Selling a house in an extremely competitive market is possible, especially if a seller is prepared to take action to help facilitate attracting a buyer. In a housing market where ‘for sale’ signs are springing up like mushrooms after a downpour, it’s not enough to hire a realtor who only puts a sign in the yard, enters the information about the home on the local multiple listing service (MLS), and waits for a potential buyer to find the home.
In a buyer’s market, it is imperative that sellers do everything in their power to stack the odds in their favor. In some instances, It may even be wiser to keep the home off the market until they are fully prepared to offer it for sale. Potential buyers may not reappear to see your freshly painted entry. How should you prepare yourself for this competitive market?
Here is a brief rundown of a must-do list to get your house noticed and sold:
The Right Agent
Rushing into choosing a realtor could be your first mistake in a competitive market. You must begin by interviewing several agents in order to choose the best realtor available for your individual circumstance, especially in such a competitive housing market. Begin by asking some standard questions to find out what marketing plans are offered, what internet presence can be expected, a list of past clients as references, and what type of administrative and communication systems are in place.
The realtor who understands the market, who is not interested in appeasing your over-priced value on your house, and who can explain what it means to sell a house in a buyer’s market is the agent for you. Choose the agent that gives you the straight talk while keeping a good rapport with you, and you will have a successful relationship and sale.
Price, Price, Price
Do not overprice you house! No, the buyers will not make an offer if you’re overpriced. No, you can’t come down later.. well, you can but by then you’ve lost all the buyers who never came to see your house because it was overpriced.
I cannot stress this enough. If you want to sell your house, you must get aggressive with price.
[note color=”#FFFFCC”]The first 30 days of your house listing are the most critical. All the people who have been looking for a new home (but haven’t found the perfect house yet) are going to look at yours.. Plus all the real estate agents. If your house is overpriced from the get go, you’ve shot yourself in the foot. [/note]
It’s time to prepare the home for sale. Aggressive sellers will hire a home inspection company to conduct what is termed a “pre-inspection” of the house. This pre-inspection will identify potential defects in the home that will eventually show up through a buyer’s inspection, possibly terminating any offers on the table.
By discovering defects and making the corrections well before a buyer has an opportunity to back out, the home will get a second and third showing, resulting in more offers. When a pre-inspection is conducted, it is best to inform potential buyers of it by leaving a copy of the inspection report at the home as well as have it posted on the multiple listing service. Don’t forget to do those little repairs, too. It’s not just about whether the a/c works; buyers notice things like broken light switches and squeaky doors. It may seem trivial to you, but potential buyers are thinking if you can’t take care of the little stuff, who knows what else might be wrong with the house.
In addition to making repairs to the actual home, taking a look at the landscaping and entry is another key to selling a home in a buyer’s market. Landscaping and your front door has a big impact on the first impression a buyer will get when they first see the home. Regardless of whether you think something like a few flowers and a fresh coat of paint is trivial, your buyer may not. Having a potential buyer come back for a second look because they felt welcomed by the first impression they got at your front step can make the difference between selling and sold.
Photos of your home will be posted on the internet, printed on flyers, and used in other publications if you have an aggressive agent. Simple things like potted plants, trimmed shrubbery, and neat entries make a difference. Photographs aren’t very forgiving. You can’t make up for that peeling paint or pile of dead leaves with a clever description of your home or even cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. Pictures are not forgiving, so be sure your landscaping and entry are meticulous, even if you have to postpone your listing until you get it done.
Take a look at your home from a buyer’s perspective. I know this is hard to do because you have an emotional attachment to your home. But, consider coming into your home for the first time as a new owner. You may have furniture that perfectly matches your purple walls, but not everyone does. You may have the perfect kids’ rooms for your toddlers, but not everyone has toddlers.
Invest in neutral tone paint and cover up all those lovely colors. You also need to take a look at replacing carpeting, putting away all your knick-knacks, rearranging your furniture, and even storing most of your items to clear the way for a buyer’s imagination.
Many sellers benefit from hiring a home staging professional. These experts are trained to see the potential, and for understanding how difficult it is to de-personalize your home while it’s on the market. A home staging expert is trained to see homes through the buyer’s eye and will present the home so that the buyer actually looks at the qualities and features of the home, rather than be distracted by the stuff the owner either loves or has become immune to.
When selling a home in a buyer’s market that is saturated with a large inventory of homes for sale, it is imperative sellers take proactive steps prior to putting a for sale sign in the yard. Interview and hire the best realtor, review and repair any defects of the home, and properly stage the home so you will maximize the interest each time you show your home.