9 Secrets to Selling Your Home Fast in a Slow Market
Selling a house in a slow real estate market can be difficult. In times like these, it's not enough to simply list your home and wait; you actually have to sell your home. It's not fun to think of selling when the market is bad, however, it's not impossible to sell your house in difficult conditions. It just takes a positive attitude and a different kind of game plan.
Even though the market's not favourable to sellers and widespread economic recovery may be months, even years off, there are a number of tactics available to increase the likelihood of a sale.
1. Know your market
One of the most important things you can do to get your house sold is to learn your market, the value of your property and your competition. Most sellers operate in the dark, simply offering the property for the price they want, without regard to what other homes have sold for and are currently selling for. Undervaluing or overpricing your home can cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
2. Price your home right
With homes sales slowing and prices slipping, there's little doubt that selling for yesterday's top price in today's market is going to be tricky. The median existing home price dropped more than 7% compared with the same month last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. So if you try to ask as much for your property as your neighbour got a year ago, you're going to turn off potential buyers. Instead, price your home conservatively by looking at similar homes currently on the market. Also look at the homes that aren't selling. Chances are those owners priced their homes too high.
If you really want to stimulate a sale, you should under price your property by just a little. Trimming the price by a few thousand dollars can generate more foot traffic and create a buzz.
It makes sense that when the market is on the upswing, we price a little higher than the last sale. So if the market values are slipping downward, then pricing a little lower than the last sale only makes good sense.
3. Make your home presentable
Keep your house looking good at all times, repair things that are broken, and replace things that are rundown. Add a fresh coat of paint (neutral colors preferred), freshen up landscaping, trim trees, clean up clutter and remove personal items, so that prospective buyers can picture themselves in the home rather than seeing you there.
To guarantee a quick sale, consider using a professional home staging service. Your property must make a strong, positive impression. Staging a home is the cheapest way to make a house look different from your competition so it becomes the most memorable one that the buyer saw.
Remember, you are not decorating for yourself; you're decorating for the buyer, so that you can make your move.
4. Market your home aggressively
In addition to using the multiple listing service, advertise in local papers and be sure to include beautiful photos. Each photo should showcase something interesting and unique about the property.
Place a good sign in front of your home so that your house is easily seen. Consider placing a well designed flyer in the house. Make sure the flyer has great photos of the property from all angles, inside and out, as well as a link to a web site where people can take a "virtual tour."
5. Be flexible with showings
It only takes one Buyer to get your home sold. Don't make your Realtor feel as though their request for a showing is an inconvenience. Make sure there is a lockbox so your home may be shown when you are out.
6. Play up your home's best features
If you have fireplaces, make sure that you have fires burning so that there is a beautiful warm glow and the sound of crackling. If you have a gourmet cook's kitchen, have some great-smelling treats baking in the oven. Turn on soothing music. Set all lights and lamps if the home looks dark or feels heavy. Lighting is crucial. Update lighting that is very dated.
7. Offer buyers incentives
A low price may be incentive enough for some buyers, but others might be holding out for something more. This is where creativity can really take over. Perhaps you can throw in a new set of kitchen appliances, or a 3-day paid vacation in Mexico. There are a ton of incentives that speak to the heart of the buyer; be creative and see which one speaks to yours. Offer a bonus to the Selling Agent! This will definitely motivate them to show your home first!
8. Offer flexible terms
Often, the best way to sell a home more quickly in a buyer's market is to adjust the terms of the sale instead of the price. While it may sometimes be necessary to adjust the asking price downward, or to negotiate a lower price with the buyer, sometimes offering help with closing costs, or an extended settlement date, will go a lot further.
9. The first offer rule
If you get an offer within the first few weeks, the tendency is for sellers to try and hold out for a better offer. This is generally a mistake. The biggest fish usually bite first, so keep in mind that your first offer will often be your best.
Lastly, keep a positive attitude! If it's meant to be, it will happen!
From Canada Realty News February 2009
Establishing Your Asking Price
Deciding what price tag to put on your home is never easy. Price is often the determining factor for potential buyers. Location, layout and amenities are important but in the end most of us have to look at the bottom line. Many sellers like to think they can start with the price they originally paid, add a healthy mark-up and wait for the offers to roll in. A lot of those sellers will have to adjust their price once their home is on the market.
Try to Put Aside Your Subjectivity
The cherished memories you may hold of your home are basically unimportant to buyers. Usually they're more interested in creating their own memories. An unsentimental look at the market value of your home can save time and disappointment.
The amount you actually spent for home upgrades is worth mentioning in the listing information, but their reflection in the selling price can be somewhat distorted. The new carpet, paint, or deck you added may increase the value (and shorten the time your home is for sale) but don't expect to be reimbursed dollar for dollar for those renovations. As design trends change you may also find that certain renovations are either more or less desirable. (Do you remember shag carpet?)
Arrange for a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
It is standard practice for a seller to ask real estate agents to visit and evaluate their home. Ask for a comparative market analysis showing the selling prices of similar homes in the neighbourhood, those currently on the market and those that didn't sell. A CMA presented by an experienced agent can provide a realistic price estimate of your home. Remember however that CMA's are not set in stone. Some agents under-value your home in hopes of creating demand. Others will flatter you with over-inflated estimates in order to get your listing but later suggest a price reduction. Remember, there are homes in Brampton that have been for sale for over 2 years
Conduct Your Own Market Research
When homes in your area have open houses take a look. Use this opportunity to compare your home to "the competition" in terms of price, location, square footage, and amenities. Once you look at several listings you should be able to make an educated guess as to the market value of different aspects of your home, if you can be objective about something as personal as your home. If you are months away from actually listing your home, visiting open houses may also help you discover which renovations could be profitable and appeal to today's consumers.
Consider Market Conditions
Real estate is one of the most secure investments you can make but prices can rise and fall independent of the quality of the individual properties. If you attempt to sell your home when the market dips you'll find you may have to lower the price below your expectations. Interest rates, the state of the economy and the local job market should be considered before you put your home on the market. The time between price peaks varies due to local and national market influences. These characteristics will assist you in determining if there are any market timing opportunities.
Finally, consider your own needs when setting your price. Are you in a hurry to sell? If so you may want to knock one or two percent off the market value. Is there a minimum amount you can afford to accept? If you have the luxury of time you have more leverage. Keep in mind however, that a house that is on the market too long or has a large price reduction at some point may be viewed as "damaged" or "stale goods."
Your best strategy will be to establish a fair asking price from the start. Most buyers will make an offer lower than the listed price in a bid to see how low you'll go. However, those who have researched the market will be willing to meet you near your terms
Missing Peak Selling Activity
A property generates the most interest within the real estate community when it first goes on the market. The number of showings is greatest at this time - if it is priced at realistic market value. Starting the price too high and dropping the price later, misses the excitement and fails to generate much activity. It may even be necessary to drop the price below market value to compete with new, well priced listings. By pricing your property realistically from the start, you can benefit from the greatest interest amongst brokers & buyers.
Losing Potential Buyers
The higher the price above realistic market value, the fewer the buyers willing to consider your property. Pricing your property competitively will help attract the greatest number of potential buyers. Your property may also be shown to reflect better value in other properties.
Taking Longer to Sell
The higher the price above realistic market value, the longer it will take to sell. Pricing your property competitively will help your property to sell in the shortest time possible.
7 Factors That Affect Your Home's Saleability
There are many factors that can affect the market value of your property, ranging from home improvements to the market conditions. All of this is a lot to internalize, but you can make an informed decision while pricing your home if you tackle these issues one at a time.
Your home’s proximity to public transportation, train stations, shopping facilities, schools, etc., plays an import factor in determining your property’s market value. Every area has a high end and a low end. The market value of your property is affected by that reality. People that purchase homes in “lower end” areas expect to pay less than they would if they bought the same home in a “higher end” neighbourhood.
One of the key factors in your home’s value is the features it provides. For example, some house styles are more popular with buyers than others. The age and size of your home compared to other available properties also plays a part in affecting your home’s value. Be sure your agent is comparing apples to apples when pricing your property.
Potential buyers will take into account the condition of your home in deciding if they want to buy it and how much they are willing to pay for it. A home in immaculate condition has a much higher potential for a top dollar sale than one that is lacking the most basic routine maintenance.
Experienced buyers look for conditions like floor coverings, roof, ceilings, furnace, doors and windows. Buyers may also pay close attention to the plumbing, electrical work, repairs, bathrooms, kitchen, and so on. A home inspector is sure to uncover hidden problems, so it’s best to fix them before you list, than worry about it later. Hidden problems may be a deal breaker if discovered at the time of the home inspection, when the negotiations have been completed.
4. Home Improvements
Most people think that home improvements are a sure way to increase the value of a home. Major home improvements are unquestionably important factors that affect the property value. Improvements like room additions, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and other items like floor tiles, swimming pools, etc., can increase the value of your home. However, it only matters what those improvements are worth to the buyer.
5. Market Conditions
When the market is flooded with similar properties for sale and real estate buyers are scarce, you can expect to sell your home for less than you would if there was a shortage of supply and lots of eager potential homebuyers. Hence, the laws of “supply and demand” apply in real estate.
6. Seller Motivation
Seller motivation can impact your home’s ultimate value. If the seller is unmotivated and the property is overpriced, then the longer it sits on the market as a “stale” listing, the lower the price ultimately. The number of days on the market can label your home as being “unsellable” or “in need of work”. The theory is that if nobody else has bought it yet, there must be something wrong with it. Pricing to sell in any market is your best plan.
The marketing plan that your agent executes on your behalf will help to attract interest in your property. Your agent’s level of skill and expertise in the negotiating process is an important factor in achieving your bottom line. That’s where an experienced agent can be your best friend! At the end of the day, getting your home sold is about more than just price, which is only one line of a 5 page contract. Make sure your best interests are protected. The conditions & clauses that you will sign in acceptance had better be explained in full and not put you at a disadvantage.
Call me! My slogan is “Superior Service Since 1985!”
Compliments of Diane Boyd, Sutton Group Professional Realty Inc., Brokerage 905-454-1100
•Remove snow and ice from sidewalks, driveway and around entry doors
•Turn on any outdoor lights you have if there is a showing in the evening
•Keep entry hall free of boots, coats and clutter
•Stage your home for showings: light a scented candle or potpourri bowl, turn on lights, play soft music. If the TV is on, keep the volume low. If a sporting event is on TV, we’re bound to lose our male purchaser to the game – something to think about
•No More Clutter! Pack up the personal items like family photos or grandma’s old knick knacks on the fireplace mantel– it is too distracting for buyers and they may not notice all the features of your home. You are moving anyways! Why not clear out the stuff you don’t need now and make moving day just that much easier!
•Place a large mat in the front hall
•A home can never have enough closets. Make yours look huge by clearing out off-season clothing, tidying up shoes, organizing and generally getting rid of what you don’t use.
•Don’t leave personal items out in plain view: ie. toothpaste, hair spray etc.
•Don’t leave money, jewelry or other expensive trinkets in plain view. We trust our buyers, but don’t “always” know them that well. If you have a safety deposit box, now is the time to use it.
•Always ensure that beds are made and clothing put away.
•Fix leaky faucets, toilets that run, burnt out light bulbs, tighten loose door handles; all those little things you’ve been putting off
•Kitchens and bathrooms sell women. Make sure they are clean!
•Lastly, Relax. People know you live in your home. Sometimes, short notice appointments are inconvenient, but they often reveal a very interested buyer, one who may have just seen your home from the outside while viewing properties with their Realtor. Try to accommodate to the best of your ability.
Occasionally, one can see "For Sale By Owner" signs, and some owners think that selling their own home will not only save them money, but believe they have an advantage over the sellers that have their home listed by a reputable Real Estate sales professional. Before you decide to take on this very important and legally complicated process…remember even most Real Estate Lawyers don't recommend selling your own home yourself in today's market. Here are a few of the reasons why:
1. You are limiting your exposure to potential buyers (less than 10% of what a good real estate broker will generate) which theoretically means your home will take ten to fifteen times longer to sell on the market.
2. The longer a home is on the market the lower the selling price is. Why? Because most buyers think that if the home has not sold after this long... there must be something wrong with the home.
3. The selling/buying process begins AFTER the buyer leaves your home. Most sellers think that all it takes is for someone to see their home, fall in love with the great decor... and the offer automatically will follow. Remember that the buying process begins after they leave your home. If a real estate sales representative does not represent the buyer, and they are looking on their own…they usually leave the home and start to talk themselves out of the buying process. If the buyer is represented by a real estate professional, they are being guided every step of the way. Realtors® are trained on how to overcome buyers concerns and make them feel at ease with their purchase decision.
4. Because of the limited exposure you will very likely end up with a lower selling price. Remember, in order to generate the highest price possible for your home… selling means exposure. You need the maximum exposure possible, to generate the highest price possible.
5. Most buyers find it extremely awkward to negotiate or even to talk directly with sellers and therefore avoid FSBO properties.
6. Lack of negotiating experience and lack of pertinent information often will result in a lower selling price, or worse yet, a bungled contract and possible lawsuits.
7. The majority of qualified buyers are working with experienced real estate professionals and are now under Buyer Agency contracts. It is not in the Buyer's best interest to bypass the agent that they have signed with.
8. Many serious buyers will pass by a FSBO home merely because they recognize that it is not in the real estate mainstream, this can some times make them wary.
9. As most local buyers now retain an experienced real estate sales person to represent them as them, you will probably be negotiating against an experienced professional.
10. Expected savings in broker's fees will also be greatly reduced if you offer a selling commission to entice real estate sales representatives to bring potential buyers.
11. If you are planning to use a Lawyer to help you negotiate the offer, then your lawyer's fees will be considerably higher.
12. Only real estate sales representatives have access to the up-to-date market information. News reports cannot approach the timeliness or specificity available to real estate sales people. Further, real estate sales representatives are involved in home sales much more frequently than the average homeowner is. This familiarity leads to a degree of expertise that provides an edge on negotiating and successful selling.
13. You only pay the commission to the real estate broker, if they successfully sell your home at the price you are happy with.
14. Accepting an offer is one thing, ensuring a safe and successful closing is quite another. Real estate transactions often have problems or glitches on closing. At times, expecting the Buyers and Sellers Lawyer's to negotiate or resolve the problem, can often mean the deal is lost. This is the time that your experienced real estate professional, can be the most important. Your Real Estate professional can act as a great mediator. Lawyers MUST act only on their client's instructions and are not paid to negotiate.