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How to sell your home in a challenging market.

How to sell your home in a challenging market.

Debbie and I have been in the Real Estate business since the 1980’s. We made the decision to follow our passion and pursue Architecture as a specialty in 1990, but when all is said and done, there are some basic tools and practices that apply to all residential real estate. Pay attention class, I’m about to give away some valuable and helpful tips based upon considerable years of success and experience!

I’m confident enough to share this with anyone who wishes to read it (admittedly I’m holding a few things back), knowing that in helping others, success is shared. We’ve been through many changing market cycles and have had first-hand experience and results with this approach. It’s just as valid now as it was in the last Recession, maybe even more so today. Sellers, this is the starting point:

There are ten steps necessary to be successful in selling your home in a transitional market:

  1. Hire a seasoned or well trained professional who knows what they are doing.
  2. Partner with an Agent who can expose your home to the right Buyer.
  3. Price ahead of the market curve and price realistically.
  4. Make your home very easy to access and to show, AT ANY TIME!
  5. Make and keep your home perfect and appealing.
  6. Emphasize the best features of your home.
  7. Remove or anticipate all negatives for a Buyer.
  8. Reduce your price repeatedly and rapidly if necessary; consider all terms.
  9. Be prepared to accept an offer when you get one.
  10. Be cooperative and patient.

Simple enough? The list makes it look easy. Obviously there is much, much more to it. Let’s take these steps point by point and discuss them a bit further.

Choose a professional to partner with that can show you that they know what they are doing. Now more than ever, you need to expect to pay a full fee and need to learn to accept help. It takes a special skill-set to properly expose your home in this market and you need an agent who has them. You need someone who is full time, and will not give up on your listing. Give them a fair fee, allow them enough time and don’t sabotage their best efforts. But, if you’ve made a mistake, honor your commitments then move on with grace.

As to exposure; this is a key point. The Agent you hire MUST have a significant web-presence, and MUST be connected within the industry as well. They have to be willing to be a walking, talking billboard for your property. They will have to successfully use their network of connections to promote your home.

Price ahead of the market. It is essential that you obtain a professional opinion as to value and look hard at the realistic facts that make up the report. Unless you plan to only sell for cash, something in fairly short supply, then remember the Lender will look hard at these facts too. Appraisers are very critical at the moment and you will need comparable sales to back up your value. Buyers need to know that they are offering against a realistic price base. Do not assume that Buyers will just “make the offer”. If you are in the wrong price bracket they may never even know about your home. It won’t come up on a search and other Agents may never pull it up, or choose not to show it assuming you are serious about your asking price.

Don’t lose your sale by languishing too long at the wrong price. You will hold the psychological umbrella that will facilitate other homes similar to yours to slip under your inflated price. You will miss showings and you may never get the offer that could have come your way if you priced your home more aggressively. What’s worse, you may be chasing the market price for months, actually losing money against a rapid sale now.

This comes down to ability and desire as well. If you cannot, or are unwilling, to price a home in a transitional market properly, then in all honesty, you probably should consider not selling.

Be Available: your home should be very easy to show, no excuses. When you decide to sell, you need to accept the fact that life will be different. Dishes get cleaned, dogs secured, beds made, each and every day. You now live in a model-home. This means a lock box as well. If Buyers cannot get in your home when they wish to, they may never return.

Keep your home detailed and make the obvious repairs that put-off Buyers and lessen the perceived value. Tune up the landscape. Get rid of personal items that detract Buyers from the core-goodness of your home. Emphasizing the high-points; make the best elements of your home stand out by staging, or rearranging, to draw the eye to what may not be obvious. Don’t be afraid to paint if necessary and de-clutter. Less is More in Architecture… home sales too!

Now look at your home as if you were going to buy it. What may hold you back? If you know that your carpet is trash, guess what, a buyer will see it too. Repair, upgrade, or install what needs to be done, and if it’s not in your budget, get actual bids for the work and adjust your price. Whatever the negatives may be, think ahead and have the answer.

If your home is not moving, or not getting showings, ninety percent of the time it’s probably price. Listen to what your agent may tell you and keep ahead of the market. Remain creative too. Depending on your finances you may be able to find alternative ways to help the Buyer and get the deal done.

There is an ancient adage that says “your first offer may be your best offer”. This may seem like fortune-cookie speak, but it is all too often true. Decide ahead of time what you may be willing to accept and talk to your Agent about it. Don’t hold back secrets; If you cannot trust your agent than maybe you need a different Agent! Or maybe you need to honestly examine your motives in selling. When the offer comes in get ready to act. Don’t play hard to get; respond appropriately and promptly.

Lastly, let your professional guide you and help you. Don’t create unnecessary barriers to the sale. Let patience be the rule. Normal markets in the past called for twelve month market times. You can imagine that it may take longer now, so allow for enough time to have the sale come your way.

A successful sale comes down to an agreement between a Buyer and a Seller. Successful Marketing takes much more. So try all these steps and see what happens, then repeat as necessary. Of course you MAY call on Jarson & Jarson anytime… best wishes and good luck!

Scott Jarson