1) Hiring a broker/friend in order to "help them out."
Your home is one of your most valuable assets. The broker is a consultant who will help you net (or cause you to lose) money. If a property is positioned to outperform the competition, you stand to gain as much as 10% of the sales price. (take a moment to calculate). When you interview brokers, ask them "What is your average sales price to original list price ratio over the past 24 months?" If they seem confused . . . move on.
2) For Sale By Owner.
Selling for top dollar is all about exposure to qualified interested buyers. While your friend may have sold FSBO and thought they did well, I wouldn't take their word for it. Most FSBOs sell for significantly less. Unless you have access to meaningful market data and know how to make sense of that data, you can't know if you made or lost money. It's a numbers game. If you have a spectacular billboard (in your basement) no buyers will see your place. Unless you have the knowledge, tools and platform to reach enough buyers to sell for top dollar, hire a great broker and you will put more money in your pocket.
3) Major Upgrades Just Before Listing.
Most renovations will increase the potential sales price of your home. And . . . most renovations will NOT recoup as much as you spend making them. Unless your kitchen and bathrooms are significantly outdated, you are not usually going to recoup the full cost of those renovations. Sometimes they make sense, but consult with a broker. The highest ROI in prepping your home for resell is (and has always been) patching and painting. If you are going to renovate the kitchen and/or baths, do it 5-7 years before moving. This way you can enjoy the upgrades and also recoup some of the cost when you sell.
4) Pricing Based on What You Paid. The market does not know or care what you paid for your home. The market = current buyers looking for a home like yours. Every buyer who sees your home will see most of other homes on the market, so fair market value will depend on what properties are selling for new (and over the past 3 months).
5) Buying Before Selling.
Unless you are financially able to carry two mortgages, it is not a good idea to buy before listing. IF you have determined that your home resides in a particularly hot seller's sub-market and have ample evidence that it will sell quickly AND you have found your dream home, you might be able to risk it. Ask a knowledgeable broker to calculate your odds of selling and provide a data based estimate of market time so you can take a calculated risk knowing ahead of time the possible cost of buying first.
Contact Matt Tiegler at 773 304 7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org