How to Sell Your Home in a Cooling Real Estate Market

For a long time the real estate market had been booming. Houses were sold quickly, often within days and way above their actual value, and oftentimes regardless of their overall condition. However, now the market has cooled down and houses have been observed being on the market for months. Prices are down compared to the previous years and they are predicted to go down even further. The real estate market has turned from a sellers’ into a buyers’ market. Buyers now have plenty of houses to choose from and time to make a decision based on price and overall condition of the house. In such a type of market, what is the best strategy to sell a house and getting the right price for it?

The most important factor right now is the price. With so many houses on the market, the price has to be right to sell a house quickly. While determining the proper price for your house, you will have to keep in mind, a house priced too high will be on the market longer. The longer it is on the market, the harder it is to sell the house. Buyers just automatically assume there is something wrong with it. As a consequence, a seller will end up lowering the price the longer the house is on the market, sometimes even ending up with a selling price lower than the value of the house and way below what they actually wanted. Conversely, if a house is in the right price range, it will attract more prospective buyers, and the price might be driven up by their bids.

 

But how do you go about setting the right price to sell your house? A first step is to look around the neighborhood. Houses of similar size, what did they sell for? In order to sell your house, this would be the right price range to start from, because that is what buyers are willing to pay in your neighborhood. Unfortunately, this price might be below the price you might have bought your house for, if you purchased it while the real estate market was still hot. In order to sell the house quickly, you might have to cut your losses and move on.

 

Your second step in the price determination has to be an objective evaluation of your home. This will be the hardest step, because what you treasure as a fixture of your home, might not be valued by the general market. If you have extras like a hot tub or a pool, you might be able to up your asking price. However, if you have an outdated kitchen that has not been renovated for twenty years, you might have to lower your price. Buyers always factor in potential renovation costs.

 

Once you have set the price you should spruce up your house for sale. The first impression potential buyers will get of your house is the outside. Curb appeal is very important. Some buyers don’t even check out the inside of the house, if they don’t like what they see on the outside. The assumption is, what looks run down and not taken care of on the outside, will look similarly on the inside. Get your landscaping in order. It should be inviting and show off the house. You might have to trim down or even remove shrubs. Plant some flowers or at least put out some potted ones to create an overall friendlier appearance. Lastly, your house might need a paint job.

 

Don’t be afraid to tackle some renovations. The right ones pay for themselves and then some, when you sell the house. Painting the house inside and out, putting in new carpet, something like that is easily done. Yes, there are costs involved in doing this, but an updated looking house can command a much higher price, often more than double the cost of the renovation. Extra bathrooms are also a good selling point.

 

However, even if you don’t want to tackle a renovation project, you should definitely make sure, everything is functioning properly and the house is not damaged. Have an inspector or contractor go over your house in great detail to make sure you know what needs to be fixed. For example, if the A/C or heater does not work, windows don’t easily open, or the house looks in any way neglected or has a hint of potential problems, buyers will shy away from it. Renovations and repairs might delay your quest of selling your house, but it will be worth the time in much greater monetary returns at the time of sale. If you want to sell your house ‘as is’ because you don’t have time for repairs, be prepared to drop your asking price. This can mean a significant drop, depending on the condition of the house.

 

Lastly, stage your house. It is very important to remove clutter, even excess furniture. The less is in the house the roomier it will look. Rent a storage unit or ask a friend or relative, if you can store some items at their house. Similarly, remove personal mementos from your home. The buyer should see him- or herself living in the home. Family pictures, personal awards and the like can draw away from that. Furthermore, keep your house clean and cleaned up looking at all times. If you have potential buyers come over, your house needs to look spic and span. An unkempt look of the interior of your house translates into bad overall maintenance of the house in the eyes of a potential buyer. Also make sure your house smells fresh by airing it out frequently. You might even want to add some fresh flowers to make it look more inviting.

 

Proper advertising of your home is also important. Make sure your house is advertised in the local newspapers and online. For the online advertisement, make sure you post plenty of pictures of the outside and inside. Nowadays, a lot of buyers check out houses on the Internet first before making the way out for a closer look at one they might like.

Selling a Home in a Slow Real Estate Market: Top 5 Things to Get the Home Sold

While the real estate market in the United States has gone through its ups and downs, there are some rock solid fundamentals that will always be effective in selling a home.

Set a Good Price

It’s THE most important thing. Don’t be your own worst enemy and get greedy. Wishing for a certain price doesn’t sell the home. The market is what it is.

“Every home has a price,” explains Joseph Ho, a commercial and residential real estate agent of 25 years. “The hard part is finding that price, and for the seller to accept what that price is. The biggest mistake sellers make in an adjusting market is that they price (their home) according to what the market was, not what it is.”

Hire a Good Realtor

Hiring a good professional real estate agent will take care of everything on this list. They will tell you what a good price is, how they’ll market it, how to increase curb appeal and what type of staging is needed.

“Agents are held to a higher standard,” proclaims Sue Brodie, Prudential NW Realty’s VP and Managing Broker. “Hiring a Realtor connects you instantly to a network of other agents who have buyers. Hiring a good Realtor will get the home exposed to potentially thousands of people who are looking to buy.”

Ho adds,” There are people out there looking for the ‘For Sale By Owner’ homes, those people are looking for a steal and you will get low balled. First off the bat, (money) is coming off the top. It’s not worth it.”

Exposure/Marketing

Exposure/marketing is everything and works hand in hand with hiring an agent. The more the property is seen, the better chance to sell the home. People have to know the house is on the market, and the realtor does exactly that.

“The most important thing is getting the home exposed to qualified (lender approved) buyers,” suggests Ho. “That’s what the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) does, it’s not a public site. It gets the homes connected with other realtors who have qualified buyers.”

Brodie adds, “The power of the group in the MLS is extreme exposure. There’s nothing better.”

Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is much like window shopping. If the home looks good when driving by, people will go in and look at it. If it doesn’t, it wastes everyone’s time and the buyers don’t even get out of the car.

“It’s the lipstick on the pig,” explains Brodie. “Curb appeal is very much like the first impression. It makes them want to go in.”

“It also tells something about the seller,” suggests Ann Hilario, a fine homes specialist in the Seattle area. “If there’s good curb appeal, in the buyers’ eyes, the home was well maintained.”

Professionally Stage the Home

Staging is good salesmanship where the home doesn’t look empty. A professional staging company will give the home the extra edge by organizing nice furniture and decorations, adding the wow factor.

“You’re making a particular product better than the rest,” explains Brodie. ”Good enough is no longer good enough. Professional staging will help you work the house.”

Hilario also adds, “You can’t ignore that your house needs help sometimes.”

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