Tips To Sell Your Home For Top Dollar In A Slow Market

How long is too long? In a dry market, a sales period of six months to one year isn’t unusual. Look at recent sales reports of similar homes nearby to determine a reasonable selling interval. In a hot seller’s market, a house that hasn’t sold within one month indicates a problem. In either case, there are several steps you can take before putting up the white flag.

  • Videotape your house, inside and out, and watch the tape as if you were a prospective buyer. Is the lawn weedy or the garden bare? Is your home uncluttered and spotlessly scrubbed? Sparkling-clean houses sell faster than those that look too lived-in or show an abundance of the owner’s personality.
  • Take a second look at your listing price. Visit open houses in your neighborhood. Are similar homes priced lower? Selling prices may have dropped since your first comparative market analysis. In a hot market, if you haven’t sold your home within one month, chances are good that you’ve overpriced it. If you do lower your asking price, consider a figure slightly below those of other comparable homes if you are interested in a speedy sale.
  • Do whatever it takes to be away from your home during showings and open houses. The presence of sellers makes it difficult for prospective buyers to take their time or talk openly with their partner and agent. Leave some treats out to make potential buyers more comfortable: beverages, nuts, cookies — anything that won’t lose freshness or be too messy.
  • Pay close attention to feedback from showings. The feedback can guide you in making home repairs, toning down your décor, making landscaping improvements and the like.
  • You can offer perks to buyers, such as cash bonus, closing costs or buy down their interest rate to lower monthly payments. You could also consider owner financing.
  • Neutralize your color scheme. Most buyers prefer pale, neutral colors that make it easier to imagine a new home as their own. Houses with white exteriors are the highest sellers; for interiors, try whites, off-whites or pale grays.
  • Expose Hardwoods and buff them until they shine. It’s amazing how many buyers will not even look at a house without hardwoods.
  • If you have dogs, cats, old carpeting, mildew or smoke problems chances are that a potential buyer may offended by the odor. Ventilate the home and invest in an air cleaning and deodorizing product to remove odors. Another option is a cleaning product with living enzymes that consume the odor causing agents and remove the smell permanently.
  • Staging your home is one of the very best ways to sell your home the quickest and for top dollar. Staging sets the scene throughout the home to create immediate buyer interest in the property. The way you live in your home and the way you sell your house are two different things. One idea is to pack up several large pieces of furniture and as much clutter in each room as possible. Don’t just shift to another room or garage, rent storage space and get it out of the house before showing.
  • Pay attention to lighting. Make sure light sources are clean. Cleaning them isn’t enjoyable, but the sparkling lighting will pay off. You may even increase the brightness factor of your rooms by adding brighter bulbs, or by placing accent lamps or cabinet lighting. Be sure and pull back the curtains and lift the blinds. For the best effect, use a balance of natural, overhead, and table or floor lighting.
  • Try readjusting your sights. Determine the lowest price you find acceptable, and consider anything more as icing on the cake. In a longstanding dry market you may even have to sell at a loss, so it’s important to take every offer seriously. You don’t want to alienate a potential buyer who has solid financing because you’ve set your sights unrealistically high.
  • If the market is underwater, consider offering an increased commission or a bonus for your listing agent as extra incentive. If you do sweeten the pot for your agent, amend your listing contract to reflect the change, and be sure it’s added to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) book — buyer agents will also be inspired to give your house extra attention.

Using a Realtor to Sell Your Home VS For Sale By Owner

In the real estate industry we call home owners that market their property for sale on their own FSBO’s or For Sale by Owners. The obvious main goal of a FSBO is to save money on real estate commissions. In the past few years we have seen more For Sale By Owners, especially in the lower price points and in the neighbourhoods outside of city cores. There are a few reasons for this increase including an opening up of the MLS system, perception of a Realtor’s role and the market conditions.

Recently the MLS ( Multiple Listing Service) was opened up to the public, meaning a FSBO could list their property on the MLS (still through a Realtor and Brokerage) but could manage the selling process on their own without offering a co-operating broker a commission for finding a buyer. The reality is, Realtors will work with a buyer client for months, sometimes years so naturally a Realtor would like to be paid for their efforts. For this reason, Realtors may not work with you and bring their qualified buyers to your home. FSBO’s also tend to overprice their property, but a Realtor knows the true value and will introduce their client only to properly priced properties.

Realtors are often placed in the same category as a used car salesperson – perception has it that Realtors are rolling in the dough for very little effort. Over the past few years the real estate market has been booming making a Realtors job look easy with properties listed on the MLS selling hours or days after being put up for sale. What people do not realize is that there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes when selling a property and a lot of liability as well. It’s a full time job and people do not realize this: a Realtor’s job includes setting the price, marketing the property, manage appointments, negotiate the contract and ensure a smooth closing. We are talking about huge amounts of money when buying or selling a home and in most cases this is the largest purchase someone will make in their lifetime. Working with a Realtor as a buyer is a free service so there is really no benefit to the buyer not to as the buyer is protected by their own Realtor. As Realtors we live and breathe real estate so for us selling or buying a property is second nature: we know the questions to ask and what to look for.

The nice thing about working with a Realtor is that the seller doesn’t pay for the service unless the property sells. In the case of a FSBO, each time they engage a lawyer for assistance, they are charged an hourly rate regardless of whether the home sells or not. In the end, there are FSBO that sell their property on their own but about 80% of FSBO’s do end up listing and selling with a Realtor.

Real Estate Agents – How to Get a Real Estate License

The process for obtaining a real estate license varies from state to state, so before you even think about starting you need to be aware of the things that you are going to be required to do that are specific to your state.

However, despite this there are still some fairly standard steps that all agents need to take to get their hands on a license. Follow these steps and apply them properly to your location and you should find yourself able to work as an agent in no time at all.

Your Education

Once you have done the research to find out about the requirements for practising real estate in your state, you need to go about getting yourself educated. Be sure to enrol in a fully-accredited school and that the school is able to meet the requirements of the state you’re in. Once you’re in, you obviously need to complete the course provided to you and obtain the relevant certification to show that you passed.

Getting Tested

Many schools won’t provide the testing themselves, with the actually exam being carried out by a third party that has been approved by the state. You need to find out where the testing centers in your state are located and be aware of where you need to go at all times.

After that, you need to be prepared to pass both a national and local exam, which is administered differently from state to state. Be sure to ask questions if you don’t know what you need to do, as each testing center should be able to provide you with more information. Always make sure that you bring identification to the test and that you try to pass any simulation tests that the center provides.

Applications

Passing the course isn’t all there is to it though. Once you’re qualified, you need to apply to become a real estate agent. You should be able to find the relevant forms online with a little help, or you can get advice from your school. Then you just need to fill the form in correctly and make sure that you send it off with all of the relevant fees.

Background Checks

Most states will require you to have a background check before you are allowed to work as a real estate agent, which usually involves the taking of your fingerprint and a check into your criminal history. Be aware that some crimes will prevent you from becoming an agent. Furthermore, this process can often take a while so be sure to get it started as early as possible so that you can get the check finished in time.

Errors and Omissions Insurance

While not all states require you to have this form of insurance to practice, you will find that the vast majority do. If you know that you need it, don’t delay with your application. In many cases you will be required to have this insurance in place before you are allowed to get your license.

Selling Your Own Home Online

Nearly 80% of those who bought a house last year started their search online. If you’re selling your own home, an online For Sale By Owner (FSBO) site is nearly a must. According to realtors, most people who browse FSBO sites will view at least one house that they first saw online – and about half will purchase a home that they found in an online selling your own home web site. Knowing that, how can you not take advantage of all the new selling techniques available to those who are selling their own homes?

What sort of selling techniques are available to you if you’re selling your own home online? Depending on the site, you can literally have a 24/7 open house – without ever opening your front door. With photographs, multiple listings, virtual tours and floor plans, you can literally allow prospective buyers to tour your house without ever leaving their own homes.

There are several different ways to go about selling your own home through an online FSBO web site. Your best option is to contract with a local real estate agent for a flat fee listing, which will give you the right to post your home on a multiple listing service. With a flat fee listing, you pay a local realtor a flat fee of a few hundred dollars for the single service of listing your home with the Multiple Listing Service. Once your home is listed, you can post it on MLS web sites where it will be seen by hundreds of real estate agents and thousands of prospective buyers.

Another way that you can get your house listed on an MLS site is by contracting with a real estate agent with an Exclusive Sale Contract. You agree to pay that agent 2-3% commission if any realtor sells your house during the time that it is listed through him – but reserve the right to sell the house yourself without paying any commission. Again, your main aim, since you’re selling your own home, is to get the house listed on a multiple listing site.

There are also a number of FSBO sites that will allow you to list your home on their sites for a fee. Shop around for the best deal – they range in price from a single flat fee to a 2% commission when you sell your house.

Tips for Selling Your Own Home Online

– Upload at least one picture of your house that shows it in its best light. If you can, have the photograph taken by a professional photographer.

– Has your home got a gorgeous fireplace? A great view of the city? Make sure that you get a photo of that posted – the best way to sell your own home online is to make it look its best.

– Give buyers the info they want to know. Put information about the school system, the neighborhood, the local stores into your online ad. The more they know, the more likely it is that they’ll be ready to buy when they come looking.

– If your home is priced in the high ranges, consider investing in a virtual home tour so that prospective buyers can get a full tour of your home online and fall in love with it before they see it.

– Use your listing page to print out flyers that include the photographs and descriptions, and post them locally.

The internet gives you new tools for selling your own home. Just take it online, and see how far you can go with a few pictures.