When Will My Property Sell?
There are four things that determine whether or not your home will sell quickly for the right price. Some of these may not be what you want to hear, but all of them are what you need to know.
1. LOCATION: Nothing affects your home’s desirability like location: proximity to services, neighborhood attractiveness, and any special settings like lake front, fairway frontage, views or a private setting. Recent surveys have shown that over 85% of buyers will pass up a “nicer home” for one that is in a preferred location. The location of your home is fixed. You can’t change it. If it’s a great location it will counter balance other not so strong features. If the location is less than optimal, you will need to adjust the other 3 factors
2. PRICE: Your home must be priced properly for TODAY'S market. Overpricing makes competing homes look like better values and can lead to mortgage rejections once the appraisal is in. Home prices are like stock prices…it doesn't matter what homes (or stocks) sold for a year ago or even 6 months ago, what matters is what homes (or stocks) are selling for now. The market doesn't care how much you paid for your home (or your stock) or how much you have put into it with upgrades and improvements, it's all about "comps" (comparables). All appraisers use "comps" to establish current market value for any property. For a professional opinion, have an appraisal done. Your buyer probably will, so be one step ahead!
An important concept to understand is that REALTORS® don't set prices; the market does. Don't make the mistake of selecting an agent to market your home based on what he/she says they can sell it for. If you're given a market price and not shown solid "comps" to support that price, someone may be trying to "buy your listing". Your home will just sit unsold for a long period of time until the price is reduced to the current market range. To get the best price for your home in the shortest period of time, price it right in the beginning.
3. CONDITION: Presentation is everything! Home buyers are attracted to clean, spacious and attractive houses. As a seller, your goal is to dazzle buyers. Brighten-up the house and remove all clutter from counter tops, tables and rooms. Scrub-down your house from top to bottom. The home you sell is not the home you live-in, so you must depersonalize it: Remove all clutter, especially from counter tops; if your counter tops have much on them, it shouts "not enough cabinet space"; and pack away all of your personal memorabilia, photos, knick knacks, etc. The Buyer must be able to feel the house, undistracted by your personality. You'd be amazed how many Buyers are unable to visualize how the house might look with their own "stuff" if they are overwhelmed by the Sellers' personality. If in doubt, pre-pack! You're going to be moving anyway, so start packing now. Homes look much larger when lightly furnished; move any unneeded "stuff" to the attic or garage and rent a storage building for larger items like excess furniture. It's all about staging. In a Buyers' market, you must give folks a reason to select your home over the competition. The little things can make a BIG difference.
Repair anything that needs repairing to make your home "move in ready". When buyers see deferred maintenance issues, they wonder what else has been neglected that they don't see. If they perceive a home needs repairs or lots of updating, they mentally attach very large numbers to what it will cost them and you will receive only low offers. Paint is the best "bang for your buck" improvement you can make. If your home is even marginally in need of painting, do it. Be sure to select neutral colors; but not necessarily white or beige. Clean your carpets and have them stretched if needed. Worn flooring (or unusual colors) should be replaced. Hot pink or aqua blue carpet will blind most Buyers to the rest of the house.
If you were selling your vehicle, wouldn’t you give it a thorough detailing first?
4. MARKETING: Exposure, exposure, exposure, that's how homes sell fast. There's so much more to marketing a home than sticking a sign in the yard or putting an ad in the local newspaper. In a Sellers' market, that might be enough. In today's tighter market, a more effective marketing plan is essential. A listing agent's most important task is to make your home known to as many folks as possible. Nearly 90% of home buyers start their home search on the internet. If you have a computer, that’s probably how you’ve started the search for your next home. Your home should be listed on as many sites as possible and should be presented as professionally as possible. Slide shows, virtual tours, etc are what the public wants to see. Your home should have its own dedicated website to be referenced in all printed and online marketing materials. This directs interested buyers to your home’s site directly without sending them to sites with competing properties. If your home isn't easy to find, displayed properly with lots of photos and a high quality virtual tour . . . it will most likely get passed over in favor of other properties.
In today’s market, folks will search the Internet, thumb through Homes magazines, and spend hours looking at homes that are in the local MLS (Multiple Listing System). Access to homes that are listed in the MLS is readily available through many local REALTOR® sites. No, people don't usually buy a house over the internet . . . but they do decide which ones to look at based on the home's online exposure.In a nutshell: Change what you can and be prepared to adjust the price for what you don't!