DO'S AND DON'TS IN THIS MARKET!
PRICE THE HOUSE CORRECTLY: Ask your Realtor to show you the houses that have sold in the last 3-6 months of similar age, size, ammenities and updates, also called ‘comparables’ or ‘comps’. Create a dollar range where you can expect your house to sell. Next: look at the batch of comps that are under contract (considered ‘pending’) and ready to close. If there are a substantial amount of homes that are cheaper, bigger and redone, even if they are bank-owed or short sales, you need to think about pricing your house on the lower end of the range to stay competitive. Remember, your goal is to SELL, not waste time on the market!
MAKE SURE THE HOUSE LOOKS IT’S BEST: Indulge me and imagine that the house that is about to go on the market is actually a girl going to a dance and she hopes to meet an eligible batchelor (the Buyer). Would you let her show up in everyday sweats, messy ponytail and flip flops or would you make sure she gets a new dress, her hair and nails done so that she stands out from the rest of the ladies? It’s not much different from getting a house ready for sale. Sometime we get used to how our house looks, our clutter, the decor and think “I like it, so Buyers will too!” Well, they may not! Declutter and throw out what you’re not going to be bringing with you (remember, you’re trying to move!). Clean up: make sure it’s spotless and smells good! Freshen up: A can of paint will be the cheapest and quickest way to give your home a new look. Spend a couple of bucks on some new bark mulch and new plants for the front of the house and the back patio. Install an easy solar lighting system in the front (Buyers drive around at night too!).
HAVE THE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHED PROFESSIONALLY: Whether or not the house is $120,000 or $1,200,000, pictures need to ”POP” when a Buyer or another Realtor is scrolling through the MLS or Realtor.com (or this sight!). It’s very sad when an otherwise lovely home shows up dark and dull in pictures! A photographer with lighting and good camera is an invaluable and inexpensive tool!
DROP THE PRICE IF YOU DON’T GET ANY OFFERS: If you’re getting plenty of showings but you’re not getting any offers, drop the price. Most Buyers look in incriments of $50,000 so if you’ve been listed at $499,000 and you’re going for a considerable price reduction, drop the price to $449,000. If you still don’t get offers, have your Realtor hold a Broker’s Open, where other agents from the area come to the house and tell your Realtor what they would price the house at, what they think it should sell for and any suggestions regarding presentation. Consider taking the advice of these professionals. Additionally, re-evaluate ‘comparables’ every 30 days.
IF YOU GET A ‘LOWBALL OFFER’ ALWAYS COUNTER: Remember, it’s not personal and in today’s market plenty of people are trying to get a ‘deal’ (and do you blame them?). Counter back at the number you want for your house. Include a spreadsheet of supporting comparables to show them where you’re coming from.
DON’T PRICE THE PROPERTY TOO HIGH (even for 30 days “just to see what we get” ): If your Realtor has done their job they have provided you with a range where to price your home. If you feel you need a little bargaining room, price it at the top of the range but no more. You may be missing out on Buyers that have moved on to another house because they thought you weren’t ready to sell because of your price.
AVOID CHASING THE MARKET DOWN: If you’re not getting offers, drop that price to where it says, ”I’m serious” even if it means pricing below your competitors. NO little incriment drops of $5-$10k ALLOWED!
DON’T LET IT GET TO YOU EMOTIONALLY: Selling your house can be one of the most stressful experiences, especially in a market where many of the Sellers may not be walking away from the closing table with a profit. Follow the advice of your real estate professional, consult an accountant and make sure you have a good real estate attorney on hand just in-case you need some ‘bumps’ ironed out along the way.