How to Sell Your Home in a Challenging Market

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty

In our current economy we are facing many challenges. The housing market has been hit hardest yet many people still have to sell their homes for a variety of reasons. With so much housing inventory on the market how can you compete?

The key to aggressively marketing your home is to be flexible and competitive. Being willing to offer the buyers a great incentive, keeping things simple and by being willing to make a deal can make the difference on whether you sell or don't sell.

Here are a few ways you can be competitive and stand out:

1.) Get an experienced real estate agent to list your home - Despite the urge to save money on commission. FSBO (for sale by owner) is not proving to work in this economy. A Realtor will market your home. They have multiple listings services that get your listing out to be viewed by a larger audience. In addition to the MLS (multiple listing service), Realtors have many other marketing networks in place to capture the buyers who truly are qualified.

2.) Price it right the first time- be flexible - Choose a price in front of the current market value. This puts your property in a competitive position. In a weak real estate market, many home values have declined. It's important to understand what homes are going for in your market. Start with a comparable market analysis from an experienced Realtor who will know the home values in your market. You should also check out the competition. Look at how homes similar to yours are priced and see what recently closed homes have sold for. A good starting point for a market snap shot is Zillow. In a stable market, the seller has the luxury of "holding out for the best offer". In a buyer's market, home inventory is high, buyers do not bother to view homes priced on the high end of the market. Listen to your Realtor and price competitively.

3.) Cut out the excessive contingencies - Your listing contract holds contingencies that you specify should your home get an offer and go into contract.  In this market, it is best to keep the deal as flexible and simple as possible. This allows the buyers the peace of mind that this sale will be simple and you are willing to accommodate them.

4.) Entice the Buyers with extras - Make your deal stand out among the competition by offering incentives. There are many things you can offer depending on your situation.
For example:
Offer a Buyers Home Warranty
Offer to pay part or all of the buyers closing costs
Offer to pay mortgage points
Fix things the buyer's request- such as broken doors, windows or screens
Offer money for larger fix ups such as carpet, painting or appliances in escrow or reduced the price to allow for it.

5.) Prep your home for sale - As an accredited home staging professional; this subject is near and dear to my heart as it has such proven success with my clients. If possible, have your home staged by a professional. We all have different types of decorating style, which is created through our own personal preferences. When you place your home on the market, you are trying to please the taste and desires of many people. You must view your home through the Buyers Eyes! Your personal theme most likely will not be what the Buyer is looking for.  Home staging focuses on depersonalizing your home - almost like a model home.  The idea is that Buyers will be able to identify color schemes, countertops and walls if you let their eyes find these things instead of your personal possessions.  With so many homes to view, a good first impression helps to keep your home in the buyers mind.

Here are a few basic rules of thumb:

  • Your home must be clean and clutter free. I usually tell my clients about the 5 box technique- you can read about it in my blog here
  • It must smell good! Pet smells, smoke, moth balls, diapers, heavy cooking spices or food smells are a big turn off to prospective buyers. Invest in air fresheners, scented candles and air out the house as much as possible. It's also a good idea to get the carpets and drapery cleaned.
  • Secure the dogs for showings.
  • Don't forget the yard. The yard it the first thing prospective buyers will see when they drive up. Tidy the yard and add some inexpensive plants to planters or gardens for a neat, clean impression.


6.) Allow your home to be shown whenever possible - Add a lock box to your home so it can be shown when you are away. Leave the house during a showing so the buyer can test your home without feeling uncomfortable.

7.) Be prepared to go down in price - After a period of time on the market, you must be prepared for price reductions. Just like the price wars after holidays, you need to be prepared to offer price reductions on your home in stages. Listen to your Realtors advice. An experienced realtor watches the market closely and follows up with clients regularly.

If you have any questions or would like to speak with me about your home. Please contact me. I will be happy to help. I also have a lot of tips for sellers and buyers on my websites Crystal and Ocala Home Source.

Crystal McCall
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty
Serving Ocala-Marion County, Summerfield and The Villages
Toll Free:   (800) 391-8354   Ext:0
Local:   (352) 547-1077    The Villages:   (352) 267-7846 

Comments (2)

Greg Gorman
John R Wood Properties - Naples, FL
Naples Florida Real Estate

All you need is one McCall and it's as good as SOLD! Hugs & Greetings from Paradise.

Realtor Greg Gorman & Team Paradise Logo

Oct 23, 2008 11:42 PM
Sam Miller
RE/MAX Stars Realty - Howard, OH
Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist

Crystal, You provided some great tips that agents and sellers can seriously benefit from.

Sam Miller

Oct 29, 2008 04:32 AM