Before you put your house or condo on the market for sale, if you want to earn top dollar be sure to read Michael Corbett’s latest well-written book, “Ready, Set, Sold!” But don’t be turned off by the cutesy title. This is a very serious book about the techniques Corbett used to profit from selling 33 of his houses for top dollar.
In addition to being a TV actor and host of “Extra’s Mansions and Millionaires,” Corbett knows how to maximize profits whether selling his personal residence or a house he bought to fix and flip.
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In his first superb book, “Find it, Fix it, Flip it,” Corbett shared his strategies for locating and profitably upgrading houses, often creating entirely new “persona” or lifestyles for the residences. But in this new book the author concentrates on getting ready to sell the house you already own and maximizing its profit in good times or bad.
The book is about how to transform an ordinary house into one which a buyer absolutely must buy. The black-and-white before-and-after photos add to the realism. They give enough detail to show how inexpensive repairs and remodeling can greatly enhance the sales price.
Corbett does not advise radical renovations before selling a house. Instead, he suggests modest-cost techniques, such as resurfacing kitchen cabinets rather than replacing them. Along the way, he provides practical advice, such as hiring a painting company rather than a one-man operation if you want the fix-up work to be completed in 30 days or less.
A big, huge factor in the Corbett formula is, after the house has been painted and fixed up, to “stage” it. That means clean it thoroughly of personal items, such as removing photos and memorabilia. Then make the home look inviting and up-to-date, usually by removing furniture and sometimes bringing in rented furnishings to make it seem more livable and spacious.
When it comes to the issue of hiring a real estate agent to professionally market the house, Corbett has only one opinion — hire the best agent in the vicinity. He says the current home marketplace is not hospitable to a “for sale by owner.” To save a mere 3 percent (because there will usually be a buyer’s agent expecting a 3 percent sales commission), the author says it’s not worth the risk and time delay of selling alone.
However, one point on which I disagree is Corbett says “investigate the company before picking the individual agent.” He seems to favor the “big name” brokerages rather than smaller independent firms. But, in my experience, hiring the best agent regardless where he or she works is usually the most profitable approach.
As for selling a house the way it is, rather than fixing it up before marketing it, the author advises “You will corner yourself into accepting a lower offer because your house doesn’t look buyer perfect — and you’ll still pay the allowance. C’mon, don’t give up your negotiating room before you’ve even started to negotiate with a buyer,” he adds.
Chapter topics include “How to Make More Money When You Sell”; “The Economics of Selling Your Home”; “Successful Selling in an Up or Down Market”; “Set Your House for Sale”; “Save it, Store it, Sell it, Chuck it”; “Repair it Before You Sell it”; “Lifestyle Upgrades”; “Dress to Sell: Stage to Sell”; “Listing Your House and Setting the Price”; “Marketing Your Home”; “Disclose, Disclose, Disclose”; “The Buyers and the Offers”; “A Winning Escrow”; and “Closing Day, Cashing Out, and Moving Out.”
Written from the perspective of an experienced home seller, this is one of the most practical “how to sell a home” books available. Throughout the book, Corbett offers inexpensive tips to make a house or condo up-to-date so it will command buyer and agent attention, as well as drawing a top dollar sales offer. On my scale of one to 10, this outstanding book rates a solid 10.
“Ready, Set, Sold!” by Michael Corbett (Plume-Penguin Group, New York), 2007, $15, 304 pages; available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries and www.Amazon.com.
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