Written by: Lankarge/Nahorney for HomeInsight
What once was a booming residential real estate market across the country has slowed to a trickle.
1. Price your home aggressively. When mortgage rates are low and buyers are chasing too few houses for sale, sellers can ask high prices and get them. Even when houses are overpriced for the market, sellers are likely to receive some offers, as buyers are often desperate to find a home that meets their needs.
But, when things are slow, pricing is absolutely critical. But instead of pricing your home aggressively high, you should consider pricing your home no higher than the middle of the range for homes comparable to yours. And if you need to sell your home quickly, you should consider pricing your home among in the bottom 25 percent of comparable homes.
Why? With few buyers chasing many homes, you need to quickly get the attention of those who are serious about buying. If your home is priced too high, you many never get buyers to even consider looking at your home.
2. Quickly cut the price if you don't get action. Everyone wants to sell their home for as much money as possible. Nobody wants to "give" their home away. But homes that languish on the market in a slow market often are forced to make one price reduction after another, as buyers and real estate agents may begin to question why the home has been on the market for so long. In a slow market with few buyers you may want to cut the price to more quickly make the sale.
3. Curb appeal. After pricing, nothing will bring more potential buyers into your home than a house with outstanding curb appeal. Take a walk down your street with a critical eye. How does your home stack up from the outside? If it doesn't stand out from the rest then it's time to get to work.
4. Consider home staging. The quickest way to add value to a home for sale is a fresh coat of paint. After, you may want to consider home staging—either do it yourself or hire an outside firm. A home staging professional will come in and take away some furnishings and rearrange others to make your home show better.
When home sales were going gangbusters this was a technique used mostly by those selling high-end homes. When things get slow and homeowners need to sell, more people find home staging professionals to help them prepare their home to make it home more appealing to prospective buyers.
5. Fix stuff. The loose railing. The broken pane of glass. The closet door off of its track. The leaky faucet. They all need fixing. If you don't have the time or skill, find a handyman to go through your home and make repairs. Also, consider replacing the old roof that looks like it might leak, the antique furnace, and the stained rug.
When there are few homes on the market, sellers sometimes offer cash at closing to repair the roof or for the stained rug. With so many homes on the market, buyers can afford to only bid on those that are in move-in condition. Fix what needs repair before listing your house.
6. Offer flexible terms. Flexibility is the key now. You'd like to close in two months, but the buyers might be in a hurry and need to close sooner. Find a way to make it happen. You were planning to take the appliances to your new home but the buyers make a bid near asking price - but with the appliances. Leave the washer and dryer behind (and then go find a store that offers no payments on appliance purchases for a year). And for those items that have deep sentimental value, make sure they are removed prior to any showings.
Competition between home sellers is high - you don't want to lose the only buyer who has looked at your home in a month. For more insight into home selling trends and tips, subscribe to Jason's blog.