Read on to find out what you need to know to sell FAST AT THE BEST PRICE:
Step #1 – Decide When To Sell Your House
If only there were an easy answer to the oft-asked question of: When should I sell my house? Important considerations include:
- Time of year – Real estate in Luxembourg is seasonal, with December, January and August historically being the slowest months. We find that the best months to list a house for sale in Luxembourg are February, March, April, October and November, when Buyers are motivated and the other Sellers are busy preparing to list their homes for sale in the “spring” or “fall” markets.
- Current competition in your neighborhood – At any given time, there are only so many Buyers looking for the kind of house you have. If those Buyers have a big selection of houses like yours to look at, you can expect to have fewer showings and fewer offers which will usually result in a lower price. Conversely, if you’re the only renovated three bedroom house with a garage for sale in your neighborhood, everyone will flock to your house.
- Current competition in similar neighborhoods – Most Buyers have two or three target neighborhoods they want to live in, so it’s important to consider what’s for sale in neighborhoods similar to yours too. Similar neighborhoods aren’t just those that are physically close but include those similar in quality of the schools, proximity to parks, restaurants, services and transportation and similar in terms of the type of people who live there (singles, couples, families, retirees, etc.)
- State of the real estate market – Interest rates and consumer confidence affect prices, and while the Luxembourgish market has been on an upswing for a long time, like any other type of market, what goes up usually comes down. What’s going on in the market right now?
- Your personal needs and goals – If you’re moving out of the city or have already bought a new house, then that timing will likely override everything else. Likewise, an upcoming baby, need for live-in nanny, wedding or divorce might dictate your timing too.
Step #2: Get Ready: Declutter, Stage and Clean
When preparing your house for sale, keep these 3 goals in mind:
- Declutter to make the maximize the space you have and allow potential Buyers to imagine living in your home. Remove personal items, extra armoires and anything that could distract potential Buyers. Smaller furniture will make the rooms look bigger, so consider swapping out that King sized bed that takes up the whole bedroom for a smaller one, and replacing the L-shaped couch with a more compact version. Clear out closets, donate items you don’t use. Most of our house Sellers end up calling a junk removal company or storing some of their belongings offsite during the sale.
- Make sure every room is staged to its optimal use It’s OK if you’re using two of your three bedrooms as offices, but convert them back to bedrooms while the house is listed for sale. Buyers don’t often have great imaginations, so put a bed in the bedroom, a dining table in the dining room and a desk in the den. A good REALTOR will spend time identifying your house’s target Buyer and will guide you to stage your home to reflect how they would want to live in it.
- Clean, clean and clean again! The cleaner your house is, the faster it will sell. Buyers won’t just look at surfaces – they’ll look inside your closets, your kitchen cupboards and your bathroom vanity. Make sure everything sparkles!
Special Considerations for Houses
- Curb Appeal – More than once we’ve had Buyers pull up to the front of a house they were interested in and instantly decide to go home. How your home looks from the outside – the porch, door, walkway, gardens – will set the tone for how a Buyer feels about your home. Give it the attention it deserves.
- Basement – Buyers love basements, so make sure to showcase yours to the fullest. Clear out the clutter and make sure that Buyers and home inspectors can easily reach the electrical panel and furnace. If your basement can be used as a second apartment, make sure that’s obvious to Buyers too.
- The Big Mechanics – While Buyers are often swayed by granite counters, hardwood floors and fancy appliances, the mechanics of your house matter too. The furnace, A/C, hot water tank, electrical, plumbing, roof and insulation are all important: make sure your real estate agent knows every unsexy detail about your house.
- The Small Repairs – We all have things in our house that we’ve ignored, and now is the time to take care of all that stuff. Hiring a handyman for a day can help show Buyers that your home was well maintained and keep them focused on the important things (instead of the leaky faucet in the kitchen). We love Handyman Luxembourg for the job been done fast and clean.
- Backyard – Many a home has been sold because of the outdoor space, so make the most of your backyard. Consider re-staining the deck, updating your gardens, fixing the fence and getting some stylish patio furniture. If you’re selling your home in the winter, provide summer photos of your yard to your agent – everybody loves to imagine hosting a BBQ when it’s -20 degrees!
Step #3: Get Set: More Prep Work
- Get your documents together Your agent will be asking you for copies of your heating, electrical and utility and tax bills, so take the time to photocopy or scan them. Any current warranties and manuals should be gathered too.
- Make a list of renovations and repairs Compile a list of all the renovations and repairs that have been completed since you have owned the house. Be prepared to discuss with your REALTOR any current issues with the house – it’s better to disclose any ongoing issues then get sued later.
- Make an extra set of keys You’ll likely have a lockbox at your house so that real estate agents can show your home to their Buyers, so make an extra set of keys.
- Get a pre-list home inspection – Completing a pre-listing home inspection before you put your house on the market will help you identify any issues with the home that might be objections for Buyers. For example: the home inspector may determine that your house needs a new roof. Armed with that information, you can choose to either a) fix the roof before putting the house up for sale, or b) factor it into your asking price. Either way, having accurate information puts you in control of how the deficiencies in your house will affect the price you get for the house.
Step #4: Pricing Your House for Sale
Pricing a house in Luxembourg is both a science and an art (and let’s be honest, sometimes, a complete crapshoot). Your agent will discuss with you the pros and cons of pricing your home for pricing high with the intent to negotiate vs pricing your home at market value.
In the end, Buyers will decide how much your home is worth by deciding how much they want to pay for it. Buyers will consider:
- Recent sales on your street and in your neighborhood
- Recent sales of similar properties in nearby neighborhoods
- Properties currently on the market
- Current market conditions
- The size, finishes and condition of your home
- Location – what’s happening in your neighborhood and how people expect it to change in the short and medium terms
Other things that can be important to Luxembourg Buyers include:
- Parking and/or a garage
- The basement (whether or not it’s finished or can be used as a second apartment)
- Closets and storage
- Style (modern vs character, etc.)
Check out our blog on Pricing Strategies.
Step #5: Marketing
One of your real estate agent’s most important jobs will be making sure potential Buyers see your house. A comprehensive marketing campaign for your house should include both traditional and digital marketing and aim to make people fall in love with your house. Real estate marketing should include:
- Photography/Videography – Professional photography is a must! Most Buyers will see your home for the first time online, and if the photos don’t capture their attention, they’ll move on to the next house and be lost to you forever. We’ve also had tremendous success in producing lifestyle videos that show Buyers what their life could be like, if they lived in your house.
- For Sale Signs – It’s not unusual for Buyers to cruise their target neighbourhoods in search of their perfect house, so a For Sale sign on the lawn is always recommended.
- Online Marketing – With 92% of Buyers starting their search on the web, being found online is critical! And….there’s a lot more to being found online than being listed on realtor.ca. Make sure you’re working with a real estate agent who has heavy Buyer traffic on their website and who knows how to use other websites to your and your house’s advantage.
- Email Marketing/Social Media – Top agents promote their listings to other agents via email and have a network of potential Buyers they can reach via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email. Don’t forget, you can help with the sale of your house by sharing the link to your listing too!
- Print Marketing – Most agents will print feature sheets for your home so that the potential Buyers who see it will have a takeaway of information and photos. Depending on your agent and your ideal Buyer, your home might also be promoted with postcards or in real estate magazines.
- Your ideal Buyer is out there – they may be first time buyers, the parents of first-time buyers, an international investor, a recent divorcee, a newly married couple, seniors who’ve just sold their family home or a young couple with a baby on the way. Smart real estate agents will go to great lengths to profile your target Buyer and create a marketing campaign to reach them.
Step #6: Showings
When Buyers make an appointment to see your house, keep the following in mind:
- Leave your house! There’s nothing more distracting for a Buyer than having to walk around the owner.
- Be flexible with showing times – Most Buyers look at properties in the evening or on the weekends.
- Board the dogs! Not everyone will love your dog as much as you do. At minimum, crate them during showings. Ideally, take them for a walk or board them.
- Consider temporarily moving out of your home while it’s for sale – If your home is popular with Buyers, you may have 5 or 10 or more showings every day. Going on a weekend getaway or staying at a friends’ or parents’ house can make your life a lot more tolerable – especially if you have kids or pets.
- Cleanliness matters! It isn’t enough to have a clean house on day 1. You’ll need to wash the dishes, make the beds, wash the floors and weed the garden every day while it’s listed for sale.
STEP #7 – OFFER
Your persevered job carried its fruits and you get an offer of a purchaser. Here is in what to wait for you: the offer of the Purchaser will be introduced to your estate agent, who will transmit it to you. It will contain some important points of negotiation:
- Your contact details
- The contact details of the Purchaser
- The description of your property
- The offered price
- The date before which you must answer
- The delay for the financing condition of getting of the loan
- The date of taking possession
- The date of the notarial act
Once you receive an offer, you have 3 choices :
- Accept offer : Congratulations, you sold your good !
- Make one counter-bid (with better conditions and / or prices for yourself). The Purchaser in this point can accept your counter-bid, or make one other counter-bid, or leave.
- Decline offer.
Negotiation is an art, and if you chose well your estate agent, he is going to give you with solid advice, to get you the price which you want. The final decision on price during the sale of your good belongs to you, but an estate agent is a strategical negotiator in your sides.
STEP #8 – THE NOTARIAL ACT
The D-day finally arrived. Before leaving to the notary, make sure not to have forgotten:
- the original of your energy Pass that it will be necessary to give to the Purchaser.
- keys and all doubles
- to have read all counters (water, electricity, gas …)
The sum of transaction will be transferred to you by the notary in days according to the signature of the act.