You've heard it before: Kitchens sell houses. But if you're about to do a full remodel in the hopes of selling yours, think again. If you opt for a full kitchen renovation just before selling, statistics show you’ll only recoup 84% of the costs. So instead of enduring the dust, drama, and cost of a complete overhaul, give your kitchen a minor facelift for a fraction of the cost. Upgrade your old appliances to energy efficient models, reface your cabinet doors, and replace the hardware. These small changes will give your old kitchen a like-new appearance that will help it sell.

Related: 7 Kitchen Trends You Might Regret

Zillow Digs home in Chattanooga, TN 

If you don’t want to make repairs, lower your price.

Make Your Home Move-In Ready

Buyers are looking for their new home, not their next DIY project. A house that needs too much work might not receive any offers at all, even with a lower price. That's not to say that a house must be in perfect condition to sell, but costly fixes such as a sagging roof or leaky plumbing should take priority. Once the big problems are resolved, it’s amazing what a good cleaning, a fresh coat of paint, and adequate lighting can do to put a house in the best light.

Related: 9 Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Fixer-Upper


Take the first offer; it’s always the best.

Hold Out for Higher Offers

In some instances the first offer may be the best, but don’t count on it. That's doubly true if you live in hot market where quality listings spur multiple offers. Under different circumstances, budget-conscious buyers may want to test the seller’s willingness to negotiate. If you’re presented with a low-ball offer, make a counter offer just shy of the original asking price to begin reasonable negotiations to determine the level of buyer interest.

Related: 12 Reasons Why Your House Isn't Selling


Open houses sell homes.

You Don't Need an Open House

A common real estate myth is that open houses are an effective way to sell homes. Not true. According to the National Association of Realtors, only 2% of homes are sold as a result of this marketing method. The real truth is that open houses are a great way for realtors to secure new clients, which has a lot to do with their popularity.

Related: 6 Tempting Upgrades That Smart Homeowners Avoid


Price your home high so there’s room to negotiate.

Price Your Home to Sell

Correctly pricing a home is important if you’re a serious seller. Thanks to listing information available on the internet, todays buyers know if a home is overpriced and will pass on your property if it isn’t in sync with comparable homes. A house that sits on the market past the critical 3- to 4-week mark risks stigmatization and guarantees frustration for agents, buyers, and sellers.

Related: Brokers Reveal 7 "Works Every Time" Ways to Boost Home Resale Value


Paint Hides a Multitude of Problems

Fix Major Problems Before Selling

Sorry to say, but paint is no match for serious problems such as mold damage, dry rot, and insect infestation. Covering up serious issues with a coat of your favorite color violates disclosure laws, leaving you vulnerable for liabilities post sale. So, a little color is no way to overcome real concerns. The best course of action is to fix the issues before listing your property for sale.

Related: 8 Exterior Paint Colors to Help Sell Your House


Inside Enhancements Trump Outside Improvements Every Time

Cultivate Curb Appeal

What's on the inside counts, but that doesn't change the importance of a good first impression. In order for prospective buyers to fall in love with a house at first sight, curb appeal is needs to be a priority. Buyers decide if they’re interested or not within the first 30 seconds of pulling up in your driveway, whether or not you've renovated the interior. So, when it comes to home improvements, start with the outside and work your way in.

Related: Curb Appeal to Steal from 12 Hollywood Homes

Zillow Digs home in Larkspur, CA

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