Quite simply, if a home is priced high above the market, the best Realtor with the best marketing plan will not be able to get it sold. Sellers will almost always overvalue their home. If you have lived there for a number of years and had children grow up there, of course there is going to be sentimental attachment and memories that are valuable to you. But the actual worth of your home is simply what someone is willing to pay for it based on the current market. A good agent will advise on the best price by analyzing recent sales of comparable properties. There are agents that will over price a home just to get the listing. These listings are usually doomed from the start. Even if you lower the price later on, you will have lost the momentum of the initial listing period and buyers will assume there is something wrong with the home. Eventually you may sell it, but more than likely the final sales price will be lower than the correct initial price would have been. Price it according to the market right off the bat and you may even get multiple offers.
Buyers today have high expectations and most want updated, move in ready houses. You don't necessarily have to spend a lot of money on updates and amenities, but you need to at least have a clean and well kept home. The curb appeal of a home does a lot to influence potential buyers, so make sure the lawn is well kept and the landscaping is in good shape. A fresh coat of paint on the front door can also go a long way.
Inside, make sure your home is clean, clutter free and free from any undesirable smells. If you have pets or children, this can be a bit tougher, but you need to make your home as desirable to potential buyers as possible. Kitchen and bathroom counter tops should be cleared, beds should always be made and dishes should always be put away in case a buyer wants to visit. Your Realtor should be able to help you prepare and stage your home prior to listing as well as suggest any low cost improvements that would increase your chances of selling. A perfectly staged home might not be the easiest to live in and keep up with, but if done properly, you won't have to do it very long.
There are many good agents who have been able to make a living with the "Place & Pray" marketing technique. They place a sign in the yard, place the listing on the MLS and pray it sells. In today's competitive real estate climate, marketing can make or break a listing. The most important part of the marketing is the Photography. Your listing photos are the first impression that almost every buyer will have of your home. Your agent should be able to either take professional looking photos or hire a professional to get the best results. If your listing photos are poor quality, blurry, dark, don't capture the room well or just plain stink, you can and should ask your agent to re-shoot them or hire a professional to. You should have pictures of every room, with both interior and exterior shots that show off all the best features of your home. Pictures should be taken with a wide-angle perspective and should be taken in the highest-resolution possible. Bad photos will cost you potential buyers!
Most buyers today find their home online. If you agent is not utilizing social media and other internet platforms to get your listing in front of as many people as possible, ask them why not? Today, agents should be utilizing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as blogs and other websites to the fullest extent. Find out where and how your agent is planning on advertising your listing.
One aspect that many sellers often overlook is the availability of the home. One of the more challenging aspects of selling your home, is that you must make it available to buyers as easily as possible. You can request prior days notice before a showing, but never restrict showing to certain days or hours. Buyers work on their own schedule, so you must make your home available to accommodate them. They prefer to see a home without the owner there, so make sure there’s a lock box at your property and that you allow nearly unlimited access to prospective buyers agents.
You cannot change the location of your home, so you must price accordingly for the area and try to make your home stand out if you are in a less desirable area or location. A home that is properly priced, visually appealing, in good condition and marketed extremely well, can be more attractive to buyers who may not be in love with the location.
A good agent will know the area and will use recent sales and comparable properties to price your home appropriately based on the condition. A good agent will help you prepare and stage your home and also have a solid marketing plan that is tailored personally for you. The right agent is the one who will listen to your input and communicate with you throughout the whole process answering your questions, as they arise. If your agent simply stuck a sign in the yard and disappeared for 6 months, odds are they weren't the right person for the job. The next agent you hire, you should be comfortable with and confident that they are going to do the job right. So, ask for referrals from friends, family and coworkers.
In the end, a well priced home in good condition that has a visually outstanding looking listing and is advertised on all possible venues stands an excellent chance of selling.
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