You’d be surprised at the amount of people who upon asking themselves “How much is my house worth?” realize they don’t actually know the answer. While a professional comprehensive estimate is often a huge eye-opener, even something as quick and easy as an online home value calculator can be pretty, well, valuable. Your home might not be worth as much as you think, or it might be worth even more. The only way to know is to find out.
Make some changes
A great thing about owning real estate is that you’re never entirely at the whims of the housing market when it comes to determining value. Quite the contrary, you can literally control the value of your property, at least to an extent. The adage “leave things better than how you found them” is good advice not just for life, but for selling your house as well. Major changes like adding a deck, swimming pool, or garage can boost your home’s value greatly, but it doesn’t have to be that drastic. Even inexpensive renovations such as adding a light to your front porch, repainting the living room, or changing the door knobs can help.
Time things right
Like in any other market, values in real estate fluctuate over time. Housing has its up periods and its down periods. Pay attention to what experts are saying to get an idea if now is a good time to sell. If you’re not in a position to hold onto your property until the market changes, even the time of year can have a big effect on your selling potential. In many areas, spring is the season where most buyers come out of hibernation. More buyers means a greater likelihood that your ideal price is also someone else’s.
Cut your costs
Closing costs can often be trimmed if you know where to cut. If you’re working with a realtor, for example, negotiate to pay a lower percentage commission in exchange for employing them again when you’re the one doing the buying. Or forgo the realtor entirely and sell your home yourself (though be warned, doing the work an agent would normally do for you can be an expensive prospect when you don’t know what you’re doing). If you’re expected to pay the buyer’s closing costs, as is common, factor that into your initial asking price. Often times the best way to make more money is by simply spending less.