The Wall Street Journal writes about declining refinancing, significant job cuts by major bank’s mortgage departments and a return to a seasonal home buying cycle. In short, many economy pundits describe strengthened home buying as we move toward the spring home buying cycle. Why not get ahead on the cycle and begin preparing to list your home with these tips for home sellers? These tips will help you to assess if your house is truly ready for that “sold” sign.
1) Price is paramount.
With the housing market climbing out of its slump, and lenders needing to stimulate more mortgages, sensible pricing to the market is an essential tip for home sellers. While economic indicators and inventory temps home owners to capture the year over year increase in home value. Just make sure you don’t reach too far when pricing your home, and rely on a good agent to help you find the “sweet spot” for your listing. Pricing too high discourages that statistical significant first wave of potential buyers in the first six weeks of listing. And once your home sat on the market for a long time, buyers automatically become suspicious. Even though your home might look great, buyers will notice the listing’s “time on the market” and naturally wonder “What’s wrong with it?” Caught in this situation, too many sellers end up doing what realtors call ‘chasing the market down’ with a series of price reductions to attract traffic to the listing.
2) Tour your home like a buyer.
Thousands of sellers make the mistake of looking around their home with the eyes of someone who knows it well and loves it dearly. But buyers won’t see it that way. So walk through your home as if you’re seeing it for the first time, taking note of everything that might give you pause to buy the home. Never assume that a potential buyer will be able to overlook what you perceive as small flaws in the house. Here, confidence in the observation skills and an honest and frank rapport of a trusted realtor is a valuable tip for home sellers.
Stage your home with the help of a professional stager (or a friend who’s great at interior design and organization) will prepare your home for the very best first impression at a Broker preview and for subsequent showings. While you’re staging the house, put away all or most of your family photos and other trinkets that make it “yours.” Your goal is to make it look like a model home so buyers can envision themselves living there. Don’t wait until an Open House is scheduled before essential repairs and catching up on deferred maintenance. Do it before your house is ready for the all important photo session. As Realtor.com President Error Samuelson wrote, “Web appeal is the new curb appeal.” According to a study done by Trulia.com, homes with six photos posted online are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers as homes with fewer than six.
3) Let them in!
Nothing is more frustrating for a buyer’s agent than a seller who doesn’t want to let potential buyers in to see the home. Yes, keeping the home in presentable condition and coordinating showings are a hassle. This can be especially tough with babies or toddlers at home. But the homes that sell fastest are the ones people are able to see quickly and easily. If you have lots of requirements for showings or long wait times, agents are likely to skip your house and go on to the next. It may seem a simple item on the list, yet, it is a critical tip to selling a home.
4) Be social.
We live in an increasingly social world, so take advantage of connections by inviting neighbors to tour your house. A brief, friendly visit will encourage them to spread the word that a clean, neat and well prepared home is for sale in their neighborhood. After all, your neighbors are vested in your neighborhood and can be the best testimonies for why your home is a great place to live. And ask Facebook friends to help out by sharing a great photo of the house you’ve posted on their timelines. Discuss with your realtor how to take advantage of pictures and video on social media to present a casual and inviting impression for potential buyers.
With the right price, the right look, plenty of good photos, accessibility and social connections, you’re well on your way to the “sold” sign your family needs to move on to your next great home. Again, we’re moving into a strong seasonal cycle for selling homes. These time tested tips for home sellers will generate planning discussions with your realtor and lay out a marketing plan for success.