Selling a home is rarely described as enjoyable. It is much more likely to be linked with a certain degree of stress, and even trepidation. Yet, with the last couple of years seeing huge leaps in property prices in many regions, it is not surprising that many homeowners are looking to see a return on their investment and sell up.
In August 2022, the average house price in the UK was £36,000 ($43,421) more than 12 months previously. And the US also saw huge growth in housing prices. Hawaii is currently the most expensive state to buy a home in the states, and the average house price was around $348,000 in 2022. Of course, house prices differ by state, and some are more affordable.
This sudden rise in house prices, and record inflation, has led many to continue renting, making it difficult for homeowners to sell quickly. This has also caused many homeowners to use the rental market instead of seeking a buyer.
Should you rent or sell?
While house prices remain very healthy for homeowners, the actual sales of existing houses have slowed. New home sales have exceeded predictions, but existing house sales fell month by month during 2022.
This doesn’t mean that a property won’t sell, but the average time on the market in the US now is about 50 days. This is an increase from the low of 31 days in 2021. The stress of trying to sell, and the delay in finding a buyer, has led some to seek out tenants instead.
Many people have been scared away from buying a home in 2022 due to rising mortgage rates, and the high valuations of homes. Some continue to stay in their rented accommodation, and others are choosing to rent for the first time when they have been considering buying.
Rents in the US are surging, but vacancy rates are the lowest since 1984. Despite rising rent prices, individuals, couples, and families are choosing to lease instead of buying.
This means homeowners have the option to rent out their property and still see value for their investment. Of course, finding the right tenants is vital, and you’ll need to take some steps to do so.
What steps should you take to find a buyer or renter for your home?
Many aspects of renting a home are similar to selling, and you can benefit from carrying out some of the tasks below regardless of whether you wish to sell or rent.
Thoroughly clean the property
Any prospective tenant or buyer will scrutinize your property in a way that perhaps you wouldn’t. Using professional cleaners is a great idea before putting your home on the rental or real estate market.
One firm, Cleaner Cleaner, recommends a deep clean before a home is marketed. This can involve services such as professional carpet cleaning, and degreasing of cookers. Once this is done, maintaining a good level of cleanliness for inspections and viewings will be far easier. Upholstery and carpet cleaning can remove marks that you hadn’t noticed, and make the furnishings more vibrant.
You will probably hear about the importance of decluttering when selling a home. This will likely be necessary before you can clean a home properly, but in any instance, it is a good idea to help create more space.
Consider your decor
Neutral colors and depersonalization are often recommended as it makes it easier for viewers to imagine putting their own stamp on the home. No doubt you are proud of the way you have created an extension of yourself through your home’s decor, but a potential buyer may not see it that way.
There are some bedroom design ideas to blow your mind, but the effect they have on a viewer may be less positive. Consider lighting, removing clutter and knick-knacks, and go for a more minimal appearance. Don’t completely remove the things that personalize your property, it still needs to be welcoming and seem homely.
Safety checks and maintenance for landlords
If you have decided to go down the rental channel then you will have some legal obligations to carry out. Gas checks on furnaces should be carried out by professionals. Homes should be pest free, and all appliances in good working order.
There are also laws surrounding security deposits, disclosures of potential hazards such as lead-based paint, and privacy. If you choose to become a landlord you will need to check your local laws and abide by them.
Carry out necessary repairs
Regardless of whether you are selling or renting, you will need to make certain repairs to your property where needed. Legally, you can sell a home with a dripping tap, but these small problems can be red flags to buyers. When maintenance has been neglected in this way, it can make house buyers wary about what other problems may be lurking.
Before marketing, it is a good idea to do a thorough inspection of the home to look for mold, mildew, dampness, and leaks, or anything that could put off a potential buyer. A seller’s inspection costs around $300 but can be the difference between you selling your home quickly, or a buyer walking away once they discover problems in the property.
Price the home competitively
A letting agent will help you to market your home, and give you an idea of what you should expect to see in monthly rent. Similarly, a real estate agent will advise on how best to market and sell your property.
It is in the interest of both these parties, and yours, to get the most from your buyer or tenant. However, pricing a home too high will put people off, and underpricing it will see a poor return on your investment. Remember, if you sign a tenancy agreement for 12 months, you cannot ask your tenant to pay more during this period. Setting the right value or rent is essential.
Carrying out comparables on similar properties can help in this area. And understanding the kind of property that’s most popular with buyers should help you to make a realistic valuation. Your location will also come into play here.
Stage and advertise the home
Staging is seen by some as a vital part of marketing a home today. It has been said that a staged home spends over 70% less time on the market than one that isn’t. It is also believed that staged homes sell for more.
While staging a home for rental purposes isn’t necessary, advertising it is. Ensure that whether you are renting or selling your property that professional photography is used, and a variety of marketing channels are utilized.
For the majority of people, the internet will be the starting point for looking for a new home. Ask your agent how they plan to market your property, and through which channels.
First, you need to decide whether you are going to hold on for a sale, or whether you can rent for perhaps a year and hope house sales rise again. After this, you need to ready the property before it can be listed.
Simple things such as decluttering and deep cleaning can enhance first impressions. This on its own can be key to creating interest in your property. Major renovations may not be necessary, but some repairs usually are. And if you are going to be a landlord, look at what legalities you need to observe first.