January 15, 2009
THE REALITIES OF SELLING A HOME IN TODAY'S MARKET
(Edison, NJ) Preparing a home for sale in today's market often requires more than just few cosmetic improvements - it requires keeping an open mind about what buyers are looking for, and staying up to date on the local housing market. Homeowners can change the way buyers view a property inside and out with some updated staging and marketing techniques, and should be open to their REALTORS®' more realistic suggestions for pricing.
"Buyers are benefiting from being able to pick and choose from a wide variety of homes on the market. They are going to be more thorough with their searches and sellers should be prepared for that," said 2009 New Jersey Association of REALTORS® (NJAR®) President, Diane Dilzell. "In today's market, buyers can get a great house at a great price so it's important that sellers differentiate themselves from competing properties."
Setting a realistic price. When it comes to selling a home, it's important to keep in mind that value depends on what the buyer is willing to pay for your property and many factors contribute to their perceptions. Prices depend on local characteristics such as job opportunities, housing supply, school systems and more. Sellers should stay realistic and set the price with a REALTOR® who can help determine which factors are at work in a given marketplace. Also, the time the owner "must" sell or the amount of repairs the home needs can play a large role in setting a fair price.
"Sellers should be pricing to stay ahead of the market and can't afford to rely on what the home was valued at several months ago," added Dilzell.
"Our REALTOR® had a full understanding of today's market and how people are shopping, and had sound reasoning for why the price we sold our home for would be beneficial, when I originally thought it was worth more. We had unbelievable traffic flow, several return viewings, and accepted a price we were comfortable with in 26 days," said Mary Lee Hesselgrave, who sold her home in Hardyston this summer.
Get creative when marketing your home. The marketing of homes has shifted more towards new technology, rather than only putting an ad in the local newspaper. Sellers should be open to innovative and creative marketing techniques recommended by their REALTOR®. By considering virtual home tours and concentrating on well-lit, high quality digital photos for website listings can give your home a chance to be noticed in front of the increasing majority of buyers who turn to Internet listings first. Ask your REALTOR® about other ways to increase awareness about your home in places where buyers will notice.
Staging helps edge out competition. Buyers seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can afford. The goal in staging a home is to maximize space and provide a clean slate for prospective buyers to make the home their own. Cosmetic improvements such as paint, wallpaper, and landscaping, are good investments to make a home generally more appealing. Mechanical repairs done to ensure that all systems and appliances are in good working condition are required to get a top price. REALTORS®, who see numerous homes, can provide suggestions that are consistent with local market trends. Simple tips such as storing away family photos or personalized decor, maximizing counter space and clearing items away from windows can be done in just a few days. Home staging professionals can even be enlisted to help get creative with renovations and changes.
"We took our personal items, put them in storage and completely staged the house," said Cindy Sauber, who sold her home in West Windsor. "If we were going to sell, we knew we had to follow certain rules," she said.
Stimulate buyer curiosity with curb appeal. Putting work into the inside of a home is of no use if prospective buyers don't want to enter it. Curb appeal is the first chance to make a good impression. Curb appeal sells 49 percent of all houses, whether you have a townhouse, condo or detached home, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Replacing light fixtures, removing dead leaves and ensuring snow is shoveled neatly from walkways and driveways are easy tasks that help entice a buyer into the home during the winter months. If a seller is unsure of what buyers are looking for, asking friends and neighbors for a fresh perspective can help them evaluate what looks old or run-down. Owners can get a "big picture" view by taking a photo from across the street.
NJAR® is encouraging New Jersey residents to Get the REAL StorySM on real estate in New Jersey with a public education campaign that features an informational website and an advertising campaign that also features real stories from recent buyers and sellers. For more information on the campaign, or simply to Get the REAL StorySM on real estate in New Jersey, visit www.REALstoryNJ.com.
The New Jersey Association of REALTORS®, with approximately 53,000 REALTOR® and REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® members, is one of the largest trade organizations in the state. NJAR®'s membership is comprised of real estate professionals who subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are members of the national and local REALTOR® organizations. As the leading advocate for the real estate industry and private property rights in New Jersey, NJAR® is committed to protecting the dream of homeownership.