by Larry Hotz, Denver real estate borker since 1978
Here are Larry’s lucky 13 tips on how to sell a home now:
1. Repair Before Marketing. The first impression is most effective. Fix what needs to be repaired before anyone sees the home. Do not offer “allowances” for problems. Get them fixed to overcome Buyers potential objections before they see the next home that may have “move-in” condition.
2. Clean Before Marketing. Clean all windows inside and out.Clean in places you don’t usually clean such as closets, inside cabinets and in the garage. Leave nothing to a potential Buyer’s imagination. Clean first because the first showings offer the best chances to snag a Buyer.
3. De-clutter Before Marketing. Start to box up personal items, kitchen counter appliances and anything on top of furniture. Move unnecessary and over-sized furniture outside Buyer’s view. After all, you are moving anyway. Builders know that less is better. That’s why model homes are furnished but with minimal furniture and accessories.
4. Price To All Competing Homes. Conventional wisdom is to price your home to the most recent sales of similar homes in the same neighborhood. That is basically what an appraisal is. But, in a softer market, buyers are looking at homes that might be priced below recent sales. Depending on your local market, you may need to price to those lower priced homes. Remember, the home with the best overall value gets sold.
5. List With “Busy Broker”. The old proverb in real estate is that 80% of homes are sold by 20% of brokers. This is even truer in a slow market. Top agents are busy. Choose an agent selling at least 25 homes a year. That agent will network your home more effectively with other agents and is more likely to actually sell it.
6.Produce A Quality, Color Brochure. Buyers’ memories retain only a small amount of information about a listing within a few hours after viewing it. A detailed, professionally photographed brochure will make a lasting impression. A brochure that stands out from of the other photocopied brochures will make the right impression and increase chances of a return showing. Return showings lead to sales.
7.Be On The Internet. 80% of all buyers start by looking at homes on the internet. Sometimes, they buy from the Internet. My website receives over 10,000 visitors per month at www.larryhotz.com. I get many inquiries about listings there every week. It has become far more effective than newspaper or magazine advertising.
8.Offer To Pay Buyer’s Closing Costs. Depending on local real estate market you may want to help buyers purchase your home more easily. Consider paying their closing costs if the likely Buyer for your home will need to buy with little or not down payment.
9.Avoid Paying Huge Buyer Incentives. Brokers in some markets are suggesting offering cars, boats, vacations and other incentives. If you need to lower the price, just do it. But, incentives can say to the market: “You might not like this home but you’ll love the vacation” People aren’t shopping for the incentive. They want a good home at a good price.
10. Syndicate Your Listing. Make sure your listing isn’t just listed on one big, national website. Will it be found on local websites with good search engine rankings? Will it be found on Google, and Yahoo. Make sure your agent will syndicate it to Internet Data Exchange or Virtual Office to other brokers websites. You can get a free referral to a good Internet Realtor who will do this.
11. Be Available For Showings. It is a real inconvenience to be showing your home on short notice. You do need to leave the home so the potential buyers can feel comfortable to spend a lot of time there and be frank with their broker about any objections.Don’t require much advance notice before a showing. Sometimes, out-of-town buyers want to see a home on short notice and the showing is declined. The result can be the sale of a different home. That day!
12. Do Not Accept Contingent Offers. An offer to purchase contingent upon the buyers selling their home isn’t a real offer at all. It is an option to buy. If their home is priced too high or isn’t in the best condition or isn’t marketed properly, you loose the sale. Instead suggest that the buyers get a “bridge loan” or at least make their earnest money “non-refundable” so they have motivation to price and market the home properly!
13.Talk To Buyers’ Lender. The Seller or the Sellers’ agent should do this before accepting the offer. By law, lenders shouldn’t say much. But, you need assurance that they likely will qualify for the loan. Asking as many questions as possible can protect you from a lost sale. Loosing a contract is like going to jail in Monopoly. You loose valuable time and you have start all over again from “Go”. It’s better to stay on the market than accept a contract that never closes escrow.