The other day I was in the middle of planting a "For Sale" sign on some land I had just listed when a guy pulled up in his truck, leaned his head out the window and hollered something to the effect of "Are you a Realtor?" To that question, the wise guy inside of me was tempted to reply with something on the order of me not being a Realtor, but in reality, some kind of sign vandalizer caught in the act, but no, of course my reply was much more polite... "I sure am. What can I do for you?" I said. "I need to get my house listed." He said plain as day...and to that I literally dropped everything and immediately started walking up to his car window with a hand extended while saying, "Well sir, lets just go get your house listed!" True story. Boy was I glad to have kept my inner Wise Guy in check.
Now however, I'm left wondering if I should do a lot more sign planting around town, listing or not, just to see what kind of fish that lure might attract again. If it weren't just completely against the rules, (the sign planting thing, that is, on property I haven't actually listed) I might be tempted. On the other hand, I could just carry a "For Sale" sign around town, or one that says "Am Realtor - Will List Your House." Yep, that might work.
On the other hand, I'm not sure about the whole sign thing anymore, especially lately. If you had seen the street where I had placed that now-famous sign, it would have seemed like a single drop being added to an ocean of other listings. This neighborhood (that I won't mention specifically) was looking pretty scary, and as much as I love listings, it's the getting them sold, what matters in the end. Our transaction coordinator in this office is famous for reminding of us of that little slap in the face of reality, so...
Let's focus on Selling these Listings! Here's another look at some fundamental tips that should be kept in mind in order for your property to be sold quickly, while maximizing your return on investment:
- The first and most important step in selling any Real Estate is to Maximize Curb Appeal. The importance of the first impression cannot be overstated. If a buyer is put off by the first glance, the chance of swaying that person by the end of a showing is negligible. That is, if they're even willing to exit the car in the first place. I can tell you from experience that many a home showing has ended before even pulling into the driveway. Make sure the outside is clean, free of debris and, of course, trash. Get it painted, do whatever you can, including possibly hiring a landscape architect and/or designer, to not only make suggestions, but execute a plan to make the house look its very best from the outside. This might sound a little extreme, but the investment in experts of this kind may result in profits far exceeding their fees.
- Inside, reduce the clutter! Keep in mind that your task now is to stage it for sale, not necessarily make it the way you want to live in it. Get rid of nearly all personal knick-knacks, family photos, and that stuffed Elk Head on the wall. Your family loves that 4x4' portrait of Aunt Helen, but potential buyers can be distracted by personal items in the home. Once potential buyers have begun criticizing the decorating, you've lost them. Again, the value in getting professional help for staging a home is, more times than not, well worth the cost.
- This is an oldie but a goodie ...Ask a good friend to come over and tell you the awful truth. Ask that person for an honest assessment of how the house smells. Believe it or not, you may not smell odors that you live with every day. It just happens that way. Ask someone to not be shy and to, again, tell the truth! If your home does have odors, (and by the way, most do) a good carpet shampooing and fresh paint will do the trick a good deal of the time. Removal and/or replacement of carpet might be what it takes in severe cases. If you're a smoker, take it outside until the house is sold and then wash every stitch of clothing in the house and the draperies as well. Smell is a biggie not to be disregarded.
- Here's one that sounds obvious but must still be stressed as ever so important. Make the house not just clean, but Sparkling Clean! A lot of faults in a home can be forgiven, if at least the first impression is, that it's clean. Again, you might want your best friend to lay the truth out for you on this one because when you live with something everyday, some things just become invisible and you may simply not be seeing something that can turn a buyer off.
- You're going to hate me for this one, but keep the pets at least out of sight for any showings. You don't want a potential buyer distracted or, worse, scared by your pets. The smell and/or allergy factor may come into play with pets too, and you don't want that to happen.
- Don't forget what is perhaps the most important step, which is to obtain a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) from a local Real Estate professional who knows the neighborhood. Over or under pricing your home can cost you time and/or money that you don't want to lose. Don't just get one at the beginning, ask your agent to "run comps" periodically over time in order for you to determine if price adjustments are necessary.
Unfortunately, as I've always said, if the property isn't selling, it's the price, more times than not, that needs to come down. Ouch. However, if you get that price right in the first place, you'll not be chasing it down-hill, for months to a point that ends up being way lower than it could have been initially.
Don't let the sign on your property be just another drop in an ocean of listings. Keep in mind the points above and give your property a fighting chance to compete!Fred Jaeger is a licensed Oregon Real Estate Broker and an e-PRO Certified Realtor® associated with Gilchrist Real Estate Company in La Pine Oregon. He can be reached directly at 541 598-5449 or email@example.com .