Seller Tips – April 2014

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There are some basic principles that must be paid attention to when selling a home although there are many variations of how they can be applied.  When these are applied correctly a sale will occur in the fastest time and for the best price.  When not applied or not applied correctly success in selling is less assured.   Here are the 3 P’s:

Pricing

The price a home, condo or townhouse will sell for is dependent on the conditions of the local market and the condition of the property.

Buyers always want to get a good deal and most of the time do not want to pay above what is considered market value for a property.  There are exceptions – when there is high demand for a specific neighborhood or area and very few or no properties for sale there, buyers will sometimes pay above what would be considered market value.  Another exception is for a very unique property, but even in this situation buyers may still try to get a better deal.

Last year prices went up quite a bit and there was a severe shortage of inventory so there were instances of bidding wars between buyers and properties selling for above list price and above market value.  This year there is much less of this happening since inventory of available properties is starting to rise again.  I have also found that a lot of buyers won’t even pursue a property if there is the possibility of competition with another buyer so it is best not to rely on this happening for you.

I have found that it is important to price a property correctly at the start since the most activity on a listing is usually at the beginning.  Pricing too high to test the waters with a plan to lower the price within 30 days if there aren’t a lot of showings and/or no offers is an acceptable approach, but starting high and waiting 3-6 months before getting the price into a reasonable range can be a mistake.  When a listing sits too long on the market, buyers will start to think there is something wrong with it or will think that when the price does come down into the correct range that they can get it for much less because the seller ‘can’t get rid of it’.

When a Realtor goes over pricing with you they should give you a range of prices along with the time frame it would likely take to sell at different points in that range and then you can decide on how long you want it to take.

In addition to using a specific formula for determining the best listing price and when to change it, I am now also working with an appraiser in many cases to get a real appraisal done at the beginning so I know the market value and what a buyer who is getting financing will ultimately pay.  This leaves no doubt and makes for a much easier and smoother sale.

Presentation

Having worked with hundreds of buyers I know what they look at, what gets them interested and what turns them off.

How a property is presented, or how it shows, has a significant effect on whether it sells quickly or slowly and for how much.

This doesn’t mean you need to remodel your kitchen with granite and stainless steel to sell it but it does mean that it should look like a place that buyers can see themselves living in and enjoying.  This includes how it looks when a buyer drives up to it.

I have watched buyers’ reactions for over 10 years and can tell you that a home or condo that shows really well will interest a buyer much more and will sell much faster unless it is priced too high for the market or unless the buyer is looking for a fixer-upper type deal.

One thing I do with sellers is spend time going over what they need to do so that their home or condo shows as well as possible and try to offer ways to do that including do-it-yourself actions or staging.

I also regularly post articles about this subject on my Facebook Page and Google+ Page so make sure to check those out if you haven’t already.

Promotion/Marketing

The first aspect of this goes along with Presentation: great photos.

The 2 things most buyers pay attention to when looking at listings online are the photos and the description.  It is not uncommon for buyers to click through the photos in a listing first and decide from that whether to read the description and other information or whether to move on to another listing.

Some photos in listings are done very well and some are just horrible.  When considering who you want to list your home or condo you should look at 3-5 of the agents most recent listings and look at the photos.  Are they too dark?  Are they out of focus?  Do they create interest for you in the property?  Are there only a few photos?  If their other listings have awful photos then yours probably will too.

The next aspect of promotion/marketing that is key is the description of the property.  A list of features is okay but doesn’t get an emotional response in most cases.   An over-cute and flowery description can turn people off and they may stop reading.  A deceptive description can lure in buyers to see your property but when they see that it isn’t what was described or that negative aspects weren’t described you will lose them as potential buyers.

The best description is one that promotes the lifestyle and benefits of the property to the type of buyer that would buy it while giving some info on negatives that might turn off buyers but in a way that either show it as a benefit or show it not to be as bad as one might think.  There is definitely an art and skill to doing this correctly and fortunately I have trained under someone who has worked out exactly how to do it.

One place where the photos and description are key is on flyers that are in a box attached to the signpost (if your property is such that would allow for this).  Don’t assume that all potential buyers only come from getting listings sent to them or by searching online – many buyers will drive around areas and look at neighborhoods to choose where they want to buy and having a well done flyer with good photos and an emotionally-appealing description is important for just this type of person.

Online promotion is a must these days and the listing should always be on Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow at the very least.  This is another place where photos are important and in more ways than one.  There is a trick on Trulia and Zillow that will help get your listing at the top of peoples searches based on your photos that most Realtors don’t know about but can be the thing that gets you noticed by the buyer who will purchase your home or condo.

There is a lot more to the promotion aspect but I wanted to make sure to cover at least one more that is important and that is open houses.  There are a lot of opinions about open houses and some agents and sellers feel they are a waste of time, but in my experience they can be quite valuable in finding buyers.  I have found that it is not uncommon for buyers that are working with a Realtor to go to open houses on weekends by themselves and even find what they were looking for that way.  It is not the most common way that buyers find the property they will buy but it is one of the ways and in some cases the buyer is told about the property by a friend or relative that attended an open house.

This is about 1/10 of what is involved in selling but these are 3 of the key factors that when done correctly result in a successful sale. All 3 are important and work together.  If you want to know how to best apply these to selling your home, condo, townhouse or villa just give me a call and I’ll be happy to help you.

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