In the challenging market that we are facing here in Scottsdale, never have the basics been more critical to successfully selling a house. With more than 55,000 active listings in Maricopa County, buyers have never had more choices than they do right now. To ensure that your property does not become one of those lonely houses that languishes on the market for months on end, you must stand out from the crowd. How do you accomplish this? Through careful analysis of your Price, Pitch & Product.
Setting the proper list price is absolutely paramount in this climate. Many sellers have fallen into the trap of "testing the market" at an unrealistic price. While you could get away with this back when the market was going gangbusters, nothing will undermine your ultimate sales price like reaching too high at the outset. The best shot at attaining peak market value is within the first 30 days. This is when you get the attention of all of the buyers that are currently in the market. By overpricing and missing out on the "new listing buzz," you resign yourself to either waiting for new buyers to enter the market or reducing your price to attract attention. And once you start backpedaling on price, it has to be substantial to make an impact. It is common for an overpriced listing to end up being reduced far below true market value once it has become stale or stigmatized. To recapture the market's attention, the price cannot merely be brought in line with the competition, but must undercut it significantly. This is true for any market, but is especially poignant in a market which has experienced declining values. If you miss the mark initially, and values subsequently fall further ... it might get bloody. Don't chase the market down. Price your home realistically from the start. If anything, price it just a tad low to prompt a sale before values have a chance to sag further. Consult with a knowledgeable Realtor to establish the proper price.
A great price will go a long way toward getting your home sold, but only if buyers are aware of it. Top market value is obtained by creating demand. Demand is increased by casting as wide a net over qualified buyers as possible. In addition to helping you determine the proper asking price for your home, fully exposing the property to the market is one of the key functions of your Realtor. To this end, a two-pronged approach is needed. First, is marketing directly to buyers. Internet listings, virtual tours, open houses, property flyer distribution ... the works. With approximately 80-85% of buyers beginning their searches online these days, smart agents are redirecting the bulk of their marketing campaigns to the virtual world. Considering that the overwhelming majority of houses sell with the involvement of a buyer's agent, however, promoting the property within the industry is just as, if not more, vital. This is the second prong. Successful agents are quite adept at networking within the profession. After all, there are a lot of agents out there who come in contact with a lot of buyers. Promoting your property to this sales force is absolutely critical to get as many eyes on the property as possible. Just throwing it on the MLS does not cut it, as agents have thousands from which to choose. A good agent will expressly promote your house to the top producers in the area to ensure that your home does not get lost in the shuffle. I have seen far more transactions result from tour groups, back channels and marketing meetings than traditional direct advertising.
Remember the purple carpet and pink walls that you could get away with in 2005? Not anymore. Buyers have never been more finicky about the condition of a home. If your home has deficiencies, fix them, or it will drastically hinder your ability to sell. Tired carpet should be replaced, and too bright colors should be toned down. No dirty clothes strewn about the house. No personal hygiene items left out on the bathroom countertops. The landscaping needs to be immaculate. Your agent should walk through the entire house, room by room, putting together a brutally honest list of items that are detrimental to sale. Fix as many as possible. It may be possible to sell the home without showcasing it to full potential, but the buyer will expect a big discount. There is always a market for cheap, but that is not the market you wish to capture! Shine that diamond to perfection, and keep it that way until you find your buyer. Do not let apathy or laziness creep in as you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. With the media, friends, co-workers and the family dog all telling people not to buy, you have enough objections to overcome that have nothing to do with your house. To convince a buyer to take the plunge in this climate is no easy feat. While you cannot do anything to ease their fears about buying in an allegedly free-falling market, you can remove as many objections to your particular home as possible. You must leave a buyer with no reason NOT to buy your home.
- Price it right.
- Pitch it through an experienced Realtor.
- Present your Product to the public in top condition.
The sale of your home is supported by this tripod. Do these three things, and yours will be a success story. If any leg is weak, however, it all comes crashing down. Don't become just another statistic for the media to breathlessly report. Don't allow yourself to become a victim of a slow market. Take the proper steps and get your house sold!