Selling in a down market

April 23rd, 2013 by Robert Hightower

To ensure your home sells in a down market, there things you can do to help your chances.
Price it right the first time:  If you’re going to sell your home in a down market, you may have to be willing to make some concessions on price.   In many areas foreclosures have depressed the prices quite a bit.  While you may not be able to cut your price to the level of some of those bank owned homes, you can still do your research as to what comparable homes are selling for, and undercut their prices.  Your agent can get you all the information on active and comparable sales in the market for you.  You may not get as much action as the foreclosures, but you will at least get more action than other sellers who aren’t as flexible on price.  Try not to get emotionally stuck on a certain price. What you need to sell a house for does not matter at all to the buyer.  The buyer is looking for a great deal, wouldn’t you be?  If you price it too high if the market is still falling then you run the risk of chasing the market down, not fun.  Bit the bullet and price your home properly to begin with and it will sell quickly.  I have used a technique of undercutting the market, it causes a lot of people to see the home quickly and results in multiply offers!
Curb appeal is King:  Even if you can’t compete on price with foreclosures, you can do your best to make sure that the your house at least looks better on the outside than the foreclosure down the block  A recent study suggest that you have about 90 seconds from the time a buyer see’s your home for the first time until they make up their mind about your house.  The clock starts from the time they drive up, part of the time is in the front yard as their agent unlocks the home for them, how does your home look?  Need paint, is the yard mowed, could you freshen up that flower box with some colorful flowers?  Go out and stand by the road, what will your buyer see when they see your house for the first time?
Clear the home of clutter:   This is a reoccurring theme:  reduce the extra clutter throughout the house to make it feel bigger, more spacious and buyer friendly!  Hey if you are not using it put it in storage, give it away, donate it or throw it out!  Less you have to pack.
Fix big problems:  If your house has a big problem that will turn a lot of buyers off, fix it!  Nobody wants to move into a house with major issues.  If the HVAC is not working and you know you are going to have to fix it while in escrow, well if you are serious fix it now.  Consider getting a whole house inspection and a termite inspection, fix the major issues and anything you can, it will help the buyer mover along quicker. Fix smaller problem areas around the house:  Go throughout the house and take notes of all  the small things that need fixing that may be a turnoff to a potential buyer.  Take the time to go around and fix those things one by one.  If you noticed them, the buyer will too
Consider staging the house:  When we sold we actually staged the house to make the rooms feel more spacious, give it a less cluttered look and a make people feel more at home.  Often times staging will put you over the top in a tough market.  It helps the home shine, gives the feeling of bigger rooms and a clean friendly space. Watch a lot of HGTV and try to emulate what the experts do to stage a house!
Offer bonuses to agents or buyers: Look agents are business people.  They are in business to make money.  Offering out a full 3% to the buyers side helps out a lot, so does offering a small bonus like a $1000 to any buyers agent who can close this deal by the date of: ….Use the power of the web and your personal networks to market your house:  Face book is the obvious one that gets a lot of exposure, and that is the name of the game exposure to what you are selling, your house!
Get a good agent to help you sell:  Get a good agent to help sell your house, not a friend of a friend – or your aunt Agnes who just got her real estate license. Your house is one of your biggest assets, and this is no time to do someone else a favor.  Do your homework.  There is a lot of information floating around on the web today about things like what to ask a listing agent, what makes a good listing agent.  Take the process seriously and don’t just go with the agent that has told you he can sell  your home for more money, that is calling buying the listing.  Pricing is separate issue and you as the seller should always feel in control of that part of the process, its your asset, be informed, make educated choices.
When the house is showing, keep the house clean and don’t be there!:  When you are having an open house, or the house is having a showing, make sure that you aren’t there.  Some people find it annoying having the home’s owners in a house when you’re trying to look at it.  Personally I will get information from you that you don’t want my buyers to have.  If you are not there you can not tell me that you are having to move because of a job, or family issues.  Also, make sure to keep the house spic and span to make sure that it shows well.  Finally consider baking cookies before a showing, or lighting one of those cinnamon roll candles. It will give the house a pleasant aroma, and people will feel at home.
Selling your house in a down market isn’t an easy task, but you can still do some hard work along the way and make your odds much better.  In the end your house will show better, and you’ll be able to sell your house that much quicker, with less hassles and isn’t that what everyone wants anyway?

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