6 Tips To Get the Best Price When Selling Your House

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Selling your house

The following is a contribution from my blogging friend Glen over at Monster Piggy Bank. He has a new site – How to Save Money. Aptly named, huh?  🙂 If you’d like to contribute to Frugal Rules, please contact us.

Buying or selling a house is a pretty big deal, particularly when you consider the amount of money involved in the average property transaction. If you want to maximize your profits, it’s important to know how to get the best return on your investment.

Recently my wife and I have been contemplating selling our own house. The plan is to move into a new one that will better accommodate our family. To help ensure that we get the best price possible, we have been doing a ton of research to assist with the sale, which I will share with you today.

Prepare your house for the target market


Probably the biggest thing that we have learned when selling a house, is to make sure that your house is set up to appeal to the correct target market. As an example, if you live in the suburbs, there is a good chance that your target market will be families with kids, so you need to make sure your house appeals to that demographic.

Decorate the house to suit the target market that you are trying to sell to. Remove all of your personal things and de-clutter. Remember, potential buyers want to picture themselves living in the house, they won’t necessarily like the same things that you do, which means all those personal things should be packed away.

People want to live in a house that feels nice, clean and open. De-cluttering will get you part way there, while painting walls and oiling decks will bring you the rest of the way home.

Fix up anything in disrepair


This probably should go without saying, but make sure that you repair anything that is either broken or falling apart. This includes getting into the garden and fixing that too. Sometimes a really nice outdoor area and garden can make up for other imperfections inside the house.

I remember visiting a friend’s open house a few years ago. He couldn’t be bothered fixing up the house prior to selling it, and so when people were inspecting it, I kept hearing comments about all the work that would be needed to fix the house. The disappointing thing was that most of the work was cosmetic, and could have been fixed in a weekend. Things like loose light fittings, a hole in the wall and a dilapidated back door – none of it was hard to fix, but I’m sure it knocked quite a few thousand dollars off the final sale price.

Take great photos


Having amazing photos to show off your house is one of the best ways to get people interested in your property. The photos should jump out at potential buyers and stand apart from all the other properties for sale.

Let’s face it, the photo is the first thing that is going to attract someone to your house when they view it online, and if they don’t like what they see, then there’s a good chance they won’t make it to inspect your house, and there goes a potential sale.

Test out your real estate agent


Most people use real estate agents to buy and sell property, so it’s important that you find an agent you like and who works for you.

One of the first things I would recommend that you do, is to go to existing open houses and act like a buyer. See how the agent treats you and how well they work the room with all the actual potential buyers. This will be a great indicator as to how the agent will perform when he or she is acting on your behalf.

Another thing that is good to do, is to obtain a few different quotes from various agents around the local area. This will give you a good idea as to how much your property could be worth, plus it will give you a chance to compare pricing structures and get to know the agents better.

Investigate similar properties in the same market


It’s always a good idea to know your competition. Inspect other properties in the area in the same price range as you are planning on selling you house at to see if your property warrants a similar price.

This gives you a great insight into how your property compares, and if your price might be too high or too low. Remember – try to be as objective and impartial as possible. Everyone thinks their house is the best, but you will likely be biased towards your own house as you have it setup the way you like it. D

oing a bit of comparative research helps you bring some objectivity into your pricing process.

Set a strategic price


Setting a price can be difficult, but it is important to understand that price plays a critical factor in how easily you sell your home. Many websites that list houses will put them into price brackets, so you want to make sure that your house fits within those brackets and isn’t placed either too high, or too low where you may miss out on someone viewing your property.


Are you selling your house or have you sold a home in the past? What did you learn that you wish you would have done differently? What advice would you pass on to other home sellers? Have you ever been the beneficiary of a bidding war for your property?


Glen is the owner of a personal finance website dedicated to helping people save money.



Photo courtesy of: Dan Moyle

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

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  • Ben Luthi says:

    Great tips! I really like the bit about real estate agents. I’d also add to avoid working with friends. My in-laws got stuck with a couple crappy agents who were picked just because they were family friends. The last thing you want is to lose thousands AND a friendship.

    • Glen @ How To Save Money says:

      Yeah, I don’t think I would ever get a friend or relative to be involved in that process – sounds like a recipe for disaster.

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    Great tips, Glen!! I never thought about testing out your realtor, but I love that idea! We did everything else you mentioned and our house sold in 5 days. These tips truly do work well!

    • Glen @ How To Save Money says:

      It was actually something that a friend did when they were selling their house, and it worked a treat and I thought it was excellent advice.

  • Kim says:

    If people can see themselves at home in your house, it has a much better chance at getting top dollar. It’s hard for people to picture themselves there if all your clutter and family photos are everywhere. I’d say make it as neutral and neat and clean as possible.

    • Glen @ How To Save Money says:

      My wife and I actually watch a lot of house selling shows on TV, and that is pretty much what people expect. If you have a heap of personal things strewn throughout the house, people can’t see themselves living there.

  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says:

    I never thought about setting up the house to appeal to the target demographic. Seems obvious now that you mention it, but I wouldn’t think of it otherwise.

  • Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter says:

    We’ve never had to sell a home, as our first house is the one we are still in (we only bought it just under two years ago). WE bought and sold a few homes when I was growing up though, and photos are SO important. Back in the day they used to have agent offices with pictures of the house in the window.

    • Glen @ How To Save Money says:

      I never actually realized how important photos are until I started looking for places to buy. I found myself always drawn to the ones with the best pictures, even though they might not have been what I was after.

  • Broke Millennial says:

    It will be many, many years before I’m in the position of selling a home, but I’ve already started to understand all the work that goes into it. It’s amazing what some stunning photos can do to attract buyers. My best friend’s parents just sold their home and she sent me the photos. It’s a nice house and all, but the photos make it look amazing. They only have adult children, but made one room look like a child’s room.

    • Glen @ How To Save Money says:

      I suspect that they were targetting young families with the sale, so that’s why the changed one room to look like a child’s room.

  • Grayson Bell says:

    We sold our house in just a few days. The reasons were because we staged it, priced it competitively, and had it all fixed up and ready to go. I did my research and came up with the price myself.

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde says:

    Pricing your home correctly the first time is a big key. We saw a home for sale in our neighborhood that we thought was priced way too low and it sold right away (we think they left money on the table). Then there is another one in our community that has been for sale for over a year because they expect too much for it. There is a tough balance, but now with sites like zillow, it is easier to get the competitive landscape so you you can price it accordingly.

    • Glen @ How To Save Money says:

      I think pricing can be one of the most difficult things, as you don’t want to cut yourself short, but at the same time you don’t want your property to languish and then have people wonder what’s wrong with it because it has been on the market for so long.

  • Kassandra @ More Than Just Money says:

    Several years ago I owned a condo that I put up for sale. With great photos, a realistic price given the market at the time, and having the condo in pristine condition at all times, it sold in 7 days of being listed compared to a couple of other nearby units that had been on the market for months.

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