If you are considering selling your house in 2011 here are my top 5 things you need to know as a seller. This is one of my few longer posts, just so you’re prepared! Of course my standard disclaimer applies;
- Every region is different: What may work well in Austin, won’t necessarily work well in San Fran, or Chicago. What may have worked for your buddy in another subdivision, even in the same CITY, may not be what works best for your home. You get my point.
- Every ‘time’ is different: What is going to work in Q1 2011, is probably not what worked in the summer of 2006. (Back in 2006, all you probably had to do was open your door and whisper out into the world that you wanted to sell your house, and you would have had 5 offers in 5 minutes)
- Every house is different.The way to sell a fixer-upper home in East Austin, is going to be different than a house out in Westlake. Even within the same subdivision, the strategy your agent may employ to sell your home vs. your neighbors home can vary.
So onto the meat of the post:
Price your home well
– I can’t stress this highly enough. Price it to SELL, not to sit on the market for 6 months. How do you know if it’s priced well, the National Association of Realtors rule of thumb is: 2 weeks without a showing (priced too high), or 10 viewings and no offers (priced too high). So let’s break that down further; If we look at the fact that you haven’t had a single showing in 2 weeks, you are priced so high, that agents are not willing to bring their clients to even see your home. As in, they don’t even want to LOOK. You definitely don’t want to be in this position. If we look at the second reason, some agents did think your home was worth showing, but not enough to make an offer. Your agent should be following up with each and every one of these people to see what you could do to get an offer. There might be things you can’t change (location, floorplan etc), but there may be somethings you are overlooking (staging, cleaning).
Stage your home to SELL!
Alongside price, staging is one of the quickest ways you can lose or make money on your home. I can’t overstate how important this is. There is a reason that model homes look the way they do. The number one tip when staging: declutter.
– I’m not just talking about the MLS, I’m talking, craigslist, trulia, googlehomes, etc. It really isn’t enough for your agent to put your home on the MLS and leave it there. Is your agent talking about the property on their facebook and twitter feeds? Do you feel like other agents are hearing about your home?
So we have the other end of the spectrum. Do your neighbors know you’re selling your house? Have they been through it at an open house? Most people move within 7 miles of where they currently live. Is your agent marketing to those homes? ‘Just Listed’ postcards and inviting the neighbors to an open house is a great way to gain exposure. Many times neighbors have friends and family members who say ‘I love this neighborhood! If a 4 bedroom, one story home comes up, let us know!’. So make sure the neighbors know.
Know your competition
You do know you’re entering a competition right? If you live in the burbs where there are about 17 houses with your exact floorplan, and 4 of them happen to be for sale right now, you better know that! How are you going to compete with those homes? Does your home show better? (hint: it better!) Is it priced better? If another home gets an offer and your home didn’t why do you think you lost out? If you really can’t answer those questions, you’re in trouble.
One bonus tip: Think like a buyer.
Go visit the competition. Go visit open homes. Then come back to your home while keeping your buyer’s hat on, and look at your home through the eyes of a buyer. Dust on the fan blades? Bet you didn’t notice that. Scuffed up baseboards? Better touch those up. These seemingly little things make a buyer think that if you didn’t care enough to clean up your house and maintain it well before putting it up for sale, then what else might you have skimped out on? Too many family pictures? Too much clutter? There is a reason that model homes are decorated the way that they are. The builder wants you to see the home for what it is, not the clutter or the weird doll collection in the china cabinet, or spending time admiring the cute baby pictures.
As always if you have questions about selling your home, contact your best, most trusted real estate professional. After all, this is what we do for a living. Notice that I used the word ‘professional’. In the current market, you want a full-time, committed individual who is going to understand what is is going to take to sell YOUR home. A professional.