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.

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.

Buying or Selling a Home – Finding a Real Estate Agent

Buying or selling a home is probably one of the largest financial transactions you will ever have. It can be a complicated and time-consuming endeavor. Enlisting help from a real estate agent can ensure the process will be less stressful and more enjoyable. Following are the benefits of using a real estate agent and tips for finding a seasoned, knowledgeable real estate professional.

Following are the benefits of using a real estate agent:

  • Preparing your home for sale. A full-service real estate agent can assist you with getting your home ready for sale by providing invaluable suggestions as well as pricing information for comparable properties to establish your asking price.
  • Advertising your home. When the time comes to list your house, an agent can advertise, market and show your home to prospective buyers.
  • Negotiating the cost. Once you have an interested buyer, a real estate agent can help you negotiate with interested buyers as well as make arrangements for the closing.

Following are tips for finding a seasoned, knowledgeable real estate professional who understands local market conditions and has the specific experience to best meet your needs:

  • Interview several agents to determine which one best meets your needs. Don’t go with the first one you meet.
  • Beware of hiring a family member or friend as a real estate agent. Although it would be nice to pass the real estate commission on to a loved one, it is ultimately best to go with an agent with a proven track record in your marketplace.
  • Hire a full-time agent as opposed to someone who practices real estate in their spare time. Real estate transactions are complex endeavors requiring agents who are committed to your transaction and understand the ins and outs of the process.
  • Ask your selected real estate agent for a market analysis that compares your house to others on the market to ensure the agent you have chosen has done the proper homework and understands the nuances of your housing market.
  • Inquire about past houses the agent has sold, including the list price, the actual selling price, and the average length of time it took to sell the houses.
  • Get references from their last three clients. Be wary if the real estate agent hesitates to give you this information.
  • Ask your agent how they plan to drive traffic to your home in order to generate multiple offers.
  • Select a real estate agent you enjoy working with.