November 19, 2008
As many of you already know and can see, real estate values have been taking a fall across much of the U.S. On top of this, the pace of selling a home on the market is down sharply, causing many homes to sit on the market for months and months.
Here are some strategies that you can use to help you sell your home for a fair price in this less than optimal market.
First, consider that you may have to go against your natural tendencies, think outside the box and be even more aggressive than usual with the tactics you use to get your house sold. This is especially true for areas/towns that have a plethora of homes for sale.
Don't start with a high price.
Don't start with a high price.Many people probably already know but don't necessarily want to believe that the asking price is the most important aspect of getting a house sold or having a house sit for months on the market. In this market, it is a mistake to set a high price and assume that you can lower it later, if necessary, in negotiations. It is found that local real estate agents pay the most attention to listings when they first appear on the market. Being that many home buyers have a budget to stick to, their realtor may likely not even bother to show your home to buyers if it is overpriced.
If you start out too high, by the time you do lower your price, real estate agents will have newer listings to show buyers. Also, if your home is overpriced to start with and the market is slowly going down even more, and you make a small price reduction with every month, then you are just "trialing the market". By doing this, you will not get ahead and your house will always seem to be the "overpriced home".
The correct price to ask for your home in this market is toward the low end of the range of prices being asked on comparable homes currently for sale in the neighborhood. Pricing your home in this manner ensures that as many potential buyers as possible will walk through your door. This is crucial at times like these when home sellers outnumber buyers. Also, if there are several interested, potential buyers then you are more likely to get offers that are competitive because there is a sense of competition.
Recheck the asking price of comparable listings every two to four weeks if your home has not sold. Talk with your realtor about this and get their professional opinion. If you and/or your realtor notice that local real estate prices are falling fast, you might have to lower your price to remain competitive. When you do a price reduction, make it large enough so that the new price is very competitive with comparable homes or is even a "best buy."
Important: The amounts your neighbors sold their homes for a year or two ago should not even enter your thinking when you set your asking price. It was a very different market then, and those prices are irrelevant today.
Helpful: If your home is not attracting many showings, the price is probably the problem. On the other hand, if it is attracting showings but not offers, the home itself is most likely to blame.
Fix it up first. "Fixer-uppers" tend to be ignored in slow real estate markets because buyers can find good deals without breaking out their tools. If your home is in need of substantial repairs, it is best to get the work done before placing it on today's market.
Pay attention to curb appeal. Home buyers have so many options that if a property doesn't look attractive from the street, they will drive past it without even stopping.
What to do: Spend a weekend beautifying the front of your home. Replace damaged window screens... tidy up the lawn and landscaping... pressure-wash the sidewalk... add mulch around trees and in flower beds. If necessary, have the home's exterior repainted, particularly the front door and trim... and upgrade outdoor lighting fixtures, doorknobs and your doorbell switch or knocker. These small details can evoke an emotional reaction in a home shopper that can lead to a sale.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for more tips on how to get your home sold in the current market!
Are you looking for a real estate professional that will work with you to sell your home? If you are in the Chico area consider Ryan Vaught to help you with your real estate needs.
Ryan Vaught, Realtor
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