(Video) 7 Secrets To Selling Your Naperville Home For The Most Money Possible

It’s no secret that when you sell your house, you want to get as much money as possible.  However, knowing exactly how to squeeze out every penny you deserve is unclear to a lot people.  So, use this simple 7-step guide to get you going in the right direction.  If you need more help, just contact us.

Secret 1:  Disconnect From Your House & Commit To Selling

The first step in selling your house is to disconnect from it emotionally and commit to getting it sold.


heart eyesAs soon as you decide that you’re moving, consider yourself a guest in your house.  Don’t consider it to be yours any longer.  Although it may be hard to do, cut ties with all the emotions you may have with this home.

If you are mentally connected to it, you may subconsciously do things to prevent the sale, such as not keeping it as clean as you could or finding reasons to not allow showings when buyers want to look at it.

Here are a few ways to help disconnect from it:

  • Depersonalize the home by taking down family photos and other emotional triggers
  • Think of it in terms of value of money and the sale price, not the personal and emotional value
  • Tie up loose dreams – when you first moved in, did you dream of all the fun things you’d do in the house?  If you’ve not gotten around to some of them, why don’t you do them now so that you feel like you’ve accomplished those things and have a sense of closure
  • Moving Party! – if you know you’ll have trouble letting go, throw yourself a moving party right away before you even move.  After the party, it may be easier to think of the home as no longer yours

Commit To Selling:

When you’ve let go of your emotional ties, it is easier to commit to selling.  And another great way to commit to selling is by knowing your selling goals.

Common selling goals include:

  • Making the most money
  • Sell as quickly as possible
  • Timing your sale with the purchase of a new home
  • Having the smoothest transaction possible
  • Finding the right buyers
  • Putting the best product on the market

If you’re like many people, your number one goal is simply to make the most money possible.  While that’s a good goal, consider some potential risks you may be taking with that.

For example, is the highest bidder the most serious?  Why are they offering so much; are they compensating for something that makes them a bad buyer?  Will you get past the appraiser (they won’t give you more than market value, even if a buyer will)?

The result of the goal to simply get the most money possible is that sometimes these deals fall apart because they were too good to be true.  So, always make sure to consider all aspects of every offer you receive.

Secret 2:  Price Your Home Correctly

money bagOkay, so maybe this point isn’t really that much of a secret.  It’s more like common sense.  But, based on the fact that (too) many people over-price their homes, we wanted to make sure we highlighted this very valuable step in the home selling process.

  • There is no way around it:  if you over-price your home, it will not sell.

Just as you as a buyer are looking for a fair (if not a great) deal on your own personal house hunt, so are the buyers that are considering buying your home.

No amount of marketing, staging, or other salesy tricks will convince a smart buyer to over-pay.  Instead, they’ll just move on to another home that’s a better deal.  Guaranteed.

We have other more detailed guides on how to accurately price your home (contact us for them), but here’s the crash course basics:

  • Start with “real” information.  That means you need actual data straight from the MLS or some type of public records database.  Do NOT use online estimates from home search sites.  These are notoriously incorrect
  • Look at comparable sales for houses that are exactly like yours and also for homes that are a step up and a step down from you
  • Figure out the absorption rate to see how many homes sell a month.  If you want to sell within the first 30 days when all the action happens for a new listing, your house needs to be a good enough deal to be in that absorption rate range.  If it’s not, it’s just going to sit on the shelf

Your house is worth the most money the very first day on the market.  Every day after that it’s worth less and less in a buyer’s eyes.

You need to price it correctly from day one.

Secret 3:  Be The Buyer

buyerA great way to understand if you’re being a good seller is to pretend you’re a serious buyer.

Think about everything from a buyer’s perspective.  Get inside the buyer’s mind and make it easy for them to buy your house.

When someone is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more), they expect everything to be perfect.  And, although no house actually is perfect, we want to keep the imperfections to a minimum.

We don’t want to let one small little thing snowball out of control until they buyer talks him or herself right out of buying your house.

As a seller, try to understand that the buyer may be nervous, may be stretching their budget, and may have personal taste differences from you.  If it’s a couple buying your home, they may even have taste differences between themselves.

They may be unexperienced in buying and feel anxiety about unknown costs, risks, and pre-buyer’s remorse.  Generally speaking, a buyer often feels completely exposed, uninformed, naked, and about to transact the biggest financial commitment of their lives.

So, to put buyers at ease, make sure that you come across as reputable and reliable people.  Disclose facts that may not be attractive about  your house.  It lets buyers know that you’re being honest.
And don’t pressure anyone.  Let them see your house in person and, when they do, make it show like a model home.

Make it perfect and impersonal.

Let them move in mentally so that they not only WANT, but actually feel a NEED, to buy your house.

If they can envision themselves there, you have a good chance of closing the deal quickly, fairly, and for the most money possible.

Secret 4:  Remodel, Repair, or Renew

paint bucketDoes your house look new?  If not, it probably makes sense to remodel, repair, or renew.

Unless you’re first going to live in your home for a while before you sell, it probably doesn’t make sense to totally remodel your house since you’re not likely to get all your money back.

However, you may have things to repair and almost certainly have items that you can renew.

For repairs, you may be able to do small jobs yourself, as long as it’s going to be quality work.  For big projects, like a roof, get a professional to complete the repairs or even consider giving a credit to the buyer.  Often a buyer wants to make sure that big items are done as well as possible.  If you spent the least money possible for the bare minimum quality on a major repair like that, sellers typically won’t appreciate it as much as they could have.

To renew, consider things as basic as cleaning and painting.  Some elbow grease and a few hours or days of effort to renew the look of your house can make thousands of dollars worth of difference in the final sale price.

As for what rooms to begin with, start in the kitchen and bathrooms.  These spaces are always favorites of buyers.

Then, create a priority list of what to fix.  Things towards the top of the list should be:

  • Plumbing (leaky faucets and running toilets)
  • Nail holes in walls
  • Stains on walls
  • Carpet stains and carpet steam cleaning
  • Doors that stick or squeak

Make sure that any and all fixes look professional.  A shoddy repair job is often worse than the original problem.

If you’re looking for the bottom-line biggest bang for the buck, start with painting and decluttering.  This is the cheapest way to improve your whole house.

Start by clearing everything out of a room, clean it all up, paint the walls, then put only SOME of the stuff back.  The other stuff you can throw out, recycle or donate to the good will.  When you paint, choose neutral colors and get good paint and supplies.  Cheap paint generally looks cheap on your walls.

Secret 5:  Stage It Like The Buyer’s Dream Home

houseStaging is the act of making your home look the best it possibly can.

It’s not about removing your personal taste.  It’s about removing any personal taste.

Generally speaking, your home needs to look, sound, smell, and feel perfectly clean, comfortable, and inviting.  You want a buyer to walk in and never want to leave.

Think of your house as a product on a shelf at a grocery store. Then, think like an advertising executive would.

An advertising pro wouldn’t just talk about the reality of the characteristics of your house.  Instead, they’d sell the fantasy of what it would be like to live in that house:

  • How incredible the parties would be in that huge entertaining space
  • How much better the food would taste using the upgraded appliances
  • How much happier their kids will be in those larger bedrooms
  • etc., etc.

Give buyers a sense of how it fits them and how their life will be better in your house.

Staging in the right way will help you accomplish this goal.

Secret 6:  Promote It On The Internet Until The Cows Come Home

computerMore than 90% of all home buyers use the internet during their home search process.

Of these, about half go to the internet as their very first step in looking for a home.  That means that they skip talking to friends, don’t have an agent to help them, they don’t go to open houses, and they don’t do any other offline research to begin the process.

Instead, they just go straight to the internet and start looking around as the very first thing they do.

This means that you need to be everywhere all the time online.  And you’ve only got about 2 seconds to catch a buyer’s attention.  That’s it.

So, how do you make them see your home?

What you need to do is first have amazing pictures of your home because photos are what lures a buyer to come and see more.

When they’ve got 15 homes on a search results page, you’ve got 1 picture and 2 seconds to try and make them click on your house to get more information.  So, do not take photos with a consumer grade camera.  Don’t even do it with a nice iPhone or other “big megapixel” device.

You need professional photos using wide-angle lenses that are perfect for interior shots.

Although a photo is worth a thousand words, you still need the words, too.

So the next thing you need is a written profile of the major benefits of the home with descriptive and meaningful language that people can understand.  Specific words like “granite counter tops” and “viking appliances” mean a lot more than general phrases such as “cozy cape cod style” and “wonderful views.”

And, since your final buyer is probably going to find you somewhere out on the internet, we have to make sure that your house is on every site where they’re possibly looking.  The best way we know of to do that is to use a listing syndication service that makes sure that your home listing goes from the MLS database directly to hundreds and hundreds of home search sites, guaranteed.

But you may be asking, “isn’t my home already going out to all the major home search sites automatically?”  And the answer is flat out “no.”

Most of the sellers we work with do not realize that popular home search sites they’re familiar with using have literally no affiliation to real estate agents or the multiple listing service.  The only home search sites that have a direct data connection to the MLS in the greater Chicagoland area are Realtor.com, listingbook.com and any realtor or brokerage site that has a license to pull data from what’s called an IDX feed.

Those other name-brand sites you see advertised on TV have no connection to the MLS database that realtors use.  Although their technology is good at scraping home listing data off the internet so that your home could appear there at some point in the future, the only way to guarantee that your home listing goes out to every site right now AND will be updated whenever you make a change to your listing is to use a syndication service.

Simply listing it in the MLS and hoping that it gets picked up by other sites within a few weeks means that you’re short-changing yourself and wasting the opportunity to have as many people as possible see it.  You need to use a listing syndication service.

Although there’s also additional promotion to be done via open houses and other traditional methods (which we also use), Internet promotion is the most important.  Without it, you’re missing out on buyers.

Secret 7:  Close The Deal With The Most Serious Buyer

check markYou’ve come a long way so far.  Don’t let the sale escape you at the end.

Everything up until now may be easy in comparison to step 7: closing the deal.

In working with buyers and their offers:

  • Be prepared for anything and everything
  • Know your bottom line price so that you can keep everything else in perspective
  • Stay in control and help the buyers to buy but don’t let them walk all over you

If they’re pitching you a low-ball offer, stay open-minded on anything that initially may seem ridiculous.  Also, consider all realistic offers in whole (not just the price).

Keep backup offers in play as long as possible without falsely stringing along those other buyers.  In addition, know what’s in the sales agreement regarding price, earnest money, contingencies, time to closing, financing, inclusions/exclusions, and other things that a professional agent can help you understand.

This last closing step is sometimes hectic and crazy.  Just keep in mind that finishing this up is what will enable you to move out and move on.


Need more info/help selling or buying?  Just contact us below.

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About John Reh

I moved to Naperville in 1981 and I love this city. As a Naperville-focused real estate agent, I publish this website to promote our community and help current and soon-to-be residents discover the best of Naperville homes and lifestyle. Contact me at any time.

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