1) The Pre-Inspection: Sellers can hire a Home Inspector to visit the home and uncover the issues that potential buyers are sure to uncover later. By addressing these concerns ahead of time, you give buyers less of an opportunity to negotiate for a lower price (they think of repairs in terms of thousands of dollars, not hundreds) or write the home off altogether. Home inspectors usually charge less to home owners for pre-inspections; in my area, these 2-3 hour inspections usually run less than $400 for an average-size home (2,500 square foot).
2) The Pre-Appraisal: Don’t believe your agent’s price? Hire an independent appraiser to do the same type of in-depth research that the actual appraiser will do when deciding if your buyers will receive their mortgage. All appraisals are not identical but if you doubt the agent because you believe he or she might have an agenda (pricing too low to get an easy sale or pricing too high to up their commission; I’ve heard them all), get an unbiased option of an independent appraiser who has no skin in the game. These also usually run under $400.
3) Staging: You never see your home as a buyer will; you just have too much history and familiarity with the property. Have a stager come in and tell you exactly what to do, as inexpensively as possible, to make your home as appealing as possible to potential sellers. I’ve seen stagers run $75-$100 an hour; multi-hour packages are often available. Some appraisers will come in for just a few hours (around $150) and give you a report of what to do on your own. Some stagers are also organizers and can also recommend companies that can clear away all of your clutter.
4) The Home Warranty: In my option, this is a great deal. For usually under $750 for an average-sized home, you can protect your systems and appliances during the length of your listing as well as for the buyers during their first year of ownership. Take out a warranty at listing time and if anything goes wrong with the covered aspects of the home during the listing, the warranty company will arrange to have it fixed or replaced (with system/appliance of like value) for a small deductible of $50 or $100. Same goes for the buyers for a year after the sale. Plus, if you take advantage of the service during the listing period and the home doesn’t sell, you don’t have to pay for the policy.
By the way, most agents can recommend trusted inspectors, stagers, appraisers and warranty companies you’re your area. Be sure to call me for my local recommendations as well as the names to top agents anywhere you might be looking to move.