We all know how hard it is to sell in a down market but knowing the common elements is key for selling your home in any market.
Knowing your market, staying on track, setting your goals and staying focused are all very important to getting your home sold. Here are some tips for selling in any market.
1. Choosing whether to list your home with a Realtor or sell it yourself. Huge decision given the hunk of commission you’ll be giving up to a Realtor usually 5% to 6% of the sale price. But the advantages of working with a Realtor are numerous. Your agent will be marketing your home on the MLS a national data base of homes for sale. They also list your property online with varies websites like, Realtor.com… Zillow.com and others. They are also experts at negotiation and know contracts and real estate law in your state. They will guide you through the process of escrow and closing. Handle all your inspections and advise you along the way. They are a great partner to have and in most cases well worth the 5% to 6% commission they earn. You could list it online too using FSBO sites for a fee, Craigslist and other free sites. If you decide to go it alone I strongly suggest you get some legal advice from an attorney and have an attorney review your purchase contract when you get one.
2. If you decide to go with a Realtor choosing the right one is not rocket science. But follow your gut and do some due diligent before you decide. Ask a friend for a referral. First check their resume not literally of course but ask for reference, speck to their current broker and maybe call one they use to work for. Ask if they are a top producer. Go online and check their marketing skills, find their listings, see how they market their current listings. This is the best way to see how your home will be marketed. What do the pictures look like or are there any pictures. What’s sites do they market on. How many hits do their homes get on those sites… ask the questions. 93% of homebuyers start their search online and if your ad online has no pics or bad pics it will not get viewed let alone ever called on. If a Realtor can’t take the time to upload more than 1 picture in the MLS he’s not your Realtor. If he/she has no talent for taking pictures, to small, dark, no imagination and they don't use a professional to do it for them. You probably want to move on. I am not trying to be mean but your paying for a professional, getting professional work is what you should be getting. That includes photography too. "A picture says a 1000 words" and you can't sell a house without good photos. Remember marketing and advertising is their business! If they are not putting 110% effort into it then you don’t need them. There are too many great Realtors out there doing a phenomenal job find one and hire them.
3. Videos; can help you or your Realtor sell your home. Either have it Professional done or do it yourself. Either way get it done. Then get it out there .. Social media is key! Facebook, YouTube
Don’t make this harder than it has to be for heaven sakes use your iphone or smart phone. Walk through your home, your yard and even your neighborhood talking of course and tell your prospective buyer all about your home, your yard and your neighborhood. Take them to your favorite shopping area or restaurant/coffee shop that is close to home. Impress on them how much you have enjoyed living in your home and neighborhood. I personally think one done by the homeowner is BEST! Give it to your Realtor and ask him/her to post it wherever they have it online.
4. Website; Your Realtor may have his/her own website or webpage use it for your listing or link to another site that has your listing information, pictures, video and anything else you and your Realtor think might be useful. Some free sites where you can build a website with no coding skills are; weebly… yola my personal favorite and wix . This is really very easy and all you need for your website is 1 or 2 pages.
5. Social Media; Facebook is a powerful sharing your listing, website or video with your friends and then asking them to share and help you spread the word can be a great way to connect and possibly bring in a buyer, who knows where your buyer will come from. Twitter, YouTube are also great networking sources.
6. Staging your home; Let’s face it first impression are everything! Cleaning and clearing out the clutter is very important. Getting organized will make your house feel airy and spacious. For some great tips go to Simply Organized or for online tips and great tools visit flylady she has a great newsletter you can sign up for too. You may want to call in a professional stager. Again whether you do this yourself or have a professional do it, don’t skip this step or think your house doesn’t need it, we all have clutter we just grow immune to it or have simple put on our blinders to it but trust me it’s there. Remember good Chi makes potential buyers feel better and more welcome. Learn more about Feng shui
7. Repairs and Inspections; Make sure you have repaired anything that is broken or unfinished. No one wants to come into a new purchase and have to do what should have been done already. Go ahead and get your termite report done and complete any work on section 1 of that report. You can save yourself a lot of money by hiring your own contractor. Waiting until after you are under contract could cost you more money or the deal altogether. Knowing upfront yourself if you have a problem is best anyway so you can deal with any issues before hand.
PAINT: if you have bright and wild colors in your house you might want to tone them down with neutral colors. You may think people can look past color but most cannot.
8. Depersonalize; This is an important step, remove your family pictures if you didn’t do it in step 6. You don’t want buyers getting distracted looking at your pictures instead of your home. Remove toys, baby swings, and items that tend to fill up a room. Remove RX Medicine in your bathroom. Make sure your office is clear of all personal papers and pictures. Remove all magnets, papers and picture from your refrig.
9. Setting your Price; This is probably THE most important thing you will do! I haven’t met a homeowner that didn’t think his property was worth more than it really is, but over the last couple of years I think we’ve all been knocked down a few times when it comes to our home values. So most of us get that our values are getting more and more difficult to determine even for the Realtors, appraiser and financial institutions. As a seller however you have to depend on your Realtor to run you a Certified Market Analysis (CMA) they do this by pulling several sold and several listed like properties in your area preferable within 1 mile of your home to compare to your home and come up with a value. Even this is not easy anymore with all the foreclosure and REO but this is still the best tool used to find value.
There are some online sources that can be used to determine property values too. But these are not as reliable so take the values with a grain of salt and then call your Realtor.
Kstreet appraiser is once again Zillow. It’s important you listen to your Realtor about the value of your home. Don’t go with a Realtor just because they are willing to list your home for what you think it worth, this is a mistake many seller’s make and find themselves unable to sell because they are priced to high. Get real and price your house smart!
10. HELP your Buyers; Thinking ahead of time about how you can help your buyers is very important, that way when you get an offer you don’t have to sit around and debate it for days because you’ve already discussed it with your better half and your Realtor.. you may even want to have your Realtor list this added benefit to buyers in the MLS or online advertisements. This added help could be; seller financing of the down payment up to 5% - 50% this is something to think about and has many pros and cons. As an investor/lender you could see a return of 6 to 8% in this market for a private second maybe even more depending on the circumstances. That’s a pro, a con of course and worst case scenario would be you would have to foreclose on your borrower at sometime in the future. Other help could be with closing costs, lenders will normally allow seller contributions of 6% of the loan amount but more customary is 3%. This helps the buyer pay for their closing costs and to buy their rate down with points. Leasing with Option to buy at a later date is another alternative in a slow market. Your Realtor won’t like this option but don’t count it out. A short term 2 or 3 year lease option is better than having a house sit empty while you pay the mortgage if you have to relocate. Everyone's situation is different just keep an open mind to different possibilities and don’t rule anything out until you know and understand all the options.
11. OPEN HOUSE; Open house or open house party! I’d say do it all! Times have changed, the days when you could bake some brownies or cookies and light some candles or put out some fresh flowers just don’t cut the mustard anymore. Today it’s a party ! Invite the neighbors, brokers, agents, family, every friend and associate your ever known, but get them in the front door. Have it catered, live music and dancing if you have the room. Show your house off and let them know your house knows how to have a good time. Make this party and more importantly your home memorable get a buzz going about your home. Make sure during the party they know why they are there… to help you sell your home and to have fun.
12. Last but certainly not Least Have Some Faith; Thousand of sellers all across the US have resorted to some extreme measure to selling their homes. To the power of prayer to burying statues of St. Joseph in the back yard people of faith are doing it all. I believe any help we can get is welcome even divine. Stay positive, say a prayer and listen to your gut and your Realtor, with all that power working for you how can you go wrong.
ACMC Loan Consultant