Many homeowners today are optimistic about the potential profit they will realize when they sell their home this summer. The recent headlines have reported nothing short of miraculous improvements to the housing market and sellers are gearing up for big price increases and a record breaking time on the market.
The downside is these lofty expectations may lead to a major disappointment. It’s more critical than ever to have a local agent that understands the local real estate market and can educate their clients on the following six very important topics.
The market dictates the price – not the seller and not the Realtor®
Nearly every homeowner believes that their home is special and one of the best in the entire neighborhood, and should therefore be priced higher than other comparable homes currently being sold. Knowing the competition is critical to effectively pricing a home. Your agent should be able to show you on paper where your home stacks up to the completion. However, not everyone really gets it by looking at values on a spreadsheet. If this is you, then have your agent take you on a tour of the neighborhood and preview each comparative home on the market.
Once you, as the seller, have a chance to see what money will buy in the current market, you should have a better idea of where your home should be priced.
Your local real estate agent knows the market and should be an expert at pricing homes for sale. Utilize this valuable expertise to your advantage.
Set the stage – staging matters
Sure, you live in a beautiful home and everyone compliments you on your decorating skills. This does not give you a pass at staging. Bring in an independent third party who will depersonalize and declutter the living space so that it shows its best under the brightest of lights.
Have you ever toured model homes? They all look inviting and lived in yet there is never any personal items that will identify the occupants of the home other than a boys or girls room.
Create a plan with a checklist so that for every open house or showing you can go through the home and create the desired image. You must remember the entire purpose of staging is to allow the potential buyer to see themselves living in your home and call it theirs.
Don’t forget that staging includes curb appeal too.
Fix it before you list it!
Any home repairs that have been on the ‘Honey Do’ list need to be done before you ever allow one prospective buyer from previewing your home.
Nearly all home repairs have a minimal cost that a potential homebuyer will perceive as much more expensive and inconvenient if not taken care of first. A buyer will typically compute the cost as a negative which will be deducted from the asking price when structuring an offer. Therefore, it is much more cost effective to take care of these minor issues up front.
There are many renovations that can be made that will add even more value to your home and increase the desirability of it to even more buyers. For starters, consider adding a fresh coat of paint to the exterior. Consider replacing the windows and exterior doors.
We’ve already mentioned ‘Curb Appeal.’ This goes beyond having the front lawn kept green and mowed. Consider landscaping and new LED lighting. Is your flooring up to date or dated and worn? Kitchens and baths are what sell homes – are yours really the best in the neighborhood? Is the roof in good shape? How about the foundation? Consider a fresh coat of interior paint and a good deep cleaning of the entire home – top to bottom.
Incentives are a great motivator
There are a number of ways to offer an incentive to the buyer. Perhaps one of the most common that is almost taken for granted today is offering a one year home warranty. This takes the concern of any hidden expenses for deferred maintenance that may go uncovered during inspections. No one likes those kinds of surprises.
Other incentives that will help differentiate your listing from others on the market is to offer to pay some of the buyers closing costs, HOA fees for a year, or even to buy down their interest rate on their home loan.
While technically not a buyer’s incentive, many sellers will offer a broker’s incentive of extra cash above the commission if they can bring a buyer who can close by a specified date. Realize that brokers and agents sift through hundreds, if not thousands, of listings and finding the ones that pay the most just may end up on the short list of homes to show.
Serious buyers are shopping 365 days a year
Don’t fall into the trap thinking that buyers are only ‘out there’ on certain days of the week and only during certain seasons of the year. Escrows are opened and closed every day – including some holidays.
Your agent should have a marketing plan that covers all of the holidays for the next six months, if they want a six-month listing. While spring and summer are traditionally the hottest selling seasons locally, they also have the most competition with lots of inventory for sale, which means lots of options for the buyers who are shopping for homes.
Never forget that all real estate is local and your real estate agent should be too!
The news is full of headlines reporting on the real estate market. But who really knows what’s going on in your neighborhood? Is it an agent from San Diego? Los Angeles? Orange County? I think not. It’s an agent who lives locally and works locally. It’s a real estate agent who has a vested interest in the community and understands its quality of life and everything about the community.
There are many common misconceptions about real estate and market trends. To start yourself on a path to a successful sale, make sure that your local agent understands and explains to you what you need to know when listing your home for sale.
Call (951) 296-8887 to get the information you need to make the right decision. For questions regarding available inventory and/or other real estate matters please contact, [email protected] Mike Mason, Broker/Owner of MASON Real Estate Cal.